The Grand Canyon is one of the most iconic and most-visited landmarks in America, and there are many different ways that you can experience the natural beauty of this popular site. This is a large canyon that is about 277 river miles long, a mile deep, and up to 18 miles wide in certain places. The South Rim of the canyon is open year-round, while the North Rim closes for the winter and reopens in mid-May.
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Many people start their Grand Canyon journeys at one of the park’s visitor centers. At Grand Canyon Village near the South Rim, you can stop by the main Grand Canyon Visitor Center, the Verkamp’s Visitor Center, or the Backcountry Information Center if you’re looking to go on a backcountry hike. There is also a North Rim visitor’s center that’s open seasonally.
Hiking at the Grand Canyon can be as low-key or as hard-core as you like. But regardless of what type of hiker you are, expect the views to be epic and the landscapes to be inspiring. The Rim Trail is the most accessible trail with many possible starting points. You can also go for a day hike in or around the canyon. Popular South Rim day hikes are the Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab Trail. Meanwhile, recommended North Rim hikes include the North Kaibab Trail, Transept Trail, and the Point Imperial Trail.
You’ll need a backcountry permit to camp overnight below the rim, and South Rim mule trips are offered year-around for a truly unique way to see the canyon. In addition to hiking, there are also museums, art galleries, and historical sites to check out at the Grand Canyon.
Summer is the most popular time to visit Grand Canyon National Park, and this is also the busiest time for traffic and crowds. For a different kind of Grand Canyon experience, consider visiting in winter. There’s nothing quite like seeing the canyon blanketed in a fresh coat of snow! For a more secluded and wild experience in the summer, consider visiting the North Rim instead of (or in addition to) the South Rim.
If you’re looking to spend a little more time at the Grand Canyon, consider staying overnight and making a long weekend out of it. You can stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge inside the park at the North Rim between May and October. There are South Rim lodges in the Historic District and at the Market Plaza near the visitor center too.
If you like to camp, consider staying at the Trailer Village RV Park or pitching a tent inside the park. Mather Campground by the South Rim is open year-round, but the North Rim Campground is only open between May 15 and October 31.
The per-vehicle permit fee to enter Grand Canyon National Park is $30. While you’re in the area, it’s a fun idea to visit the nearby Arizona cities of Flagstaff and Williams too!
Grand Canyon National Park Information:
Address: P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, Arizona 86023
Phone Number: 928-638-7888