National Parks
Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Grand Canyon Park Photos

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The Grand Canyon truly is an impressive sight. I do think that everyone should try to see it at least once in their life. Having said that, I'll also say once is probably enough for most people. The honest truth is that the Grand Canyon is a day trip for 95% of its visitors.

First and foremost, the Grand Canyon is immense! It's 277 river miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep. Because of its size there are MANY misconceptions about visiting it.

First, it isn't feasible to see both the South Rim and the North Rim in one day. 220 road miles or 21 miles by foot separate the two sides.

Second, the Skywalk is located outside of the Grand Canyon National Park at the Hualapai Reservation. This is a 250 mile or 5 hour drive from the South Rim.

Third, taking a mule ride down to Phantom Ranch is not as easy as it sounds. Most visits down into the canyon involve an overnight stay at Phantom Ranch- be sure to make reservations there early.

Fourth, river trips on the Colorado are fun, but involve lots of planning. There are no one-day river trips through the Grand Canyon National Park. The starting point for most river trips is Lee's Ferry which is roughly 88 river miles from the South Rim. In addition, it's a strenuous downhill hike to the launch point.

Fifth, the Grand Canyon is located in a remote area. In order to get there you need to drive and to go almost anywhere in the park you need to drive or take a shuttle- well, you get the picture. It's a big place!

Nearly five million people see the 1 mile deep (1.6 km) Grand Canyon each year. Most of them see it from their car at overlooks along the South Rim (this includes Grand Canyon Village, Hermits Rest, and Desert View). The South Rim is the most accessible part of the park and is open all year. A much smaller number of people see the Canyon from the North Rim, which lies just 10 miles / 16 km (as the condor flies) directly across the Canyon from the South Rim. The North Rim rises a thousand feet higher than the South Rim, and is much less accessible. Heavy snows close the road to the North Rim from late October to mid May of each year.

Here are some tips from a park employee (full disclosure - also my uncle):

Best View point.......Hopi Point and Lipan Point

Best Lodging........Bright Angel Cabins, EL Tovar Hotel, the Kachina and Thunderbird Lodges, all of which are located in the Historic area of the Canyon for convenient access to most of the parks amenities and sites........These are some of the best especially for location, but if price is a major concern then stay at Maswik or Yavapi Lodges.

Totally Worthwhile Activity.......Hiking anywhere in or above the Canyon. Also, visiting the Desert View Area and the Watch Tower that was designed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter...........She also designed the Hopi House, Bright Angel Lodge, Hermits Rest, Lookout Studio, Colter Hall, and the buildings at Phantom Ranch.

Totally Not Worthwhile Activity........Riding the shuttle buses in Bad weather?? (This is an inside joke, but it's true. When it's rainy or snowy or foggy it's nearly impossible to see anything.)

Things not to be missed.........The Watch Tower, Lipan Point, and the Historical Area around the Bright Angel Lodge.

Best time of year to visit........Usually late April and May. Also, late August and September because the weather is usually nice and cooler making it easier to hike. But more importantly, these are the slow times. There are a lot less people than in the summer.

This is one thing I like about the park....The park is presently promoting itself as a bike friendly park. They recently opened a bike rental shop up at the visitors center and the shuttle buses can carry up to three bikes. They're also developing more bike trails throughout the park which will make it more enjoyable to visit.

Finally....You can't beat the park entrance fee only $25 per car load (eight people) for seven days, Wow what a prices are another story.....

Related Links

Grand Canyon National Park  |   Grand Canyon Railway  |   Skywalk  |   River Trips  |   Mule Trips

National Park Features

  • Type - National Park
  • Bathrooms - Yes
  • Camping Allowed - Yes
  • Parking Lot - Yes

Parking Fee

(Check with park)

  • $30.00 per vehicle, good for 7 days

Admission Prices

(Check with park)

  • Child - none
  • Adult - none
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