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Grand canyon first time visitor guidelines

The Grand Canyon is enormous, measuring 18 miles across its widest point and 277 river miles in length.
It is so large that if you spent a week investigating, you would hardly see one rim (let alone the canyon’s
depths). We’ve put up the definitive guide to making the most of your first visit, whether you have a day
or a week, to help make it all seem less daunting.

Let’s start with the fundamentals: The Grand Canyon follows the southwest route of the Colorado River,
which over the course of 6,000 years, carved a valley through the Colorado Plateau. Remember that
there is no way to drive across the canyon; you must drive around it to get a sense of where you are in
relation to the South, North, West, and East Rims of the landscape.

With the most views, tourist amenities, and hotels, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the region of
the most well-known canyon. The North Rim, which is almost 1,000 feet higher and has more snowfall,
is only accessible from May to October. It’s probably best saved for a separate or prolonged visit since
it’s 215 miles and four hours’ journey from the South Rim.

Grand Canyon West, also known as the West Rim, is situated on Hualapai tribe territory and has the
Grand Canyon Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped cantilever bridge with a glass bottom that is ideal for
overcoming a fear of heights. The East Rim, which is a portion of the Navajo Nation and is located at a
lower height of 4,000 feet, has a lot of smaller canyons that the Little Colorado River has cut out.
Remember that not all of the Grand Canyon is contained inside Grand Canyon National Park before we
go further. Four tribes—the Hualapai, Navajo, Havasupai, and Hopi—live around the park, and their
reservations’ laws and regulations are in effect there. Additionally, bear in mind that the time of year
and the weather will affect how you plan your trip to the Grand Canyon, since roads, views, and services
are all subject to change.

If just one day is available. . . The South Rim is where most visitors who want to explore the canyon in
one day will focus their attention since there, they can see and do the most in the shortest period of
time. You’ll have your work cut out for you in terms of sightseeing, so utilize the strategy below to visit
all the must-see places in a short amount of time.

Start with sunrise

When the canyon walls begin to shine gold in the early morning light, getting up early will seem well
worth it. The best place to see the sun rise is at Mather Point, but you can’t go wrong anyplace along the
Rim Trail.

View the key South Rim attractions.

A hop-on, hop-off shuttle connects the main attractions, which are located in a circle around the rim.
Though most tourists opt to miss one or two museums, you may feasibly see them all in one day if you
get the early start recommended above.

Examine Hopi Point and Hermits Rest.

Some of the canyon’s most well-known vistas may be seen along a stretch of Hermit Road west of Grand
Canyon Village. Follow the masses to Hermits Rest at sunset for the greatest view of the canyon’s scarlet
hue. From March 1 through November 30, when the route is restricted to private vehicles, shuttle buses
transport tourists to nine viewing points, including Mojave and Pima Points and the Abyss.
Go to Desert View by car.

Alternatively, you might go to Desert View to see the sunset. Take the picturesque 25-mile Desert View
Drive, which passes Grandview Point, Moran Point, the Tusayan Ruin, and Navajo Point, after pausing at
a few views along Hermit Road. The Desert View Watchtower, created by Mary Colter in 1932, marks
the route’s conclusion. On a clear day, you can see well over 100 miles from the peak.
If you’ve got three days. . .

More time provides more possibilities to see the canyon’s kaleidoscopic hues and gravity-defying forms
from various vantage points.

Go hiking in the canyon.

The Grand Canyon’s depth can only be understood by gazing up from the bottom. The Bright Angel Trail,
the most popular path down, is nine miles long one way and cannot be completed without sleeping the
night at Indian Garden or Bright Angel campsites. Backcountry permit applications should be submitted
right away since spots are limited.

If you’d like to make a day trip out of it, trek a portion of the way down to one of the rest houses at 1.5
or 3 miles, then go back up (keep in mind that going up takes longer than going down) with a much
broader understanding of the geological wonders of the canyon.

Head north

The North Rim is colder and covered with aspen, birch, and maple tree woods. It is also more
mountainous and less crowded than the South Rim, which normally receives one-tenth as many people.
Despite the fact that the area’s official visitation season is only from May through October due to
snowfall, hikers and cross-country skiers may still reach it in the winter.
Hiking the North Kaibab Trail, which descends 14 miles to the Colorado River and Bright Angel
Campground with unforgettable vistas, is a popular pastime here. For a little easier option, trek the first
four miles of the path to the Supai Tunnel, or arrange a mule ride through Canyon Trail Rides.

Travel to Grand Canyon West

The Grand Canyon’s West Rim, just a 90-minute drive from Las Vegas, is now the second-most
frequented part of the park, drawing more than 1 million tourists a year. It is well known for being the
location of the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass bridge that stretches 70 feet over the edge of the canyon
rim. It is situated outside the national park on the territory of the Hualapai tribe. If you don’t mind
tourist traps, stroll the length of it while looking down at the 4,000-foot-deep canyon bottom past your
feet. After that, you may ride the West Rim Zip Line to get your heart racing or visit Eagle Point’s
traditional craft studios to relax.

Journey to the East

The Grand Canyon’s East Rim is the most isolated region and is home to the Navajo Nation. It has fewer
access roads and viewing areas. The most well-known sights in this area are Horseshoe Bend, a
breathtaking vantage point over the Colorado River, Antelope and Marble Canyons, and Antelope
Canyon. To reach the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which includes Lake Powell, many visitors
to the east side of the country drive northeast.

Get a birds-eye perspective.

The red rocks are the habitat of many raptors. To track long-term developments in the raptor
population, Hawkwatch International has a counting station at Yaki Point on the East Rim. There,
educational interpreters are pleased to go into migratory ecology and raptor identification and their
efforts to do so. More than 20 raptor species, including bald eagles, peregrine falcons, sharp-shinned,
Cooper’s, and red-tailed hawks, have been identified by autumn 2019 by researchers as dwelling in the

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