As I stood on the edge of the south rim, my mind was completely blown by the sheer gigantic-ness of it all. You hear about it, maybe read about it or see it on TV. You know it exists. But until you see it with your own eyes, you’ll never know how magnificent the Grand Canyon truly is.
To achieve a worthwhile experience at the Grand Canyon, this is what I suggest:
- Stay at the Grand Canyon at least for one night. A day trip is doable, but it would be a very long day and difficult to see as much as possible. Don’t expect to see it all in one day. You’d have to be superhuman to succeed in that. The longer you are there, the better.
- Make sure you book accommodation or drive to the south rim. I have never been to the north rim or any other sides of the Grand Canyon. But after some research, it was clear the the south was the winner for the best views. Of course, if you prefer the road less travelled, or if you have time to do both sides, then by all means, go north!
- Plan for a hike! You will be welcomed with a different view every few minutes as you wind your way down the canyon. Again, it’s not recommended you do this in a day, unless you’re The Flash. It might be easy walking down, but there’s only one way back up! There are different trails that you can follow and they’re suitable for varying levels of fitness.
- Pack water, sustenance and sunscreen, coz it is HOT!
- Don’t forget your camera! Although I do respect those who prefer to live in the moment and not take photos (I’m not saying go nuts like a crazy tourist). But at the same time, the Grand Canyon is a beautiful natural wonder and not everyone gets the opportunity to see such amazing landscape on this Earth. So you may want to capture and immortalise the memories with at least one photo.
So was my own personal experience worthwhile? It sure was! The crazy thing is, it rained during the drive from Las Vegas and again upon arrival, which was completely unexpected since it was July. And it didn’t just rain – it poured!
I stayed at the El Tovar Hotel, which is super convenient because it is right on the south rim but a little expensive so make sure you’re within your budget. I only stayed for one night so I was happy to wear the cost as it meant I could wake up early in the morning, have breakfast (which is pretty good at the El Tovar) and start my hike before the temperature increased.
As mentioned earlier, there are multiple trails to choose from. I opted for the Bright Angel Trail and did a pleasant 8km hike (round trip), basically feeling awed with every step. I didn’t complete the whole trail, I turned back after 4km. Going back up was definitely a work-out but I love that sense of accomplishment once it’s over and feeling my heart pump through my chest. It’s one of the best ways to feel alive!
What more can I say? If you get the chance to visit the Grand Canyon, DO IT! It is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever visited.