Standing along the rim of the Grand Canyon is an experience that everyone should have at least once. It makes the enormity of nature apparent, all the while giving you the feeling that anything is possible. The Grand Canyon was formed by the Colorado River, which has forged through rock for millions of years to create a 1 mile high cliff on either side of the river, exposing breathtaking layers of vibrantly colored and aged rock. The coloring of the Grand Canyon, located in Arizona, will be a very unique sight for anyone outside of the U.S. southwestern area. There are not many attractions in this world that are more awe-inspiring in person than on TV. The Grand Canyon is a marvel and must be absorbed to appreciate its monolithic presence and energy.
Grand Canyon Divisions – North Rim, South Rim, East Rim, West Rim
Both the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon National Park have summer temperatures between 70-80 degrees; however, in the gorge – near the Colorado River – the temperatures are similar to the neighboring deserts sometimes reaching into the 100s. This is due to the difference in elevation. Ninety percent of people who visit the Grand Canyon choose the South Rim as their destination because it is more family friendly with its hotels, lodgings, shops, tours, and milder hiking routes.
Additionally, The Grand Canyon is open year-round, 24-hours a day.
However, the true adventurer – with hiking experience – may choose to visit the North Rim as the trails will offer a greater challenge. Although the North Rim is only open during certain times of the year, the canyons, colors and crevasses can be more evident and beautiful from this angle. However, because of the angled view of the Grand Canyon from the North Rim, views of the Colorado River are not as plentiful as they are from the South Rim.
The West Rim is not a part of the Grand Canyon National Park system and is located on the Hualapia Indian Reservation. However, tours are still available outside of the Park’s jurisdiction.
The East Rim is located on the eastern side of the North Rim – obviously and the reason people think to travel out this far is for the sensational sunsets. Anthony Pierpont says, “There are beautiful views of the sunset from the East Rim which makes it a photographer’s nirvana. However, there are no designated places to camp, so it is best to take a vehicle to the East Rim and plan to return to base camp at the end of the day.”
Things to Do in Grand Canyon National Park – An Overview by World Traveler Anthony Pierpont
There is an admission fee to enter Grand Canyon National Park, but it is fairly inexpensive, only $25 for one car for an entire week. Plus, because the Grand Canyon is in a national park, there are organized campsites, lodgings, tours, restaurants, and gift shops. Of course taking tours and adventuring around the park to see the most beautiful angles of the canyon will take up most of your time. Many visitors pre-plan tours and backpacking trails before they ever arrive at the Grand Canyon. Anthony Pierpont advises, “If you are going during the peak time of the year – the summer – you should be sure to make all of your reservations for hotels and tours in advance. And brings loads if film or compact memory discs”
Grand Canyon Top Tours
The Grand Canyon can be appreciated from a variety of angles, but one that is sure to cause awe is from the top. To really appreciate the Canyon from the top, you can take a helicopter tour. Many companies offer Grand Canyon helicopter tours, some that include combinations of the helicopter ride and hiking, horseback riding, or river rafting.
Experiencing the Grand Canyon Closer-Up
If renting a helicopter is out of your budget, there are many other options such as hiking, mule tours, horseback riding, rafting, and backpacking. If you would like to go with a tour guide, you can find many packages over the Internet and with the Grand Canyon National Park. The Grand Canyon railroad has a railway that travels from Williams, Arizona to the Grand Canyon National Park allowing you to see the Canyon as well as parts of scenic Arizona. While rafting tours can also be a bit pricy, they also last much longer, a typical rafting tour can last anywhere from half a day to three weeks but do you the justice of experiencing millions of years of glacier work performed on the rock above. Hikers and backpackers with much experience may chose to explore the area solely on their feet and set up camps along the way. However, keep in mind, whether you are hiking for a few hours or a few days, that physical activity will be more strenuous on the rims because of the altitude. Additionally, it takes twice as long to get back up to the rim to where you started than it does to go down.