Great Grand Canyon Activities: Inspiring Ideas for a Trip to Remember
The Grand Canyon is much more than just a landmark. There are so many different ways to explore the beauty of the canyon and so many fun things to do.
The Grand Canyon is a fantastic place to visit to see the beauty of nature. The views from around the canyon are absolutely breathtaking, and everyone should try to make a visit at least once in their lifetime. The Grand Canyon is so vast and spectacular that you’ll want to have an idea of what you would like to do, and how you would like to see it. Here are some suggestions for making your visit as grand as possible.
1. Grand Canyon Skywalk
Are you feeling daring? This one isn’t for those who are afraid of heights, but it gives a unique view of the canyon. The Grand Canyon Skywalk, located in Grand Canyon West, allows visitors to walk about 70 feet from the edge of the canyon on a glass platform. If you dare to look down, there’s nothing but air below you for 2,000 feet. One downfall to this skywalk is that you cannot buy a ticket just to go on the platform because it’s part of a larger tour. However, this tour on the Hualapai Indian Reservation also lets you see the tribal lands and comes with a meal at one of the points of interest. There are also helicopter and boat tours that include the Skywalk in their agenda.
2. Hopi House
If you’re looking for souvenirs that go beyond the usual cheap key chains and shot glasses, you’ll want to make a stop at Hopi House. Located on the South Rim of the canyon, this shop was built for Native Americans to showcase and sell their handcrafted goods. Even if you aren’t into shopping, this is a cool building to visit. It was made in 1905 and designed to look like an authentic Hopi home. The walls are made with adobe and the ceiling is made out of mud-covered grass and twigs. It is three stories tall and the second floor is designed like a traditional shrine, complete with religious Hopi artifacts. The building is essentially a gift shop, but crafts here are of a much better quality than you’d find at other gift shops. These items are also a little more expensive, but definitely worth it if you’re looking for something to take home to remind you of your Grand Canyon adventure.
3. Grand Canyon Village
Grand Canyon Village is one of the ways to enter the national park and a good place to start your journey. Starting here is a way to learn more about the park and the history of the area. Go to Yavapai Point, a lookout spot that is regarded by many to be one of the best places to view the canyon. The village is also home to Grand Canyon Railway Depot, a spot to learn about the history of the railroad and the effect it has had on bringing visitors to the Grand Canyon. If you want to stay as close as possible to the park to maximize your time in the Grand Canyon, there are several hotels here. The most famous one is the El Tovar Hotel, styled to look like a hunting lodge. It’s super convenient to stay in this area, but keep in mind that it’s a little more expensive because it’s a popular location.
4. Havasu Falls
If you’re big into hiking, you’ll want to hike to Havasu Falls, a stunning desert oasis. Come here to see beautiful blue waterfalls, surrounded by desert. This hike is located in the southern part of the park in the Havasupai Indian Reservation. It is about a ten-mile hike from Hualapai Hilltop, so it’s geared more for experienced hikers, especially those who plan on camping at some point along the hike. You can stop at the Supai village once you reach the waterfall and buy crafts and food. However, these can be pretty pricey, so plan on bringing plenty of your own snacks. This is a beautiful point of interest for hikers wanting to discover another natural wonder.
5. Colorado River Rafting
This one is for adrenaline junkies looking to have a good time in the canyon. This will ensure you have a completely different view of the Grand Canyon. There are plenty of river rafting tours for all levels of experience. For beginners, there are tours that allow you to take a smooth water trip through stretches of the river. It may not be as thrilling as riding rapids, but it’s a relaxing, fun time for everyone. Those who are looking for more excitement or have experience rafting, there are tours that will take you on rougher sections of the river. If that’s not enough for you, there are tours that last several days and combine rafting with paddling. No matter your experience level, there is a tour out there for you.
6. Choose a Rim to Explore
Once you get to the canyon, you have a few choices for which part you want to explore. The South Rim is located near Flagstaff and is where the Grand Canyon Village is located. It’s the park’s busiest section but if you don’t want to worry about parking, there is a shuttle service that will take you to the village. There’s plenty of services here, including hotels, restaurants, general stores, laundromats, showers, and other shopping.
The North Rim has a higher elevation than the other rims so it is closed during the winter, due to snow. Because it’s further away from the busier Grand Canyon Village area, it’s a little more peaceful. There’s not as many facilities as there are on the South Rim, but it’s a nice tradeoff to have a little more solitude while you hike the canyon. This is a great place for campers to start because there are plenty of campgrounds available. Those who enjoy the snow will love this part of the park because there is snowmobiling and cross-country skiing available during certain parts of the year.
The West Rim is where the Skywalk is located. This is also where three of the major canyon viewing spots are located. Lodging around the West Rim is located a little further away than the other rims, but it is less than an hour drive away from the rim. Depending on what kind of visiting experience you’re after, you’ll be sure to find whatever you’re looking for at one of the rims.
7. Travel Around the Rims
There are several modes of transportation that will take you around the rims of the Grand Canyon. One fun way to get around the canyon is to bike. There are so many trails to choose from, so there is something for everyone. Eventually, there will be a trail that links the North and South Rim trails, so you’ll be able to cover a large expanse of land. If you’d rather stay on two feet, some of the popular biking trails are also open to those who want to walk. There is also an option to take a mule ride around the major points of interest. It’s a unique way to see the sights up close, but it doesn’t have to take up your entire day like the hiking trips will. Choose from day trip tours or overnight tours that let you camp under the stars. If you enjoy the comfort of exploring in a vehicle, try a jeep tour. An experienced driver will take you around the rims in a jeep, allowing you to see as much as possible. This is better than a tram though, because this vehicle is perfect for exploring back roads and rough terrain. Depending on your specific reasons for visiting the park, you can even take tours that specialize in topics like geology and nature. Your tour guide is an expert on the land, and will give you deeper insight about the canyon than you’d get on the general tours.
8. Airplane and Helicopter Tours
Air tours are an exciting way to see the entirety of the canyon from above. Many of gaps in the canyon are only visible from the sky, so you’ll see more than the average person hiking the rims will. They cost a bit more than other kinds of tours, but will give you an experience you’ll remember forever. Airplane tours can accommodate larger groups and the length of the tour varies, depending on which tour you choose. Helicopter tours are great for couples wanting a more personalized air tour experience. For both types of tours, a guide will inform you about what you are seeing and will give you all the information you need to know about the Grand Canyon. Air tours are perfect for those who don’t want to miss a bit of the canyon.
9. Camping in the Grand Canyon
If you want to get the full nature experience while visiting the Grand Canyon, camping out under the stars is necessary. This is also a great way to visit the canyon on a budget—campsites are fairly inexpensive, unlike many of the hotels in the area. There are many different campsites around the different rims, so you can choose the best location for you once you decide what you want to do during the day. Be sure to plan ahead, because many of the campsites require reservations, and spots fill up quickly. There are some campsites that don’t take reservations, but they are first come, first serve, so it’s risky to rely on having a spot to crash. If you’re feeling adventurous, campers are allowed to set up tents in the backcountry. However, you must apply for a permit ahead of time. This is a great option for those planning on taking long hiking trips. Camping can be a ton of fun, and it will definitely save you lots of money on your trip.
The Grand Canyon is much more than a landmark to stop by to see. There are so many different ways to explore the beauty of the canyon and so many fun things to do.
Thumbnail photo credit: greyline.com
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