Hotels.com asked me to share my favorite things to do and see while traveling in the Grand Canyon. There is a reason why almost every serious traveler has the Grand Canyon on their Bucket List and that is because it will change your life. I can confirm that photos simply do not do it justice. In fact, one or two trips there probably do not do it justice either. There are no words to describe the feeling of awe you get when you first step up to the rim and see the massiveness of the chasm spread out in front of you. The colors, the size, the natural beauty — I guarantee it will leave you speechless! At 18 miles wide, 1 mile deep, and 277 miles long you can understand now why they call it “grand.”
Camping is available on both sides of the rim within the National Park. You can reserve a site for two of the campgrounds within Grand Canyon National Park, one on each rim. Both fill up fast, so the earlier you book the better. A variety of other lodging facilities are available as well. For more comfortable Grand Canyon accommodations (that you do not have to book so far in advance), look in the town of Tusayan.
If you are thinking that you want to head out west, the following are the five best things for you and your family to experience while there:
The Colorado River
The Grand Canyon is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries which cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. Recent evidence suggests the Colorado River established its course through the canyon at least 17 million years ago. You could easily just stare at it all day long and never be bored by it. Some would say that to really experience the Grand Canyon, you need to get to the bottom of it, and there is no better way to do that than to float down the Colorado River. If you are looking for an adventure, go on a an exhilarating whitewater rafting trip.
Take Your Time And Explore The Grand Canyon — North And South Rim
If you do not want to be one of the 5 million tourists that visit the Grand Canyon each year and stay for just 15 minutes to get their “I was here photo”, I recommend setting aside four days to explore and take in one of the seven natural wonders of the world. A good idea is to split your time in half and spend two days on the North Rim and two days on the South Rim. From what I know, the North Rim does not get near the amount of visitors that the South Rim does, thus I recommend taking advantage of that.
If you can try and experience the Grand Canyon from as many viewpoints as possible to see its entire beauty, by going on as many hikes as possible.
Inside the canyon, you will encounter the Havasupai Tribal Reservation. Pai means people, and Havasu Pai means “people of the blue-green water”. The water in Havasupai is said to flow over the land and through every member of the tribe. The only option to visit the falls is to book a 3-day permit. They do not allow day hikes or anything shorter or longer. Permits sell out immediately and can only be booked online. The Havasu Falls Trail will take you to the picturesque waterfall with bright blue water that looks almost out of place in the red desert.
Grand Canyon Skywalk
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge with a glass walkway at Eagle Point near the Colorado River on the edge of a side canyon within the Grand Canyon West area. On the bridge, you will have an aerial view of the canyon through the glass. If you are still seeking even more adventure after that, you can book a whitewater rafting tour, helicopter ride, boat tour, soar over the cliffs on a zip line, and/or explore the area’s history at the Native American Village and Guano Point.
Painted Desert And Petrified Forest
The Painted Desert runs from the east end of Grand Canyon and southeast into the Petrified Forest National Park. It is most easily accessed in the north portion of Petrified Forest National Park. The Painted Desert is known for its brilliant and varied colors, that not only include the more common red rock, but also shades of lavender. It is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived in the Late Triassic Epoch, about 225 million years ago.
Please keep in mind that traveling in this moment remains uncertain, thus always make sure your safety and the safety of others is your #1 priority. If you are indeed comfortable with traveling, ensure you travel responsibly and within regulation. You travel at your own risk.
Here are some recommendations should you travel:
- Wear a face mask.
- Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
- Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures, and status of local businesses. Be aware you might have to self-quarantine upon arrival.
- Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute.
- Be patient and calm. Remember we are all trying to do our best and are in this together.
The Grand Canyon is one of those places that everyone needs see at some point during their lifetime. Even those who visit the area multiple times find something new on each visit. Whether you are new to the Grand Canyon or have visited before, a myriad of reasons exist to make it a travel destination this year.