Things to Do – The Grand Canyon National Park Arizona, USA

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Colorado River Grand Canyon Landscape Scenic

About The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon National Park is an enormous, iconic, and breathtaking destination. It is one of the natural wonders on Earth. It is amazing that the canyon is having 277 miles length, 18 miles width at its widest point, and depth of more than a mile. It’s amazing how wide is the Grand Canyon is. The Colorado River flows through this deep canyon.

The Grand Canyon National Park Facts

What is so special about this national park? Archeological artifacts reveal the existence of civilization in, and around the canyon about 12,000 years ago. It still is a sacred place to 11 Native American tribes. They had been living in the canyon and its caves and then moved on to reservations in the 1800s.

It has been 101 years since the launch of the Grand Canyon National Park. Also, it is visible from space.

In 1893, President Benjamin Harrison created the Grand Canyon National Forest Reserve. He saw the need for protecting this inspiring place. 1901 was the turning point for tourism after opening a new railway line. The tourist arrivals increased sharply. Later, President Theodore Roosevelt declared the Grand Canyon, a national monument in 1908. On February 26th, 1919, President Woodrow Wilson made this a national heritage. This became the 17th national park in the United States of America.

The Grand Canyon Tourism

Over 37,000 people visited the park in its first year. The park has hosted over 211 million guests so far. Thus, it is among the most visited national parks in the USA. The below table shows tourism statistics for recent years.

YearTourists Visits (in millions)
20155.52
20165.97
20176.25
20186.38
20195.98
Annual Tourism Statistics – The Grand Canyon

The Best Time to Visit The Grand Canyon

It totally depends on what you are looking for there. If you like visiting when fewer crowds are there, Between December and February are ideal.

Due to the cold and snow visitations are lower in winter. Road surfaces can be slippery because the Park Service does not use salt to melt ice. So, it is better to be cautious.

In summer, it gets really busy with so many families and other travelers. Autumn also makes the park a busy place like summer, but it will not be too noisy as summer with a lesser family crowd. 

The Grand Canyon National Park Weather

Weather in the Grand Canyon has a wide range of outcomes and variations as its elevation range is 760m to 2440m.

You can see the exact information about the weather and road conditions from the official Grand Canyon National Park web site by this link. https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/weather-condition.htm

Things to Do in The Grand Canyon National Park

There are many more activities with a wide range of choices to join here. Some activities can be varied by the area. So, it is best to choose the area that you are going to visit in Grand Canyon, based on the activities that you want to take part in.

Helicopter Tours and Sky Walking.

After 2000, Grand Canyon helicopter tours have increased so much, that a part of the canyon has been called “helicopter alley”. There are 2 types of helicopter tours in the canyon. One is ‘only air tours’ and the other is ‘air and floor landing tours’.  Floor landing tours may take you to a skywalk and maybe a boat ride too. It depends on the package. The helicopter tour cost, visiting from Las Vegas to the West Rim may start from 259 USD.

However, a helicopter tour to the west rim and watching the cinematic view of the canyon, Hoover Dam, Wheels of Misfortune, and Fortification Hill will be a mind-blowing experience.

Finally, getting off at the Eagle Point at the west rim and sky walking will be a thrilling experience. Going to the edge of the rim of the ground on a glass cantilever bridge, looking down, and see about 4000 feet below will be an experience for the lifetime.

Grand Canyon West is the area famous for sky walking. The west typically sees tourists from Las Vegas due to its proximity to Nevada.

Grand Canyon Trekking/ Hiking

Hiking from the north rim to the south rim is an item in the to-do things for the hikers from all around the world. Being able to see the canyon up close and appreciate its beauty on this long hike (around 24 miles) is a truly amazing experience. There are Bright Angel Trail is the easiest way to get down and climb up from the Colorado River. But it does not mean this is an easy job for inexperienced hikers.

Grand Canyon Camping

Overnight camping in the Grand Canyon requires a fee and a permit that can obtain at the backcountry office. It is best to make prior reservations due to the limited number of permits availability.

There are 4 campgrounds in the national park. Those are Mather Campground on the South Rim, North Rim Campground, Trailer Village: RV campground with full hook-ups, and NPS Desert View Campground.

Mule Rides

There are 2 hours and overnight mule rides traveling along the rim in the Grand Canyon. For a 2-hour mule ride, it costs about 143 USD per person. For an overnight mule ride cost, it is about 665 USD. For overnight mule ride, riders can stay at Phantom Ranch. But for these rides, it requires prior reservations. To reach the bottom of the canyon, a mule ride can take nearly six hours.

Best Places in the Grand Canyon – Sunset and Sunrise

Lookouts on Hermit road are the most convenient for those staying in the village without vehicles. For the sunrise, Hopi and Powell points are good. Also, Mojave and Pima are great for enjoying the sunset. If you have a car, the Ripon point on highway 64 east is also a great place with a great view.

Other than these joining for the park ranger programs, water rafting in the Colorado River, Ziplining, exploring the Havasu Falls are also great things to do while the stay.

Hotels/ Lodging and Dining Options

Lodging, dining, and fuel are typically more expensive in resort areas and National Parks are no exception. There are 3 restaurants within the Grand Canyon National Park. Those are El Tovar Hotel, Yavapai Lodge, and Maswik Lodge, and all are located in the Grand Canyon Village.

The best out of those 3 is El Tovar. Also, it is the most expensive one too. But there is a secret that breakfast there is not much more than the other 2 but the quality is great. El Tovar is a 3-star hotel with some good customer reviews too. The other two lodges are 2-star hotels.

Other than that, these hotels are also nearby.

  • Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn (4-star hotel) in Grand Canyon Village
  • Phantom Ranch (2-star hotel) in North Rim
  • Grand Canyon Lodge (2-star hotel) in North Rim

Tusayan city is also a few miles away to the south. It is the best choice for someone who needs additional services.

Visiting Grand Canyon by Train

Railway service provides daily transportation services from and to Williams, Arizona, which is located 60 miles south of the Park. If passengers wish to return back on the same day by the train, they only have 3 hours to visit the rim. So, it’s best to stay overnight and head back on the following day. Free bus services are there for transportation. It is easier to purchase a guided bus tour when purchasing the train ticket. It will make things easier.