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.
About Grand Canyon
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.
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
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.
There are hikes at Grand Canyon for everyone- easy, difficult, long, short and more.
Mather Point is just a short hike from the visitor center.
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.
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.
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.
Enjoy the beautiful canyon, sunset and great lighting and take some photos. Honestly, the background is so incredible it looks fake.
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.
Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Will you visit? Leave me a comment below!