The Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s bucket list. There are no words to describe the sheer size and beauty of this naturally formed canyon. It is a popular site all year round and can be quite expensive to stay.
This area is the closest to Las Vegas and is a popular day trip from the lights of the big city. You can capture the size of the Canyon from the edge of the Sky Walk or from up above in a helicopter. There are a few companies who offer both these trips.
If you are tight on time or are only visiting Las Vegas then I would recommend visiting this part of the Canyon. It is about 3 hours’ drive from the strip.
This has to be the busiest section of the park with more than 5 million visitors per year. There are two entry points for the South Rim area of the Grand Canyon. The first is in the south. The second is in the East at the town of Cameron. During Peak season, you can expect queues of up to 3 hours entering from the south.
Best spots for views – Mather Point, Yaki Point, Yakapuki Point. These are also great spots for sunrise. One important tip is to arrive early to obtain a spot for a people free photo. I would suggest getting there about 30 minutes before sunrise. You will start looking out to the East, waiting and watching for the first glimpse of the sun peer over the horizon. It is not until the sun rises and shines into the canyon in which the true display starts. As the Canyon walls catch first the soft light before changing colours until under the full strength of the sun. For tips to take a great photo, be sure to check out Sunset photos and how to take a great photo.
At the south rim, you have a few hotel choices for accommodation. Be prepared to pay around $400 USD a night for one room. Another option is to buy a tent and camp for a few nights. Mather Campgrounds is a popular choice. It is close to the supermarket, close to a shower and laundry block and close to the canyon itself.
The view from the top of the canyon is quite impressive. You can follow the ‘Rim Trail’ reading the information panels and taking photos. There are free shuttle buses to take you to different areas along the rim and they stop at all the popular spots. Maybe walk along the rim and catch the bus back. Another popular path to hike is the Bright Angel Trail. This hike is quite steep and takes you down into the canyon towards the mighty Colorado River. The good thing with this hike is there are a few different spots to turn around. The first is a mile down the path. Here you will find toilets, shelter and a water fountain. If you are not used to hiking then this is a good one to stop at. The second one is 3 miles down and also has toilets and a water fountain. Further down the track is the Indian Garden. This is a little oasis in a barren, hot canyon. To hike here and back will take you about 4-6 hours, depending on how many times you stop for photos. For people who enjoy longer hikes, you can follow the Bright Angel Path down to the river and back up the other side to the North Rim.
The North Rim provides a less crowded and cheap option for visitors to the Grand Canyon. With only a fifth the number of visitors each year, you will sure be able to avoid masses of people. From this side you can walk down into the canyon as well. It takes about 5 hours to drive from Las Vegas and offers a cheaper cabin option for overnight visitors. As the sun rises, you can see the reds, yellows and browns of the rock change colour on the South rim.
Feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding the Grand Canyon. I am available through Facebook, Instagram or the Itchy Feet Escapades Contact page!