The Grand Canyon is considered to be one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Running its course for no less than 277 miles, the canyon is a result of the eternal carving action of the majestic Colorado River. In fact, there are locations when it is more than one mile deep. Due to such stunning beauty and uniqueness, the Grand Canyon is visited by millions of tourists from around the world each year.
The Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon
Many believe that it is best to visit during two times of the year. These are between March and May and from September until November. There are a few reasons for this observation. First, we need to remember that the Grand Canyon is located within the desert. Temperatures are more agreeable during these two windows. Secondly, you are likely to encounter fewer tourists than you would during the summer or the holiday season. Finally, the chances of encountering any flash floods while you are at the bottom of the gorge are significantly reduced.
The average flight time from New York (either John F. Kennedy International Airport or LaGuardia International Airport) to the Grand Canyon (GCN) is approximately 4 hours and 45 minutes. Please note that this is assuming that the flight is a non-stop and there are no layovers. Common stops include Kansas City and Chicago O’Hare. Should there be as connection, the overall time will be increased. Some of the most popular carriers include Jet Blue, American Airlines, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines.
Accommodations in the Grand Canyon
One of the best aspects of the Grand Canyon is that you and your friends or family have the chance to stay at some truly wonderful resorts and lodges. In fact, there is a pronounced lack of mainstream chains. Instead, boutique establishments are dominant. These range from budget bed-and-breakfast hotels to exquisite lodges that will cater to your every amenity. There is also in-park lodging within Grand Canyon National Park itself. There are three primary areas where lodging can be found. These are the North Rim, the South Rim and a large tract of land known as Phantom Ranch.
The Top Things to do in the Grand Canyon
Of course, there are a host of different excursions and activities to enjoy when visiting here. One quite popular tour for those who are a bit more intrepid consists of a helicopter ride. This professionally supervised attraction will provide you with a bird’s eye view of the entire landscape and is perfect if you wish to snap a few stunning panoramic photos during your stay.
Camping is another extremely common activity to be experienced here. Most of the campsites are confined to areas along the North and South Rims of the canyon and within very specific locations. Keep in mind that some campsites along the North Rim are often closed seasonally due to snow and potential road closures.
Those who are more active can choose to hike down to the floor of the canyon and back up within a single day. However, this is not for the faint of heart. The trails are steep and rocky while the temperature variations between the bottom and top can be quite extreme.
Due to the presence of the Colorado River, rafting is another fun attraction that can be enjoyed. There are different grades of difficulty depending upon if you are experienced or a novice. Most of the tours are completely supervised by an experienced rafter. Rapids, waterfalls and tranquil waters are only a few of the sights to be seen here. If you arrive during the summer months, a rafting excursion is a great way to beat the heat.
For an extraordinary view of a portion of the canyon, you can choose to visit a site known as Toroweap Overlook. Located over 3,000 meters above the canyon floor, this is a great place to take photographs and enjoy a stunning sunset or two during your stay. This is actually the only point where the Colorado River can be viewed vertically from above.