5 Activities You Can Do at the Grand Canyon
What experiences are on your “bucket list” of things to do before you die? Run a marathon? Swim with sharks? Visit the Grand Canyon? If that last one piqued your interest, then you’re not alone.
More than six million visitors descend on the Grand Canyon every year, with millions more dreaming of seeing this natural wonder. Even seasoned travelers end up lost for words at the sight of the Grand Canyon’s expanses of gorges and rock formations dating back millions of years. But what kinds of activities at the Grand Canyon should you consider doing when you get there? Let’s take a look at some popular options!
Take a Tour of Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend aren’t technically in the Grand Canyon National Park. But both are within driving distance, making them must-stop destinations on a memorable highlights trip of the area.
If you’re staying in Las Vegas, your best option is a 2-day Grand Canyon Antelope Canyon Tour, which will pick you up right from your hotel. You’ll then visit some of the most spectacular destinations in the southwest desert. These include the Grand Canyon National Park, Hoover Dam, Horseshoe Bend, and Lower Antelope Canyon.
Although it is possible to explore Horseshoe Bend on your own, you can only visit Antelope Canyon with a guided tour reservation. This ensures that the unique geological winding structure of red and orange tunnels remains free from vandalism and that visitors can safely explore it on foot.
You’ll also gain insight into how Antelope Canyon developed while you photograph every angle and corner of it. Because trust us, you won’t stop snapping photos for a second once you see this marvel for yourself!
Enjoy the Sights Along the South Rim
Although this is where you’ll find the vast majority of visitors, the South Rim is also where most of the well-known activities at the Grand Canyon are located. Attractions on the South Rim include Grand Canyon Village, various trails, Mather Point, and the Yavapai Geology Museum. You’ll also find an RV park and campsites along this route, giving you plenty of opportunities to stop off and rest for the night between hikes if you want to make a longer trip of it.
Families with young children will find that many lookout points and paths are manageable enough for kids. Visitors who use wheelchairs can also enjoy a lot of this section of the canyon thanks to increased accessibility along the route.
As for specific must-see spots, Mather Point is the first view many visitors get of the Grand Canyon, making it one of the most popular and photographed places in the park. This can mean it’s often a little crowded, but it’s well worth waiting to get the perfect shot. If weather conditions are good, you can see for up to 30 miles to the east and 60 miles to the west!
Ride a Mule Along the Bright Angel Trail
This steep trail starts west of the Bright Angel Lodge in Grand Canyon Village and extends to Plateau Point, offering some great views of the Colorado River along the way. But, at a little more than 15 miles long, Bright Angel Trail is a lot to attempt in one day unless you’re an experienced trekker.
For this reason, many visitors take advantage of the option to travel the Bright Angel Trail by mule. This unique Grand Canyon experience usually involves an overnight stay in Phantom Ranch and a lunch break at Indian Garden. That said, there are various ride lengths at all kinds of price points so it’s worth checking which option suits you best if you want to travel along the Bright Angel Trail this way.
Explore the North Rim
The North Rim is full of isolated trails and sparse facilities. This tends to put off many of the tourist mainstream, especially those with small children. But don’t think this means there’s nothing to see here.
While facilities are few and far between along the North Rim, there’s no shortage of rugged scenery and stunning views of the Grand Canyon. All this is ideal for nature purists who want to beat the crowds and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere that’s hard to find along many of the South Rim.
You can still expect to see other tourists at busy times of the year. And it’s worth noting that the North Rim is only open between May and October. All this makes it imperative to book accommodation around a year in advance to guarantee a room.
You’ll then have plenty of time to visit popular spots, including Bright Angel Point, with its views of the Roaring Springs and the highest point on the North Rim, 8,803-foot Point Imperial.
Go Rafting on the Colorado River
A rafting trip down the Colorado River is ideal for anyone who wants to experience the Grand Canyon from a different point of view. Options include family-friendly options through Glen Canyon and more intense day trips between Diamond Creek and Lake Mead for those with kayak experience and solid whitewater skills.
There are even multi-day trips for anyone looking for a more extensive rafting adventure. Although many tour companies only offer oar and paddle boat tours, you’d need to be confident in your skills to book one of these. Or, if you’d prefer to take it easy while you take in the scenery, some tour operators also offer motorized raft tours.
Great Activities to Enjoy at the Grand Canyon
The true draw of the Grand Canyon is all about enjoying the views from various vantage points. But, whether you decide to hike along the South or the North Rim, head out to Antelope Canyon, or raft along the Colorado River, there’s never any chance that the views will be anything but spectacular.
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