10 Tips for Teens Hiking the Grand Canyon

Josh Goldbach23 Aug, 2019

teenagers standing on a mountain

When thinking about a Grand Canyon hike for teens, it’s important to consider what types of clothing and other materials they should pack. If there is one thing to know about the Grand Canyon in the summer, know that while it will get very hot, you will also experience many different types of climate. The temperature can range anywhere from 45-101 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer depending on the time of day and the location. This means you have to pack smart. Here at Bold Earth, we have found that a few packing tips for teens can go a long way in preparing for this adventure of a lifetime, and we would love to share them with you!

Headgear for Hiking the Grand Canyon

group of teenagers hiking in mountains

Head coverings can provide both protection from the sun as well as a way to cool down your entire body. Hats will provide shade for your face and scalp but can sometimes trap heat and make your head very warm. A good alternative when the heat is too much, is a bandana! A bandana can be dipped in water and wrapped on your head so you can cool down and still keep the top of your head covered from the sun. A bandana is also a great way to show off your unique style!

Layers, Layers, Layers

Just because the temperatures can reach triple digits, does not mean that the only clothes in your backpack should be a tank top and shorts. Versatile layers of clothing can be used to protect your skin from the strong UV rays, to keep you cool (believe it or not!) and provide some warmth when the temperature drops at night. While sunscreen can go a long way when hiking the Grand Canyon, a light, synthetic long sleeve shirt provides excellent coverage from the sun so you don’t get burnt – which can be a sure way to damper your trip. Items such as long underwear or thin pants that can be unzipped into shorts can cover your legs, and can be the perfect material to sleep in. Just remember to pack things that can be used for a multitude of functions.

The Synthetic vs. Wool vs. Cotton Debate

This is an age-old debate in the outdoor world, hence the old saying ‘cotton is rotten’. However, cotton does have its benefits, especially when relaxing at a campsite or sleeping on a cooler night. Synthetic and wool are much better to explore in though. Synthetic materials, such as polyester or nylon, dry faster, preserve body temperature and act as an excellent base layer when layering clothes. Wool is unique because it does not trap odor and it also is excellent when trying to stay warm. It’s generally wise to have a mix of materials when putting together your clothing items for your trip. Check out this blog on cotton vs. synthetic by our international programs director Hayley Hucks!

Packing Light for the Grand Canyon

Teens swimming in a river

Packing light is so important because you will most likely be responsible for carrying all your belongings while you explore this beautiful part of the world. A key to packing light is to make sure you are packing versatile items. Pack things that can double as a sun protectant and offer warmth on colder nights or things that can both protect you from the rain or the wind.

Break in Your Shoes!

Destination aside, this might be one of the most important tips of all, because blisters or sore feet can be one way to make your trip less enjoyable. Make sure all of your shoes, hiking boots, sandals, Chacos, etc., have been worn for a considerable amount of time before you commit to wearing them for the duration of your trip. It will make your life easier and your trip a lot smoother!

Drink Up!


Water is so important throughout any day, but especially during a Grand Canyon hike for teens! One water bottle won’t be enough to keep properly hydrated so make sure you bring at least two 1-liter bottles so you don’t find yourself out of water too quickly. Hydrating yourself proactively will help prevent dehydration, which is extremely unpleasant!

Wicking Material

We’ve talked a little bit about the importance of packing different materials for clothing – but it is also really important to pack things that are specifically meant to wick away moisture from your skin. Cotton takes a very long time to dry when wet, so it helps to have something that will dry quicker in case of rain or a quick dip in the water. Wicking t-shirts are a popular choice to keep dry and comfortable throughout your trip.

Remembering Your Trip

In the moment you will probably think that you could never forget what it feels like to be there – but sometimes those memories can be fleeing. A good way to make sure that you remember every part of your amazing adventure is to bring a small journal to jot down some notes about each day and a digital camera to capture those spectacular Grand Canyon views, you will be so glad that you did!

Cool Down

Have we mentioned that it can get pretty hot while hiking in the Grand Canyon? One way to beat the heat is to have a mini-spray bottle that you can fill with water when you have a chance to spritz yourself out whenever the heat is getting to you. On the more extreme days you will be thankful to have this with you.

Finally, a Good Night’s Rest

Finally! You had a great day hiking in the Grand Canyon – you kept cool, you used these smart packing tips to have everything you need and you took some beautiful pictures that you can keep forever. Now it is time for a good night’s rest, our tip for this is to bring a comfortable sleeping pad and comfortable clothes that can be worn and layered depending on the temperature outside. These two things might be the difference between waking up groggy and ready to adventure another day!

teens in front of a canyon

This isn’t an exhaustive list of everything you should bring on your trip to the GrandCanyon, but you can find one here or under the Trip Resources tab under the Bold Earth Grand Canyon Active adventure. We hope that anyone who is planning an adventure travel trip to the Grand Canyon this summer has a fun and safe trip!


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