Grand Canyon

By George Christopher Thomas, Travel Writer

Just 6 hours by car, and one hour by plane, Arizona and the Grand Canyon is a great destination for the entire family. Whether you are making it a road trip, or are flying into Phoenix, get the sunscreen packed and grab a few extra rolls of film. Anyone living in Los Angeles has no excuse to not visit the Grand Canyon.

It is one of the seven wonders of the natural world, and is really really big. Now when they named it the “Grand Canyon,” they weren’t joking around. Notice it is not named the kinda large canyon, or the big canyon, or the small canyon. It is the Grand Canyon. Almost 5 million people see the Grand Canyon each year, and they mostly visit the South Rim. However, the often less crowded and more remote North Rim might tickle your fancy.

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon

The South Rim is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The North Rim is only open from mid-May to mid-October. I suggest getting in as much as you can, and pre-plan some activities so if you come during the summer rush, you are guaranteed your mule ride down into the canyon, and your reservations at the famous restaurants in town. In 1886, C. A. Higgins said “The spectacle is so symmetrical, and so completely excludes the outside world and its accustomed standards, it is with difficulty one can acquire any notion of its immensity.”

If you have never been to the Grand Canyon, there is no way to possibly fathom how gigantic and magnificent it is, pictures do not do justice to eyewitness experience of the splendor. The least crowded time is November through February. Take into mind the elevation level – if you suffer from breathing or heart problems, you may experience difficulties.

Things To Do Contributed by There are many ways to experience Grand Canyon. Individual interests, available time, and the weather can all influence a visit. The following are suggestions to assist you in personalizing your Grand Canyon experience.

South Rim

Hermit Road – Ride the free shuttle bus from the Village route transfer stop for the eight mile, one-way trip. Allow at least two hours roundtrip. Views of the river at Hopi, Mohave, and Pima Points. Visit Hermits Rest historic landmark with a view of the river. Road is closed to private vehicles.

Desert View Drive – Tour by private vehicle or commercial bus this scenic 25 mile, oneway drive. Views of river at Moran Point, Lipan Point, and at Desert View. May exit the park to the east to Cameron and Hwy. 89.

Visit an Information Center or Museum – The park offers a variety of museums and information centers that house exhibits and provide park information. Hiking – Walk part of the Rim Trail, day hike the canyon or backpack overnight below the rim. Attend free Interpretive Ranger Programs — Participate in Junior Ranger Program — Participate in a Grand Canyon Field Institute learning adventure. An Accessibility Guide for visitors with limited mobility is available at the Visitor Center at Canyon View Information Plaza.

North Rim

Facilities are open mid-May to mid-October only. North Rim Visitor Center – located adjacent to the parking lot on Bright Angel Peninsula. Park and regional information, maps, brochures, exhibits, and bookstore. Interpretive programs offered seasonally.

Grand Canyon West’s Skywalk

Recently opened, this is a not-for-the-faint-of-heart cantilever shaped glass walkway that suspends over 4,000ft above the canyon’s floor and extends 70 feet from the canyon’s rim. 120 people will be allowed on the bridge at a time. Admittance is first come, first serve for walk up visitors; however, reservations can be made. www.grandcanyonskywalk. com.

Did you know? Although first afforded Federal protection in 1893 as a Forest Reserve and later as a National Monument, Grand Canyon did not achieve National Park status until 1919, three years after the creation of the National Park Service. Today Grand Canyon National Park receives close to five million visitors each year – a far cry from the annual visitation of 44,173 which the park received in 1919. The Grand Canyon is part of the National Park Service and is operated by the United States Department of the Interior. Call General Visitor Information: (928) 638-7888

By daryl

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