If you go through the south entrance, which most visitors do, your first contact will be the Visitor Center and Mather Point. It is beautiful, but it is not the most impressive point of view, nor the most pleasant. In summer, it is sometimes the crush. If you have little time in front of you, go to Grand Canyon Village. You will find other views of the canyon, as well as iconic buildings like the El Tovar hotel or the studio lookout. A visit to www.grandcanyondestinations.com makes things perfect now.
For the greediest, several possibilities will be offered to you with a large number of points of view. To drain visitors, the National Park Service has developed a free shuttles system quite sharp and some roads and views are only accessible by shuttles. Here’s what you can do then:
Hermits Road: This road, to the west of the village, is only accessible by shuttle bus or on foot during the high season. It offers superb views like Hopi Point or Pima Point. It takes an afternoon to make a few views by shuttle and return to the starting point.
Desert View Drive: aside from going to Yaki Point, this 40km road does not require a shuttle. The track allows you to go to the East entrance and then go on Page or Monument Valley. Along Desert View Drive, there are several interesting points of view: Grandview Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point and our favorite, Desert Watchtower. It also takes half a day to make the views and come back.
Hikes: If you exclude the Rim Trail, which allows you to walk along the Rim, all the hikes Grand Canyon South Rim take you to the bottom of the canyon. And we must take great precautions, both in terms of your preparation and your behavior on the trail, especially in summer. In short, there is no easy hike here. You can still do a little end of the Bright Angel Trail and go back on the same day.
How much time to devote to the Grand Canyon?
It all depends on what you come looking for. Often, a day and a night are enough to savor some points of view. No need to do them all, you risk disgust. Bet on the most beautiful Hopi, Mojave, Yaki, Abyss, Moran, Grandview, Lipan, Desert Watchtower and a sunset. By cons, if you plan to hike a bit what you are advised to see the Grand Canyon otherwise and quieter, extend your stay. The Grand Canyon deserves that direction the big, the unique, the mythical Grand Canyon. But before we get there, we still have to see Zion National Park.
Zion or misunderstanding
We had read a lot of testimonials extolling Zion Park and so when choosing between Zion and Brice Canyon, we opted for the first. So we arrived at the entrance to the park with high expectations vis-à-vis the place for a visit that left us a bitter taste.
Zion is beautiful, but far from the incredible landscapes described in the many articles we had read. After the fact, we wonder if the park is not more indicated for the big walkers, who will be able to benefit from the panoramas offered by some well-known trails of the park. But as a family, it’s really not the best park to do.