Exploring the Grand Canyon South Rim
"We must take adventures to discover where we truly belong". I have never seen something nature made that is as beautiful as the Grand Canyon. Out of all the places I've traveled, there isn't anything else even comparable to the ambiance and uniqueness of it.
You have got to dress in layers for the Grand Canyon. You really never know what the weather will be like. The Ginger Solid Black Leggings ($20) were perfect for it. I added a t-shirt and a Sherpa (which I later shed because I got hot). You also need a backpack to keep your keys, water bottle, snacks, etc in. I took the Virtuoso Backpack ($50). It was the perfect size for a day hike and aI love the hair accents with the real leather and tribal print. Shipping is always FREE!
There are two areas of the Grand Canyon you can visit. We visited early spring so only the South Rim was open. The South Rim is open year round whereas the North Rim closes for the winter. The park itself is open 24/7. While you can't see much in the dark, a lot of people come early to watch the sunrise. The weather at the end of March was chilly as well as hot. It was cold in the shade with the wind (40's-50's) while in the sun we were sweating (67ish). We stayed in Flagstaff and had about an hour and thirty minute drive so we chose not to go in super early. It is $35 per vehicle to enter the park. If you are military you can get an "America the Beautiful" year pass for free. We arrived around 9:30am and chose to park at the Grand Canyon Visitors Center.
Inside you will find some small exhibits, a park ranger information desk, and a 20 minute introductory video. The video is a short history of the Grand Canyon, how it was formed, and some species you may see in the park. There is also a small table in the front of the visitors center where the kiddos can pick up a junior park ranger book. If they complete at least four pages of the activities inside they can bring it back for a wooden park badge. This is completely free for any age (Travis did it too).
We we set out on the Rim Trail. The path is paved concrete so it's wheelchair, stroller, and dog friendly. There are many places where you can go off trail and climb down some to get better photos and views. If you do this make sure you have good hiking shoes on because there are no guardrails past the main trail.
The Rim Trail is 2.1 miles from the Grand Canyon Visitor's Center to The Village. The first overlook you'll see is Mather point. This site is crowded and you can't get good photos because of the guardrails and people, keep going! A little past Mather Point you'll find one of those such outlooks where you can go off trail and take some amazing photos. That is where these were taken:
If you do venture off trail, make sure you have on good hiking shoes. Many of the rocks are slick like granite on top and trust me, the falls will kill you. About 12 deaths occur each year from people falling inside the Grand Canyon. The next building you'll come to is the Yavapai Point Geology Museum. It is small and was crowded inside. We picked up a children's book and some postcards here. Dogs are not allowed inside so we took turns. There are also restrooms and parking lots here.
Stopping at every outlook and going the speed of a six year old, it took us about two hours to hike the two miles to The Village. This is the largest area of civilization on the South Rim. There are multiple lodges, parking lots, restaurants, and shops here. We grabbed lunch at the sit down restaurant inside the El Tovar Hotel. It was moderatly priced and had really good food. Dogs were allowed inside as long as they stayed on the floor. Muffin, being the Mommy's boy he is, sat in my lap the whole time and nobody said anything. There is a shop inside the hotel with a nice selection of jewelry. I picked up an Arizona charm for Aurora's travel charm bracelet.
Verkamp's Visitor Center is in this area and is where we returned Aurora's Junior Ranger book to get the badge. Instead of hiking the 2.1 miles back to the car, Travis hopped on the shuttle. The shuttles are free to use, have multiple stops along the trail, and come frequently. Dogs are not allowed though which is why we hung back. It took Travis around thirty-five minutes to get back to the car and just ten to drive to The Village to pick us up.
If you keep keep walking down the Rim Trail (5 mins) you'll come to the Bright Angel Lodge. There's are more food options, an indoor lookout, and an ice cream shop in this area. There is so much you can do inside the Grand Canyon and many different ways to explore it. The lodges are available to book 13 months in advance so they book up fast. Tent sites and RV sites are available in multiple locations and also book up early.
Keep your eyes open for wildlife inside the park. There were tons of deer and elk just eating on the side of the road and trails. If you don't want to drive your vehicle in the park you can take a shuttle bus or tour from Tusayan, the closest town. Once inside the Canyon you can hike, bike, ride a horse or donkey, and even white water raft.
For more information, visit www.grandcanyon.com or www.nps.gov
You are beautiful, You are strong, You are smart, so dress like it.
Love, Liv & Rory