We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Arguably the best hike in the USA are the trails down - and back up - the Grand Canyon. It's the only way to see the Grand Canyon up close and personal. The hike up takes twice as long as the hike down, roughly. It's not too challenging but it is glorious.
We did it 12 years ago and stayed 2 nites at the rustic Phantom Ranch on the riverbank. That's the way to do it. That first cold beer at the bottom is the best beer in the world even if it's Bud Lite in a can. The food there is great, thanks to the mules who carry everything down and up all day. Phantom Ranch has some cabins, 4 dorms, and a wonderful mess hall.
It's not a hike for young kids, and it's a hike for spring or fall - not summer. Too hot. One handy service they have is that they will take a duffel bag down for you on mules, and back up when you leave. Thus all you need to hike with is a daypack with water and snacks.
When you're out there, why not hop over to Sedona for some easy hiking in red rock country? Lots of pleasant hikes, few of the basic ones long or arduous:
In 1988, I did (with several friends) the hike from the north to the south rim - two days down with an overnight at Cottonwood Campground, then an overnight at Phantom Ranch, then two days up with an overnight at Indian Garden. Best camping/hiking trip of my life.
One funny thing: At Cottonwood, we got up and were making our morning coffee and breakfast, and noticed people jogging down the trail in running clothes and carrying a water bottle in each hand. We asked one, "What are you doing?" They responded "Oh, we're running rim-to-rim. Takes about 15 hours."
I can only disagree about it not being a hike for young children. I first hiked this trail in 1972 with five friends and their 4 YO boy. He had absolutely no problem going down or coming up and we did it from the North Rim so it is a much longer hike. The trick was that mom had a bag of M&M's and every time the child would balk or complain mom would take out four of them and point to a place further along the trail and tell him if he hiked that far he could have them. No problem, he would eagerly hike it and after getting the candy forget for awhile that he might be tired. The following year I did it with my brother and our wives and my 5 year old son and used the same trick. No problem at all. The kids did much better than the adults.
My wife and I enjoy hiking and backpacking in the White Mountains, but in 2016 we did a guided 6 day/5 night backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon. The scenery was amazing, the trek was difficult without being overwhelming. North rim, Bill Hall Train to Deer Creek, then along the Colorado to Tapeats Creek, then back up along Thunder River. Wonderful. Stunning. Will do it again one day. The four nights in Sedona at the Enchantment Resort was a plus after the backpacking.
I've hiked Bright Angel and the South Kibabh several times. Always in the summer (July). "Too hot" is a relative term. If you've lived in east Texas all of your life, simply being certain you have plenty of fluids (both water and Gatorade) and dressing properly along periodically soaking your shirt and hat makes the single day ascent not only doable in mid summer, but actually enjoyable. Even with a 40+ pound backpack. Especially if you go up on Bright Angel with the three rest stops with drinking water. Next time I go, I hope to do the single day round trip.
Did it while on a Spring Break geology field trip in 1972. Snow and frozen water bottles at our campsite on the rim and 80 degrees when we got to the bottom. We packed our own beer for refreshment before we headed back up. Oh, to be young again.
"It's not too challenging but it is glorious."
I would love to find out what you consider a challenging hike. A friend and I hiked in from the south rim when we were in college. The hike in is easy but the hike out is a grueling 7 miles and took all day. I had a gallon of water and ran out about a mile from the rim. We stayed overnight at the Phantom ranch and left about 7 AM and stayed ahead of the mule train until they finally passed us about a mile from the top. The next day I was so sore I couldn't straighten up to get out of bed and had to stand under a hot shower for about 15 minutes to stand upright.
Every couple of months I used to have to go up from Phoenix to Flagstaff for meetings, usually I could schedule them in the early part of the morning. When I could get out early like that I would drive up to the South Rim and hike down and back up - usually I could get back to Phoenix by early evening in time for happy hour. From October through Mid-May I would go down Bright Angel and back up South Kaibab because it's quicker, but since South Kaibab doesn't have water I would usually go back up Bright Angel in the summer. A short related note, if you ever get a chance go camp on the North Rim... there are great places to camp on US forest lands which means you aren't restricted on where you can pitch your tent unlike in the Park. I had some places where I could sleep just a few feet from the rim