From Vegas we headed for the Grand Canyon, with the mandatory stop at the Hoover Dam. This is a solid days drive and a thing to remember is that at the Dam you cross from Nevada into Arizona and loose an hour on a time change to mountain time. We stayed just outside the Grand Canyon National Park at Tusayan. Here there are several motels, a good general store fuel and some restaurants. We stayed at the Best Western which was comfortable and very well appointed including a recreation area and bowling alley downstairs. Being December it was our first taste of a North American Winter with the temperatures dropping to 20 degrees Fahrenheit. By morning there was a light dusting of snow on the ground as we made our up into the park. Arriving at the South Rim Visitors Centre carpark the vista of the canyon had opened up before we even got out of the car.
Walking a few steps to the rim trail the whole magnificence of the Grand Canyon opened up beneath us. You might see things like that on the TV or in pictures but the shear magnitude just took our breath away. I have been fortunate enough to stand in the Himalaya, on the Great Wall of China and the Inca City of Machu Picchu and on each occasion the feeling of awe is the same.
Being the off season we were able to drive ourselves along the Rim Road to Hermits Rest. During the season cars are not permitted past the visitors centre carpark and a shuttle bus service operates. December, while cold, is great viewing with clear air and very few visitors to contend with. The added magic of snow on the rim was a bonus. We spent the full day in the park and after watching the sunset over the canyon headed back to our accommodation for a second night. Your park pass allows unlimited entry and exit from the park for a period of seven days for $US20. If you are visiting a number of federal national parks a yearly pass is worth buying for a cost of $80. That pass allows unlimited access to all federal national parks for a year