Travel Van Life

Van Life: Grand Canyon National Park

July 11, 2017
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In school, I had always heard about how grand the Grand Canyon is. It’s been on my bucket list of things to see since I saw the first photo in a textbook many years ago. The first time I ever saw it was from an airplane on the way to Vegas. It looked cool, but a bit underwhelming. However, seeing the Grand Canyon in person for the first time is an experience I will never forget. Quite honestly, it takes your breath away and is larger than I ever imagined it would be.

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About Grand Canyon

Van Life Grand Canyon National Park LoveYouMoreToo

Van Life Grand Canyon National Park Travel Blog Blogger Love You More Too

The Grand Canyon is 277 river miles long, 18 miles wide (at it’s widest point) and 1 mile deep. It’s divided into two sections, the north rim and the south rim. You can visit the south rim any time of year, since it is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  The north rim, however is only open from May to October. You can pay $30 per vehicle or get a national park annual pass for $80.

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Where to stay

There is lodging at the north and south rim, but it typically books up months in advance. If you book ahead of time, you may be able to get a great spot in the Grand Canyon Village.

Camping is available in both rims, and most sites require an advanced booking. A couple of the campgrounds are first come first serve. As long as you obtain a backcountry permit, you can camp anywhere in the park (besides the developed campsites).

Another option is staying in a city outside of The Grand Canyon off Highway 40.

What to do

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Visitor Center

Both the north and south rim have visitor centers, however the larger visitor center is in the south rim. The Grand Canyon Visitor Center in the south rim has plenty of parking, free shuttles to scenic overlooks, museums, and more. There is even a 20 minute movie that shows every 30 minutes you can watch and escape the heat.

Visit one of the many museums in Grand Canyon National Park too. Learn about the history of the canyon, the people and much more.

Hike

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There are hikes at Grand Canyon for everyone- easy, difficult, long, short and more.

Van Life Grand Canyon National Park LoveYouMoreToo

View of Mather Point

Mather Point is just a short hike from the visitor center.

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Hit up one of the many trails to explore even more of the canyon. We took the Rim Trail from the Visitor Center to Mather Point and beyond. Once we found a great area, we hiked off trail and climbed to a more remote area. There are tons of peaks and flat areas to hike out to.

Van Life Grand Canyon National Park Travel Blog Blogger Love You More Too

Van Life Grand Canyon National Park Travel Blog Blogger Love You More Too

Hermit Road

Hermit Road goes west from the Village on the south rim out to Hermits Rest. During the summer, Hermit Road can only be accessed by bike, foot or shuttle bus. There are 9 stops and viewpoints along the road to get great photos.

River trips

Although we weren’t able to enjoy the Grand Canyon from the river this trip, we will definitely seek out a river trip opportunity our next visit. Choose from 1 day to a 25 day trip rafting along the river.

Take photos

Van Life Grand Canyon National Park Travel Blog Blogger Love You More Too

Van Life Grand Canyon National Park LoveYouMoreToo

Enjoy the beautiful canyon, sunset and great lighting and take some photos. Honestly, the background is so incredible it looks fake.

Van Life Grand Canyon National Park LoveYouMoreToo

Animal watching

Van Life Grand Canyon National Park Travel Blog Blogger Love You More Too

The thing about the Grand Canyon that surprised me the most is it is surrounded by wilderness. I assumed most of the area around the canyon was desert, but it is actually a forest inhabited by many animals. On our drive in and out, we saw several elk and were able to snap a few photos. Drive slowly and pay attention, you never know what you may see.

Check out our other stops on our Van Life road trip, Big Bend National ParkMarfa, TexasJoshua Tree National ParkLos AngelesYosemite National Park, and King’s Canyon + Sequoia National Park

Also, read more about Maeve, our 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia

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PIN for later

Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Will you visit? Leave me a comment below!

84 Comments

  • Reply Brooke July 11, 2017 at 8:29 am

    The Grand Canyon is so incredible! I’m glad you were able to visit. There is also an off-the-beaten-track hike down into Havasupi to see Havasu Falls. Incredible blue waters. You do have to get a permit from the reservation managers though.

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:18 pm

      It really is wonderful. We wanted to do the Falls, but we weren’t there long enough. Next time for sure!

  • Reply Lecy | A Simpler Grace July 11, 2017 at 9:12 am

    You got some beautiful photos! I have only seen the Grand Canyon as I was flying over it on my way to southern California once, but it’s definitely on my bucket list!

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      It’s even more incredible in person!!

  • Reply Emily July 11, 2017 at 9:40 am

    I would love to visit the Grand Canyon one day. It looks so beautiful. Your photos of the Grand Canyon looks amazing!

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:19 pm

      Thank you so much, Emily. It’s an incredible place to visit for sure.

  • Reply Beth Kondrick July 11, 2017 at 10:28 am

    This is most definitely on my bucket list! And your photos are breathtaking and make me want to move it up on my list just a bit more!

