The Grand Canyon National Park is located in Arizona. There are many things to do in the Grand Canyon. The park is surrounded by 277 miles of the Colorado River and adjacent uplands. The Grand Canyon is recognized as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. It is hard to imagine that these magnificent wonders are formed by erosion from the Colorado River. The water of the Colorado River was once on top of this. Layered sediments reflect millions of years of geological history.
The Grand Canyon has been home to Native Indians for thousands of years. Spanish explorers reached the Grand Canyon for the first time in the 1540s guided by Native Indians. More explorers reached the Grand Canyon throughout history. The first settlers began living around the rim of the Grand Canyon in the 1880s. They were mostly miners. Studies found that there are 11 tribes that are associated with the Grand Canyon such as Havasupai tribe, Hopie tribe, Hualapai tribe, Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians, Las Vegas Band of Paiute Indians, Moapa Band of Paiute Indians, Navajo Nation, Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah, San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe, Yavapai-Apache Nation, and The Pueblo of Zuni.
In 1919, the Grand Canyon became the National Park. When it first opened in that year, there were 44,000 visitors. Today, there are roughly 5 millions of visitors every year. Tourists have access to rim by hiking, driving and shuttle bus.
Things to do in the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon South Rim
The South Rim opens 7 days per week. The Grand Canyon is over 200 miles long. The South Rim is the most developed area in Grand Canyon National Park. South Rim offers a variety of amenities such as hotels, water stations, and bus services. There are lots of things to do in the South Rim such as helicopter tours, bikes, hikes, camping, jeep tour, bus tour, horseback and mule ride and skydive. You see why the South Rim is more crowded than North Rim. Some of the scenic highlights include the Hopi House, Bright Angel, South Kaibab Trails, Desert View Points, Hermits Rest, Grand Canyon IMAX and Grandview.
Grand Canyon’s historic village in the South Rim
The Grand Canyon’s historic village is centrally located on the South Rim. The buildings are historically significant. This village was declared a National Historic Landmark District in 1987. Visitors stroll around in this historically well-preserved village dating back to the early 1900s.
These are the historical buildings in the village.
Hopi House, Verkamp’s visitor center, The Grand Canyon Railway Depot History, El Tovar History, Bright Angel Lodge History, Buckey O’Neill Cabin History, Lookout Studio History, Kolb Studio History
North Rim has a reputation for the lack of appeal to tourists due to its rugged, isolated trails. North Rim is not open during the winter. There is no bus service on this rim. It is less crowded which could be a better opportunity for authentic experience. The quiet atmosphere makes the North Rim a must-see place. The popular spot in the North Rim is Bright Angel Point where people can view the Roaring Springs which is the only water source in the North Rim and Bright Angel Canyons. This trail is steep in different places so be prepared!
The North Kaibab trail is the most famous one in the North Rim. It is recommended for more adventurous hikers. The trail is 14 miles long from rim to river. It is hard to make it in one day so plan for overnight camp. Otherwise, you can try short hikes that you could come back to the lodge in a day or half-day such as Coconino Overlook, Supai Tunnel and Redwall Bridge
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Walking on the glass above the floor of Grand Canyon? That sounds a bit scary.. Is that glass strong enough to hold many people? It says that Skywalk is strong to hold 70 fully loaded 747 passenger jets. It is about 10 feet wide and the walk extends about 70 feet out over the rim of the Grand Canyon. Just imagine looking down from the glass bridge and clearly seeing the floor of the Grand Canyon, that would be a priceless experience! Unfortunately, cameras and cell phones are not permitted on the Skywalk. If allowed, the folks would go crazy trying to take photos and film the floor of the Grand Canyon. There is a photographer who takes photos for visitors and you have the option to purchase it. Please find tickets here.
Zip Line is not for everyone. If you want thrill, you can’t miss this. The Hualapai Ranch is a mile away from the Skywalk. Please check the weather before you plan this. It could suspend the operations due to the weather conditions such as rain, lightning, high winds and thunder. There is also weight restriction. People who are under 90lbs and over 275lbs are not allowed. Zip Line doesn’t like you if you are too light or too heavy. Please find tickets here.
Guano Points offers one of the most spectacular views. You can walk out to the tip of the point and experience 360 degree’s stunning views. In 1958, U.S. Guano Corp purchased a right to mine the expected 100,000 tons of guano which is a valuable ingredient in fertilizer. Unfortunately, the survey was incorrect, the U.S. Guano Corp ended up extracting only 1,000 tons of guano. Another incident that U.S. Air Force fighter jet collided with overhead cable system, that disabled the mine permanently. The remaining tower is still there to remind people of the history. This place is also a home to the Hualapai Market.
Havasu Falls is an oasis in the dessert. The falls is located in the south of the National Park on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. To get to the Falls, plan spending one night camping. You can not reach one day to the Falls by hiking.
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The Hualapai Reservation Experience
Hualapal means people of tall pines. People get to know the people of Hualapal and experience the tribe’s rich culture, traditions, and spirits while visiting West Rim and Peach Springs, Arizona. The boundary of the reservation is along the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. Most people reside in the capital town of Peach Springs. Grand Canyon West is a tribal enterprise on Hualalpai reservation at the west rim of the Grand Canyon. It offers a variety of tour packages including Skywalk and boat and helicopter tours.
1. Eagle Point
It is named after a natural rock that looks like an eagle. Touring the Native American Village is available. This authentic village features traditionally built houses and sweat lodges. People can watch the Native American dances in an amphitheater. For souvenirs, people can purchase handcrafted jewelry, weavings, etc made by Native Americans.
2. The Hualalpai Bird Singers
Thousands of years’ histories have been passed along by singing, dancing, storytelling and regalia from generations to generations. You get to experience all that in this village.
3. Hualalpai Culture Center
This culture center offers a variety of classes and programs to promote cultural traditions and public education.
Colorado River Rafting
The river rafting tour package is also available. The tour offers one day, two day and 5 day packages. If you want to experience Grand Canyon with thrills and spectacular views, this is one of ways to do. In additions to rafting, it also includes hiking at Tavertine Cavern falls, local wildlife viewing, having lunch along the banks of the river, and learning about Hualalpai tribes and their heritage. Helicopter ride is optional from river up to Grand Canyon West.
Where to Stay
Lodging is available inside the park. You have book them as far ahead as possible during spring break, summer vacation months and the fall weekends. The Lodges are open year round. They are conveniently located within the walking distance of the canyon rim.
The Phantom Ranch is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Overnight dormitories and cabins are available and meals are available for purchase. Advance reservation for meals and lodging are required.
Lodging is available between May 15 and October 15. It is closed during the winter.
Grand Canyon Lodge is the only one that provides inside the National Park on the North Rim.
You have to book well in advance.