Even if in the United States there are many canyons, the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona is the largest, and the most famous. People from all around the world come here to visit it, so during my trip in the US I had to go and see it. There are two ways of exploring the canyon: you can do a day tour, or spend there a week, sleeping in the tents, and go on its bottom. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time, so we had to be happy with our one day tour, which was incredible!
If you have only a day to spend at the Grand Canyon Nation Park, I recommend you to be there as early in the morning as possible. We took our rented car, and at 9 in the morning were at the gates of the park. Pay the entrance fee, which is around $10, and start your amazing day. It is better to visit the park by car, because it will allow you to move around the edges of the canyon, and to see all those incredible cliffs with great viewpoints.
You must know that the park is split in three main zones: The North Rim (which is open from May till October), The East Rim, and The West Rim. We managed to visit only the East and a little bit from the West Rim, but we had enough things to see, and a really adventurous day.
Before saying anything else, I want to warn you that the Grand Canyon National Park is huge; it is almost impossible to understand completely where you are, and I felt a little bit lost, even if I had all the maps and information available.
I recommend you to start exploring the park following a map or a guide, because you risk getting lost. We followed step by step the map we got at the entrance at the park, and we didn’t miss anything. We stopped at every interesting point showed on the map, and we really had a lot of things to see. Make sure you have your camera with you!
Around noon, we stopped in the middle of the park, where you can find a nice restaurant, an info point, a souvenir shop, and many other small shops. You can buy here handmade ceramic vases created by the Indians. Also, walking distance from the Info Center, you will find the Yavapai Museum of Geology, where you can walk the Trail of Time, and understand the culture, the history, and the traditions of the Indians who live on the bottom of the canyon.
Close to this point you can also visit the Watchtower, a tower built in stone, 21.5 meters tall, which will give you great views over the desert. Even if it is quite tight, make sure you climb until the top, because is worth it.
Near the Desert View, you can find the Tusayan Museum and Ruin, which will provide you another glimpse into the Indian life, just as it happened 800 years ago. We simply followed the self-guiding trail through the ruins, and we really enjoyed it.
After the lunch and the museum visits, we continue to explore the park, its trails, and the beautiful nature. Honestly, you simply cannot have enough of it. There are great viewpoints everywhere, natural trails, and hidden spots you want to enjoy.
We finished our tour at the Hermist Rest, just 8 miles away from the Grand Canyon Village. You can get there by a public free shuttle bus, and believe me, the views are incredible.
However, there are many other things to do at the Grand Canyon National Park. Depending on your mood, budget, and passions, you can visit the Grand Canyon Railway, or explore the canyon from above, in a plane or helicopter. For nature lovers, I recommend visiting the canyon on a horse. And let’s not forget about rafting on the Colorado River, which can be one of the coolest activities ever. Do not forget to enjoy the nature and the wildlife, because animals come extremely close to people in the park.
Things not to miss at the Grand Canyon National Park
No matter how you prefer to visit the park, there are some important spots you simply cannot miss:
- The Yaki Point, with great views over the canyon and the Kalibab Trailhead;
- The Grandview Point, probably the best point in the canyon;
- The Moran Point, with views over the Hance Canyon;
- The Desert Views, with panoramic views;
- The Grand Canyon Skywalk, if you want to walk on glass above the canyon;
- The Havasupai falls, with crystal blue water, on the trail to Supai.