What to do at the Grand Canyon?
Any list of what to do at the Grand Canyon could last for pages and pages. There are so many things to do here that it’s hard to know where to start or where to end. Nevertheless, we know that you don’t have unlimited time. We’re not mind readers, but based on our past experiences, you’re probably just looking for a few brief tips on what to do at the Grand Canyon so that you can book a few tours and then get on with the rest of your day. If that’s the case for you, read carefully. Our list of what to do at the Grand Canyon isn’t much longer than a single printed page, and yet, it has tons of useful information that will allow you to maximize your time at northern Arizona’s legendary gorge.
Great ideas for your next Grand Canyon vacation
Our first “what to do at the Grand Canyon” recommendation is to go hiking at the Grand Canyon. Whether you’re on the search for an easy day hike or an intense, weeklong backpacking trip, there’s something here for you. The simplest journey at the South Rim is to walk along the Rim Trail, which is mostly paved and flat, and offers panoramic vistas in abundance! For something slightly more intense, go hiking down the Bright Angel or South Kaibab Trails; they’re steeper than the Rim Trail, but manageable given a few hours of time. Alternatively, experienced desert hikers may want to hike from the North Rim to the South Rim, and that’s certainly possible, too. If that’s you, we strongly recommend that you hire a tour guide and give yourself a minimum of three days for the journey.
Next on our list of what to do at the Grand Canyon is to take an air tour. There are few things quite as remarkable as soaring over its mind-numbing depths, rugged rocks, and the rushing Colorado River. If you choose a helicopter tour rather than an airplane tour, then you may even get the once-in-a-lifetime experience of descending to the floor of the Grand Canyon for more up-close viewing. After all, it’s one thing to look down on the canyon from above, and a whole other thing to look up from 4,000 ft. within the Earth’s depths! Many air tours are available from Phoenix and Las Vegas, respectively.
Third is to tour the South Rim. On a motorcoach or van, you can weave along the edge of the Grand Canyon, and stop every few miles or so for a dramatic vista. This is true whether you head west along Hermit Road to Hopi Point, one of the best places to soak up a sunrise or a sunset; or you head east along the Desert View Drive to the Desert View Watchtower, a 70-ft.-tall stone structure that offers unparalleled views in all directions. On the South Rim, as well, is the Historic Grand Canyon Village; there, you can check out a number of 100-year-old structures, such as the Kolb and Lookout Studios, and the Bright Angel Lodge.
Our fourth recommendation for what to do at the Grand Canyon is to explore Toroweap. This northern section of the gorge offers an outstanding opportunity to get away from the crowds, and to ride over some untamed turf in a 4×4. The Grand Canyon is very vertically oriented here, since the canyon walls are steeper and closer together than elsewhere; so even though Toroweap’s only about 3,000 ft. down to the Colorado River, it will appear much deeper and more treacherous!
Our fifth and final tip on what to do at the Grand Canyon is to go for a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway. While technically this doesn’t take place at the canyon, it does end there. The train ride from Williams, Arizona, to the Grand Canyon lasts over two hours, and every minute of it is entertaining. The view from out your window is sure to leave you breathless, as tall trees and mountains crop up in the near and far horizons, while the musicians within the train will have you tapping your foot and humming along to songs from a bygone era.
That’s it! And now that you’ve read this article, we’re pretty sure you don’t have to ask what to do at the Grand Canyon anymore. For more information, Grand Canyon Tours