Visiting the Grand Canyon is always a fantastic idea; it is a trip enjoyed by millions of people across the United States annually. Different people have different things they love about the trip. The Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the earth, featuring its deep mind-blowing gorges and a vast array of other attractions such as rivers, waterfalls, and caves.
The multiple features of the Grand Canyon mean that the activities you can carry out will differ, but with so many options, some may wonder how they can make the best of their journey to the Grand Canyon. It is a question worth asking as you don't want to waste such a golden opportunity to experience the Grand Canyon. Fortunately, we've been able to come up with some suggestions.
You can do many things on the Grand Canyon, and each is guaranteed to provide you with a fun but memorable experience. Here are ten of the most popular activities on the Grand Canyon.
Rafting is one of the most popular activities in the Grand Canyon. The process of rafting involves using boats to navigate the entire course of a river in the fastest time possible. Initially, rafters used inflatable rafts or paddle boats to journey over the water. Still, you can now use motorized boats faster and more suitable for those who may not want to exert themselves physically. Most rafting trips are usually a group activity, so it's a perfect family activity or one you can enjoy with your friends.
A popular type of rafting usually carried out on the river near the Canyon is whitewater rafting. Whitewater rafting happens over turbulent waters called whitewater rapids. Depending on the difficulty, the Mighty Colorado River is famous for its rapids, classified by Class I to V. It attracts the hardiest whitewater rafting lovers worldwide.
However, it would be best if you were physically fit to embark on a whitewater rafting trip. You will also need an experienced tour guide to help you navigate the complicated parts of the trip while ensuring you see the best part of the canyon. Most guides are also familiar with the history of the Canyon, so as you drift through the breathtaking sights, you'll also learn something about how they come about.
If you wish to go rafting, remember to book your trip early. Rafting trips typically occur all year round, but each trip has varying lengths and content. Additionally, not all trips happen during the best parts of the year. To get the best times and trip duration, you want to book early and use the right rafting outfitters, such as Advantage Grand Canyon.
Another popular way to experience the Grand Canyon properly is by taking hiking trips. Hiking is very tied up to the Grand Canyon culture. Outfitters usually offer them combined with most Grand Canyon tour trips.
There is no surprise there, as the Grand Canyon National Park has some of the most phenomenal hiking trails you'd ever see. You can find some of the best scenes on the North and South rims while exploring caves, waterfalls, and historic sites. If you decide to take the higher ground, you'll be rewarded with some of the most panoramic and breathtaking views of the Canyon you've ever seen.
Some famous hiking trails in the Grand Canyon's South Rim include the Hermit Trail, the South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point, Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden Campground, and the Koln trail via the South Rim trail. Some popular North Rim trails include the Widforss Trail, the Cape Royal Viewpoint, the Grand Canyon lodge via the Transept Trail, and the Toroweap Overlook.
To enjoy your hiking tour, you need to prepare well in advance. The Grand Canyon is a lovely place to go hiking in, but it also has harsh weather, especially during summer. The sun can be blistering, temperatures can soar above a hundred degrees, and you could dehydrate quite quickly if you're not careful.
Applying lots of sun-blocking creams, moving about with lots of water, and wearing more comfortable clothes such as cotton can help reduce some of the effects of the heat. You also want to hire an experienced guide who can lead you across the journey. Ideally, you want to ensure that you have means of communicating with civilization if you're going hiking.
Camping is another popular activity many people enjoy when visiting the Grand Canyon. There are several reasons why people camp on the Grand Canyon. A significant cause is that it allows them to explore more parts of the Canyon than if they were embarking on a shorter trip.
Fortunately, the Grand Canyon National Park Service has set up many provisions to ensure visitors have the best camping experience. Hikers can get all their supplies by going to the Grand Canyon visitor center. Campers who come to the Canyon will find that there are several excellent camping options for them.
Some of the best camping sites include:
Mather Point is located along the South Rim. This site has over 300 campsites and provisions for your RV park if you have one. if you don't have one, the National Park Service can also provide a shuttle bus to take you to the site. The site offers one of the best forest camping experiences and is easily accessible to the park. Its desirability makes it crowded during the high season (between May and September).
This campground also offers some of the most alluring scenarios of the Grand Canyon. However, it is much more difficult to access, making it less crowded than Mather Campground. It is also available for a shorter window (mid-May to mid-October).
