Things to do at the Grand Canyon
There’s no doubt that a visit to the majestic, awe-inspiring Grand Canyon is a “bucket list” must. This epic natural wonder is something that you’ll need to see to believe – and even when you’re standing at the canyon’s rim, you might have a hard time accepting that it’s real!
One of the best things about visiting the Grand Canyon is that there is something for everyone. Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer, a natural history buff, or even just a scenic view enthusiast, you can be confident that you’ll have lots to enjoy.
We’ve put together a go-to guide to the best things to do at the Grand Canyon, giving you a handy list of can’t-miss moments and must-have experiences. Plus, we’ve included some tips for traveling to the canyon so that you can plan like a pro. It may have taken the Colorado River several million years to carve out the Grand Canyon, but with our help, you’ll be ready for your dream trip in no time.
What is There to Do at the Grand Canyon?
The Grand Canyon is often described as a “once in a lifetime” experience, but we’ve found that plenty of people end up returning to the park time and time again. With so many things to do at Grand Canyon National Park, you can easily fill several trips with exciting new adventures.
Here are some of our favorite things to see, do, and explore at the Grand Canyon:
1. Take in the views at the South Rim’s numerous vantage points.
Most visitors spend their time at the South Rim, where there are dozens of scenic viewpoints. Each one provides a unique perspective of the canyon, ranging from spectacular panoramic vistas to fascinating angles.
The South Rim is split into three sections, each one providing a different way to experience the Grand Canyon. If you have enough time at the park, we definitely recommend visiting all three – it’s absolutely worth it.
2. Go hiking below the rim.
In addition to walking the South Rim Trail, you can also venture into the canyon itself. There are a variety of hiking trails at the Grand Canyon, ranging from fairly easy day hikes to more difficult, multi-day trips:
- Bright Angel Trail: This popular trail is 9.5 miles long, though the National Park Service doesn’t recommend trying to attempt the entire distance into the canyon and back in a single day (19 miles total). For a shorter hike, consider doing just a portion of this challenging trail. The Indian Garden (9 miles round-trip) and Plateau Point (12 miles round-trip).
- South Kaibab Trail: With plenty of photo-worthy views (including Skeleton Point and Ooh Ahh Point), this is a day hike stretching 7 miles down into the canyon.
3. See the sunset over the canyon.
No matter how many stunning sunsets you’ve seen in your life, none will compare to watching the blazing sun disappear below the rim. Our Grand Canyon tours include a sunset tour option, taking you on a relaxed drive with a wilderness guide and getting you to the perfect vantage point just in time for sundown.
4. Walk along the Trail of Time and visit the Yavapai Museum of Geology.
The Trail of Time is a 1.7-mile walk along the Rim Trail, beginning at the Verkamp’s Visitor Center. As you enjoy the relaxed stroll, you’ll find more than a dozen information panels that detail the geological history of the Grand Canyon. Your educational walk will bring you to the Yavapai Geology Museum, where you can learn about how the Grand Canyon was formed and its role in the region’s history.
5. Book a Hummer tour of the best spots in the park.
There’s so much to see at the canyon, but making it to all the top highlights can be a challenge – unless you’re traveling by Hummer! Our scenic tour gives you a comfortable seat and a professional guide, giving you an enjoyable and easy way to make the most of your trip. We’ll show you some of our favorite spots and hidden secrets and share our knowledge of the canyon’s ancient history, the regional wildlife, and so much more.
6. Soar above the Grand Canyon with an air tour.
Skip the crowds and experience unparalleled views of the Grand Canyon with a combination air and Hummer tour. Even though there are many astounding viewpoints for park visitors, none can compare to seeing the true depths of the canyon from the air. You’ll get the best of both worlds with an on-ground Hummer tour and an overhead flight, with options for various departure points and preferences.
Planning a Trip to the Grand Canyon
Now that you have some ideas for what to do at the Grand Canyon, it’s time to start thinking about your travel itinerary. Whether you’re an Arizona local or visiting us from an international destination, some quick planning can help you make the most of this memorable experience.
We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions about traveling to the Grand Canyon, giving you a handy guide to make planning your trip as easy as possible.
How many days should you spend at the Grand Canyon?
Easily one of the most common questions our team hears is, “Can you do the Grand Canyon in a day?” While it certainly is possible to have an enjoyable experience in just one day, staying for two to three days allows you more time to explore the area – ultimately, it’s completely up to you.
What are the best places to stay near the Grand Canyon?
If you’re searching for hotels near the Grand Canyon, you have a few different options. Many visitors stay in the nearby Grand Canyon Village, and the nearby towns of Tusayan and Williams also have some accommodation options. Or, you could sleep under the stars at one of the campgrounds at the South Rim.
If you stay in Tusayan, park shuttles offer convenient transportation to and from the park. Williams is about an hour away, but the Grand Canyon Railway gives you the option of a unique way to get to the canyon from town.
Do you need tickets for the Grand Canyon?
To enter Grand Canyon National Park, you will need to pay a park fee. The fee is charged per vehicle, except for individual permits for individuals (16 and older) arriving via shuttle, railway, bike, or on foot. You can check the current entrance fees for Grand Canyon National Park here.
Your admission is good for seven days and grants you access to both the North and South Rim. If you’re planning an extended stay in the area, having the option to return to the park is a definite plus.
When is the best time of year to go to the Grand Canyon?
Wondering what the weather is like at the Grand Canyon? It will depend on the time of year you visit, so planning accordingly is always a good idea.
The South Rim is generally open year-round, though there are a few shuttle routes that are paused during the winter months. Although summer is the most popular season to visit the Grand Canyon, it is also very warm (temperatures can climb above 100 degrees in the canyon) and sometimes crowded. During the spring and fall, you can enjoy milder weather and fewer crowds.
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Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
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