Grand Canyon National Park – Tips and Images

Grand Canyon National Park @handbookofnaturestudy

Grand Canyon National Park is a place that should be on everyone’s bucket list! There is no way to completely understand the majesty and splendor of this unique place without visiting it in person. I have made two trips to the Grand Canyon in my lifetime, one in the winter and one more recently in the spring.

Grand Canyon May 2014 (3)

My daughter and I were on a roadtrip across the United States and we chose to make an afternoon/evening visit to experience the canyon and surroundings together. We visited the South Rim but someday we hope to experience the North Rim. We were on our way from Las Vegas, Nevada to Flagstaff, Arizona and the national park is sort of an in-between spot. It would be easy to do a half day in the park from either place.

Grand Canyon Bright Angel Trail

We knew we had limited time so we went right to the trail upon arrival. We parked our car and were able to walk the short distance to the trailhead of Bright Angel Trail. This is a trail that can take you all the way to the bottom of the canyon and to the Colorado River. We, of course, didn’t have time for that particular adventure since they recommend that you do not try to hike down and up on the same day. You can spend the night down in the canyon at Phantom Ranch (see the national park website for more information and options). If you have four hours or less in the park, you can view this video to get some more ideas for experiencing the Grand Canyon in a short time: Grand Canyon with less than 4 hours.

Grand Canyon first tunnel Bright angel

There were so many things to look at as you hike down the trail and at this time of year there weren’t many people on the trail. The air was warm but not uncomfortable, even hiking in the middle of the afternoon. My daughter and I had fun taking lots of photos and chatting with other hikers when we stopped for water breaks.

Grand Canyon Day geology sign

If you are interested in geology and learning more about the rocks of the area there are several informative signs and I saw lots of interesting books in the Visitor’s Center book store.

Grand Canyon Day hiking bright angel trail

I was hiking in my regular hiking shoes but my daughter was wearing her Nike shoes…both worked great for this particular trail.

Grand Canyon Day (8)

Another view from the trail as we hiked…no bad photos in this national park!

Grand Canyon Day birds

I was surprised by the number of birds we encountered on our hike and then as we later walked along the rim of the canyon on the Rim Trail.  We utilized the free shuttle bus system within the park to get from one side to the other easily. This is a great feature since parking can be a pain. You can read more about the shuttle here: Grand Canyon Shuttle System.

Grand Canyon View

This part of the park was a little more crowded since it is near the parking area, the Visitor’s Center, and the shuttle bus stop.

Grand Canyon sunset

The most amazing time of day was at sunset. We stood at the lookout spot near Bright Angel Lodge and silently watched as the sun sunk down in the west and the light changed the canyon to pink, lavender, and a deep purple. Neither of us wanted to leave…we made a promise to come back some day and spend much more time exploring this awesome place on earth.

Here are some quick facts:

$25 per car to enter the national park

Lots of places to stay at the South Rim: Link to Quick Links

Camping in the Park (there is a RV Village too!)

We enjoyed the cafeteria at Maswik Lodge but there are lots of dining options at the Grand Canyon Village.

You can stay in Tusayan, Arizona which is right at the gate of the national park. We stayed at the Best Western when we came in the winter time.

You can read more of my national park tips in these entries:

 

 

Comments

  1. Beautiful pictures. The sunset picture was especially pretty (frame to put up somewhere?)

    I have been to Grand Canyon twice. Once as a teen with my family at the end of a 3 week long road trip. My mother still complains that all we kids wanted to do was get to a hotel room and watch TV. Let me just say that 3 weeks in a car with your family is a long time, especially when you are a teen. And no, we didn’t spend all our time in front of the TV.

    The second time was about 18 years ago, my husband and I were there with another couple. We had come up from Phoenix and went first to the South Rim. Then we left their car there and drove around to the North Rim (5 hours?) so that they could do a rim to rim hike (which they did do in a day – crazy). My husband I continued on to Utah and Bryce, Capitol Reef and Zion.

    I really enjoyed the North Rim. We were there in September. The North Rim was much quieter, less touristy (relatively remote), and greener. It is 1000 feet higher and is closed from the end of October until mid-May, I think. Be sure to double-check before you go. If I were to visit the Grand Canyon again, I would definitely go to the north rim and I would try to get one of the cabins out by the rim. What a view to wake up to.

    I’m really enjoying these NP posts. Some are great for reminiscing and some are new-to-me places that I can add to my list of places to see.

    Thanks,
    Sarah

    • Barb McCoy says:

      Thanks for the tips about the North Rim…definitely on our list for the near future! I am so glad you are liking my national park posts…they are super fun to write!

  2. That was a great day!!

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