10 Ways to Discover the Grand Canyon

March 10, 2010

Are you planning a trip to the Grand Canyon but don’t know what kind of activities there are to see and do once you reach the Grand Canyon?

If you are planning to visit the Grand Canyon either as a 1-Day-Activity or if you wish to make a week of it, there are plenty of options.

Here are 10 ways to explore the Grand Canyon. Many people could easily spend all day just looking at this magical wonder, but there are other ways you can enjoy the mighty Grand Canyon.

If you do not have a lot of time, it’s still possible to enjoy the Grand Canyon; you may just feel a little rushed. If you leave early and prepare yourself for a long day, it can be done.

If you are a traveler who has a little extra time, you would likely appreciate taking that extra day or two and view the other sightseeing attractions as you make your way to the Grand Canyon.

Many visitors spend the night in another town, such as Sedona, Arizona, where the beauty of the red-rock will astound you. If you choose to drive from the Phoenix, Arizona metropolitan area, plan on about 4.5 hours of travel time to get to the Grand Canyon.

If you decide to stay in Flagstaff before traveling to Grand Canyon National Park, it is approximately 80 miles away, which should take about an hour and a half to drive there. If you stay in Sedona, the Canyon is about a two-hour drive.

The Grand Canyon National Park offers a free shuttle at the South Rim in Grand Canyon Village, along Hermit Road. Note that these shuttles provide transportation only and are not considered tour buses. (Bus Tours are available, however.)

You are required to exit the bus to view the Canyon. Also note that if you have physical challenges, most shuttles are inaccessible to wheelchairs.

Here are 10 excellent ways to explore the Grand Canyon.

1. Go boating or rafting. There are plenty of companies who are willing to take you on a very specialized tour-guided river experience inside the Grand Canyon. If you choose to go rafting, though, keep in mind that the water can get a little rough at times, but you will certainly be in good hands with your tour guide and required life jacket.

If you are timid about water, consider the fact that the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon is said to be one of the wildest stretches of white water in the United States.

2. Go hiking. Many hiking trails exist throughout the area. The South Rim is where the most popular hike is. The name of this trail on the South Rim is named Bright Angel Trail, located near Grand Canyon Village.

On the North Rim, the most popular hiking trail is North Kaibab. (No permit is required here.)

No permit is needed for day hiking, but you will need a permit if you choose to camp inside the Grand Canyon, as dictated by the National Park Service.

The most popular backpacking site is the Bright Angel Campground. Bright Angel Campground is located at the end of Bright Angel Trail.

3. If you are not afraid of heights, you can always try out the new Grand Canyon Skywalk which recently opened this past spring! The Skywalk is officially open from dawn to dusk, seven days a week. It first opened March 28, 2007, and from all accounts, is something very special and exciting.

4. Take a helicopter or a mule ride inside the Canyon. You will find several companies who will give you a bird’s eye view down inside the Canyon.

The Grand Canyon Skywalk is the first walkway to suspend more than 4,000 feet above the Canyon floor. It extends 70 feet from the rim and is located at Grand Canyon West’s Eagle Point.

5. Take a helicopter ride. Tours originate at either the Grand Canyon Airport, five miles south of the park entrance or in Sedona.

6. Drive to the South Rim and park your car and walk to the edge of the Grand Canyon. If you don’t like large groups, or if you just prefer doing things on your own time, you certainly have this option.

7. You can access the Grand Canyon Railway train for some fun, too. Sit back and relax! Jump the train in Williams, Arizona, where it will escort you precisely to Grand Canyon Village.

8. Take a bus tour. Many tour companies are available for your tour to the Grand Canyon.

9. Take a Jeep Tour. If you like the wilderness, you will find that these Jeep tours are a great way to take in limitless nature along with Native American Indian history, culture and more.

10. Settle for an Audio Tour. You can also opt for your own personal guide on a CD. These are also available to visitors and provide a learning experience at every listeners own pace.