Vast and strikingly beautiful, the Grand Canyon is Arizona’s most famous landmark—and a natural wonder you must see to believe. Elongating 277 miles (446 kilometers) in length from end to end, steep, rocky walls descend more than a mile to the canyon’s floor, where the wild Colorado River traces a swift course southwest.
Did you know that the Grand Canyon is the most Instagrammed place in Arizona? It’s also the second most Instagrammed National Park in the United States.
Carved by the copper-colored Colorado River, the colorful rock layers record billions of years of history and hide many unique species. One of the world’s natural wonders, the iconic Grand Canyon draws oohs and aahs from visitors hovering at the edge of its towering cliffs.
** WHERE IS THE GRAND CANYON? **
The Grand Canyon is in northern Arizona, northwest of the city of Flagstaff. This natural landmark formed about five to six million years as erosion from the Colorado River cut a deep channel through layers of rock.
The northeast end of the Grand Canyon starts at Lake Powell and the city of Page at the Utah-Arizona border. The western end of the Grand Canyon is where the Colorado River empties into Lake Mead at the Arizona-Nevada border.
** WHICH RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON IS THE BEST ? **
There is no “best rim” to visit when you want to explore the Grand Canyon! Every Grand Canyon destination packs a full day of beautiful viewpoints and sights to explore. West, South or North—From Every Direction the Grand Canyon Is Spectacular! The Grand Canyon is huge. In fact, it’s so big that there are three different rims you can visit, and each one offers unique views, activities and experiences. The rim that suits you best will depend on who you are travelling with and what you want from your Grand Canyon experience.
We visited Grand Canyon as a day trip from Las Vegas, so we chose to visit West Rim to visit which has Skywalk experience.
Choose South Rim:
- If you are visiting Grand Canyon for the first time.
- If you want to see the bigger and more iconic views of the Canyon.
- If you are travelling with a family with small children, then choose south rim as it has more places to stay and amenities.
- If you have more than a day to spend in Grand Canyon.
Choose West Rim:
- If you only have a day to spend in the Canyon.
- If you are travelling to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas with the Guided tour.
- This rim is the one that’s located closest to Las Vegas. It’s only 121 miles away.
- If you want to stand out from crowd at the South rim, then West Rim is quite offbeat.
- If You want to visit the Skywalk and experience views 4,000 feet deep straight down into the Canyon
Choose North Rim:
- If you are more interested in Hiking and Enjoying nature.
- If you would be ok without lot of amenities
Choose East Rim:
- If you are travelling to Grand Canyon other than Las Vegas City.
- If you are looking for non-touristy Canyon experience.
** 5 “NOT -TO MISS ” EXPERIENCES IN GRAND CANYON **
Just a short distance from the National Park, within the Hualapai Tribal Reservation, is the wild Western nature of the Grand Canyon’s West Rim.
The West Rim is the perfect Grand Canyon destination for travelers hoping to avoid the crowds of the South Rim. Though it offers less iconic views of the Canyon, the Grand Canyon’s West Rim, which is owned and operated by the Hualapai Indians, offers many unique spectacular vistas and experiences (like the Skywalk!), and is much more easily accessible from Las Vegas.
$$ Footstep into the Old West at Hualapai Ranch $$
The fun times beings at The Hualapai Ranch as you enter into the Grand Canyon West! The Hualapai Ranch is located next to the rim of the Grand Canyon, just before the welcome center and airport.
You’ll enjoy a variety of activities at the Hualapai Ranch like- saddling’ up the horse for a trail ride on the Grand Canyon West Rim, wagon rides, a cowboy cookout, as well as professional shows featuring gunfighters. The Hualapai Ranch is an entertaining wild west town, complete with a main street that features a trading post, a western style dance hall, a livery, stables and even an old west jail.
The Hualapai Ranch has a whole bunch of cabins that can be booked for overnight stays. Booking in advance is the way to go, because these cabins are within walking distance of the Grand Canyon, so they are a prime place to bed down for the night.
Hualapai Ranch at Grand Canyon West has something for everyone!
$$ Take A Walk on Skywalk Bridge $$
The Skywalk is a must-visit attraction for any adrenaline junkie. The glass walkway that hangs 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. The Skywalk offers multiple viewpoints of the canyon and the Colorado River. Look down and you can see right through the glass platform to the floor of the Canyon below. The Skywalk is a U-shaped cantilevered glass bridge that extends straight out from the edge of the Canyon wall.
To take a stroll on the Skywalk, you must purchase an admission package that includes the Skywalk when you first arrive at the Grand Canyon West area. There are multiple packages available at different prices, some of which include the Skywalk and some that don’t. Package prices range from $40-75 for adults and $35 for children. Most of the guided tours will have skywalk included in the itinerary.
Photography is not permitted from the Skywalk, but you are allowed to purchase photos of you and your family from the photographers stationed at the Skywalk. You’ll also be required to wear fabric shoe covers to prevent scratching.
$$ Helicopter tour over the Canyon $$
One of the most exhilarating ways to see the Grand Canyon by air is on a Grand Canyon helicopter tour. Helicopter tours can fly approximately 1000 feet lower than the airplane tours, but due to the vastness of the Canyon, it’s hard to say which is better. Air tours aboard the helicopters have narration in multiple languages.
This magnificent helicopter ride provides stunning aerial views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West. Additionally, you will experience an exhilarating landing at the bottom of the canyon overlooking the mighty Colorado River.
Be sure to book your helicopter tour as early in your trip as possible. Suggested Heli tours are Canyon tours, Maverick tours and Papillion tours.
$$ Hike to Havasu Canyon $$
Havasu Canyon is a paradisiacal gorge where turquoise waters cascade into travertine pools and graceful willows and supercilious cottonwoods provide shade and greenery in an extraordinary setting of towering red sandstone cliffs beneath an azure sky. It is a side branch of the Grand Canyon.
The Havasupai (“people of the blue-green waters”) guard these waterfall gems in their remote canyon village, roughly 8 miles down from the trailhead on the rim. Havasu Falls is one virally famous and incredibly difficult to get to. You can either go by foot or a horse ride. Words can hardly describe the beauty found in Havasu Canyon: striking turquoise waters, ruddy canyon walls and rich vegetation.
These beautiful waterfalls are at the bottom of the Grand Canyon in Arizona and require a 10 mile hike each direction just to see them! Visiting Havasupai is not easy, all visitors require a permit . If you are traveling on your own, plan to stay at least one night, two or more is highly recommended though so that you have a chance to really explore the canyon.
$$ Live the Canyon through these Viewpoints $$
Eagle Point: While the Skywalk is certainly the highlight, there is much more to enjoy here at Eagle Point, which was named after a natural rock formation that looks like an eagle.
Watch Native American dances in the amphitheater each day at 1pm and 5pm, dine at Sa’ Nyu Wa, and shop at the Native American Gift Shop.
Guano Point: Live life on the edge when you visit Guano Point. One of the most dramatic viewpoints in all the Grand Canyon, this location is anything but a quick stop. Take the “Highpoint Hike” for stunning, 360-degree views of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River.
Be sure to watch where you step, because many areas do not have railings. Visit the remnants of a historic tram that once stretched 8,800 feet across the canyon to a guano mine
** WHAT TO PACK WHILE VISITING GRAND CANYON **
- A small backpack
- A reusable water bottles
- First aid kid
The Grand Canyon is a wonderful year-round vacation destination and has millions of facts, info, stories, history, geology and areas to explore. Visiting the Grand Canyon has been a dream of many and we are so glad to have been able to check that off our bucket list.
Have been to Grand Canyon? Which rim did you visit? Share your experiences with us in the comments!