This is a remote wide-open landscape with easy access to massive canyon landscapes. Although the site is a bit out of the way, it remains popular with many visitors. The desert view watchtower is a good way to get a wide look at the Grand Canyon national park.
This is located at the foot of the canyon itself and has access to rivers, the desert, and the towering Canyon around you. It isn't easy to access, but the experience is worth it. You can also stay at the Bright Angel lodge if you prefer it.
If you plan on camping, one thing you want to do is start early. Some campsites in the North Rim are only open for a short window and need to be booked in advance. Others, like the Desert Campground, operate on a first-come, first-served basis and can get quite crowded reasonably quickly. If you want a good spot, move fast and plan accordingly. Overall, camping on the Grand Canyon is a worthwhile experience you won't regret trying.
Many people also go to the Grand Canyon for its swimming opportunities. Aside from the Colorado River, which is excellent for rafting and occasional swimming, the Grand Canyon is littered with several waterfalls, deltas, and side rivers that are mild enough to swim in. Be careful to attempt swimming in any of the rapids, even if you're a strong swimmer.
One of the significant sites of attraction to swimmers is Havasu Falls, found on the Havasupai Indian reservation. The falls have brilliant turquoise blue waters that echo across the walls of the Grand Canyon as it crashes powerfully into Havasu Creek. Many visitors have found swimming in the creek while the fall roars overhead nothing short of an exhilarating experience.
If you plan to go swimming in the places at the Grand Canyon, you will have to obtain a permit, which can be incredibly difficult for some sites. For example, permits to visit Havasu Creek run into millions, but the site can only accommodate about 350 a year. So you need to plan early and move on time. Requesting a permit at the last minute is one sure way of ruining your vacation.
While many people know that you can go hiking and rafting on the Grand Canyon, they may not be too familiar with biking on the Grand Canyon. You typically have three options as a cyclist. You can ride in the Grand Canyon National Park or go road biking in the North or South Rim. The last option is mountain biking; you can do this north or south of the Canyon. Bikers can come with their bikes or hire one at the Grand Canyon.
However, note that riding in the park is very limited. Most park trails don't allow mountain bikes, and the paved byways are usually crowded with no shoulders, so biking on them is not recommended.
On the other hand, road biking on the Northern and Southern Rim is more exciting and offers a view of the Canyon from the saddle rather than the windows of a car. Some of the roads are wide and scenic enough for cyclists to enjoy. However, be careful of winding roads like Cape Royal Road in the North Rim as it offers poor sightlines and could easily lead to accidents.
Mountain biking offers an even more exquisite view of the Canyon. You will more likely encounter a dizzying array of wildlife and breathtaking views. You also get the most fantastic wilderness experience.
To enjoy cycling in the Grand Canyon, though, you need to consider several things. You need to obey all traffic regulations as they protect you. If you're cycling in groups, cycle in a single file, and ensure you are going with the traffic flow. Also, always wear bright clothes and a helmet to improve your chances of being spotted. That way, you reduce the likelihood of accidents.
If you're not up to the physical rigors of cycling, another great way of experiencing the Grand Canyon and nearby parks is by taking a Jeep Tour. Jeep tours have some advantages. Because it is faster, you can see more of the Grand Canyon than you would have if you were on foot or on a bike.
The South Rim is the most popular site for Jeep tours because it is easily accessible and offers a drive through some of the most beautiful parts of the National Forest on the way to the rim of the Grand Canyon. The tour could also take you down Diamond Creek Road near Peach Springs. You can book your Jeep tours from an outfit, although some locals around the Canyon also offer these services at a cheaper rate. However, remember to book early to reduce the possibility of getting disappointed.
A Grand Canyon railway adventure is an excellent way to quickly tour Grand Canyon national park. The trains are depicted on a tight schedule and usually run only once a day except during seasons of high demand when a second train is sent out. A typical trip can last between two to three hours, although some can last longer. Train routes usually run through some of the fantastic scenes of the Grand Canyon. While you are out, watch for wildlife of different species as the route is filled with them. You might even stop at some historic sites and gift shops.
Train rides come in different services, and you can make your train ride as comfortable or luxurious as possible if you choose to ride first class. The trains also have themed trips such as The Polar Express, which runs during Christmas. Train experiences are perfect for families of all ages as they don't involve the physicality of rafting, hiking, or cycling.
