top of page
  • Writer's pictureCampBrood

7 Signs You’re a Grand Canyon Beginner!

Come on a hike with us while we discuss 5 signs you’re a Grand Canyon Beginner. Through our time at the Grand Canyon we’ve noticed beginners just can’t help but stand out in a crowd. Make sure you stay until the end because a couple can get you killed and the last one will get you kicked out of the park. Let’s Get Started! To watch the video version of this blog click here or continue reading below.

First time visitors need to ask a lot of questions before they visit the Grand Canyon. As a beginner we had no idea how much wildlife we would see. But, being an animal lover in the Grand Canyon is a dangerous and possibly deadly exercise. So while we’re hiking Bright Angel Trail the first question you should ask is

How should I treat animals when at the Grand Canyon?

You are truly a beginner if you feed or call to the animals in the Grand Canyon. It's hard as an animal lover to leave them alone but we will see beginners do things they shouldn’t with animals, reptiles, and birds. On the Bright Angel Trail down to the 1.5 mile resthouse one morning we encountered a bighorn sheep above us on the trail. Beginners might get closer or call to it but the best thing to do is continue along on the trail and give it distance. But we’ve also seen a bighorn sheep below hikers on Bright Angel. Many people walked up to that sheep to get their picture. Some actually walked out to the peninsula the sheep was on without knowing it was there. From a distance we could tell the sheep was getting agitated but no one was hurt. Keep an eye on your surroundings both close to you in case of snakes but also all around to make sure you notice wildlife on and off the trail. But elk and mule deer also frequent the south rim and need to be left alone. Keep at least 100 feet from wild animals at the Grand Canyon. But the littlest creatures can be the most deadly to travelers. We found squirrels are opportunistic. Many would seek out unattended bags for food but they will also hover close while you are eating. To give squirrels a snack seems friendly, but we’ve seen them get aggressive and bite hikers resting on the trail. These mammals carry bubonic plague, rabies and hantavirus and can be deadly.

Some beginners are more casual and like to relax at the Grand Canyon, but if you don’t plan ahead you could be in trouble. So, make sure you ask this question next

How Early Should I Make Reservations at the Grand Canyon?

A big beginner mistake is not having reservations. We can tell people who are on their first trip to the Grand Canyon when they walk up to a restaurant and expect to get seated. Over 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year and during the busy months it is really hard to get food. There is a market and a couple of cafes. But if you want a sit down meal with table service there are only 3-4 restaurants in the Grand Canyon that will serve you. When we went to one of these restaurants they would seat you with a wait list but plan on an hour or more. But another would seat you only if there was an available table. They didn’t take reservations or put you on a wait list. Others take reservations like the famous El Tovar Hotel Restaurant. But you have to make those reservations 30 days in advance. So if you wait until the last minute, plan on bringing your own food for meals or expect to wait in line for lunch and dinner. Many people like guided tours and excursions. These also need to be researched and reserved in advance. But even more important is to make lodging reservations way ahead of time. We stayed at Trailer Village and those reservations can be made over a year in advance. Hotels, campgrounds, and other lodging fill up fast. If you drive in without reservations and expect to get a room chances are you will sleep in your car.

Coming up later we will talk about the clothing and gear unprepared beginners wear but a deadly beginner mistake is next

How Much Water do you Need When Hiking in the Grand Canyon?

Walking anywhere in Grand Canyon National Park without water is a frequent beginner mistake. But hiking down into the canyon like we are now on South Kaibab trail without water can be deadly. The park does get rain. About 17 inches of rain each year. But it can still be dry and hot, sapping you of hydration. Walking along the rim can be deceiving. If it is a warm day but there is a cool wind you may not notice dehydration set in over time. But, if you hike down into the canyon without water you are risking your health and possibly your life. A good rule is to drink a liter of water for every hour hiking or walking in the canyon and on the rim. Plan on carrying a gallon to 3 liters of water and know where the water refill stations are located along your path. Even successful runners and experienced hikers can get dehydrated and lack of water is one of the top 5 reasons people die in the Grand Canyon. This blog post details the hiking pack we used as an example: Product Review Teton Sports Oasis Hydration Pack (

Here are more examples of the gear we took on our hikes in the Grand Canyon.

