The Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona is one of the top American tourist destinations and must-see UNESCO World Heritage Sites. So for those of you venturing out to this popular destination, here are 6 Things You Should Know When Visiting the Grand Canyon.
If you travel during winter, it can snow.
This came as a major surprise to me since I never pictured Arizona in snow. Snow can happen, and when it does, a lot of things can get cancelled and postponed. If it snows, visibility at the canyon can be poor, ice will prevent you from doing hikes if you don’t have proper ice clamps on your shoes, and helicopters will not take off. Snow doesn’t always turn out bad, but just be aware that this might happen if you plan to go during the winter time.
Plan your hikes or types of hikes you want to do.
You must be very realistic with yourself and your fitness level. There are tons of hiking trials designed for hikers of each level and of various length. Don’t over due it or push yourself to hard, you don’t know the conditions and there are a lot of factors that can alter your performance.
It is almost impossible to make it from the rim of the canyon to the bottom of the canyon and back in a day. So don’t think about it. If you wish to hike and stay overnight, you will need a permit.
Visit http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm for more info on the park and obtaining hiking permits.
The Grand Canyon is actually very grand.
There are two main tourist hubs to visit the canyon from: The North Rim, which is smaller, more remote, and has less tourist activity. And the South Rim, which contains the majority of the hotels, campgrounds, stores and visitor activities in the Grand Canyon National Park. The South Rim is where I stayed when we visited and I highly recommend it if your a first timer.
Helicopters are very temperamental.
Plan for extra time in the canyon if you wish to take a helicopter ride because weather delays can and will happen. It happened to us, we tried for 3 days to get a helicopter ride in but the weather simple would not play ball.
Litterbugs think again.
The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most responsible ecotourism sites I’ve ever been to in the USA. They recycle, they reuse, and they respect the environment and so should you.
Take advantage of the buses.
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park has a remarkable public transportation system. It’s all free once your in the park, and it can take you from your hotel and lodge, to the lookouts, restaurants, grocery store, visitor centre, campgrounds, and more. The buses run quite frequently so there is no need to worry about getting around the park without a vehicle.
So with those 6 points in mind I believe you are ready to venture forth to the Grand Canyon.
Contiki USA: Video #6: Grand Canyon, Arizona