Even the most seasoned travelers get awestruck when they visit the Grand Canyon. Its massive expanse of ridges, gorges, and rock formations is truly a sight to see. It offers incredible views from every direction, which means that enjoying each of them could take hours, especially for someone who has never been there before. However, the following list contains some of our favorite Grand Canyon vacation ideas and best places to see it.
South Rim and North Rim
The South Rim and North Rim areas are two of the most popular Grand Canyon tourist destinations. Anyone visiting is in for some exceptionally spectacular sights and jaw-dropping attractions, regardless of which of these two regions you decide to start your tour from.
The South Rim
The South Rim is managed and controlled by the National Park Service, and welcomes an astounding five million visitors each year. To drive here, is roughly a five to six-hour road trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.
The South Rim is more developed as compared to other Grand Canyon destinations. It boasts numerous restaurants and cultural experiences, and has several hiking trails like the well-known Bright Angel Trail, which is ideal for beginners and day hikers. In all, it’s a seven-mile stretch, so hiking the whole route in one day can be challenging.
South Rim Viewpoints
The South Rim plays host to nearly two dozen viewpoints, which are easily accessible from the Rim trails. Some of its most iconic viewpoints include:
Anyone entering the park’s South Main Entrance via the South Rim for the first time will tell you that Mather Point is one of the most iconic viewpoints the Grand Canyon has to offer–it provides the perfect introduction to how big the canyon is. Some of the best times to visit are at sunset or just before dawn.
Desert View Drive
Desert View is unique when compared to other viewpoints. It offers a great perspective of the open canyon and the artistic bend of the Colorado River as it turns from southbound to westbound. Also located here is the Desert Watchtower, built in 1932, which still stands tall and magnificent on the cliff’s edge.
Hopi Point is located along the South Rim’s Rim Trail, and is famous for being a prime sunset-watching location with its great outlooks and view of the Colorado River cutting into the canyon to the west.
The North Rim
The North Rim is well-known for its rugged and isolated trails, sparse facilities, and natural appeal. It can accommodate many travelers, but is usually less crowded than the South Rim.
North Rim Viewpoints
Even though the South Rim may be more accessible from any direction and open all year round, the only way to enjoy the North Kaibab Trail is through the North Rim and Redwall Bridge. The hike is 2.6 miles, and there is nothing more spectacular than watching the morning sun creep up the canyon wall, exposing the deepest parts of the canyon.
Plateau Point, Bright Angel Trail
The only way to access the Plateau Point is on foot along the Bright Angel Trail. Each step you take will be worth it, as you will get a chance to witness the beautiful Colorado River winding its way through the canyon. The trail also offers an endless view of mesas and plateaus.
Visitors can view Angel’s Window from Cape Royal on the North Rim, which is located on the southernmost end of the Grand Canyons’ Walhalla Plateau. It involves a fairly easy trek of a half-mile off the path of the main trail. Here, you can view the natural arch of the Colorado River through what locals refer to as the ‘window.’
Ultimately, deciding whether you will visit the South Rim or North Rim will depend on your travel preferences and how much time you have to explore the beautiful canyons. The list above is intended to help you get a glimpse into how much you can enjoy your tour in this beautiful place.