Teton Sports Hydration Pack Video Review if you want to see more:

Amazon Link: 2021 model

Camelbak Mini M.U.L.E hydration backpack Video Review for younger hikers:

Merrell Moab II Men's Hiking Shoes:

The First Aid Kit we carry:

Tactical Flashlights:

It surprises us every time a beginner is not wearing good shoes. So, make sure you question

What Kind of Footwear is Best for the Grand Canyon?

Beginners to the Grand Canyon can be identified by their clothes. You can tell a beginner doesn’t know how big the Grand Canyon is or how much walking and hiking you need to do to see even a small part of the Grand Canyon. Sandals are a dead giveaway that you are a beginner. Flip Flops are inappropriate. Open toed shoes like sandals and flip flops are bad for many reasons. The terrain is rocky and the footing is uneven. You could stumble and injure your feet with inadequate footwear. In the canyon like on Bright Angel Trail the slope of the trail can get steep. But rain occurs often in the Canyon, too. If you have anything other than hiking shoes or boots you will risk slipping on the trail. Slipping could cause you to fall on rocky terrain and injure yourself but it could also lead to death if you stumble off the trail down into the canyon.

We’ll get back to clothing in a minute but

Hiking in a canyon where a little trip or stumble can send you careening 400 feet to your death comes with some risk. So,

What are Some of the Important Hiking Rules in the Grand Canyon?

Beginners will not follow hiking rules. Hiking the trails includes following rules and etiquette on the trail. Beginners can be spotted when they don’t yield to hikers returning to the rim. Hiking uphill takes at least twice as long as hiking down into the canyon. But, hikers with large overnight packs are tired from trips to the bottom of the canyon. They usually still have a long climb ahead of them and when hikers get in the way it slows their ascent and makes them exert more energy that they might need to finish their hike. The trails are much busier closer to the rim and these hikers need to be given space. They’ve earned it. But, mule trains also need to be given passage. Beginners though don’t know this rule. They don’t know where to go when mules are on the trail and they don’t know how they should act. Hikers yield to all mule trains going into and out of the canyon. Hikers are to stand flat against the hill side of the trail and let the mules travel the canyon side. But, it is also important to stop hiking, stay still, and if you are talking, speak in a calm voice.

So, to help you prevent a trip or stumble you should ask this next question but first,

Every good hiking post needs a dad joke. Why don’t secrets work at the Grand Canyon? Because they always echo!

Here are dad joke books for great gifts: Dad Jokes Around the Campfire: 600 Funniest Dad Jokes: To view any product mentioned by us in our videos and blog, click this link: As an Amazon Associate, we earn a commission from qualifying purchases.

Ok let's get back to the list and

What Should I Wear When Hiking the Grand Canyon?

By now proper footwear is common sense but did you know your hat could be a giveaway that you are a beginner? Wearing loose hats on the rim is a sure sign you are a beginner. As you step up to the rim of the Grand Canyon you will often be met with wind. The wind will take beginners by surprise and your hat will get blown off. All you need to do is look over any of the viewpoints and count the hats down in the canyon on the other side of the rail to know it’s a beginner's mistake. Types of clothing can also let everyone know you are a beginner. Temperatures in the Grand Canyon vary by a lot. The temperature in the canyon can be 20 degrees or more hotter than the temperature on the rim. But the temperature also increases 30 or more degrees from morning to afternoon. Whether you are in the shade or full sun is also a big consideration. Many days in the Grand Canyon it may make sense to start in pants and long sleeves. But depending on the weather and your hike you may be longing for shorts and a performance t shirt. If you see people overdressed or underdressed for the weather they’re probably beginners.

What are Some Rules That People Often Break in the Grand Canyon?

Beginners also do things that make sense to them but not many others. While hiking the trails you may come across interesting rocks or other artifacts. Beginners will pick these up and put them in their pockets or backpacks to take home with them. If they do this on the way down, they’ll regret it when hiking back up to the rim. But it is also against park policy. But some beginners will also throw rocks, trash, coins and other items over the edge. This may seem like a lot of fun or sentimental to honor someone but you could injure people hiking below. There are trails in the Grand Canyon like South Kaibab Trail that starts as a series of switchbacks from the rim. As the trail descends it stays close to the rim and when throwing stuff over the edge you can hit the hikers below. You could also strike animals. But, it's just disturbing the environment and we should all follow leave no trace principles.

We have more to share with you. If you enjoyed this post sign up for more from us and to join the conversation in our comments. We'd love to hear from you. Or read more about the Grand Canyon with these two posts or one of the posts below.

10 views0 comments


bottom of page