If you have ever thought about visiting the Grand Canyon you might be overwhelmed at the idea. The Grand Canyon is massive at 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and 6,093 feet deep. This natural wonder of the world is absolutely incredible. It is a wonder that I feel like everyone should see in their lifetime. That is why I want to give you this guide to visiting the Grand Canyon. Here are some things you need to know about planning your visit.
There are 3 parts of the Grand Canyon
The south rim is the most visited part of the Grand Canyon. It is open year round and has paved roads, miles of hiking trails, hotels and restaurants close by and popular museums. You can get to the south rim through two entrances, the south entrance and east entrance.
I’ll let you in on a little secret. The east entrance is by far my favorite. When you go through the east entrance you will experience far less traffic and be treated with fantastic scenery along the way. As you turn onto Desert View Dr you will be on Navajo land. Be sure to stop off at the Little Colorado River Gorge Overlook. Here you will see a smaller canyon with a view of the Little Colorado River and shop at some of the Navajo trading posts.
As you enter the national park from the east entrance you will drive through a beautiful forest before you get to the official entrance of the Grand Canyon. Once you reach the entrance shortly after you will see lots of lookout points. A popular lookout point right next to the entrance is Historic Watchtower, the highest viewpoint of the south rim.
The road will eventually lead you to the visitor’s center and Grand Canyon Village. Grand Canyon Village is filled with shops, restaurants, hotels and fun tourist activities. When you are ready to leave you can exit from the south entrance (you will thank me when you see the long line of cars coming into this entrance).
The north rim is more remote than the south rim and only open to visitors mid-May through Mid-October. There is only one entrance to the north rim in Jacob’s Lake, AZ. I highly recommend stopping in at Vermillion Cliffs National Monument on your way in for some stunning views and hiking.
Grand Canyon West:
Grand Canyon West is actually owned by the Hualapai Indians, not the park service. So you will have to pay a significantly higher fee to get in. The fee is $82.37 per adult, not car and includes a meal and a chance to walk on the glass-bottomed skywalk. You can easily get to Grand Canyon West from Las Vegas or Kingman, AZ.
Things to do at the Grand Canyon:
If you want to just drive through the Grand Canyon that is always an option. With tons of fantastic overlooks you can see the Grand Canyon just by stepping out of your car to walk around the rim. If you are feeling a little more adventurous there are lots of trails that will lead you down into the Grand Canyon. Just be sure to check the weather and come prepared with plenty of supplies. We didn’t do any hiking when we visited the Grand Canyon because most of the south rim was covered in snow and ice and it was extremely cold.
Mule rides are said to be one of the more stable ways to get down into the canyon. These fantastic guided tours are hard to get. You need to book them at least a year in advance. If you missed your shot at a mule ride helicopter tours are another fantastic way to get a good view of the Grand Canyon.
If rafting is your thing you will need to go to Grand Canyon West to catch a ride with the Hualapai River Runners. Your Native American tour guide will take you on an adventure down the Colorado River.
Have you had the chance to visit the Grand Canyon? Where did you go and what did you do?