Is it still really necessary to present the Grand Canyon? I doubt it. This canyon dug by the Colorado River is one of the seven wonders of nature and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. We arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park at 7pm because the best times to see the canyon are at sunrise and sunset. A friend told us, "I went to the Grand Canyon several times, and each time I saw something different." That's right, the diversity of shadows and lights offered by changing sun are breathtaking. You will soon feel very small. The Grand Canyon is obviously a must! You can't miss it!
Most people know the Grand Canyon for its south side, closest to Vegas. But the north is equally spectacular, with different views and paths that allow miles of winding cliffs. It has a beautiful lodge, where you can rest, or just a have coffee sitting at a great window, regardless of the ravine. The tour is perfect if you also have a visit to the Park Bryce Canyon, Arches, Zion, and the wonderful outdoors of Utah. The sunset is a magical and unforgettable, the grandness of the valley (the biggest natural construction I've seen) and the sun setting over the land.
The Mather Point is one of the best viewpoints of the Grand Canyon. It can be accessed by private car and a big parking area. It is the busiest but it defintely is for a reason. It is the first view you have coming from Tusayan.
Here is where you have to change your car for a spot in one of the park's public buses. In summer the lines are very long. The bus will stop at the different stops, and the views are more or less the same. They allow you enough time to get off and look before another bus comes along. The last stop is Hermist rest. This place is in memory of a Quebecer named Louis Boucher, who planted a vegetable garden in the year 1890 while searching for gold in the area. There is a typical monument and a commemorative photo of Hermist having traveled the route.
Whatever view you have will be impressive, but at the Skywalk it's really something incredible! If I remember well, its over 1200 meters high. Also the floor is made of crystal and the sensation is indescribable. It´s worth paying the 40$ to experience it.
One of the great discoveries that I made on my trip to the American West Coast was Toroweap. The viewpoint at the "bottom" of the Grand Canyon (3000 feet above the river!) This is one of the points where both sides of the canyon are closest together. Because access is rather difficult, there is a lookout prepared for the hordes of tourists, therefore, no barriers or devices that separate you from the 3,000-foot vertical drop to the Colorado River. It is a spectacular place. You can get there in an hour via a dirt track well marked and in which one can not get lost if you follow the directions. For the last 20 you need a 4x4, especially because of the height of the bumps. I recommend it!
Navajo Point is one of the highest vantage points to enjoy views of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River, only surpassed in height by the watchtower at the nearby link: Desert View. As here: Lipan Point, you can see it is called "Grand Canyon Supergroup", a formation of sedimentary rocks in other parts of the canyon which have been completely eroded. They are visible above the river to the other side of the canyon and are composed of long, thin brown lines, gray and black layered with an inclination angle of about 20 degrees. Another interesting place, besides those already mentioned, is the: Moran Point , about 10 miles west on the same road.
If you're thinking about visiting the Grand Canyon, you must be wondering where to go for the best views. It's difficult to answer precisely...everything depends on the weather, the season, and even the time of day. But despite all this, I'm happy to recommend Moran Point. Popular with photographers and painters, you can find beautiful views here...the Red Canyon, dotted with green, ochre, red and grey, is particularly stunning. Named after the landscape artist Thomas Moran, whose work of the Grand Canyon in 1873 helped popularize it, it is certainly one of the best places to visit in the area.
A wooden house hanging off a cliff. The Kolb brothers settled there in the year 1904. It was from here that they started to photograph everything they saw, especially the local mules. Today it is a bookshop with items of the Grand Canyon. In the basement there is a room with temporary exhibitions of photography and painting. Admission is free. I attached views of the Canyon from there.
