I just want to bounce this off of people who are familiar with the Canyon, like Al, who can sound in, both for me and anyone else who may be reading.
From looking over trails at the canyon, the basic summary of those that leave from the South Rim and are accessible as day hikes are:
The Hermit Trail, Bright Angel Trail, South Kaibab Trail, Grandview Trail, New Hance Trail, and the Tanner Trail. It looks like the only one that does not reach the River is the Grandview, and the primary ones that are well maintained are the Bright Angel and South Kaibab, the others being in rough shape.
Having day hiked to the river and back on the Bright Angel and South Kaibab, which of the other above mentioned trails offers the best views of the canyon? From GPS plots, it appears they are all about the same and do not climb in canyons as the BA does. My assumption would be that the Hermit trail is not really convenient to access this time of year with the bus requirement and the time consumed with riding it, so it is better to use the trails on the east drive. Keeping in mind that I drive up for the day, prefer to sleep to between 6 to 7 AM, and day light is getting less and less in the evening. Of those, which do some hikers favor the most? That is, if you were to do a next logical step trail, which would it be if you were me?
Also, from looking at the Grandview, the cavern hike might be a nice alternative to going to the river. Is it as easy to find with no GPS as one might like it to be?
Let it SNOW!!! above 5500'.