The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon in Arizona is a popular attraction in the Southwest that everyone should go see. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is located about 230 miles north of Phoenix and 80 miles north of Flagstaff. The North Rim is located 352 miles north of Phoenix and 210 miles north of Flagstaff. Approximately 4 million people a year get to experience the Grand Canyon and all of its many activities. The Canyon is close to 300 miles long with the river going through it, it gets 18 miles wide and it is about a mile deep.Grand Canyon South Rim

There are many ways to experience the Grand Canyon. The visitor center and museum are the most visited on the more popular South Rim. There is also the option of being able to stop at the overlooks in your car. If you are just hoping to see it from above there is plenty of hiking along the rim with views down into the canyon. When I went there I was lucky enough to be able to hike down into the Canyon down the Bright Angel Trail. I went about halfway down into the canyon and then went back up. It is not recommended to go all the way down and back up the trail in a short period of time. Too many hikers don’t pack enough water and suffer from heat exhaustion or are affected by the altitude change. We had plenty of water for our trip, but there was a storm coming in so I had to turn back and head up the trail.

Another great way to see the Grand Canyon is on the back of a mule. It is a very popular choice as mules are very hardy animals. They can carry very heavy loads and they handle the up and down very well. Grand Canyon RaftingAlso, unlike horses, mules’ eyes are positioned on their head so they can see all four feet – making them a safe choice for narrow canyon trails. They used mules when they were building Phantom Ranch. They would use them to carry their materials and supplies down to the bottom of the canyon. The Phantom Ranch is the only man made accommodation at the bottom of the canyon. Otherwise, you have to make camp. There is lodging, food and an excellent view of the river and up to the top of the canyon.

One of the most challenging ways to see the Grand Canyon is to float down the Colorado River on a raft. This is a very popular way but is very hard and requires being put on a waiting list for 1 or 2 years to get on with a guide company, depending on how busy it is. There is also the option to cut the trip in half and hike out from Phantom Ranch. There is also the option to do a non-commercialized trip, which requires a permit that you can only get from their weighted lottery – often taking 3-4 years to win a permit. The most important thing to do is to pick your time of when you might want to go and get on the waiting list.

Another option for seeing the Grand Canyon is by helicopter tour. It is probably the best way to see the entire canyon. There are several different options of helicopter tour companies to choose from. One of them, called the All American Grand Canyon Helicopter flight, leaves from Las Vegas and you get to fly over Lake Mead and the famous Hoover Dam. Once you get to the Grand Canyon they take you down to the bottom of the Canyon for a champagne picnic. The Grand Canyon Ultimate Helicopter Adventure offers a pontoon boat ride on the Colorado River once you get down to the bottom of the canyon. There are many other options that the helicopter tour guides offer.

Any way that you choose to see the Grand Canyon will be a wonderful experience. It is one of the coolest places I have ever been to. It is great to be able to get there and appreciate one of the many wonders that this world has to offer.

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