The first thing that caught my eye was the ample parking lot with plenty of space for vehicles, and the round watchtower made of stone. It was so hot that I went at once to a large store that had a little of everything...but what I really wanted was the air conditioning. After buying a bottle of cold water, I dared to venture out again. Under the burning sun, I found spectacular views of the Grand Canyon where the Colorado River twists as it changes its course to the north. The watchtower was designed by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, who also designed many other buildings around the area, earning her the nickname of the Official Architect of the Grand Canyon. Colter was a perfectionist, so the stones that built the tower were chosen for their size and appearance, and have not been polished or retouched. Built in 1933, the tower is still in good condition although some cracks can now be seen. At the bottom is a shop which sells handicrafts made by Native Americans, with walls decorated by murals from their culture. Unfortunately, the roof was closed to the public when we visited, but we saw spectacular views from the upper floors.
We were all anticipating this helicopter ride, and it didn't disappoint! Flying over the Grand Canyon was an unforgettable experience. The size of the canyon, sculpted by the Colorado River, are breathtaking...446km long and 1,500m deep. It's amazing to see. We took the advice offered by our guide: flying over by helicopter is an expensive option ($270), but the experience is amazing. And he was right. As we took off, the pilot played us the familiar song from "Apocalypse Now", and we could all feel an intense adrenaline rush. We passed over the maze of canyons, fissures, and rock formations scattered with vegetation, and streams. This national monument and World Heritage Site is truly unmissable!
Lipan Point is another scenic spot of the Grand Canyon worth visiting. Located between Moran Point and Navajo Point, to get there you have to go about 700m off the Desert View Drive. The views here are great, a near-360 degree panorama of the desert. Some say that it's the best spot in the Grand Canyon to watch the sunset.
At noon, we went to Canyon village on the road towards the Kalbab trail route to the next town, on the way to Lake Powell. The road up to Cameron was very long. When we reached the junction of the 64 with the 89 we began to realize that the scattered houses and lack of infrastructure was Cameron itself. It is simply a resort with one restaurant, motel and souvenir shop. We were in Navajo territory and the infrastructure leaves much to be desired, as very few people live in the area. We stopped to see the sunset in a valley and the sun was hidden behind the mountains, so typical of the American West. Read more at:
We spent 3 days in the Grand Canyon National Park, and we saw some helicopters flying around in the area. It was then that we decided to inquire a bit about fares and schedules, and decided to make a reservation for a helicopter in order to complete our visit to this prestigious site. It was definitely the highlight of the trip. It was the first time that my sister and myself had ever taken a helicopter and now we will forever be proud to say that we discovered the joys of the helicopter at the Grand Canyon! While we were waiting for the official safety video, my father told us that the hardest part was being next to the pilot as the bottom was glass and it could make you sick very quickly. Once the video was over, the manager gave us a small Papillon Grand Canyon Heliport sticker and a paper with a number on it. A team called us and gave us all the necessary equipment and then the pilot called our numbers to assign us seats in the helicopter. I realized I had number 1, so my seat was next to the pilot. In the end, it was great. There is indeed a glass underfoot but it only makes the experience even better, since you're able to really see everything beneath you and you're not limited to a single window as the passengers in the rear. You additionally get to see all the controls. The pilot was very nice, and had prepared a small playlist for the flight. I will never listen to U2's Beautiful Day the same way again!
After going to a few different parts of the Grand Canyon (Mather Point, Sunrise Point ...) we went to the Bright Angel Lodge to take a walk. The Bright Angel Trail is easy enough with good shoes, and you can see the famous arches as well as some Indian villages at the bottom.
The Desert View Watchtower is located at the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim. It is accessible by car and it takes around 1 hour from the Grand Canyon Village. It is located pretty far from the Grand Canyon Village and hence the free shuttle does not operate to this watchtower. But it is very well worth the effort to make some time over to Desert View. I would recommend to spend some time there watching the sunset because it is spectacular here. The Desert View point provides stunning views of the Grand Canyon and a bit of the North Rim. There is an information center where it explains the geography of the canyon and the history behind it. I encountered a wedding couple taking their wedding shots there, those photos must have turned out beautiful!
Obviously they are not the main attraction, but some of the animals that I found scouring the Grand Canyon are really interesting: squirrels, strange rodents, small reptiles, rabbits and crows, their cawing half-drowned out by the bikers in the area. These are wild animals, and some were too stealthy to see well, but they were all fascinating.