25 Best Things to Do at the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, almost needs no introduction. One thing is for sure: visitors to the famous site in Arizona can go back time and again and never see it exactly the same way twice. The park includes a number of National Historic Landmarks like the Mary Colter designed buildings – Desert View Watchtower, Hermit’s Rest, Hopi House, and the Lookout. The Grand Canyon’s South Rim is the more heavily visited side, with Grand Canyon Village the hub of visitor information and transportation. Grand Canyon North Rim is an entirely different experience, though it’s only open May to October. Grand Canyon West is home to the wildly popular Havasu Falls and Grand Canyon Skywalk. Photo: romanslavik.com/Fotolia
» Havasu Falls
Havasu Falls is one of the most gorgeous falls in the Grand Canyon, but it is difficult to reach. Visitors must hike 10 miles into the canyon to be rewarded with this blue-green waterfall. Hiking the 10 miles back up to the rim post-visit is the most challenging part of the trek, but well worth the effort. This international attraction draws throngs of visitors every year, and it is difficult to get a reservation. Once there, visitors will find turquoise waters and spectacular waterfalls. Wildland Trekking offers multi-day hikes to Havasupai and is a good choice to help hikers get there. Patience is key for getting a permit to hike to the falls.
Address: 160 Main Street, Supai, AZ, Phone: 928-448-2180 Photo: tiva48/Fotolia
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Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend top the list of attractions for travelers coming to the Grand Canyon from the eastern end. Horseshoe Bend is 5 miles outside Grand Canyon National Park in Glen Canyon. The horseshoe-shaped bend in the Colorado River provides visitors and photographers with spectacular views. Visitors can choose from a number of tours that will help them experience Horseshoe Bend from the river, the air, or on foot. Tours start in Las Vegas, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, and Page, Arizona. Visitors can also experience Horseshoe Bend on self-guided tours. Glen Canyon and Antelope Canyon are often paired with a visit to Horseshoe Bend.
Address: Highway 89 South, Page, AZ, Phone: 928-608-6200 Photo: Le Do/Fotolia
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»Black Suspension Bridge
Black Suspension Bridge is also known as the Kaibab Bridge because it connects the North Rim with the South Rim via the Kaibab Trail. Built in 1928, it became the first safe passageway between north and south Kaibab. Prior to that, the only way across the Colorado River was hopping aboard a steel cage that dangled precariously from a cableway above the river. Today, it’s still one of few bridges to cross the Colorado River. In fact, other than the nearby Silver Bridge pedestrian bridge, Black Suspension Bridge is the only one for hundreds of miles. It’s popular with rim-to-rim hikers, visitors to Phantom Ranch, and guests on inner canyon mule rides. The bridge view of the canyon from 65 feet above the Colorado River is impressive.
Address: Grand Canyon National Park, North Rim, AZ, Phone: 928-638-7888 Photo: CL-Medien/Fotolia
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»Bright Angel History Room
Bright Angel History Room is dedicated to genius Grand Canyon architect Mary Colter. The History Room is located inside Bright Angel Lodge in Grand Canyon Village. The rock fireplace is reflective of Colter’s architectural style. Visitors may notice that the geological sequence of the rocks in the fireplace reflect the same sequence as from river to rim along the Bright Angel Trail. The fireplace’s base uses granite-veined rock that is 800 million to over one billion years old. It’s a scientifically accurate representation of the geological natural environment of the Grand Canyon and is reflective of the painstaking perfectionism of Colter’s architectural choices.
Address: 9 Village Loop Drive, Grand Canyon Village, AZ, Phone: 928-638-2631 Photo: maranso/Fotolia
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»Canyon Trail Rides
Canyon Trail Rides guides riders on mule rides along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. This is the lesser visited side of the canyon, one which many visitors find more fascinating. Canyon Trail Rides has 1-hour and 3-hour mule ride trips. The 1-hour trips traverse the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Riders must be at least 7 years old to participate. The 3-hour rim ride to Uncle Jim’s Point follows the remote Ken Patrick Trail through woods and meadows. Riders must be 10 years old on this trip. The 3-hour mule ride to Supai Tunnel is the only one to descend partially into the Grand Canyon, and this trip requires riders to be at least 10 years old, too.
