Updated Feb 24, 2020
Visitors at Grand Canyon National Park will soon be able to take a shuttle between the park and the nearby community of Tusayan. The National Park Service says the shuttle bus service will start runs on the route on March 1, 2020.
Attracting over 5 million visitors a year, the Grand Canyon is one of the world’s premier national attractions. This 277 mile long canyon, located in Northern Arizona, has been meticulously carved out by the Colorado River which runs wild through its fiery red depths. It runs at an average width of 10 miles and a depth of 1 mile.
It also offers you a record of three of the four eras of geological time. If these numbers don’t grab you…the sights surely will. Nothing will prepare you for your first views of the canyon. Its sheer magnitude and raw grandeur will leave you deeply humbled and awed.
After you have overcome those first few moments of speechlessness, you can choose from a wide range of activities and Grand Canyon attractions that fill you in with more gorgeous views – Hiking, camping, rafting, mule riding, ultra marathons and aerial experiences. Before you bring out that inner landscape hunter and adventure seeker in you, here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind.
DO pick the right season to travel. The Grand Canyon displays its finest in late spring or early fall, where the crowds are thinner and the weather is just right.
DO understand the weather patterns. Since the Canyon is prone to inclement weather, it is prudent that you take time and understand the weather patterns, at least for the duration of your Grand Canyon vacation.
AVOID limiting your viewpoints to the ‘Skywalk”. The Grand Canyon Skywalk tends to be a touristy spot and there are several other viewpoints that are more remote and offer even more spectacular views of the canyon.
DO carry plenty of water on your person at all times. People get easily dehydrated in the Canyon. Carry surplus water if you are planning to go on a hike. Dehydration is the biggest safety issue in the canyon park. Make sure you have ample sunblock and a wide-brimmed hat.
DO try and stay inside the park. This beats the queues waiting to get in and out of the park. Make sure you book well ahead as lodges in the park are usually in demand.
AVOID driving around in your car inside the park. There are parking woes galore. Make use of the free shuttle that is high on frequency and on convenience.
DO arrive at the viewpoints at dawn or before sunset. Slivers of sunlight piercing through dark gray, rich vibrant vermillion hues that dance before your eyes, a constantly changing landscape – all this and more, only if you tune in to the canyon at the right time.
DO know your family’s abilities and choose an activity accordingly. Some Grand Canyon hiking activities are quite strenuous, while some are ambient. Choose wisely.
AVOID heavy backpacks. Limit them to 25% of your bodyweight. Don’t compromise on food and water though. Give these the highest priority.
DO train well ahead of time. If you are sure to make a trip to the canyon and are looking to discover its bountiful landscape through a Grand Canyon adventure vacation, then tone up! Add lunges, squats and other strength training exercises to your regimen.
DO carry a physician’s release. This form is often required for the more strenuous hikes.
AVOID hiking alone. If you are, always keep someone informed of your estimated departure and arrival.
DO break in your hiking shoes or boots in advance to avoid blisters or sores on the hike down the canyon.
DO keep electronics to a minimum. Expensive equipment can get damaged on bumpy mule rides. Carry a handy waterproof camera on rafting rides.
AVOID the North Rim in the winter. The visitor facilities in this section are closed from mid-October to mid-May. Moreover, most roads are closed off due to snow.