Top 10 Things to do at Grand Canyon

Written by on October 5, 2009 in AZ Outdoor Adventures - Comments Off on Top 10 Things to do at Grand Canyon

1. Bright Angel or South Kaibab Trail
The canyon is so vast, that it often appears unreal or flat, like a painting or picture. To get a real feel for the depths of the canyon, get our your hiking shoes and take one of two great trails — Bright Angel or South Kaibab. By far the most heavily traveled is the Bright Angel Trail since it is conveniently located in Grand Canyon Village. It does offer stunning views of the canyon. However, the South Kaibab is far less traveled as was designed for maximum exposure to sun during the cooler winter months, keeping ice free nearly all the time. The South Kaibab Trail begins on Yaki Point, which juts out into the Grand Canyon. After just a few switchback, you will be rewarded with sensational views of the Canyon’s interior.

2. Mule Ride to Phantom Ranch
From the moment tourists began arriving at the Grand Canyon, the more adventurous travels wanted to get to the bottom. Sure-footed mules are the answer if you don’t want to use your own two feet. Departing from the corral near Bright Angel Lodge, the mule trains follow Bright Angel Trail into the depths of the canyon. You’ll spend about 5 hours in the saddle, stopping for lunch at Indian Gardens. You’ll have time to explore the area around Phantom Ranch before dinner. A big breakfast in the morning will fortify you for the ride back up out of the canyon.

3. Raft the Canyon
White-water rafting on the Colorado River is the ultimate Grand Canyon adventure and one of the best ways to get a new perspective on the sheer size and depth of the canyon. 1/2-day to multi-day rafting excursions offer breathtaking scenery, magnificent side hikes and adrenaline-pumping white-water rapids.

4. Helicopter or Plane Rides
If you want a bird’s-eye view of the canyon, there are plenty of exciting helicopter and plane tour and will give you great views of the rim and close-up looks are distinctive landmarks in the park. Be sure you have a good head for heights, because the helicopter pilots will make your stomach drop frequently as they skim the rims of the canyon, allowing your view to unexpectedly plunge thousands of feet to the bottom of the canyon.

5. Go Fish!
According to the experts, the best place to fish in the Grand Canyon is upstream from Phantom Ranch. Of course, the means you have to get there, either by hiking, by mule or by river raft. However, once you are there and successful, you’ll bag rainbow trout, carp, speckled dace, flannel-mouth sucker and blue-head sucker. The best seasons try your luck fishing inside the national park are fall and winter.

6. Grand Canyon Railroad
The very best way to get to the Grand Canyon is the take a ride on the Grand Canyon Railroad! Strolling musicians, cowboy characters and even some ornery train robbers set the scene for a day of family fun. The Grand Canyon Railway departs from Williams, Arizona, and take you directly to the South Rim and Grand Canyon Village.

7. Interpretive Nature Programs
Join a program that explores the Pueblo people and their culture, learn how the canyon was carved, or discover what plants and animals call the park home. The ranger-led nature programs in the park are outstanding and are a terrific way to learn all about this natural wonder.

8. The Skywalk
A glass bottom bridge, suspend 4,000 feet over the canyon, the Skywalk is an amazing way to view the beauty of the Grand Canyon. Located on Grand Canyon West, the Skywalk is 45 miles south of the main park, but worth making a day trip to see all the sites along the way.
9. Hermit’s Rest
Mary Colter, one of Grand Canyon’s most famous architects, built Hermits Rest in 1914 to look like an old miner’s cabin, complete with a giant fireplace and front porch. Today Hermits Rest has a gift shop and small snack bar. It is the jumping off point for many hiking trails and offers fantastic views of the canyon. It’s a great place to just soak in the beauty and put your feet up.

10. Desert View Watchtower
Designed and built by architect Mary Colter in 1932, the Desert View Watchtower is a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower. The Sante Fe Railroad hired to design the gift shop and rest area specifically to capture the widest possible view of the canyon. She succeeded beyond all expectations. The Watchtower commands a magnificent view of the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert to the east and the San Francisco Peaks to the south. This seventy-foot tower is the highest point on the South Rim. The interior walls of the tower feature murals by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie.

More stories in the Grand Canyon Series include:

Formation of the Grand Canyon
South Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim of the Grand Canyon
Inhabitants of the Grand Canyon
River Rafting the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Railway
Grand Canyon Skywalk
Condors Make a Comeback in the Grand Canyon
Top 10 Things To Do at the Grand Canyon
Legend of Egyptian Artifacts in the Grand Canyon
The Ghost of Crash Canyon
Phantom Ranch at the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
General Visitor Information: 928-638-7888
Backcountry Information Center: 928-638-7875
River Permits Office: 800-959-9164 or 928-638-7843

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