As spectacular as the Canyon is from the rims, to truly experience it you have to get down into it. You have to hike it, backpack it, ride the mules down to Phantom Ranch, raft the mighty Colorado. There's a lifetime of trails and campsites down there. But there are dangers, too. Every day people are hospitalized for severe sun burns, dehydration, heat sroke and falls. This is a harsh, high altitude, thin air, intensely hot desert environment, and there are precautions to take. A broadbrimmed hat, frequent generous sunblock of the highest number available, bottles of water and rest stops are critical. Even if you're only walking the South Rim Trail (see Hiking) or riding the mules out to The Abyss Overlook, you have to protect yourself from the sun and heat. The worst time to visit The Canyon is in Summer. Spring and Fall are much better. The weather is mild and you can get into the lodges restaurants, mule rides and rafting trips much more easily. Even backpacking permits are difficult to get in June, July and August, but easy to get the rest of the year, which is ironic considering how much more comfortable it is. No matter what activities you choose, please do not come for a one or two night visit. You are much better to wait until you can come for at least a week. There is so much to do here, you owe it to yourself enough time to do it.