The Grand Canyon, located in Arizona, is a wonder of nature that shhould definitely be seen and appreciated. The rock has been carved over billions of years by the Colorado River, leaving behind wonderful patterns in different colours. Now, the River is a few meters below, leaving behind a chasm that stretches out for a few miles.
Within driving distance from big cities such as Phoenix and Las Vegas, you may opt to rent a car and make your way through one of the three entrances: West, North & South, or join a tour group leaving daily from Las Vegas. Our recommended route will be driving yourself to the canyon and staying within the area for a couple of days to make the most of your time & your money. Tours can be costly (around $100+ for a day tour), and you’ll find yourself in a bus for almost 7 hours (3.5 hours going to the Canyon, another 3.5 hrs back).
Where to Stay:
If you want to be close to the action, I suggest you stay in hotels directly in the Canyon’s North or South rim. Within the South Rim, you’ll have options in the Grand Canyon Village, such as the Bright Angel Lodge & El Tovar. The downside? It’s crazy expensive to stay in these lodges, especially during the summer. Book early though! Alternatively, you can also stay in the village of Tusayan, where during the summer months, you may get a shuttle bus from there to the Canyon. There are numerous accommodations there too, but also a bit pricey.
To get a cheaper room in a historic hotel, we would suggest staying in Williams, Arizona, at the Grand Canyon Hotel. That hotel has been running for over 100 years and is family owned. Williams, AZ is also quite a quaint town to visit for a day.
Things to do at the Canyon:
- Hike – There are a lot of hiking trails within the park, we did mostly the trails through various view points, totaling a distance of over 5 miles. If you get tired, there are shuttle buses that can take you from one viewpoint to the next. However, note that if it’s summer, the queues to the buses can be quite long and most of them are standing room only (yes, like squashed together). You can also hike down to the bottom of the canyon and camp there overnight before going back up
- Mule Rides – Don’t want to hike? Fear not, you can ride a mule on an hour guide on the rim, or on a half day ride or overnight ride to the bottom. These mules definitely know their way through the trail, so don’t worry and just relax and enjoy the view. You’ll make a new friend too with your mule.
- Take photos – There are so many scenic photos you can take in the Grand Canyon, so don’t forget to bring your camera and a backup SD card or battery (or two). You can do so many iconic shots that you won’t even forget your trip! You may even see a couple of wild animals doing their own business within the area.
To ensure you have the best trip, remember these tips before you go to the Grand Canyon
- Even in the summer, the weather can drastically change. It may be hot an hour ago, and will pour rain now, and be freezing cold come 6pm. Bring a sweater or a jacket to help cope with the changes. Also bring an umbrella if you can.
- Get there early – parking spots are hard to come by, so once you find a spot, park the car there and go exploring using the buses.
- Bring snacks and food if you want to save money – the Canyon has expensive food options, so best to bring a sandwich or two and your own water bottle to refill. You’ll definitely need water as you hike around.