Welp, it’s that time again – Happy Travel Tuesday everyone!! I can’t believe how quickly this week has gone by – but trust me, no complaints here (smile)! Continuing on with the National Park theme, this week’s destination is perhaps one of the best known National Parks in the country, and certainly Arizona – Grand Canyon National Park.
The Grand Canyon National Park was created in 1919, three years after the National Park Service came into being. Today the park receives over 5 million visitors a year from all over the world. The canyon itself is 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and 1 mile deep. The Colorado River, which carved the canyon over millions of years, runs through the middle of the canyon. The park is divided into the North Rim and the South Rim. The South Rim is the most accessible portion and remains open all year round. The North Rim is a bit more difficult to access and closed in the winter months. Although the North Rim is only 10 miles from the South Rim as the bird flies, it’s actually a 220 mile drive by car all the way around the canyon!
There are many different ways to experience the canyon itself – you can hike along either rim; hike or take a mule ride down one of several trails leading down into the canyon itself; take a boat trip down the river, and/or, of course, take one of the infamous helicopter tours. [Side story about this – while on the Isle of Skye, Scotland last November, my brother and I met a very nice guy at an Indian restaurant who was very excited to learn I was from Arizona. Apparently one of his major bucket list items is to take a helicopter ride through the canyon – not necessarily see the canyon itself or hike or camp out, just take the helicopter. I hope he makes it some day. (smile)] Whichever option you choose, you won’t be disappointed!
I must say, I have seen a few things in this world that are on the “must see before you die” list, and this is one of the very few that fully exceeded my expectations. Whatever you can imagine or whatever photos you see – nothing can fully capture just how spectacular this place is! Tip: If possible, make sure to catch a sunrise or sunset (or both!). There’s no comparison (smile).
Know Before You Go
- Safety first! Same tips apply here as Saguaro National Park. The weather on the Rim can be windy and very cold, while in the canyon it’s super warm. Make sure to read weather reports before you go!
- Entry fee: $25 for a 7-day pass.
- Lodging: There are several lodging options on the South Rim including lodges, hotels, and campsites. Lodging is available in limited quantities at the bottom of the canyon and on the North Rim. Please note that camping fees are additional to entry fees. If going in the summer months, make sure to book in advance! There are very, very few other lodging options nearby so be prepared to drive if you don’t stay at the park.
- Other Adventures: Mule trips are available at both the South and North Rim. River adventures and helicopter rides are booked independent of the NPS (although info is available on their website).
P.S. There’s still time left in National Park Week!! Get out there this weekend 🙂