Address: 280 Bryce Way, Tropic, UT, Phone: 435-679-8665 Photo: brelsbil/Fotolia
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»Desert View Drive
Desert View Drive is the name for Arizona Highway 64, which runs between Grand Canyon Village and the settlement of Desert View on the Canyon’s eastern edge. Those visiting the Grand Canyon coming from the east will get their first glimpse of the canyon along this scenic drive, including views of the Colorado River cutting through it. Other highlights along the drive are Mary Colton’s Watchtower, which is a must-do, and the Tusayan Ruin and Museum, which commemorates the remains of an Ancestral Puebloan village. At the Watchtower, visitors can expect a visitor station, bookstore, gift shop, general store, and seasonal campground. There are six well-developed viewpoints of the canyon, four picnic areas, and five unmarked pullouts.
Address: Arizona Highway 64, Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim, AZ, Phone: 928-638-7888 Photo: benemale/Fotolia
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»Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel
The Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel has a storied past that began in 1901. It was instrumental in bringing construction materials to build Grand Canyon Village in the early 1900s as well as delivering water to the village until 1926. Passenger service to the canyon stopped in 1968 with the popularity of automobiles, and resumed in 1989. It now brings over 50,000 people sans their cars to the Grand Canyon, helping to preserve the site. The train leaves for the Grand Canyon daily at 9:30 am and arrives at the canyon 2 hours and 15 minutes later, returning from the Grand Canyon at 3:30 pm. Numerous specialty rides throughout the year include Halloween and Christmas.
Address: 233 North Grand Canyon Boulevard, Williams, AZ, Phone: 928-635-4010 Photo: malkolm/Fotolia
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»Grand Canyon Skywalk
Grand Canyon Skywalk provides a premier Grand Canyon West travel experience. The glass floor of the Skywalk juts out over the cliffside 4,000 feet above the canyon floor at Eagle Point. The Skywalk is 10 feet wide, and the horseshoe-shaped attraction extends 70 feet out from the rim of the canyon. Visitors first purchase a Hualapai Legacy Day Pass, which allows entry to tribal land and includes shuttle services to Eagle Point, Guano Point, and Hualapai Ranch. The Skywalk glass bridge is an add-on. VIP tickets include shuttle services, the Skywalk, a Hualapai tour guide, a Native American gift, a meal, a visitation certificate, and a photo opportunity with Hualapai members.
Address: Eagle Point Road, Peach Springs, AZ, Phone: 888-868-9378 Photo: kravka/Fotolia
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»Tusayan Ruin and Museum
Tusayan Ruin and Museum is an Ancestral Puebloan Indian site that is 800 years old. It is one of Grand Canyon National Park’s major archeological sites and comprises a small U-shaped pueblo with a kiva, living area, and storage rooms. It sits at the end of a flat trail that runs from the museum. Visitors can learn about the ruins at the museum and take a self-guided tour or opt for a ranger-led tour. In the museum, guests will find 2,000 to 4,000-year-old artifacts that tell the story of the prehistoric people who lived there. There is also a museum bookstore for more in-depth learning.
Address: Arizona Highway 64, Grand Canyon, AZ, Phone: 928-638-2305
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»Desert View Watchtower
The genius Grand Canyon architect Mary Colter designed the Ancestral Puebloan-style Desert View Watchtower. The 70-foot-high stone building, also known as Indian Watchtower, was built in 1932. Murals inside the Watchtower were done by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie. Visitors will first want to look up from the bottom of the stairs in the Watchtower at the spectacular mural on the ceiling. Climbing the 85 steps to the top of the tower rewards visitors with a 360-degree view. Guests will be able to see a portion of the Colorado River as well as the Painted Desert. In the Kiva Room, visitors will have expansive views of the canyon through large windows; it is also a book and gift shop. This National Historic Landmark is a must-do.
Address: Grand Canyon Village, AZ, Phone: 928-638-8960 Photo: kojihirano/Fotolia
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»Yavapai Geology Museum
The Yavapai Geology Museum, built in 1928, was placed precisely so that geologists could observe and understand the geology of the canyon. Architect Herbert Maier designed it to blend in with its environment, and local materials like ponderosa pine and Kaibab limestone were used in its construction. Inside, visitors will find a near perfect topographic model of the canyon view from the Yavapai Observation Station. It provides a tactile representation of the Grand Canyon in scale. Other highlights are interpretive panels, three-dimensional models, and exquisite artwork. Visitors can compare the view from the observation deck to the topographic model. The museum has a souvenir shop and book store, too.