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      Awh! Thank you so much.

  • Reply Shann Eva July 11, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    Such gorgeous pictures! I went to school in AZ, so when my family came to visit, we took a road trip to the Grand Canyon. It’s just breathtaking. I definitely want to take my kids, but when they are a little older. The river rafting sounds pretty great too.

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:22 pm

      Absolutely a great place for the kids. I can’t wait to go back and go rafting.

  • Reply San July 11, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I love the Grand Canyon. It’s so impressive! I haven’t been there in a couple of years but I hope to go back sometime soon.

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:23 pm

      It’s wonderful. Such a fun place to get away to.

  • Reply Jessica@HappilyHughes July 11, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    The Grand Canyon is so magnificent and I would love to go back again someday. There is so much to see and do there and there is still much I would like to experience. You got some really amazing photos on your trip!

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you so much! We had such a great time.

  • Reply Deanna July 11, 2017 at 9:07 pm

    Your photos are amazing!!! The grand canyon is so beautiful!! Great post!

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:25 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply Ramona July 12, 2017 at 7:08 am

    I would love to go to the Grand Canyon one day it looks so peaceful. I love the photos.

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      It is extremely peaceful. Thank you so much.

  • Reply Charlotte July 12, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I have never been! It’s always been on the bucketlist though… your pictures are stunning. Thanks so much for sharing… I may have to bump this up on the must-see list 🙂

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Of course! It really is a must see place.

  • Reply Phoenix July 12, 2017 at 9:33 am

    I visited the Grand Canyon on my way down to Florida when I moved in 2010 and it was BREATH TAKING. The size of that place is unbelievable. I’m one of those people who can’t get too close to the edge for fear of falling 😛 I wish I had gone on the tour where you get to ride the mules into the canyon. Thank you for sharing this experience, your photos are beautiful.

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      Haha. Thank you. And I am the opposite. I can’t get close enough! : ) I would have loved to do the mule tour too. Next time.

  • Reply Alaina Bullock July 12, 2017 at 9:39 am

    Wow, it’s absolutely breathtaking! This has at the top of my travel bucket list for quite awhile now. And I am determined to get there and see it one day!

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      Awh. Thank you. It really is unbelievable.

  • Reply Michelle July 12, 2017 at 9:43 am

    I’m definitely writing this down on my bucket list! Wow, your pictures are AMAZING.

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Thank you so much, Michelle.

  • Reply Kendra Taylor July 12, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Y’all captured such beautiful views!!! Loved following your #VanLife travels on Indra. I’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, but I’m def adding it to my travel bucket list now!!

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:37 pm

      Thank you, Kendra! We had a lot of fun. 🙂

  • Reply Sandra July 12, 2017 at 11:37 am

    I visited the Grand Canyon for the first time a couple of weeks ago. We happened to be there during a heat wave, but that didn’t stop us from hiking! Next time I want to explore the river too!

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Yes! It was really hot when we went too. Still crazy pretty.

  • Reply Corey | The Nostalgia Diaries July 12, 2017 at 11:50 am

    I’ve always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon. It is just so breathtaking – your photos are incredible!

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:38 pm

      Thank you, Corey!!

  • Reply Julie Torres July 12, 2017 at 12:22 pm

    The pictures look amazing! I would love to go to the Grand Canyon sometime.

    • Reply Jessica July 19, 2017 at 5:43 pm

      Thank you so much, Julie!

  • Reply Deborah July 12, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    That’s awesome. This has been on my bucket list too and I can’t wait to go. I heard there were some cool waterfall you can hike to as well.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Yes! It’s a beautiful waterfall, but it’s a long hike and we were only there for a few hours.

  • Reply Rachel Ritlop July 12, 2017 at 5:49 pm

    Wow such a beautiful place!! Great photos!

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Thank you so much, Rachel!

  • Reply Marlynn | UrbanBlissLife July 12, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    I still have not been to the Grand Canyon! We’ve traveled almost everywhere around it, but have always been just shy on time and missed going there. Your photos are gorgeous!

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Thank you so much. It really is so pretty. Hopefully you can make it out.

  • Reply Vicki July 12, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Gorgeous photos! We haven’t been to the Grand Canyon yet, but will have to plan a big roadtrip and fit it in our plans!

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Yes! It’s wonderful. 🙂

  • Reply Arlene @ From Pennies to Plenty July 12, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    How beautiful! The Grand Canyon is definitely one place on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing your amazing photos! Reminds me what I have to go see.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Thank you so much. That’s so sweet of you to say.

  • Reply Ashley July 13, 2017 at 12:05 am

    The Grand Canyon looks so beautiful! Your shots are amazing 🙂

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Thank you so much. 🙂

  • Reply Tanya Travels July 13, 2017 at 7:18 am

    That is a place where I have never been, but it’s definitely on my list. Love your pictures of what looks like an epic adventure!

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      It’s worth it for sure! It was seriously epic.

