Few sites in the United States are as celebrated and as high on a traveler’s wish-list as a visit to Arizona’s Grand Canyon. This incredible natural landmark was declared a national park in 1919, and at presents draws five million visitors each year. According to the United States’ National Park Service, this spectacular and unique sight has been found to the home to remains from 11 native tribes.
The massive canyon is a mile deep, and makes for an awe-inspiring sight. Once you’ve made it there, you will naturally want to explore and take in the experience for all that it’s worth. Visitors can take their choice of adventure style, from mule riding to whitewater rafting (the rafting here has been named some of the best in the world).
The good news is, you can visit the Grand Canyon 365 days a year – if you’re only looking to see the South Rim, that is. The North Rim, which can become quite dangerous in adverse weather and is harder to reach, is only open from mid-May to mid-October. The Grand Canyon has the designation of being a World Heritage site, and according to the National Park Service, is one of the most studied geologic landscapes in the world.
Travelers to the Canyon may be treated to the sight of a rare California condor, a bird that is extremely endangered. The area is also home to a mountain lion population that has been the subject of extensive scientific research.
When it comes to where to stay, there are several options. The best one for you will depend on what approach you’re taking to the canyon. The South Rim is the most popular viewpoint from which visitors see it. Given the popularity of the Grand Canyon, it is advised to book accommodations well in advance. This is not a situation in which you want to show up announced, as you’ll want to make sure you have a place close by to nap end a night or two. Conveniently, a free shuttle bus runs through the village center and guests who wish to camp can purchase or rent all the necessary equipment in town, and don’t need to go to the trouble of packing it and bringing it along.
A seven-day pass to the North and South Rims is $25 for a private vehicle, or $12 for those who take bikes, motorcycles or are not part of a tour group.
The National Park Service advises visitors to come well-prepared to the Grand Canyon, meaning bring plenty of film, water and other daily comforts and necessities in plentiful supply. Convenience stores and gas stations may be few and far between if you’re driving out there, so be sure to top up the tank when you can.
You’ll also want to decide ahead of time how adventurous or strenuous a visit you plan to have, so you can make sure you have the necessary supplies and can get yourself in shape – at certain points, the altitude along the ridges of the canyon become uncomfortable.
The Grand Canyon is a true wonder of nature, and will not disappoint those who journey to see it.