While there is plenty to do in and around the Grand Canyon itself, you might want to explore it more in-depth or take advantage of the variety of options in the area while you’re here. There are lots of exciting tours and easily doable day trips that can be enjoyed in this Southwestern paradise. These are some of the top experiences to consider.
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Located just outside of Page in the heart of Navajo Country, a little over 100 miles from the Grand Cany, Antelope Canyon is one of the world’s most photographed slot canyons. Made up of two canyons, the less-crowded Lower Canyon can only be accessed via a tour with a Navajo guide who will reveal the history and geology of the canyon that includes fiery red sandstone and rocks that seem to flow like a river. The tour will bring you down ladders, through tightly carved sandstone, and into a part of the canyon most visitors never get to see.
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
The Vermilion Cliffs lie along the Arizona and Utah border, two hours north of the Grand Canyon. The 294,000-acre monument is home to the impressive Vermilion Cliffs, a dream world with fantastical rock formations like The Wave and White Pockets, as well as being home to Paria Plateau, Coyote Buttes and Paria Canyon. Take in breathtaking vistas at every turn, viewing history in the incredible colors due to the silt and minerals that were deposited over millions of years.
The Wave and White Pocket are located in remote and rugged backcountry in the desert where temperatures, road conditions and floods cause potential significant hazards for travelers. Visitors are encouraged to obtain current conditions and information from the Bureau of Land Management.
Williams is less than an hour south of the Grand Canyon. It not only makes a great base for exploring the park, but it’s ideal for a day trip with its streets lined with interesting galleries, shops and Old West saloons. Bearizona is its most popular attraction, a safari park that offers close encounters with wolves, bears, mountain boats, bison and more on a drive-through tour. Visitors can also enjoy the Birds of Prey show which features falcons, owls and other raptors, or even help out with animal training sessions.
One of the most picturesque places in the U.S. is just two hours south of the Grand Canyon. There are few other destinations where you can experience a landscape that’s as dramatically colorful as the one that surrounds Sedona. Massive red rocks soar into the nearly always brilliant blue skies, something that’s inspired artists and photographers for decades. Hike or bike the scenic red rock trails, experience the powerful transformational energy centers known as vortexes, and then indulge in treatments at a world-class spa.
One of the top tours to take while you’re visiting the Grand Canyon is a helicopter tour. You’ll get a bird’s-eye view from a luxe helicopter on a 25 or 45-minute flight that will take you over the canyon’s most vast section, for a rarely seen perspective. It’s something guaranteed to make your jaw drop and is likely to be a highlight of your time here.
Guided Jeep Tour
A guided Jeep tour is a great way to explore the Grand Canyon more in-depth. There are a number of excursions around the South Rim that will take you on a thrilling adventure to marvel at the vibrant colors of the canyon, its dramatic cliffs and rock formations while learning about the history and geology of the area from an expert guide. You might even get a ticket to “Grand Canyon: the Movie,” thrown in which is hosted a the Grand Canyon National Geographic Visitor Center’s IMAX Theater.
Grand Canyon Hike & Sightseeing Tour
While there are plenty of hikes visitors can do on their own, a hike and sightseeing tour is a great way to explore. You’ll get a more in-depth look while your guide fills you in on the wildlife, plants, animals, history and archaeology of the canyon in addition to pointing out some of the most interesting spots both along and below the rim. The trek heads down the South Kaibab trail to OohAhh Point and back, with a picnic lunch included at the viewpoint if the crowds and weather allow. Transport to and from your accommodation in Flagstaff, Williams, Tusayan or the Grand Canyon is also included along with hiking gear like backpacks and trekking poles.
In the mid-1800s, Prescott was the capital of the Arizona territory, but today it’s a peaceful mountain town tucked within the pines of Prescott National Forest about 130 miles south of the Grand Canyon. Enjoy the fresh air while taking advantage of the 400 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails or check out the historic downtown. You’ll find four of the top museums in the state and the streets are lined with Victorian-era homes, historic saloons. eateries, art galleries and antique shops.
Flagstaff, just over 90 minutes from the Grand Canyon, is another option for enjoying the fresh mountain air and scent of pine while hiking to places like the over 12,630-foot-high Humphreys Peak. From here you can take in a spectacular view that includes everything from the north rim of the Grand Canyon to the White Mountains. The world’s best-preserved meteorite impact, measuring about 4,000 feet in diameter and 570 feet deep can be found nearby.
This picturesque little town in Yavapai Country is a little over a two-hour drive from the Grand Canyon. It offers a charming atmosphere with a fun Old Town filled with quaint cafes, antique stores, galleries, shops and tasting rooms. Enjoy live performances at the Old Town Center for the Arts and walking scenic nature trails along the Verde River too.