There is nothing like watching the sun rise above the immense Grand Canyon on a crisp Arizona morning. The colors of the sky above and rocks below come together to make for an remarkable view. Of course, there’s more to see at the Grand Canyon than the sunrise. Here are some tips for a great Grand Canyon visit.
The south rim of the Grand Canyon has hiking trails for those of all skill types. The Rim Trail has a long paved, flat portion from Maricopa to Yavapai point, which provides excellent viewpoints along the entire stretch. You may want to stop along the way at Mathers Point, which offers excellent overlooks, although those afraid of heights may fear the unobstructed view of the canyon. Yavapai Observation Center is another great place to stop for a 360 degree view of the canyon. (Note that both Mathers Point and Yavapai are recommended as excellent sunrise viewing points) More adventurous hikers can take the Bright Angel Trail either part or all of the way into the canyon. It’s recommended that those who plan to venture to the bottom of the canyon stay overnight at either the Phantom Ranch or the Bright Creek Campground as the 19-mile round-trip hike is much too strenuous for a day-hike. Mule rides are also an option for getting to the bottom of the canyon – note that there are requirements for riding the mules as riders must not be visably pregnant, be below 200 lbs, and above 4’7″ in order to ride the mules.
If you plan to stay overnight at the Grand Canyon (and don’t plan to make the long trip to the bottom), make sure to stay at one of the many lodges in the park in order to maximize the time that you spend there. The Maswik Lodge is the value pick, with nightly rates starting under $80. The rooms in the Maswik South section are not air-conditioned, which isn’t a problem if your visit is during the cooler spring, fall, and winter months. Although the rooms are described as “rustic,” they are pleasantly decorated and as big rooms at any rival hotel. The lodge is a short walk from the Rim Trail and is along the main shuttle route through the park, making it convenient to all of the sites. And if you do plan to see the sunrise at the Grand Canyon, this convenience will allow you to sleep in an extra half hour and still make it out to see the amazing morning colors.
The Grand Canyon is a great trip for all types of travelers. If you do make it to the area, consider making a trip to some of the other nearby sites, including Sedona, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon National Park. The red rocks and beautiful landscape will certainly provide for a relaxing vacation.