As a Concierge in Las Vegas we have recently started to promote day trips to the Grand Canyon! We do both the West and South Rim either through a helicopter ride or ground excursions.
**Side Note: The West Rim of the Grand Canyon is only 2.5 hour drive time away from Las Vegas and is tribal land owned by the Hualapai Indians. The South Rim of the canyon is about 4.5 hours away and is Federal land. **
After taking a helicopter ride to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, I decided it was time to visit the South Rim. This is the location of the National Park. I have heard that it was breathtakingly beautiful and it being a Natural Wonder of the World, probably lives up to the hype.
Highlights & Recap
The drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon National Park is about 4 hours each way. After the Hoover dam, the drive is pretty uneventful. I feel like I can only look at so much desert! In anticipation of this drive, I did some research to see if there was anything worthwhile along the way. The conclusion, a place called Seligman.
It’s a small town in Arizona right off of Route 66 next to another equally small town of Peach Springs.
Do the pictures remind you of anything? Of maybe a certain Pixar movie including cars??
According to online sources, Seligman was a small town affected by the building of a large interstate. This is just like the plot of Cars which was the inspiration for Carsland in Disneyland! It’s a rather deserted looking location with wooden buildings.
We stopped in to the Roadkill Café where I had a buffalo burger. It wasn’t the best burger ever… but I figured if I’m going to eat buffalo for the first time, the easiest way is probably a burger.
Once we finally arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park, we checked in to our room at the Yavapai Lodge. It was a cute room just walking distance from the Market Plaza. I do highly recommend booking a room at the National Park at least a month and half in advance, if not more during their peak tourist season. The space is very limited at all the locations in Grand Canyon Village. The rooms go quickly and can get rather pricey!
Once settled in we began on the Rim Trail starting from Yavapai Point Observation Station and ending at Hopi Point. The total length being about 5 miles in each direction. It took most of our afternoon but it was a very easy trail to help get our barrings. The views were amazing! Even though there were many other visitors, there were some quiet places where it does just feel like it’s you and the canyon. Seeing as the Rim Trail took most of our daylight hours, we decided to spend the evening watching the sunset. The sunset was beautiful and it looks like a watercolor painting! Later that night we attempted stargazing.
Day 2: I woke up in pitch darkness to make sure I could catch the sun coming back up. The sunrise was extremely relaxing and therapeutic. Not as many people watching it along the Rim Trail as there was for the sunset.
It was a nice way to start the day and get motivated to attempt the trail for our second day: Bright Angel Trail. For this trail, it is about 10 miles to the bottom, so 20 miles round trip. We made the mistake of thinking we could start it late in the morning and still finish by 3pm, when we wanted to start driving home. We only made it about 3 miles down before we realized this would have to wait until next time.
The trail consists of switchbacks, which feel like they go on forever. It was exhausting and it was getting too warm. All that aside, it is a beautiful sight to see. I did learn my lesson and I will definitely be starting earlier in the morning or springing for the burrow ride.
What No One Told Me
The Grand Canyon National Park gets crowded. It’s difficult to find parking and there are lines everywhere on the rim level. At the peak tourist stops like right in front of Bright Angel Lodge, it feels like the Grand Canyon is the Disneyland of National Parks. There were so many gift shops and quick bites that it was hard to believe this is the location where people go to try to get in touch with nature. (Until you try to use your cell phones, then you remember you are that maybe you are in the middle of nowhere!) Be that as it may, even the “wildlife” is slightly domesticated. There were some rabbits that weren’t very skittish and some deer who also didn’t seem to mind people walking about. This squirrel fears no one!!
I thought that the Grand Canyon would be remote enough in location that viewing stars would be a definite sight to see. Sadly, when I went out that evening there wasn’t as many visible stars as I had hoped for or have seen in other, more remote parts of the world. Maybe the moon was too dominant or there was still plenty of distant light from the surrounding cities. Whatever the case may be, for future references, I might just use this time to sleep, seeing as I was awake bright and early for the Sunrise.
All in all, my two days in the Grand Canyon National Park was a success. The next time I return I know what new trails I want to focus on and I don’t need to waste much time looking at a map. However, if you are a new visitor, I highly encourage you to maybe have at least 2 nights and 3 days to spend in the Canyon. I think that would be sufficient time to get in some sweet hikes and fantastic views without having to rush through anything. That extra day will make a difference and it will be worth it!