  • Reply Tanvi Rastogi July 13, 2017 at 8:28 am

    How amazing are these pictures. I cannot wait to visit it again some day.

    ❥ tanvii.com

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      Thank you so much. It really is spectacular.

  • Reply Patricia @ Grab a Plate July 13, 2017 at 8:48 am

    Great pix! I live in Arizona, and am always amazed by the Grand Canyon. Great overview here!

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      Than you. I don’t think it would ever get old.

  • Reply Krysten July 13, 2017 at 9:07 am

    Oh man this looks gorgeous! I really want to visit the Grand Canyon. I have been close to there before, but never gone.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      I hope you get to see it!

  • Reply Lauren July 13, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    I had NO idea there is wilderness around the canyon! This is also on my bucket list – every since I heard a teacher say she wrote a donkey around the canyon!

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:33 pm

      I know!! I was so shocked!

  • Reply Amanda @ The Light Owl July 13, 2017 at 12:07 pm

    So beautiful! I went to the Grand Canyon as a teenager, but my husband and I are wanting to go back together now. This inspired me to make that a bigger priority!

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      Yes! You will love it.

  • Reply Payton July 13, 2017 at 12:35 pm

    The Grand Canyon is at the top of my bucket list! This is so so cool! I loved the photo of you (I think it’s you!) at Mather Point. You look so teeny tiny! Beautiful photography!

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:34 pm

      Thank you so much. It was so fun.

  • Reply Emily July 13, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    I would love to visit someday! I grew up visiting national parks and this was always at the top of my list of places to visit.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      I am only 7 parks down and amazed at every one.

  • Reply Carly July 13, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    The Grand Canyon looks absolutely beautiful in your photos! I visited once as a child, but I don’t remember too much. I’ll definitely have to visit it again sometime.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      You should. Its fantastic!

  • Reply Natalie July 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    We just visited the Grand Canyon for the first time, and I was completely overwhelmed at how immense and gorgeous it is! We managed to snag a room at Bright Angel Lodge on the South Rim, and it was worth the trouble to booking 4+ months out to wake up and be RIGHT next to the rim. We are already talking about going back again even though we got home only 6 weeks ago! 😀

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      That is awesome!! Sounds like such an incredible experience.

  • Reply Amanda July 14, 2017 at 7:12 am

    I have never visited the Grand Canyon, but it is on my bucket list. Your photos are incredible and make me want to move it higher in my list.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      Thank you so much. It’s really easy to get great photos when the background is that pretty.

  • Reply Karen L July 14, 2017 at 10:30 am

    What incredible views! Your photography is getting soo good!

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:36 pm

      awh. Thank you girl! To be honest, Colton takes 95% of our travel pics.

  • Reply C-Ludik July 15, 2017 at 1:15 pm

    Lovely photos, brought back memories ! I have visited Grand Canyon already twice and each time I was completely overwhelmed at how immense it is. The first words coming to mind while standing and facing to a such wonder are naturally “immense” and “gigantic”.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:37 pm

      Yes!! Exactly.

  • Reply Elizabeth Brico July 15, 2017 at 10:06 pm

    Wow! Those photos. The elk! It looks gorgeous. I have always wanted to go..I’ve seen other canyons in Arizona and Utah and they were so amazing-I can’t even imagine how awesome the Grand Canyon is. I also never knew that camping/tourist information and it’s somewhere I legitimately want to visit, so thank you for sharing that stuff.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Thanks girl! It’s pretty crazy. You are so welcome.

  • Reply Leigh July 16, 2017 at 9:11 am

    The Grand Canyon is such a special, magical place. I have backpacked there, camping below the rim, and also did an 11-day rafting trip, which I cried at the end because I didn’t want to leave. This year I will finally get to visit the North Rim.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      That would be so incredible!!

  • Reply maegan July 16, 2017 at 4:58 pm

    I love all of your photos, especially the animal watching ones! I need to make my way to the Grand Canyon.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Thanks so much. It’s such a cool place.

  • Reply Erin July 16, 2017 at 6:20 pm

    I love Grand Canyon National Park! I’ve only been there once, and it was in the middle of winter. So, I didn’t get to hike or see any wildlife. (It was amazing to see snow falling on the Grand Canyon though.) I’d love to go back again and go hiking!

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      I bet the snow was gorgeous. I will have to go back in the winter.

  • Reply stacy July 17, 2017 at 8:11 am

    I would love to take a trip here one day, it is so beautiful! I love the pic of you and your husband sitting on the blanket on the cliff – so sweet.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      Thanks, Stacy. It was such a cool place.

  • Reply dixya @food, pleasure, and health July 17, 2017 at 8:56 am

    i have been wanting to go to Grand Canyon for a really long time tooo..i will have to revisit this post when the trip is planned, hopefully soon.

    • Reply Jessica July 20, 2017 at 9:39 pm

      I hope you get to go soon. You will love it.

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