A Must Visit Destination
If you don’t travel any other place – promise me you’ll visit the Grand Canyon at least once. Although you might think it’s quite the trek to visit a large mass of rock (it is), there is something life changing about standing in front of something so vast that puts everything into perspective.
And This I Know About Your Visit
I know a couple of things about how your visit to the Grand Canyon will go. And I know these things even if the weather isn’t cooperating or if you are feeling ill like Chris was when we visited. I can guarantee that you’ll be wowed by the Grand Canyon. I know you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get there. You’ll also be amazed at the long drop down to the floor where the Colorado River winds along. You’ll want to shout at the top of your lungs – but you probably won’t, as there are other people around. I can picture you with your camera trying to get that perfect shot while trying to judge how close you can get to the edge before risking life and limb. And how do I know all this for sure? It’s easy – I feel the same way every time I visit. It’s hard to forget having your breath taken away.
Let Me Help You Plan Your Visit
Ready to go to…Arizona? I bet if you quickly thought of the Grand Canyon, you might also have associated it with Nevada and Las Vegas. Las Vegas is famous for bus tours and excursions to the Grand Canyon. But did you know that the ENTIRE Grand Canyon is in Arizona? Now you do! Arizona license plates read the “Grand Canyon State,” as they are very proud of their beautiful national park.
Where To Go…When To Go…
To fulfill your Grand Canyon experience, you can enter the park by the West, North or South Rim entrances. For hard-core travel enthusiasts you can visit all three-park entrances, but be prepared to do some driving and to have some serious time on your hands, as the entrances aren’t very close together.
The easiest way to experience the West Rim of the Grand Canyon is by booking a day tour from Las Vegas. As with all things Vegas – be prepared to empty a portion of your wallet to go on this tour. Included in our day trip was a short stop at the Hoover Dam and a visit to both the Hualapi Ranch (western style ranch) and the Eagle Point Viewpoint (Native American Village walking tour).
If you are willing to invest some serious cash (as many of these options are quite pricey) there are many other experiences you can have at the Grand Canyon. For adventure seekers, at the West Rim you can do the Sky Walk – a glass floor where you can see right down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Helicopter tours will fly you above the Grand Canyon so you can snap some epic pictures from a birds-eye view. Boat tours can zip you along the Colorado River where you can look up, way up, from the floor of the Grand Canyon. Just keep in mind that many of these group tours are not only very expensive but have strict schedules to adhere to, so there aren’t many opportunities for tailoring your own personalized experience unless you are on a private tour.
The South Rim to the Grand Canyon is the most popular and busiest entrance to the park as it is the most accessible. If you fly to either Phoenix or Page, Arizona, the travel time is only a few hours worth of driving time. To enter the cost is $30 per vehicle and a pass is valid for 7 days in case you want to make multiple trips. Watching the sunset over the Grand Canyon from the Watchtower is a must have experience.
Also at this entrance are the many group tour options. If you are interested in horseback riding, white water rafting, renting bikes, helicopter rides or jeep tours – it can be done for a price. Be prepared to spend between $100-350+ USD for a customized experience. The South Rim also boasts some educational and entertainment buildings including the IMAX theatre, geology museum and visitor and information centers. All of those are a bit too touristy for me, and that’s saying a lot, as I am The Thirsty Tourist! I’d rather just do some hiking and photography as I take in the beautiful vistas and nature’s offerings.
You should seek out the North Rim if you love adventure and dislike crowds. It’s not only harder to access this park entrance but you’ll be able to avoid the masses here. Out of the three park entrances the North Rim is the most rugged, authentic and off the beaten path. Be prepared to pull on those hiking boots and pull up an RV or pop-up a tent to do some camping. The North Rim has a very short season between May 15-October 15 as winter arrives the soonest.
Biking enthusiasts should experience the Rainbow Rim Trail, Arizona Trial and Point Sublime Road. Hikers interested in doing the Rim-to-Rim variation experiences should plan their adventures for multiple days, as the weather conditions in the Grand Canyon are very hot during the day and very cold at night. Hiking trails of note include Bright Angel Point Trail, Cape Royal Trail, Cape Final Trail, Transept Tail and Ken Patrick Trail, North Kaibab Tail and Widforss Trail. Always be sure to bring lots of water on your travels.
Did We Mention Pack Your Camera?
A trip to the Grand Canyon wouldn’t be complete without a camera. Make sure you pack extra batteries and ensure that you have enough space on your camera memory for all those awesome shots. Even a wide angle lens won’t be able to capture the vastness of the canyon so consider pulling out that smartphone for a Panorama shot or taking a quick video. And if you end up visiting multiple times…promise me you’ll enjoy yourself too, without worrying about all the selfie-shots.
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