Chances are, at some point on your Grand Canyon Whitewater trip, you are going to encounter some other adventurers. If you’re hiking in or out of the canyon on one of our Partial Canyon trips, you’ll undoubtedly pass a lot of other hikers on Bright Angel Trail. And, if you’re doing one of our Full Canyon trips, you might run into folks who are traveling with a different raft company on one of your daily side hikes. You might even meet a backpacker or two, or someone rafting on a private trip. If and when you do encounter other hikers, it’s important to be familiar with trail etiquette.
Test your hiking knowledge by taking our little quiz, and then check your answers at the bottom of the page!
1. You’re hiking up a steep, narrow trail when you spot someone coming down the trail, straight at you. Who should step out of the way, you or the downhill hiker?
2. You’re cruising down Bright Angel Trail, on your way to meet our boats, when you hear a mule train coming up fast behind you. Which side of the trail should you step to, the inside or the outside?
3. You’re on a day hike with your fellow GCW guests and you really, really need to go to the bathroom. There are no restrooms on this backcountry trail. What do you do??
4. The sandwich you packed for your picnic lunch is getting so heavy, and you want to go do some more exploring upstream. You know you’ll be back at this little shady spot in just a bit, to kick back and enjoy your lunch. Is it OK to leave your sandwich here?
5. The hikers in front of you are going so slow. True or false: The appropriate way to pass them is by politely asking them to step to the side of the trail.
The National Park Service has more information about courteous hiking in Grand Canyon. It’s a great idea to educate yourself and share what you know with your fellow hikers.
So how’d you do? Check your answers…
- The downhill hiker should step out of the way. Uphill travelers have the right of way.
- Step to the inside of the trail (the side of the trail AWAY from the edge). Also, listen for any direction from the mule wrangler.
- Get a toilet-to-go bag (personal waste bag) from your guide. These are user-friendly bags that provide a means to pack out solid waste and include toilet paper and an antiseptic moist towelette.
- No. Never store or abandon gear along the trail, it can attract wildlife and look like litter.
- True. Asking to pass maintains a friendly atmosphere and ensures safe passage.