Not if you’re me, and not if you’re our average adult guest! Many folks who are considering our Hike In or Hike Out trips make this erroneous assumption.
It’s true that young folks often have an easier time hiking down than up but, if you’ve ever had joint pain — or if your muscles just aren’t in the condition they were in when you were 20 years old — you might be surprised to find the hike down Bright Angel Trail more difficult for you than the hike up.
Before we go any further, let me just say that hike — whether you’re going up or down — is never easy. It’s an amazing hike. It’s a beautiful, stunning, once-in-a-lifetime experience. But it’s never a “walk” and it is always a challenge. If you love physical challenges, awesome! This is the trip for you! But go into it knowing, the more you put into training for the hike, the more you’ll get out of it.
But back to the differences between hiking up and hiking down: The hike up Bright Angel Trail — 8 miles, from our boats to the South Rim, uphill the whole way, with a vertical mile in elevation gain — is a serious cardio workout. I’m a runner and a hiker and an Arizona native, which means I’m accustomed to hiking in an arid desert with some dramatic elevation changes. And that uphill hike still Kicks. My. Butt. Every time. I am always pretty well exhausted after completing that hike.
But the hike downhill? On the same trail, from the rim to our boats? I’m a runner and a hiker and an Arizona native and I workout 5 or 6 times a week and I LOVE pushing myself and I do strength training and endurance training and cardio training and I’m pretty dang fit and I’m younger than a lot of our passengers and I use hiking poles to absorb some of my body weight and … I am ALWAYS sore from the hike down. For days. Sometimes for weeks. And I always see people on the trail who are younger and fitter than I am, and they are often exclaiming in surprise how much more difficult the hike is than they expected.
So if you’re thinking there’s no way you could hike OUT of Grand Canyon, I would argue you probably shouldn’t be considering hiking INTO Grand Canyon either. Talk to us about it! Give us a call! All of us in the office have completed both hikes numerous times and can help you decide whether one of these Hike In or Hike Out trips is the right fit for you.