Address: Grand Canyon Village, AZ, Phone: 928-638-7890 Photo: Natascha/Fotolia
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»Grand Canyon Village
Grand Canyon Village is the busiest part of the entire Grand Canyon, and also the area with the most lookouts. It’s divided into three general areas, the visitor center and Mather Point, Market Plaza, and the Historic District. The Village Shuttle Buses make for the easiest way to explore the village and the South Rim. At the visitor center, guests can watch the 20-minute movie Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder, followed by a walk out to Mather Point. In the Historic District, visitors will find Mary Colter’s Lookout Studio, Hopi House, the Train Depot, Verkamp’s Visitor Center, and Kolb Studio. Market Plaza includes a deli and general store, US post office, cafeteria, gift shop, check-in for Yavapai Lodge, and shuttle bus pick-up.
Address: Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim, AZ, Phone: 928-638-7888 Photo: konoplizkaya/Fotolia
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»Hualapai River Runners Rafting
The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and one of the best ways to see its majesty is from a raft on the Colorado River. Rafters will see millions of years’ worth of rock layers on the rugged canyon walls – limestone, sandstone, shale, granite, and schist – up close. Rafting trip options are either 1 or 2-day trips. The 1-day trips follow a 12-mile journey through whitewater rapids followed by a lunch at Travertine Cavern Falls and a smooth water ride, while the two-day trips follow the same path on day one, but camp at Spencer Canyon that night. On day two, participants take a leisurely ride on power pontoon boats as a guide narrates, then take a helicopter back to the West Rim.
Address: 160 Main Street, Supai, AZ, Phone: 928-448-2180 Photo: photolifepnw/Fotolia
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»Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters
Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters offers visitors unique aerial experiences from four locations: Las Vegas, Grand Canyon National Park, Lake Powell/Page, and Grand Canyon West. Adventurers can take one of several tours from each departure point. All tours return guests back to their departure points. There are six tour options from Las Vegas, four from Grand Canyon National Park, three from Lake Powell, and two from Grand Canyon West. Some tours are combination tours with another adventure. Some tours even skip the aerial part altogether, like the Canyon Smooth Water Bus Trip, which is a combination bus and smooth-water raft trip. Choices range from 40 minutes to 12.5 hours.
Address: 3900 Paradise Road, Suite 233, Las Vegas, NV, Phone: 702-736-6342 Photo: master1305/Fotolia
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This is one of the most exhilarating ways to experience Grand Canyon National Park. Paragon Skydive, located at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport in Tusayan, is committed to safety, and skydivers can feel secure that former World Champion Skydivers are running the show. Tandem skydives are provided with qualified tandem instructors. After a brief video, some paperwork, and being outfitted in the gear, skydivers are ready for an adrenaline rushing freefall at speeds up to 136 mph. When the chute opens, there is a rapid deceleration, and participants gently float to Earth with a spectacular bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon.
Address: Grand Canyon National Airport, 3551 Airport Road, Grand Canyon Village, AZ, Phone: 928-224-9661 Photo: freefly/Fotolia
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Grand Canyon National Parks Ranger Programs offer visitors to the canyon three departure points for ranger activities – South Rim Village, South Rim Desert View, and North Rim. At the South Rim Village, ranger programs include history walks, Kolb Studio tours, Yavapai Geology tours, wildlife tours, and night sky tours. There are also a number of evening lectures where visitors can learn more about the canyon. Desert View Ranger programs include learning about the Colorado River, Desert View Watchtower, and Tusayan Ruins. At the North Rim, Ranger Programs are seasonal, because the rim is only open to visitors May through October. Families visiting the canyon should also check out the Junior Ranger Programs.
