Visiting the Grand Canyon is one of those experiences everyone should get the chance to do at least once. I have only seen it once but the over-whelming awe that you experience when you are there is something that stays with you forever. Whether you arrive by car, fly over in a small plane or helicopter or even ride a mule down the trails, it is something you will always be glad you did. The options for seeing the Grand Canyon are endless. You can take Helicopter Tours, Airplane Tours, Bus Tours, Hiking Tours, Jeep Tours, Rafting Tours. You can even arrange tours that are a Combination of all the other tours.
The Grand Canyon is over 277 miles long so it’s important to determine what areas of the canyon are best suited to your travel plans. Because the Grand Canyon covers such a vast area, there are 4 different “rims” – the South Rim, Grand Canyon West, Grand Canyon East, and the North Rim. Each rim allows you to view the canyon from a different vantage point. Which rim is best for your vacation needs should depend on several factors:
- Time of year you plan to visit
- Is this your first time visiting
- Who will be traveling with you and their interests
- How much time will you have to spend
- What activities will you want to experience
Touring the Grand Canyon by mule remains one of the most popular ways to see the national park. Tour companies are limited to 10,000 annual trips from the South Rim and 8,000 from the North Rim. Grand Canyon mules are outfitted with special saddles designed specifically for their job of taking tourists down the canyon.
From the South Rim you will be able to experience the Grand Canyon from 2 dozen viewpoints, each offering their own unique views, and many that allow you to view all the way down to the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon South Rim is often chosen by first-time visitors for its abundance of visitor services and family activities.
Most accessible from Las Vegas is Grand Canyon West and the Grand Canyon Skywalk. The Glass Skywalk, often referred to as the glass skybridge, is the main attraction at Grand Canyon West. Grand Canyon West is located on the Hualapai Indian Tribal land and is not part of the Grand Canyon National Park.
Grand Canyon East is home to a hidden treasure – The Little Colorado River Tribal Park. This is the area of the Grand Canyon that Nik Wallenda walked over. Also located here is Horseshoe Bend where you can have your photo taken that shows the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River in the background.
Grand Canyon North Rim has a short visitor season and receives only about 1/10 the number of visitors of the South Rim. The North Rim is 1,000 feet higher in altitude and about 10 degrees cooler, which allows for a much different plant and animal life. The North Rim is only open mid-May through mid-October due to heavy snowfall during the winter.
Whatever Grand Canyon region you decide upon, you will have a wide range of choices regarding accommodations in the towns and villages that surround each area. Your choices will include name brand hotel as well as intimate lodges.