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A Guide to Hiking the Grand Canyon

In this clip from Discovery's "Fearless Planet" series, Will has some fun with the crew while filming the Grand Canyon episode.

When we think of Arizona's Grand Canyon, most of us imagine it as a piece of Americana, a family vacation destination to see one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. But the Grand Canyon isn't just a curiosity or a bucket-list item for the American traveler: It's also a world-class hiking and adventure destination, with rich diversity in climate, ecology, flora and fauna, some of which is specific to the region.

A hike down into the Canyon is an exciting change of pace for mountain climbers: After all, you can almost think of it as a mountain in reverse! The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 kilometers) long, an average of 10 miles (16 kilometers) across and 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) deep, with the Colorado River at the bottom [source: State Parks: Arizona].

For the most rugged among us, a trip down one rim of the Grand Canyon and up the other means sights and challenges you won't find anywhere else on the planet, and which most of us will never experience. But that diversity also means you can find a Grand Canyon trip or adventure for almost any taste and skill level. Whether you've got young children or older members in the party, whether you're an avid hiker or just interested in neat-looking rocks, the Canyon's big enough to serve every single hiker's need. In this article, we'll be looking at the many ways you can enjoy the Grand Canyon, from week-long treks to half-day hikes, and all the information you'll need to know to make them a memorable and fantastic success.