The Grand Canyon needs little introduction, but even knowing what to expect does little to prepare for you the breathtaking natural splendor of one of the world’s most famous sites. We’ve all seen the astonishing images of the massive mile-deep trench, but it’s easy to forget there’s a whole gargantuan national park to explore, too.
While the two rims of the canyon might be ten miles apart (at their widest) as the crow flies, they’re a couple of hundred by road, so most visitors choose one or the other rim to head for and stick to it. Pick the south side and you’ll be following the crowd, but that does have the benefit of easy access, plenty of services and being the spot where most of those incredible panoramic pictures are snapped.
Head for the north side and you’ll find yourself more isolated, 1,000ft higher and able to explore the wildflower plains that come with the higher altitude. It’s surprising how far from civilization it can feel on ‘the other side’, especially considering the five million annual visitors the national park attracts. Although you can pick out the ant-like figures on across the canyon, it gives a real ‘into the wild’ feel at times.
If you prefer your tourism a little more packaged, the new Grand Canyon Skywalk offers an intimidating new angle on things, allowing you to stroll out over a substantial drop, fighting your vertigo every step of the way. If you’re feeling financially flush, there’s always the magnificent helicopter trip, too.
It’s not all about the Canyon, either. The National Park is home to an incredibly diverse selection of wildlife, including 350 types of bird, 47 different types of reptile and even five types of fish that simply can’t be found anywhere else on earth. While you might well have trouble dragging yourself away from the banks of the Colorado River and its soaring sides, animal lovers will find plenty to ogle if they do.
This iconic sight is one of those ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunities you just don’t want to miss, though, and however you see it, it’s truly captivating.
The North rim is well worth the extra drive. It is higher up with beautiful trees and a pleasant warm by day and cool by night in the summer, and always open then. Summer on the south rim closes and locks their gates when they get enough people there. It is an uncomportable hot in the summer.
Grand Canyon N.P. is a wonderful place. The south rim is a convient drive from Flagstaff. There are many overlooks there but at least half are closed to personal traffic where you have to tak…
Tusayan is a small so-called census-designated place and is not incorporated to a i.e. a village or town as of yet. It is the place closest to the Grand Canyon and as such the main base to st…