#BUCKETLIST: Visit Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Whether you’re planning your next vacation or driving cross-country and find yourself near Arizona, the Grand Canyon is not to be missed. As one of the natural wonders of the world, this massive gorge houses some of the most exceptional views and colored landscapes.

It doesn’t matter the time of year ­– the Grand Canyon offers something for every season; from the celebration of Native American Heritage Days on the North Rim in August, to the Grand Canyon Music Festival on the South Rim in September (as well as activities throughout the holidays including Halloween and Christmas).

Rich in history, wildlife, and packed with loads of incredible activities and adventures, the Grand Canyon offers a truly unparalleled trip of a lifetime. If you’ve considered a visit, check out our guide to the Grand Canyon:

About the Grand Canyon:

The Grand Canyon encompasses an amazing 1,217,403 acres – it is an average of 10 miles wide and one mile deep.  Believed to feature rocks that are more than two billion years old, the Grand Canyon is one of the natural wonders of the world and has extraordinary geological features, including exposed strata of rock rising majestically for over a mile from the Colorado River on the canyon floor up to the rim itself.

Although designated as a semi-arid desert, the Grand Canyon has distinct habitats at different elevations.  On the canyon floor, sandy beaches and riverbank vegetation line the river.  At the next level, there are cacti and desert brushwood.  Higher still, piñon pine trees and junipers grow, and ponderosa pine forests top these.


Family activities include fossil hunting and junior ranger training for the kids.  Besides the excitement of the Grand Canyon Skywalk and whitewater rafting adventures on the Colorado River, visitors can take helicopter rides, hike the trails, take a trek on a mule and visit the North Rim’s Kaibab Trail to see the impressive Ribbon Falls or the Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation.  Driving around the Grand Canyon is an ambitious undertaking, so those who only want to spend part of their time on the road can always opt for a one way car rental and then catch a helicopter or a mule to end their trip in splendor.

Rich in history and wildlife:

Archaeological sites have revealed evidence of human civilizations in this region, such as ancient Indian tribes from more than ten thousand years ago; there are traces of etched and painted pictures on the canyon walls.  The silence and stillness of the Grand Canyon makes it a special place to see wildlife – there are 650 types of wildflowers, for example, as well as animals such as mountain lions, elk, coyotes, deer and many species of birds.

When to go:

For visitors in the late spring, summer and early fall, the North Rim has food services, camping and lodging facilities available; approximately from mid May to mid October.  Limited amenities may be available in November, but roads are generally closed after that due to snow.  The East and South Rims provide incredible views to visitors all year round and are particularly beautiful in the winter months if they are covered in a light dusting of snow.  The Yavapai Observation Station on the South Rim is open in the winter.  Hopi Point, also on the South Rim, is considered to be the best viewpoint for a stunning Grand Canyon sunset.

Learn more at www.nps.gov/grca

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