The Grand Canyon is a popular bucket list destination for many travellers. The canyon is located in Arizona near the borders of Utah and Nevada and is about 277 miles long, up to 18 miles across (let that sink in for a moment), and over a mile deep. The layers of exposed red rock show just about 2 billion years of geological history.
I stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon overlooking an incredible amount of space, beauty, and time, and found myself thinking about how tiny and insignificant I am. That’s a great reminder to have every once in a while. It’s like standing in front of a giant backdrop of the best painting you’ve ever seen.
There are a number of ways you can explore the Grand Canyon and listed below are just a few, and if you are looking to find the best viewpoints in the Grand Canyon, get in line. There are a bunch of them.
North/South Rim Tours
I took a day long South Rim bus tour to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. The bus picked us up at our hotel at people-still-walking-back-from-the-bars o’clock and we set off on our day long adventure which included lunch along the way and a roadside stop in Kingman, Arizona.
The bus from Las Vegas isn’t merely a method of transportation. The driver talked to us along the way, telling us interesting facts about the Grand Canyon and pointing out Hoover Dam and other significant areas like the location where a scene from Independence Day was filmed!
It wasn’t until we were driving through the southwest desert of Arizona that my eyes started to water. No, It wasn’t from the dust and dry air. It was because of THE GRAND CANYON! Thankfully, on our way into the park, our bus driver announced to us that it was perfectly normal for some people to tear up a little bit when they saw the canyon.
Standing on the edge of Grand Canyon is an absolutely breathtaking experience. You’re looking miles away at a landscape that seems to be right before your eyes. It’s a great way to remind yourself that you’re an itty bitty speck in this wild, vast world.
The West Rim tour is where you’ll find the Skywalk. The Skywalk is a horseshoe shaped bridge with (get this) a glass floor. If being on the edge of the canyon isn’t enough, you can take the Skywalk tour and feel like your walking on air, ready to drop!
Actually, if you’re afraid of heights, this tour might be just the place for you to overcome that fear. The Skywalk shows a great perspective as you can walk right above the canyon without any visual obstructions.
Image via Flikr
How do you decide which rim to visit? Most people visit the South Rim. The South Rim is open all year and easier to get to from most locations. Easy access also means more tourists so it’s up to you to decide which rim is best for you to explore.
Taking a helicopter tour over the canyon is a great option if you want to be able to see the whole thing. It’s certainly a thrilling experience and you’ll get ‘the big picture’.
The helicopter tours are especially convenient if you aren’t up to walking around for hours in the Arizona sun.
If being on the water looking up at the layered rock walls is how you want to experience the canyon then there are lots of different boating tours to consider. What a way to do it!
Part of the 1,450-mile Colorado River runs through the Grand Canyon and allows adventure seekers the chance to experience the Grand Canyon from the water. You can float around in a river boat, take a guided boat tour, or, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, go white water rafting!
Standing on the edge, at over a mile away, the Colorado River is pretty hard to see from certain areas. For an up close look at the river, one of the many boat tours is the way to go.
If you’re feeling adventurous but would rather spend your time on dry land, maybe an ATV tour is for you!
The ATV tours will take you to visit some of the hard to reach areas of the canyon and allow you to whip around and fully experience the rush of excitement that comes with being surrounded by this vast and historical bit of nature.
Please be careful. I was “one of them”. I was one of tourists yelling at strangers to step away from the edge. When I wanted a picture, I literally crawled the the edge and crawled back again. I’m such a daredevil.
Camp and explore on your own
If the offered tours don’t seem like enough time (and really, they aren’t) you can camp right in the park and explore the Grand Canyon at your own pace.
Keep in mind that if you choose to take a tour, there are many that offer a mix of options! There are helicopter rides that will drop you off to do some rafting, tours that include hiking and camping, and some will even include a limo ride on The Strip in Las Vegas before heading out for the drive across the desert.
Do your research ahead of time to decide which tour is best for you. This is absolutely worth splurging on! Now is not the time to be frugal!
Have you explored the Grand Canyon?
Tell me about your adventure in the comment section!