Hikes National Parks/Monuments

Trail of Time | Grand Canyon

(Last Updated On: May 24, 2019)

Trail of Time is a 1.8 mile walk along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is relatively flat, easy, and appropriate for wheels. All visitors to Grand Canyon’s South Rim should do this hike as it is informative, interesting, and safe.

Location

This Trail of Time is a one-way trail that can easily be done as a shuttle since the park actually provides a shuttle along the rim. The trail runs either direction, and it depends on what suits you best which way you should walk it. If you start at Yavapai Point, you will hike through geologic time in reverse, starting in the present and working your way backward millions of years. The advantage to this direction is that the hike runs very slightly downhill. We chose to make this hike in chronological time, starting at Verkamp’s Visitor Center. We liked seeing how things changed over time, and ending at the Yavapai Point and Geology Museum.

The views of the Grand Canyon are beautiful along the Trail of Time.
There are many informational signs along the way.

The Trail of Time

The hike takes you back in time two billion years. Each step you take (they’re big steps!) covers one million years. There are markers on the ground every ten steps that count you through time. Interpretive signs along the route help you understand the geologic progression of the Grand Canyon. It is really a well designed trail. Best of all, as you are walking the rim, you can stop and look across the canyon anytime you like.

Our boys loved looking for the year markers along the hike.
These signs mark the beginning and end of the Trail of Time.
It’s amazing how fast the years go by.

Rock Displays

The other thing we liked about the Trail of Time were the rock samples that were put along the edge of the trail. Each time you enter a new layer of rock in your two billion year walk, there is an example of the stone on the side of the trail. The stones are quite different as you can tell by a look at the Grand Canyon and its many layers.

The rocks line the trail to show how there are different layers in the Grand Canyon.
Each rock tells the type and age.
The Trail of Time is a great way to see the Grand Canyon.

This is definitely the most must-do walk in Grand Canyon, particularly if you are traveling with kids. Take it slow, learn, and enjoy the many views of the canyon along the way. For other kid friendly trails, check out our Grand Canyon Kid Hikes post.

The views of the canyon are amazing on the South Rim.

Tips for Families

  • This walk is Stroller and Wheel Friendly. If we had a stroller, walking backward in time would have been easier.
  • This trail has limited shade, so bring water and sunscreen.
  • Stay on the trail. You can see beautiful views right from the trail. There is no need to walk closer to the edge.
  • Plan time to explore the Yavapai Geology Museum. It’s small, but interesting.
  • Use the shuttle system to make this hike super easy. Here is the shuttle stop map.