Tired after reading my last post about The Crying Rock?
Hoping there’s something more relaxing that you can do at the Grand Canyon instead of a 137* hike?
Check out my 9 favorites:
1. Catch sunset on the rim at Yavapai. It’s near the trailhead for South Kaibab Trail! Here’s the view of the Grand Canyon that you’ll see…
2. Easy hike into the canyon on the South Kaibab Trail. Instead of hugging a cliff wall on the Bright Angel trail, it follows a ridge, so its views of the Grand Canyon are much broader and breathtaking. The first 1.5 miles to Oh Ah Point is for the lightweights; the whole unshaded 6 miles to Skeleton Point is for the hardliners! (hint: one of the only REAL toilets on this Grand Canyon trail is right there at Skeleton!)
3. Watch the IMAX theater
This 34-minute flick, shown on a 6-story screen and accompanied by floor-shaking acoustics, tells the story of the 266-mile Grand Canyon from its Anasazi inhabitants, 4000 years ago, to its exploration by Major Powell in the 1860’s, to recent stuntmen like this hang-glider.
Cost: $13.72/adult, $10.42/child
Location: in the South Rim Visitors Center, at 450 State Road, in Tusayan
This is in the town of Tusayan, 15 minutes drive south from Grand Canyon Visitors Center, where you’ll also find pizza shops and and souvenirs, and even the helipad (see #6 below).
4. Ride the RR and even get sucked in by a shootout!
There’s an historic Grand Canyon railroad trip, with various routes (one trip takes you roundtrip from Sedona’s artist country!) but the most popular starts at Williams AZ and takes you, car-free- to the Grand Canyon village. With free shuttles all around the rim, who needs a car in the park anyway?
(shhhh… don’t tell the kids about the shootout. They’ll think bonafide bank robbers are holding up your train!)
5. Instead of a hike, ride a mule! You can embark from either south or north rim of the Grand Canyon, but reserve in advance. If you weigh less than 200 lbs, are at least 7 (for even the shortest trips), and have 80 bucks to spare, here’s how to reserve!
6. Splurge on a helicopter ride with Maverick. If Maverick is good enough for Trek America guides, it’s good enough for me! This very reputable helicopter guiding company will fly you over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, high enough to see distant views of the Painted Desert. Trips are 45-60 minutes and run about $250pp. Do you dare?
7. Sip a cold one at El Tovar lounge:
This historic lodge is a Registered National Historic Landmark building, and the premier dining of the Grand Canyon park system. Its native-stone-and-Oregon-timber Canyon room has great views! Watch the thermometer go up, as your drink goes down, from inside this prestigious and very restorative venue!
8. Catch a cabin on the rim! Yes, it is possible to get a front row seat — or should I say, bunk — right on the rim for your Grand Canyon stay. A honeymooning couple decided they wanted to see the Grand Canyon at first light, but cabins are big enough even for small families.
Worried about the busy summer? You can enjoy the relatively crowd-free Grand Canyon rim at dawn, then go out and play during the day when the crowds are bad.
9. Attend a Ranger program! They’re outdoor-based programs ranging from fossil programs to storytelling to guided walks and star talks, and, of course, the Grand Canyon geology talk! I’d also highly recommend the campfire program, held each summer evening at 6:30pm at the Mather Campground.