Five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year. It’s one of the most beautiful sites you will ever see, but can you really spend an entire vacation trip just looking into a giant gorge? Find out what to do while visiting the Grand Canyon so you won’t get bored of just staring at it!
#1 Take a Mule Trip
Book a mule trip of the South or North Rim of the Grand Canyon! Taking out a mule means no walking for you and you’re on an animal that naturally knows how to walk on these trails and steep ridges. You can take a one or three hour trip or even overnight trips depending on where you want to go. One will even take you down into the canyon! There are age and weight limits and you have to book some of these over a year in advance to get on the schedule so visit Canyon Trail Rides’ website to check out North Rim trips and Xanterra’s site for South Rim trips!
#2 Drive the Scenic Drives
If you want to get out of the sun and heat but still take in some of the sites, you can hop in your car and take a scenic drive. There are two popular drives to take including the Desert View Drive and Hermit Road.
Desert View Drive takes you along 25 miles of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There are plenty of viewpoints to see along the way including Pipe Creek Vista, Yaki Point, Grandview Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point, and Navajo Point! There are also some unmarked pullouts, the Tusayan Museum and Ruin Site, and it ends at the Desert View Watchtower!
Hermit Road is traveled by shuttle bus between March 1st and November 30th and is closed to private vehicles during this time. This tour will take you along seven miles of the South Rim from the west end of the Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Rest and then back. You will see points of interest such as Trailview Overlook, Maricopa Point, Powel Point, Hopi Point, Mohave Point, The Abyss, Monument Creek Vista, Pima Point, and Hermits Rest.
#3 Enjoy River Trips
Many think of deserts and gorges when they think of the Grand Canyon, forgetting it was carved out by the Colorado River. Enjoy some refreshing fun with a river trip down the United State’s fifth longest river. Whether you want just a relaxing trip down the river or an exhilarating white water experience, you can find both at Colorado River Discovery! They offer kayak trips, motorboat trips, and rafting tours!
#4 Cast your Line
Another great plus of the Colorado River is fishing! There are tons of fish that call this river home including some native species and some non native. The native fish include humpback chub, razorback sucker, bluehead sucker, flannelmouth sucker, and speckled dace. Both the humpback chub and the razorback suckers are endangered so if you catch one of these, be sure to release it back! Non native fish include channel catfish, black bull head, striped bass, walleye, brook trout, brown trout, and rainbow trout. These fish are definitely up for grabs as they would like to get many of them, especially the trout, out of the area as they are threatening the native species that live here. Ensure you get a fishing license before heading out so that you don’t risk a fine from the game and fish department.
#5 Check out Kolb Studio
If you’re a photographer or have an interest in photography then you need to check out the Kolb Studio. The Kolb brothers were early photographers in the Grand Canyon and you can check out tons of their work as well as learn about their lives, see the boat that they used to explore the river, and their old cameras!
#6 See the Tusayan Museum and Ruin
There have been humans inhabiting the Grand Canyon area for around 12,000 years. 4,800 sites have been documented so far that show human life history in the park and this is only five percent of the park that has even been surveyed. The Tusayan Museum and Ruin allows you to take a look at these artifacts and sites to learn about the history that has been documented. The information contained here can only grow as they unearth more and more from throughout the park. This is a history buff’s dream!
#7 Climb the Dessert View Watchtower
It’s only 85 steps to a 70ft high 360 degree view of the area! This stone building built in 1932 has stood in the desert as a lookout for visitors. There are windows to look out on the way up and a Native American painting on the ceiling! Plenty of other paintings are found on the way up as well so there’s no way you’ll get bored climbing this tower.
#8 Visit the Yacapai Geology Museum
Learn what makes the Grand Canyon what it is at the Yacapai Geology Museum. Check out artwork and models that show you the rock deposition. There’s even a large topographical map you can check out to see the entire canyon and all its nooks and crannies. Then gaze out the large window of the museum and see the canyon itself! Maybe you can even identify areas and types of rocks you just learned about!
#9 Reach New Heights in a Helicopter Tour
With something this big, taking a tour from above has got to be the best way to see it. Not only will you be able to see it from an angle like no other, you can get above areas that you couldn’t otherwise get close to! There are a few different tours to take depending on the area of the canyon you want to see. You can check them out here at GrandCanyon.com!
#10 Step Out Over the Edge on the Skywalk
Imagine safely standing out over the canyon’s ledge and looking down 4,000 feet below you as if you’re standing on air! The Skywalk will give you just that experience! It’s a glass bridge that offers a view like you won’t believe. Don’t let the glass worry you! It’s strong enough to withstand up to 71 million pounds and a magnitude 8 earthquake! That is some strong glass!
# 11 Ride the Railway
Once built as a means to transport oar, this railway was built in 1901! The original cars have been restored and you can take a ride and hear stories and legends of the past! Travel 65 miles around the area to learn about the region, native people, climate, wildlife, and plants! One of these trains even runs on recycled vegetable oil that is retrieved from restaurants!
#12 Camping the Canyon
Now that you know there’s a ton to do in the area, you’re probably going to need more than one day! Experiencing the Grand Canyon as a camping trip really wraps up this all-encompassing experience. There are a few campgrounds right in the park so you don’t even have to leave once you get there.
Located in the South Rim is Mather Campground. This campground is in the Grand Canyon Village and welcomes both tent campers and RVers. These grounds are open year round and offer potable water at a fill station, a dump station for RVs, firewood for purchase, and pay showers & laundry facilities. There are no hookups at this campground so be prepared with anything you may need to keep your RV going.
Desert View Campground
Dessert View is also located in the South Rim area but is much more secluded than Mather. There are no hookups at this site and there are no fill stations or dump stations either. You will need to stop at the Grand Canyon Village fill and dump site for both. This site does however offer firewood for purchase and has pay showers & laundry facilities.
This is the only campground in the park that offers full hookups for RVs! Here you will enjoy things like pay showers and laundry, a dump station, potable water, ice, and vending machines. This is a much more modern campground than Dessert View and it does not offer sites for tents!
North Rim Campground
This is the only campground in the North Rim and is very secluded! Both tent campers and RVers are welcomed at this campground. There are no hookups but there is a dump station. There is a general store that sells firewood as well as coin showers & laundry facilities.
Make your adventure count when you visit the Grand Canyon! Check out all the attractions this wondrous place has to offer while you’re there! Just be sure to do your research before hand, and make reservations where needed as far in advance as you can. It would be disappointing to miss out due to a high volume of visitors.