As with all trips, you will only get the best if you prepare properly. You want to book a spot well ahead of time. Train trips usually include other amenities, such as overnight packages and a post-trip night at a railway resort. You want to make the necessary arrangements to avoid any inconvenience.
Mules are a hybrid of a male donkey and a female horse. It is a sturdy beast of burden reputed for being hardier and docile than its horse or donkey counterpart. A Grand Canyon mule makes good travelers in the Canyon climate because they possess certain peculiarities. They are more challenging to spook than horses, and they tend to dig in when frightened rather than flay dangerously.
Additionally, they can endure hot climates much more than horses, which is a good thing as the Canyon can get hot in the summer. They also make sure-footed steps on both front and hind limbs, which is perfect for rocky trails. They have been carrying along the Canyon since the 1800s.
Today, you can relive the past by riding on a Grand Canyon Mule across the Canyon. The Grand Canyon National Park keeps mules for hire that are well-treated and docile enough to be handled by even inexperienced riders. However, riding them will take some guts and steadying.
You can take mule rides in the North and South Rim, although south-rim mule rides are much more common. Each trip will likely last about two hours. A popular trail will lead you from the park to Phantom Ranch. You will want to book the trip as well as possible because the trips are always filling up.
Flying over the Grand Canyon can also present a unique way to experience the majestic brilliance of the Grand Canyon. Not only are helicopter tours shorter than other types of tours, but they give a holistic view of the canyon, encompassing its multi-layered feature in a problematic way to appreciate from the ground level.
The length of the trip can vary depending on the kind of experience you need. You could fly for an hour, taking as much of the Canyon as possible. Those who aren't comfortable flying in a small helicopter or are unsure how they would take it can take shorter tours that last between twelve to fifteen minutes per trip.
Most helicopter tours depart from Las Vegas and approach the Canyon from the South Rim where they can soar the Canyon's depths and interior. Good Tour providers have helicopters with wraparound glass and theatrical seating so you can get as much view and pictures of the canyon as possible while the flight is on.
You can also customize your trip to suit your unique needs. Some providers offer dual trips where you get to see the Canyon from air and land. This arrangement will have you fly over sights such as the Mojave Desert, Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, and the Colorado River before landing on a private bluff for refreshments and a light hike. You can even make arrangements for birthdays, engagements, and weddings.
There are so many ways you can experience the beauty of the Grand Canyon that can sometimes take you outside the realms of the National Park. Some of those attractions include:
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a walkway about seventy feet above the Grand Canyon. It is unique because its design isn't straightforward but shaped like a horseshoe. Although it isn't in the National Park, it is still a sound way of experiencing the entire Grand Canyon.
The Skywalk has a clear glass bottom of about four inches deep, and visitors to the walkway can have a view both from their feet or over the side of the railing. The Skywalk has a way of bringing the entire stretch of the canyon.
The Kolb brothers were among the first people to photograph tourists taking the daring route that is now Bright Angel Trail. They also captured their 101-day harrowing trip through the Canyon.
They built their wooden photography studio in 1905 at the South Rim, right at the canyon's edge. The Kolb Studio has become a museum, gift shop, and art gallery. It is a great way to learn about the adventurous nature of early travelers. You could also pick up some interesting historical facts about the Canyon.
Route 66, located off the South Rim area of the Grand Canyon, is one of the jumping-off points of the Grand Canyon Railway and also presents another way you can enjoy your trip to the Canyon. The town along the route contains some interesting landmarks, such as the Miz Zips, the Museum Club, and the Crown Railroad Cafe. It is also home to vintage culture, and you can see vintage car shows and motels along the stretch of the highway.
Grand Canyon tours are an excellent way to relax and spend time with family and friends. Fortunately, there are different ways to experience the Grand Canyon area. Many find that rafting on the Colorado river is an excellent way to enjoy the natural wonders of the Grand Canyon national park. Some prefer to hike along park trails such as the North Kaibab trail, bright angel trail, glen canyon, or the canyon rim trail. Many of these trails are unpaved, although others prefer a paved walking path.
You could also go swimming in the little Colorado river, deltas, or camping if you prefer the hardy feel of the canyon floor. The Grand Canyon National Park Service also provides mule rides. If none of these things interests you, you can hop on the Grand Canyon Railway for a quick view of the park.
The Grand Canyon village also has some attractions, such as the skywalk or the Kolb studio, where you can get a good history of the Grand Canyon. All in all, you can get many positive experiences from a visit to the Grand Canyon.