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hiking grand canyon with fear of heights?


DH has hiked the Grand Canyon probably 5 times in his life. And, he wants me to do it. I'm all for it except for one thing: I am afraid of heights.

I get very nervous and unsettled on narrow trails that have steep drop offs. I'd define narrow as 3' or less. We hike pretty frequently, mostly moderately difficult stuff. And, I can make it through narrow spots with cliffs on one side, if only for short distances, but it's not what I'd call enjoyable. I breath a sigh of relief when I'm beyond the "danger zone."

Should I just avoid this hike?

Re: hiking grand canyon with fear of heights?

  • If he's done it 5 times, what does he say about the hike?
  • JoanE2012 said:
    If he's done it 5 times, what does he say about the hike?

    Well, he loves it (obviously). But, he also sort of is the type of guy to push me more toward something like this because he knows/thinks in the long run, I'll be happy I did it. Generally, this is the case. He knows me well.

    But, I'm just thinking if there's steep cliffs and narrow trails for the entire hike, down and up again, then maybe I shouldn't do it, because I'll be in "panic mode" for a long time...heart thumping, sweaty palms, etc..

    Anyway, just wanted some feedback from folks who have done it.

  • Which trail are you planning to hike?  We did a rim-to-river-to-rim earlier this year.  We went down on the South Kaibab trail and came back up on the Bright Angel trail.  My H is pretty scared of heights and he did okay.  There were some spots where I stopped to look out, and he was like, "Keep moving, keep moving!" but he did okay.  Both trails are pretty wide, and there really aren't many drop-off ledges.  There are tooooons of switchbacks on both trails, so you're always looking down into the canyon, but not straight down - you have about 5000 switchbacks under you. lol

    My H had a worse time with the Inca Trail in Peru than with the Grand Canyon.  The Inca Trail was much narrower and really did have sheer cliffs.

    Grand Canyon was tough - I had heat exhaustion both days of our hike, and drank roughly 3-4x the amount of water I usually do.  The going down was actually the worst part.  But it was absolutely worth it, IMO.

  • I have a terrible, terrible fear of heights, but didn't have a huge issue with the grand canyon as long as I didn't get close to the edges.  I'm not sure which hike you'll be doing though.

    Twice I have attempted to "face my fear" of heights.  I climbed a Mayan pyramid and went to the top of St Peter's Cathedral.  I had a panic attack at the top of both.  Took me an hour to get down pyramid.  I think I'm done with "facing my fear".
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