Running the Grand Canyon

By: Katarina Kovacevic

January 15, 2015

There are a number of ways to see the Grand Canyon. You can fly high above on an air tour, perch on one of its three distinct rims, even gaze deep into its red rock depths from the all-glass Skywalk platform. But what’s the best way to take in this natural world wonder? No contest – the answer is by foot, treading lightly through tree-lined gorges. And for those after truly unique experiential travels? It doesn’t get much more exhilarating than running the Grand Canyon.

With its four diverse trails, Arizona‘s Grand Canyon is ripe for a jogger’s exploration. Where to begin depends on your adventure style. Bright Angel Trail is a comfortable trek along lush Garden Creek and past one of the landmark’s most popular overlooks, Plateau Point. Kaibab Trail offers two experiences; the narrow but picturesque South Trail that runs along Cedar Ridge, and the more challenging North Trail with its steep descent into Roaring Springs Canyon.


And then of course there’s Hualapai Trail, a less-frequented but must-see route through Havasu Canyon, where turquoise and double-cascading waterfalls mark the course.

Running the Grand Canyon
Kaibab National Forest © Visit Arizona

Special permits aren’t required unless you’re staying overnight – Bright Angel, South Kaibab and North Kaibab Trails can easily make for a two-day excursion if you run the full stretch – and entrance fees for the Grand Canyon are £17 per vehicle or £8 per individual when entering by foot, bicycle or motorcycle.


A quiet run through the 6-million-year-old geological marvel is enough to get the heart pumping, but if you’re looking for a more high-energy dash, consider running the Grand Canyon at one of the following annual events.

Running the Grand Canyon | Grand to Grand Ultra
Grand to Grand Ultra ©

Grand Canyon Half Marathon

9th May, 2015


Lining the national park’s borders, the 21-kilometer Grand Canyon Half Marathon takes you through the southern region of Kaibab National Forest on a trail that’s punctuated by fragrant rows of pine, juniper and aspen trees. Minutes tick quickly by as you go from dense woodlands to wide-open greenways. The course doesn’t go into the Grand Canyon, but the South Rim is a quick five-minute drive from the race’s starting point – a perfect spot to celebrate post-marathon.

Running the Grand Canyon | Grand to Grand Ultra
Climbing the Arizona sand dunes ©

Grand to Grand Ultra

20th-26th September, 2015


The Grand to Grand Ultra is not for the faint of heart! A seven-day overnight adventure ideal for extreme thrill-seekers, the stage footrace begins at the Grand Canyon’s north rim and moves from sand dunes to red rock canyons to buttes and mesas, topping off with a jaw-dropping finale on the summit of the Grand Staircase. Spot iconic Southwestern cacti, big horn sheep and the endangered California condor while pushing yourself to your limits on a 273-kilometer expedition.

Running the Grand Canyon | Grand to Grand Ultra
Camping in the wide-open spaces ©

Partnering with Delta means we can connect you to numerous destinations across the United States and Canada. Booking flights to Arizona couldn’t be easier.


What do you think about running the Grand Canyon? Would you ever take on one of these marathons? Let us know in the comments section below.


Written by Katarina Kovacevic


Katarina Kovacevic

Katarina Kovacevic is a freelance travel writer, author of The Food Lovers’ Guide To Phoenix & Scottsdale, and founder/editor of Style Jaunt, a blog about fashionable travel. Her work has appeared in publications like American Spa, The New York Post, Travel + Leisure online, and more. Follow her travels on Twitter @Little_K and Instagram @Little_K_Kata.

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