Without a doubt, the Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic landmarks in the world. Approximately five million people from across the globe visit each year, exploring the canyon, the Colorado River and the numerous other sights the Grand Canyon National Park offers.
If you only have 24 hours to spend at the Grand Canyon National Park, then you’ll have lots to fit in. If you have 48 hours to make the most of, you have a little more freedom in your choices. Where should you start? How can you make it a trip you’ll never forget, regardless of the time you have at your disposal?
Read on for a few of our ideas from Toscana of Desert Ridge team.
What could be more thrilling than taking in one of the most stunning vistas on the planet from a helicopter? That’s right – visitors can charter helicopters for an exciting trip through normally-inaccessible valleys and swooping along the surface of the beautiful Colorado River. Knowledgeable and engaging pilots will keep you informed and answer your questions, so you’ll also pick up a little education on the fly.
Riding a Mule around the Rim
Another fantastic way to explore the park is to enjoy a mule ride on either the canyon’s north or south rim (the north rim is only available for mule rides in the summer). You can ride one of these beautiful animals for a couple of hours as you explore, and regular rest stops allow you to enjoy the views and learn about the park’s history.
While cycling around the park is not everyone’s idea of a relaxing time, it really is incredible. You can rent a bike from the South Rim or Desert View visitor centers, and take in the sights at your own pace. Maps are free, and guided tours are available, so you can explore alone or let an expert show you the way. Whichever method you choose, just be sure to follow your map and keep away from the edges!
The above ideas are a great way to spend 24 hours at the Grand Canyon – you’ll see plenty of the park, see the canyon from various angles, and learn about the landscape’s rich, fascinating history. You’ll also get to see a striking sunset to remember forever before you leave.
But what about if you have more time to play with? If you have 48 hours, here’s a few more ideas to explore:
Rafting on the Colorado River
This is an amazing way to get closer to this great river, and to get right into the heart of the park. While more experienced rafters can organize their own trips (so long as you have a permit and all essential gear), it might be best for amateurs to use one of the organized trips available. As you pass along the river, you’ll get to see the canyon and the rest of the park from some terrific angles – and have an absolute blast while you do.
Hike the Bright Angel Trail
While this is a long hike (it will take one full day of your two), it offers some stunning views. At just over six miles long (from the Bright Angel Lodge based in Grand Canyon Village, up to Plateau Point), this can be pretty tough on inexperienced hikers, but the views of the Colorado River at Plateau Point make it all worth it. Mules can be hired to make this a little easier, and the trail will be kept to just one day instead.
Visit the Havasu Falls
This is a beautiful sight: a desert oasis with stunning falls and waterways, lying to the south of the Havasupai Indian Reservation. To reach the falls, visitors need to hike approximately 10 miles, from the Hualapai Hilltop – a long walk, demanding a night’s camping. Anyone unwilling to do this is advised to avoid this, as the hike is too much to try in just one day.
Explore the South Rim
The Rim Trail is hugely popular with visitors, and offers one of the best ways to discover the South Rim’s key attractions and views (including Hopi Point and Maricopa Point). The trail starts at Pipe Creek Vista and finishes at the Hermit’s Rest, just to the west of the Grand Canyon Village. Don’t feel like walking? No problem – a shuttle bus follows the trail, and stops at the various points, including the village.