It’s no secret that The Grand Canyon, located partially in Arizona and partially in Nevada, is one of the most traveled destinations in the United States. With miles of gorgeous views, hikes that will take your breath away (figuratively and literally), The Grand Canyon encapsulates the phrase “America The Beautiful.” While some people may think that this is a destination fit only for outdoorsmen and adventurers; think again. The Grand Canyon is a place the entire family can enjoy.
Views that are good for the heart and soul
With the entire park basically being one big scenic viewpoint, it’s not hard to find outstanding views on your own. However, there are a few spots that - Grand Canyon experts will tell you - are definitely not to be missed.
The Rim Trail is one of the most popular and less strenuous trails. It offers a relatively flat terrain, a lot of shade, and plenty of beautiful overlooks. The Rim Trail stretches for about thirteen miles (21 km), and aside from a few short sections of dirt and rock, the majority of the trail is paved. The hike has entrances from any viewpoint in the main village, or take a Grand Canyon Shuttle to a trail entrance anytime during park hours. The free shuttle bus service runs between March 1 till November 30. You may opt for a more enclosed Grand Canyon experience and enjoy the scenic Hermit Road from inside the shuttle as it makes its way around the park.
The most popular spot, according to park data, is Desert View Drive and the Desert View Watch Tower. The watch tower, which is located in the South Rim, is the sole place in the canyon that offers indoor panoramic views of the canyon. Built on the edge of one of Desert View Drive’s main scenic overlooks, the views from the tower are unlike any others in the park.
North Rim or South Rim? You decide.
When planning your trip to The Grand Canyon, keep in mind that the vastness of the park will most likely keep you from seeing everything in one trip. For this reason, you should choose whether you plan on spending your time in the North Rim or the South Rim of the park.
The South Rim, which features popular points like Desert View and the Rim Trail, is open all year and attracts the majority of the park’s visitors. The South Rim also offers plenty of museums that contain interactive exhibits and useful information about the park.
The North Rim is open seasonally and is only open to the public May 15 through October 15. This section of the park is well known for its wildlife and since it is the lesser popular rim, it offers a remote and calm experience, not diluted with tourists. The North Rim offers rugged outdoor lodging as well as more laid back cabins but it is recommended to speak with a park ranger before planning your visit to the North Rim as weather conditions can affect the activities and lodging availability.
Become a certified Junior Ranger!
While The Grand Canyon’s Junior Ranger program is intended for children, the entire family will want to follow along in completing the steps to become a certified junior ranger. Attend free ranger programs, available on both rims, to learn more about the history and culture of the Grand Canyon.
With an actual park ranger as your guide, you’ll learn things about the science behind the foliage and wildlife in in the park. You’ll also have the chance to watch the famous park orientation film, “Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder” which is shown at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center daily.
Check off your bucket list
Whether you plan on visiting the North or the South Rim, in the winter or the summer, you will undoubtedly have an experience you’ll never forget at Grand Canyon National Park. The park has a number of different free audio tours that can be downloaded on your smartphone that provide a fun and unique way to enjoy yourself and learn interesting facts about the Canyon. As always, Park Rangers are readily available to give quick tours and advice on any issues visitors might have.
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