Hiking Grand Canyon carries inherent risks. Please review this partial list of risks and hazards. Participants on Canyonology Treks hiking and backpacking trips must meet all essential eligibility requirements given below. Please note that these requirements are categorized only for ease of reading; the category headers should not be taken as a rationale. (For example, under “Attitude and social skills” requirements, the ability to work effectively as a team member is an important safety requirement.)
- Must meet the minimum age requirements (7 years old for a single-day hike, 14 years old for a multi-day hike).
Perceiving and communicating risks and hazards, and communicating in emergences and/or distress
- Must be able to effectively communicate with or to other participants or leaders regarding potential hazards/risks, personal distress, injury, or need for assistance up to a distance of 50 meters, where darkness, high wind, rushing water, or other factors may impede communication.
- Must be capable of perceiving risks and hazards, and also of perceiving and responding rapidly to warnings and environmental cues of imminent hazards. Hazards include but are not limited to rockfall, lightning, flash flood, wildlife, and consequences arising from the actions of other backcountry users. Environmental cues of imminent hazards include audible and visual cues.
- Must be capable of perceiving, initiating, and responding to various types of emergency communications, including signal mirrors, emergency whistles, and physical gestures, when lost or separated from the group.
Medical requirements and backcountry travel conditions
- Must be in good general health and physical condition, and capable of hiking the full trip itinerary.
- Must be able to remain alert and focused under sustained difficult conditions, including on- and off-trail travel through wilderness, desert or other remote terrains.
- Must tolerate being away from medical facilities for time periods in excess of the trip duration plus several days.
- Must act reliably and responsibly around risks and hazards even when not directly supervised.
- Must be able to maintain blood sugar levels adequate for high alertness and function during long periods of high and low physical activity, and also rapidly cycling periods of high and low physical activity. Must advise trip leader in advance if supplemental insulin is necessary for this. On day hikes, must be able of storing insulin at doctor- or manufacturer-recommend temperatures for the duration of the trip. On multi-day backpacking trips, must not require long-term cold-storage of supplemental insulin.
- Must not be prone to recurring incapacitating medical events, such as seizures.
- Must be able to breathe independently.
- Must be able to maintain a safe body position, including around cliff edges and steep drops in the course of normal trip activity.
- Must be able to forego the use of illicit substances for the duration of the trip plus any travel time to and from the trip.
- Must be able to perform necessary self-care in a remote and outdoor environment, including personal hygiene, adequate hydration, dressing appropriately for weather conditions and responsibility for and organization of personal gear.
- Must be able to lift and carry weight, including personal or group belongings, gear or provisions.
- Must be able to competently navigate a variety of uneven and challenging terrain. This includes but is not limited to: traveling over steep and rocky trails in difficult weather conditions, desert or other remote outdoor environments, often carrying weight.
Attitude and social skills
- Must be willing and able to follow rules and obey instructions from your guide, park rangers, emergency service personnel, and/or other authority figures.
- Must be willing to learn and practice Leave No Trace camping and travel techniques as necessary.
- Must be open-minded, willing to try new experiences, and tolerant and respectful of others.
- Must be able to maintain acute task focus when challenged physically, mentally, or emotionally.
- Must be able to tolerate outdoor conditions in all types of weather for the duration of the trip, at varying elevations.
- Must be willing to learn skills and engage in tasks to support personal and group wellness, including those necessary for living in remote areas. This includes but is not limited to in-camp activities, caring for group gear, and looking out for the well-being of others.
- Must be willing to work effectively as a member of a hiking or backpacking party. This includes taking personal responsibility for your belongings and behavior, effectively communicating ideas and concerns on an individual and group level, accepting differences, and possessing a willingness to put the needs of the group before the desires of the individual.
- Must be able to interact responsibly in a group and support a team approach, understanding that every participant shares in the responsibility for their own well-being and the well-being of the group.
- Must understand and follow instructions given to you or your hiking party, including directives regarding risks and hazards.
- Must tolerate changes in diet, backcountry travel, long days filled with mentally and physically challenging activities, and a routine that is unlike your routine at home.
Please note that meeting these essential eligibility requirements does not guarantee trip participation. Participation is also subject to other factors including guide availability, minimum and maximum group size, backcountry permit availability, and having paid an invoice in advance in full.