The Grand Canyon is one of the unofficial wonders of the world. It can be found on countless vacation bucket lists. At 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide, the sheer size and depth of the canyon is awe-inspiring. While the National Park is currently closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, it will eventually re-open and be ready to welcome visitors back again soon. There are many ways to see this amazing part of the country, no matter what your interest may be.
Experiencing the Grand Canyon can be done in many ways. You can drive, hike, raft, bike, fly, horseback ride – the options are wide open. There are several ways to tour the Canyon, but it’s important to know what method is best for you and your group’s abilities. Topography is an important thing to take into consideration when planning your trip, as is knowledge of how difficult some of the terrain may be to navigate.
If you’re looking to really see ALL of the canyon, and you want to do this in a unique and adventurous way, then you should take a total Canyon tour. Starting with amazing views from the Canyon’s north and south rims, hike down to the Inner Canyon, raft or take a boat ride along the mighty Colorado River and if you’re feeling adventurous, finish with a stunning aerial tour to get a bird’s eye view of the Canyon.
The majority of visitors to the Grand Canyon begin at the South Rim. By RV or car, South Rim entry can be made either along US 180 from Flagstaff and the south or AZ 64 from Williams and the west. Grand Canyon South Rim has stunning drives with breathtaking viewpoints such as Mather Point or Yavapai Point which can easily be accessed by car.
The more rugged terrain of North Rim offers out of this world views of the Grand Canyon’s wilderness. The journey from the South Rim to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is very scenic and takes about 5 hours and is 215 miles long. Because of it’s higher elevation and weather concerns, the South Rim is closed in winter. For those who came to hike, the North Rim is also home to multiple popular trailheads. In general, the Grand Canyon is home to more than 400 miles of back trails, which make the Inner Canyon perfect for hiking enthusiasts.
Multiple trailheads which start in the North and South Rims lead directly to the Inner Canyon. You CANNOT come to the Grand Canyon and not hike into the Inner Canyon, which is 4,700 feet below the South Rim and 5,700 feet below the North Rim. Day Hiking requires no permit, but if you were looking to extend your hike overnight, a permit can be obtained from the Backcountry office located in the South Rim.
While within the canyon, you must make your way to the emerald green waters of the Colorado River. The river runs through the middle of the canyon and offer both calm and tranquil waters as well as raging rapids, perfect for white water rafting. Those interested in getting wet can take one of the many rafting tours offered.
If getting down and dirty in the canyon isn’t your speed, then take to the skies and see one of the best views possible at the Grand Canyon. Flying allows you to see literally ALL of the Grand Canyon. Helicopter and airplane tours are amazing fun and offer a view and an experience unlike any other. There are several commercial aircraft operators flying from just outside the National park that are available for charter.
The Grand Canyon is truly one of the most spectacular destinations I’ve ever been to. Anything that takes 3-6 million years to form is certainly going to be worth the visit. Since visitors won't be allowed to visit the Grand Canyon in the immediate future, take some time and look into what parts of the Canyon you’d like to experience most. There’s plenty of time to put together one of the most memorable trips you will ever take. When the park re-opens, you’ll be prepped and ready to explore. Safe travels.
Be sure to check out our Arizona page for more information on the Grand Canyon and the surrounding area.
I am on a mission to get you traveling more often. As the host of the Emmy award- winning, nationally syndicated television television for PBS and the Create channel, "Beyond Your Backyard," I travel (on average) 25 weeks per year. I am very grateful for the opportunity to meet cool people, experience new places, eat delicious food and work with the best production crew in the world. Hopefully, through this blog, you will join me on my travels and be reminded just how exciting it is to be alive!