Arizona’s Grand Canyon National Park has to be among one of the most popular national parks. The layers of rock showcase an incredible array of colors and stunning rock formations. The Grand Canyon is approximately 1 mile deep, 18 miles wide, and has both a North and South Rim with the Colorado River running through the canyon. The park offers a variety of experiences. Visitors with a limited amount of time or hiking experience can drive from vista to vista and join the masses in taking in stunning views. Some of these areas have sidewalk areas from which to view some of the most incredible rock formations as far as the eye can see. Other areas also offer short gravel trails to walk along the rim. If driving isn’t your preference, you can ride a shuttle and see many areas of the park in this manner.
I’ve been fortunate enough to visit this park twice and had vastly different experiences each time without even scratching the surface of what the park offers.
When I first visited the South Rim in 2011 (before I seriously got into hiking), my son and I did an 18+ hour day trip from Las Vegas and drove around to see various vistas in the park. We had a great time (road trip with snacks, tunes, vistas, and lots of laughs) even with the crowds and we managed to find a few less traveled spots. We were lucky enough to see a thunderstorm roll in across the canyon that provided some awesome photo opportunities.
When I visited the second time in 2015, my sister, brother-in-law and I did an adventure package that included a shuttle from Las Vegas with (much less crowded) vista stops and a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. It was stunning, exhilarating and an adventure not to be missed! These do have to be arranged with an outside tour company versus the park service.
Another adventure a friend and I have discussed doing is rafting the Colorado River through the canyon. These trips can be commercial (guided) or non-commercial (DIY). Whichever trip is your preference plan ahead, professionally guided trips often need to be booked a year in advance and DIY trips require a permit (quantities are limited).
Since these adventures and my increased dedication to hiking, I have learned more about the hiking trails available which include hiking from the rim down to the river, hiking from rim to rim, and hiking along the rim.
South Rim trails are considered to be steep trails and that combined with the temperatures require using some caution and probably a good amount of experience. North Rim trails range from a short paved trail to 10+ mile trails. Caution and experience are still recommended.
For those that haven’t been enticed to visit yet, there is one more adventure to consider…you can ride a mule along the canyon or down into the canyon. These also have to be arranged with an outside company.
The Grand Canyon National Park is a big favorite for the stunning view filled with rock formations in brilliant colors and the wide variety of activities available to enjoy the park.
Are you packed and ready to go yet?