Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National ParkYour Welcome to the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

The Grand Canyon National Park is located in the Northwestern section of Arizona. It's below the Utah border - and East of the Nevada border. It's truly one of the amazing wonders of the world!

As you stand on its edge, on the South Rim - the most accessed area - you're at an elevation of approximately 7000 ft. above sea level. Look to the bottom: a little more than a vertical mile below, is the Colorado River.

It's amazing to think it helped to carve out this wondrous view. Grand Canyon recreation provides an abundance of natural wonders to enjoy!

There are many things to do in Grand Canyon National Park:

  • Take a ride along the rim, and stop for various viewpoints - use the audio tour.
  • Board a free shuttle bus and hop on and off at various canyon overlooks - then travel on to the visitor center.
  • Or begin at the visitor center: Get oriented to the park by viewing the 20 minute film - Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder.
  • Take a bicycle ride
  • Take a hiking adventure - for a day, or even overnight... see more>
  • Did you bring your tent or camper - there's many great campsites
  • Stay the night, arrange for food and lodging - plan it well ahead of time, the reservations fill up fast!
  • Arrange a mule trip or a bus tour
  • Visit the educational museums
  • Take a trip down the Colorado River!
Grand Canyon Park viewpointViewing the Grand Canyon is a Sight That Won't Be Forgotten!

Grand Canyon National Park Travel Tips

Grand Canyon National Park has two main areas. The South Rim is the most visited area - more easily accessible. The North Rim is less accessible and so is much less visited. It's a longer drive to get there. Depending on your concern - there are a couple of options.

Are you looking to avoid the crowds? There are a couple of ways to do that. Keep in mind the weather situation. The North Rim is the colder area, getting the more extremes of the winter season. It also will close with winter weather, in mid Autumn. The South Rim will tend to get the more extremes of the summer season. So...

North Rim

The North Rim could be the choice for you if you desire a summer-time trip. It will be a longer drive to reach this area. But it typically only gets one tenth of all of the Grand Canyon National Park visitors. The main entry is from Jacob Lake in AZ, accessed from Route 89. Depending on where you will be coming from - choose the best route by checking the map: click here.

The park facilities are open from May 15 through October 15, although it will stay open for day use beyond that - until December 1 as long as Hwy. 67 has not been closed by snowfall.

There are many activities here, just as there are on the South Rim.

  • Hiking trails - from easily accomplished, to the more strenuous: you choose!
  • Bicycling or horse-back riding
  • Park Ranger evening programs at the Lodge
  • Sunset views at the Grand Canyon Lodge
  • Wildlife - bison may be seen here: keep your distance!
  • Grand Canyon Association events
  • North Rim scenic drive with car-side overlooks
  • Grand Cook-out Experience - Each evening near-by the campground: purchase your ticket in advance by afternoon for this entertaining dinner show
  • Mule trips - 1 hour ride: Plus...

South Rim

Since the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is so much more popular and congested - it's the timing that is best to consider here. It is much more accessible, not so long a drive from major areas. You can check it out on the map again: see Grand Canyon Village on the map: map info here

The South Rim is open all year round. You can pick your timing to avoid the most popular crowd times. Early spring and late fall are good times to avoid the crowds, yet still have pretty good weather.

The kids are uniformly back in school, so most people are done with their summer holidays. The temperatures have begun to warm up around Grand Canyon National Park south rim - highs to about 60, and often feel pleasant with sunny days. But... one more thing -

The spring is probably not quite as enjoyable a time.  What may make it more unpleasant is that during spring low pressure weather systems move through north of Arizona. They bring rain to areas in states to the north. A side effect with this condition is to pull winds into Arizona. That typically happens in March, sometimes also in April and May. So I don't normally recommend Springtime as an ideal outdoor visiting time. Dust is stirred up - and the views are muddied. Never mind the wind annoyance.

But autumn - as the weather begins to cool down. The monsoons have just tempered the worst of the summer heat. By the time late August and September is here - most kids are back in school. The temps at the South rim average in the 70s. Sunny weather prevails. You may see an occasional monsoon. That is the best time. But if you like it even cooler, October and November can still be just fine.

In fact - October might be ideal, all around. The crowds are essentially gone. The temperature up on the rim is in the 60s. But hiking down into the canyon it will be in the 80s. So pleasant for wherever you are!


Other GC Tidbits!

Grand Canyon Bald EaglesBirders can Spot a Bald Eagle at the Grand Canyon

Great birding adventures can be incorporated in Grand Canyon National Park trips. A number of endangered species reside here, and can be seen. Spotting them can be a thrilling moment for any birding enthusiast!

The long-time endangered California Condor has been introduced to the Grand Canyon area. Currently 73 are located in the area. Most from the breeding and introduction program. Some as a result of actual nesting with hatchlings. These birds are being carefully tagged and tracked to enable their future success, as they had been to the brink of extinction.

Other birds that love this habitat are Bald Eagles. They take advantage of the cliffs for the thermal uplifts - and for nesting. They also love the Colorado River for its supply of fish for their meals.

Of course there are many more Arizona birds to be seen in Grand Canyon National Park. Arizona, after all, is a terrific state for birding - check out our birding page here.

The Grand Canyon Railway is a scenic train trip that can take you from Williams AZ, a small town West of Flagstaff - to the Grand Canyon. Williams is a nice little town to have as a base for a Northwestern Arizona stay.

Take a little sprint over to the Grand Canyon by railway. Very scenic, very relaxing. It leaves in the morning, taking 2-1/4 hours to get to the canyon depot. The return trip departs late afternoon.