The spectacular Grand Canyon, one of the most beautiful parks in the United States, is a symbol of the extraordinary diversity of landscapes, climates, colors, flora and animal life found in the national parks of the United States.
The visitor who discovers this geological wonder is amazed by these abysses, carved out of a red and gray colored rock.
Symbol of America and an icon among national parks, the Grand Canyon National Park was founded in 1919 to protect the 4927 km² of the canyon carved by the Colorado River. The site is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.
The dimensions of this canyon are truly impressive: 450 km in length between the Lake Powell (a is) e he lago Mead (West). Its width varies between 5,5 km and 30 km. Its depth averages 1300 m and reaches a maximum of more than 2000 m.
The Grand Canyon is an open-air book for geologists: the different rocky layers visible on the sides of the canyon represent very specific geological eras. Those located at the bottom of the canyon formed 2 billion years ago.
How to get to the Grand Canyon
The park is located in the north of Arizona and extends for nearly 5000 km². The Grand Canyon has 2 banks and you generally choose to visit only one of the two. Between the North and South Rim (north rim and south rim) the South Rim is the most touristic. It is common to think that it is one of the two banks with the most spectacular views. One thing is certain, this is the best equipped side and where it is easier to find accommodation.
The south bank is accessible all year round and as we have said it is the best equipped and the most visited. It can be reached from two roads:
- South from I40, then AZ64 (from Williams) or take US 180 (from Flagstaff).
- while to the east from US 89, then AZ64 (Desert View Drive).
There are many in Grand Canyon Village accommodation choices (hotels, campsites, lodges), or you can stay further away in Tusayan.
How to get around the park
A system of Free Shuttle and interconnected connects the different viewpoints and services. The shuttles are of different colors depending on the route taken:
- bus rossi connecting the viewpoints located to the west (Hermits Rest Road)
- blu shuttle that connect the infrastructure of the Grand Canyon Village
- yellow buses connecting the viewpoints east of the Grand Canyon Village
- purple shuttles, only in summer, which connect the Grand Canyon Village to Tusayan.
- desert view (probably the best point),
- Mather Point (here is the visitor center),
- Grandview Point,
- Hopi Point,
- Yavapai Point,
- Shoshone Point,
- Hermits Rest.
All the viewpoints of the south side can be admired by taking the Rim Trail (the route of the whole South Rim).
The north side is wilder and is more than 100km away from any city. This side is only accessible from May until October, while the rest of the year is closed due to snow. On the positive side, the number of tourists is very small (only 10% of all tourists are welcomed) and you can enjoy the wonderful views in peace and solitude.
It can be reached from the US89-Alt and then the AZ67.
The viewpoints on this side are far from each other and can be reached by car. The best walking trails are Widforss Trail, Cliff Springs Trail e Cape Final Trail.
On this side there are only two accommodation options: the Grand Canyon Lodge North e a campsite. For other types of accommodation you have to move away from the Grand Canyon, towards the north you can find accommodation such as Kaibab Lodge o Jacob's Lake.
It is a stretch of the South Rim but is quite distinct from the latter. It is located 150 km west of the Grand Canyon Village and is an area managed by the Hualapai Indians. Surely you will know it for the famous glass and metal structure built over the Grand Canyon: lo Skywalk.
The admission price is $ 30 per vehicle - valid for 7 days.
Il National Parks Pass is accepted ($ 80 - valid for one year for all National Parks, US National Monuments). This Pass allows you to visit the South Rim and North Rim but not the West side, which is owned by the Hualapai Indians.
Buy your pass on Viator
* The link does not always work from smartphones, but if you make the purchase from your computer you will have no problems.
Time needed for a visit
If you want to do only the main viewpoints, one day might be enough but we recommend that you spend a night in the park to admire the sunset and sunrise, unforgettable spectacles.
If you want to go down to the base of the canyon we advise you to spend a night there because the descent and ascent on the same day is very demanding, especially with the high temperatures of summer.
Excursions and Tours
In addition to the visit by car, you can take bus trips, day trips on foot, rafting, tours by plane or by helicopter.Discover all the excursions
Also not to be missed Havasu Falls. Lauded by travelers as one of the Grand Canyon's most beautiful spots, Havasu Falls is a desert oasis, complete with crystal clear waterways and gushing waterfalls that create an almost surreal scene for the canyon's drylands.
The falls are located south of the national park on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. To get there you have to walk about 10 miles, starting from Hualapai Hilltop. Don't go to Havasu Falls if you don't intend to spend the night in a tent. The initial hike to get there is too strenuous to complete in a single day.
South Rim – For the South Rim you can find numerous accommodations at the Grand Canyon Village. There are others in Tusayan. An important tip to follow: choose these two places to sleep if you want to fully enjoy the park, including the sunset.
- Grand Canyon Village hotel
- Hotel a Tusayan
If there is no more space in Grand Canyon Village or Tusayan, it will be necessary to resort to Flagstaff or Williams (trying to favor the latter city) ...
- Hotel a Williams
- Hotel a Flagstaff
North Rim – For the North Rim, the choice is much more limited. There is only one small house: the Grand Canyon Lodge.
In the canyon - For those who walk in the canyon and don't want to camp, they can sleep at Phantom Ranch.
Grand Canyon West – For those who want to sleep in the Grand Canyon West (Skywalk), there is the Hualapai Ranch.
Campsites - Grand Canyon Village, on the south bank, has several campgrounds.
Grand Canyon West – Skywalk
The Hualapai Indian tribe chose this site, at the western end of the Grand Canyon, to build a spectacular attraction on the Grand Canyon: the Skywalk. It is a huge horseshoe-shaped walkway with a glass floor that sits above the Grand Canyon, with nearly 1.300 feet of empty space under its feet.
The primary access to the site is along US93, between Kingman and Las Vegas. Take Pierce Ferry Road for 28 miles, passing Dolan Springs. Then turn right on Diamond Bar Road (which includes a 9 mile long walkable portion of the trail) for 21 miles to reach Grand Canyon West Airport.
There is also another access from Kingman, Stockton Hill Road, which connects to Diamond Bar Road.
From Las Vegas, the trip takes 3 hours. From Grand Canyon Village, 5 hours. You leave your car in the parking lot. Access to the various activities of the places is via shuttles.
In addition to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, the site also consists of 2 famous viewpoints (Eagle Point and Guano Point) and an Indian village.
The Skywalk is primarily a commercial attraction, and the price is higher than other national park attractions.
The site is not part of the Grand Canyon National Park and the National Parks Pass does not allow you to enter the Indian Reservation.
There are 2 packages to enter Grand Canyon West (only the second gives access to Skywalk):
Legacy package: this passage allows access to the Indian reservation, the use of shuttles, access to Eagle Point and Guano Point, visit the Indian Village. Price per person: $ 43,42 ($ 37,14 for children 3 to 11).
Gold package: legacy package + access to Skywalk + a meal. Price per person: $ 80,94.
You will not be allowed to take your camera or video camera to the deck. Your personal items should be placed in the lockers (free).