Travel Tips & Adventures

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Travel to …a big hole in the ground

Well, really, that’s what the Grand Canyon is: It is a one-mile hole in the ground that is over a mile above sea level that stretches for nearly 300 miles.  But it is vast and a testament to what nature can do over the eons of time that the earth has evolved.

Grand Canyon - just a very small part of the vast view

A trip to the Grand Canyon is a “must see” when you travel out West in the USA.  Arizona recognizes it as one of its finest attractions by designating itself the “Grand Canyon State” on license plates.Most people drive or come by bus to see nature’s show.  It is a drive from Flagstaff (80 miles) or Williams (59 miles), but can also be reached by the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, a fun trip.

Upon arrival during the main summer tourist season, expect to park in the lot at the South Rim and use shuttle buses to get you to the viewing areas.

Mather Point is a focal point for viewing, but anywhere along the South Rim Trail is a great place to settle in for views.  (I found Mather Point to be overwhelming with tourists who were all jockeying for position to get “the” photo shot of all time.)

Grand Canyon view

Calming walking along the paved path the skirts the rim, I found spectacular views, including some views of the Colorado River ‘way down below. Close to dusk, we were edging down the South Rim trailhead, just trying to get photos from different vantage points when we were stopped by a Parks Ranger who told us we could not go any further at that time of day.  They are protective of people, since the path can be treacherous.  People do take mule rides down the trails, but late in the day, they keep people in “civilization.”

Grand Canyon with Colorado River way below

Grand Canyon at dusk

Food and Lodging

There are restaurants at the Park’s South Rim, but they are of the hewn wood and rustic variety.  There are landmarks like the El Tovar Hotel that have been around for over a century (which was refurbished a dozen years ago), as well as Bright Angel Lodge, Kachina and Thunderbird Lodges, Maswik Lodge, and Yavapai Lodge.  All of the previous have some form of dining facility.

If you are the intrepid sort and plan the strenuous hike to the Grand Canyon’s floor and need a rest stop, Phantom Ranch is the respite for those travelers.  (Reserve meals before you attempt the trip.) We did not attempt this long hike, which we understood could only be accessed by mule, hiking or river rafting.

Grand Canyon at nightfall

We recommend that you allow a day to hike around the various vantage points, take zillions of photos, and visit the various historic hotels for rest stops, food and souvenirs.

While in the Area…

We were impressed with the Grand Canyon, but if you are in the Southwest, we also highly recommend a side trip to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park in Southern Utah.  Canyonlands is also vast and amazing, as well as Arches National Park. (See our other blogs on these national parks.  Just enter the name in the “search” box.)

Our favorite? – I’ve been twice – is Bryce Canyon.

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One Response to “Travel to …a big hole in the ground”

  1. admin Says:

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