Address: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, Phone: 928-638-7888 Photo: IrinaNo/Fotolia
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»Scenic Hermit Road
The Scenic Hermit Road is one of the more popular locations along the Grand Canyon. It stretches for 7 miles along the South Rim from Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Rest. During much of the year it is closed to private vehicles, but is instead serviced by the park’s free hop-on hop-off shuttle bus and commercial buses offering paid guided South Rim tours. The Canyon Rim Trail is also popular with hikers and bikers, who can hike and bike the entire length of the road or parts of it using the shuttles to assist. There are nine unique scenic viewing points along Hermit Road, which is what makes it so amazing.
Address: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, Phone: 928-638-7888 Photo: Fotolia Premium/Fotolia
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»South Rim Mule Trips
Another spectacular way to experience the Grand Canyon is on a mule ride. Visitors to the Canyon can choose from South Rim Mule Rides, North Rim Mule Rides, and National Forest Trail Rides. Each mule ride departure point offers a vastly different experience. South Rim mule rides are the only ones that descend to the floor of the canyon, and require 13-month advance reservations. North Rim mule rides stick to rim trails or descend as far as Supai Tunnel. They are easier to get and can be reserved in the Grand Canyon Lodge lobby. There are 1 and 2-hour forest trail rides through Kaibab National Forest available through Apache Stables, near the park’s South Entrance.
Address: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ, Phone: 928-638-7888 Photo: rmbarricarte/Fotolia
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»Wildland Trekking Company
Wildland Trekking Company offers visitors five types of guided hiking experiences at the Grand Canyon. There are 12 backpacking tours to choose from, ranging from 3 to 7 days, including three variations of rim-to-rim hikes. They have three stock/porter adventure backpacking hikes to the Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls. Two classic base camp hiking tours on either rim are 3 and 4 days long. Inn-based Grand Canyon hiking tours range from 3 to 5 days, including 2 days to Phantom Ranch on the floor of the canyon. Five easy day hikes are also available.
Address: 4025 East Huntington, Suite 150, Flagstaff, AZ, Phone: 800-715-4453 Photo: Dudarev Mikhail/Fotolia
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»Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge
Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge was originally built in 1928, then rebuilt after a devastating fire in 1936. It was named a National Historic Landmark in 1987. Today, the historic lodge that sits above the canyon offers cabins and motel rooms for travelers to the beautiful North Rim. There are several choices for accommodations, including Western Cabins, which sleep four and are nestled in the pine forest, two-bedroom Pioneer Cabins, which sleep six, and Frontier Cabins, which sleep three. In addition, there are several motel rooms in the main lodge. This is the only North Rim lodging available. Amenities include the Lodge Dining Room, Deli in the Pines, The Coffee Saloon, and the Rough Rider Saloon.
Address: Arizona Highway 67, Grand Canyon, North Rim, AZ, Phone: 877-386-8383 Photo: Sharon Day/Fotolia
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»All-Star Grand Canyon Tours
Since the Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide at some points, it’s maybe not the vacation destination to just show up without planning ahead. To get the most from the experience, visitors will want to decide what they want to see, North Rim? South Rim? West Rim? Bottom of the Canyon? All-Star Grand Canyon Tours knows the Grand Canyon intimately after leading innumerable eco-friendly tours. Guests can join a family-friendly sightseeing day tour, group day hike, or backpacking trip. Another option is to schedule customized private tours, from a simple day tour to multi-day adventures.
Address: 2420 North 3rd Street D, Flagstaff, AZ, Phone: 800-940-0445 Photo: Michel Angelo/Fotolia
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»Bar 10 Ranch
Bar 10 Ranch is a working cattle ranch and highly sought-after recreational destination overlooking the Grand Canyon. Visitors can expect a genuine Western ranch experience complete with covered Conestoga wagons and luxury accommodations in a serene environment away from the crowds. Choose from a menu of ranch activities all within view of the canyon that include horseback riding, hiking, four-wheeling, and skeet shooting. Bar 10 offers five tour and stay packages plus helicopter tours, river raft tours, evening entertainment, and a nature center. They even have their own airstrip for guests arriving by plane.
Address: BLM 1045, St. George, UT, Phone: 435-628-4010 Photo: oriol/Fotolia
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»Bicycle Trails and Tours
The Grand Canyon National Park System encourages visitors to enjoy the canyon in whatever way feels best, including biking. The park assists visitors with amenities like bicycle rentals on the South Rim, and bicyclist/backpacker campsites for overnight or multi-day stays. Bicycle/backpackers can choose from Mather Campground on the South Rim or the North Rim Campground. Park shuttles make it even easier for bikers to explore. Shuttles have bike racks, so bikers can pedal to their destination, and take the shuttle back. Cyclists should take the park’s elevation into consideration.
