Cedar Ridge is about 1.5 miles down the South Kaibab trail This is usually the first place hikers stop to rest. Anyone attempting a short dayhike should turn around and hike back up from this point. After examining the view, that is.
On a clear day, you can see for miles from Cedar Ridge. As luck would have it, we did not hike on a clear day. But, as Jim, my unbelievably optimistic hiking guide put it, we got to see a view that is seldom seen. Instead of a clear view across the canyon, we saw it covered in thick white clouds , which gave it a foggy and almost mystical quality. At first, I kept wishing for the other view. The one often seen in postcards with the bright sunny skies. The one I'd spent a couple of years dreaming about. But, when you pause and take in the beauty of the canyon and allow the wonder of it all to sink in, you start to realize that there are no bad days out here.
Following the South Entrance Road the visitor will reach Mather Point from where the Rim Trail starts. As its name suggests, it follows the South Rim towards Grand Canyon Village and continues further on to Hermits Rest. It is an easy hike because there is almost no elevation change. Many lookout points along the trail offer magnificent views and are accessible by car. During the summer months a free shuttle is connecting the different lookout points.
We decided to keep our hiking to the top of the rim in order to enjoy the sweeping vistas across the canyon. The Rim Trail extends from Pipe Creek Vista in the east to Hermits Rest in the west, twelve miles in all. The path is virtually level, with fantastic views the entire way, and few tourists once you head west of the village.
We began our hike at the Bright Angel Trailhead and headed westward. The trail is very well marked and paved for the first 1.5 miles, after that it turns into a dirt path, and in some locations skirts very close to the cliff's edge. You can see the path to the left in my photo and that there are no rails to keep you from tumbling over the edge. Proceed with caution, and I do not recommend bringing small children along.
If you become too tired or too hot hiking along the Hermits Rest Route, you can always jump on the Shuttle Bus that runs up and down Hermit Road. You can then jump off at the next viewpoint. It is an 8 mile hike along Hermit Road, we hiked 5 miles and took the shuttle for one 3 mile stretch. We also rode the shuttle back to Grand Canyon Village.
There are many opportunities for hiking into Grand Canyon. Some trails of course are more difficult than others. Warnings are posted everywhere- BE CAREFUL! Every year there are accidents and even fatalities.
As for me, I preferred just sitting on this wall.
The canyon walls are not the sheer vertical precipices that you might expect. Standing on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, it appears impossible that there could be a trail that navigates the walls of the canyon, but there is such a trail and it's not all that bad, even for someone like me that is not real comfortable with heights. The walk is rigorous, but by no means impossible.