Visit the canyon and you’ll experience the wonder created not only by the national icon’s magnificent beauty, by also by the sheer scale of its vastness. Layer upon layer of pink, red, and orange cliffs and hoodoos extend for hundreds of miles — doing proper justice to the marvels of nature.
There are almost as many way to enjoy the canyon as there are stratum in Grand Canyon National Park’s 1.2 million acres. Active visitors can choose from hiking to the bottom of the canyon for a cabin stay at Phantom Ranch, bicycling along the abyss on the South Rim’s Hermit Road, strolling through piñon and ponderosa pine along the Rim Trail, or going for the ultimate bragging rights with a one-day, rim-to-rim trek. Those looking for a more relaxing stay can watch condors soar over the chasm from a rocking chair on the patio of the lodge at the North Rim, listen to the roar of the Colorado River’s Granite Rapid from the Pima Point Overlook, or get their own bird’s eye view of the park from the vantage point of a plane or helicopter.
The canyon will leave you wanting more, whether you have a few hours or a few days to spend in the park. Rafting the Colorado River is one of the most popular multi-day Grand Canyon vacations. This unforgettable trip involves not only heart-pounding rapids, remote waterfalls, and soaring cliff faces, but also long stretches of calm water giving you time to truly appreciate the remote, quiet isolation.
Those with just a few hours in the park will want to take in views from one of the many overlooks. One of our favorites is the spectacular panorama from the East Rim Drive’s Desert View. In addition to the canyon, you’ll spy the winding green Colorado River, the colorful Vermilion Cliffs, and the distant 11,000-foot San Francisco Peaks. Climb to the top of the re-created Anasazi Watchtower for even better vistas.
While camping is popular within the park, those whose tastes run to more the high-end can find a measure of luxury in the historic El Tovar Lodge.
Considered one of the most elegant hotels west of the Mississippi when it was built in 1905, the lodge still offers elegance and charm just steps from the canyon’s edge. Dine on gourmet food in front of its large picture windows and toast to the beauty around you. You may be wearing hiking clothes, but your servers will be sporting tuxedo shirts.