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»Bright Angel Bike Rentals and Tours
For an environmentally friendly, unique, and affordable way to discover the Grand Canyon, biking its network of South Rim trails ticks all the boxes. In 2010, two friends came up with the idea of biking the Grand Canyon and proposed it to Grand Canyon National Park. They submitted a proposal against a bevy of corporate bids, and won. Now, the family-owned business offers visitors bike, stroller, tagalong, wheelchair, and trailer rentals to thousands of visitors each year. Visitors can take a rental/shuttle excursion to Hermit Road where they bike there and shuttle back. There are also two guided bike tours – Hermit Road Tour and Yaki Point Tour – plus a café and a store.
Address: 10 South Entrance Road, Grand Canyon Village, AZ, Phone: 928-638-3055 Photo: ilyasmadiyev/Fotolia
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»Grand Canyon Brewing Company
Grand Canyon Brewing Company is located in Williams, Arizona, where they’ve been brewing and serving craft beer for over a decade. In 2017, they moved to larger space to accommodate their new brew pub and production facility. Visitors can expect year-round and seasonal brews, shotgun series (limited releases of anything goes experimental brews), IPA series, casks (unfiltered true ales and specialty brews), and lock stock and barrel beers (barrel-aged sour ales). Daily happy hours are from 2 pm to 6 pm with discounts on beers and well drinks. Grand Canyon Brewing Company brew pub has 13 TVs as well as pool tables and shuffle boards.
Address: 301 North 7th Street, Williams, AZ, Phone: 800-513-2072 Photo: Grand Canyon Brewing Company
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25 Best Things to Do at the Grand Canyon
- Havasu Falls, Photo: Courtesy of tiva48 - Fotolia.com
- Horseshoe Bend, Photo: Courtesy of Le Do - Fotolia.com
- Black Suspension Bridge, Photo: Courtesy of CL-Medien - Fotolia.com
- Bright Angel History Room, Photo: Courtesy of maranso - Fotolia.com
- Canyon Trail Rides, Photo: Courtesy of brelsbil - Fotolia.com
- Desert View Drive, Photo: Courtesy of benemale - Fotolia.com
- Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, Photo: Courtesy of malkolm - Fotolia.com
- Grand Canyon Skywalk, Photo: Courtesy of kravka - Fotolia.com
- Tusayan Ruin and Museum, Photo: Courtesy of travelview - Fotolia.com
- Desert View Watchtower, Photo: Courtesy of kojihirano - Fotolia.com
- Yavapai Geology Museum, Photo: Courtesy of Natascha - Fotolia.com
- Grand Canyon Village, Photo: Courtesy of konoplizkaya - Fotolia.com
- Hualapai River Runners Rafting, Photo: Courtesy of photolifepnw - Fotolia.com
- Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, Photo: Courtesy of master1305 - Fotolia.com
- Paragon Skydive, Photo: Courtesy of freefly - Fotolia.com
- Ranger Program, Photo: Courtesy of IrinaNo - Fotolia.com
- Scenic Hermit Road, Photo: Courtesy of Fotolia Premium - Fotolia.com
- South Rim Mule Trips, Photo: Courtesy of rmbarricarte - Fotolia.com
- Wildland Trekking Company, Photo: Courtesy of Dudarev Mikhail - Fotolia.com
- Grand Canyon North Rim Lodge, Photo: Courtesy of Sharon Day - Fotolia.com
- All-Star Grand Canyon Tours, Photo: Courtesy of Michel Angelo - Fotolia.com
- Bar 10 Ranch, Photo: Courtesy of oriol - Fotolia.com
- Bicycle Trails and Tours, Photo: Courtesy of tobyc515 - Fotolia.com
- Bright Angel Bike Rentals and Tours, Photo: Courtesy of ilyasmadiyev - Fotolia.com
- Grand Canyon Brewing Company, Photo: Grand Canyon Brewing Company
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of romanslavik.com - Fotolia.com
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