1. GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, ARIZONA
Hike: Nankoweap Trail
When to Go: September to May
Round-Trip: 28 Miles, Three to Four Days
Level: Challenging Backpacking Trip
Of all the Grand Canyon rim-to-river routes, the Nankoweap is the most challenging and the most rewarding. In the miles after the North Rim trailhead on the Kaibab Plateau, the trail plummets 6,000 feet. Allow one to two days to hike down and two to hike out. All the glories of the canyon are on view—buttes and hoodoos, cliffs of sandstone, and redwall limestone. But the real reward is a solitary camp beside the Colorado River near the echoing roar of Nankoweap Rapids and a chance to explore ancient granaries of the Ancestral Puebloan people.