The Grand Canyon in Northern Arizona is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the United States. A part of it was converted into a national park in 1919; however, it was founded in 1908 as the Grand Canyon National Monument by then President Theodore Roosevelt. In 1979, the Grand Canyon National Park was named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
If you’re planning a trip to witness the amazing beauty of the Grand Canyon, here are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your journey.
How to Get There
The Grand Canyon National Park is divided into two parts: the North and South Rim. Of the two, the South Rim is the most visited. It is ideal for those who are travelling with their families, as there are more facilities like hotels, camping grounds, and places where you can buy food. The South Rim is open 365 days a year so it won’t be difficult to decide on the date of your trip.
The North Rim is a bit low key and ideal for hikers or for those who are looking to get closer to nature. The facilities are more limited so you can expect to be deprived of any modern amenities. The majority of visitors will be flying in through one of the two major airports: McCarran International at Las Vegas, or Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. The drive from either airport will take about half a day. The distance from McCarran to the South Rim entrance of the Grand Canyon National Park is 275miles/443 kilometers. It is 230 miles/370 kilometers from Sky Harbor in Phoenix.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to rent a vehicle at Las Vegas or Phoenix, as there aren’t any public buses plying that route. However, tour companies in both Vegas and Phoenix usually provide buses for their customers.
The Grand Canyon National Park charges entrance fees for vehicles and those on foot. The fee is $25 for a 7-day vehicle pass and $12 for individual passes that is also good for 7 days.
Getting Around the Park
The easiest way to get around the Grand Canyon National Park is to go on their shuttle services. It is also the cheapest since the park doesn’t charge fees for their shuttles. If you’re planning to take your vehicle, you’ll need to be aware that some places in the parks do not have parking areas.
Places to See & Visit
You will never run out of beautiful places to see since the Grand Canyon offers so many magnificent views. If you’ve chosen to come through the South Rim, some of the places you need to visit are the Watchtower where you can get a stunning view of the Colorado River and the canyon; the Grand Canyon Village with its historic buildings; and the Hermits Rest gift shop.
The North Rim does not have the same facilities, but in exchange, you can experience nature at its finest. Be aware though that the North Rim has an elevation of 8,000 ft so there is a chance that you’ll experience altitude sickness. The best way to prevent this is to take your time so your body can get used to the altitude.
Other than getting a magnificent view of the canyon, you can expect do be doing quite a bit of hiking. There are several well-known trails at the Grand Canyon National Park. These are:
- The Grandview Trail
- The South Kaibab Trail
- The Hermit Trail
- The Bright Angel Trail
The Hermit Trail and the Grandview Trail are steep trails so you need to be physically fit to travel on these. Make sure you have the appropriate hiking gear, as some of the portions on the trail are a bit difficult to navigate. You will also need to bring plenty of water because you won’t be able to find any on both trails.
Additionally, if you should encounter any wild animals, it’s best to observe them in their natural habitat. The park authorities strongly advice against feeding wild animals since doing so can make them dependent on visitors for food. It can also be risky since there is no way of knowing their behavior.
If you’re not into hiking the trails, you can do other activities such as whitewater rafting, cycling, going on guided tours, or taking a mule ride. Some tour companies offer helicopter and airplane rides for those who want to get the ultimate view of the Grand Canyon.