There are few sights that I have seen that is more impressive
than the Grand Canyon.
It is so amazing, that it looks fake. Surely something that gorgeous can not be real, right? I still jokingly tell my father when I visit the Grand Canyon that this is just a mural a quarter mile from the rim, and in reality there really isnt anything there. It really does look that fake and that awe-inspiring. How has something this spectacular come about in the middle of the desert?
Perhaps the most amazing sight is not, however, the canyon itself. It is at night that you really appreciate the beauty of the natural world. It is the fact that you are at between 7,000 and 8,000 feet and there is little pollution around. You take a drive out to one of the distant viewing points, and wait... maybe 15 minutes or so. There are no sounds, just the sound of the wind russling through the trees, or a distant coyote or bird calling out. But besides that, you hear and see no human presence. After the 15 minute wait, you're eyes have started to adjust, and you look up. You wonder if you are hallucinating, or have died and gone to heaven. Above you, billions upon billions of stars have appeared, the Milky Way is visible from horizon to horizon. Now you do realize how small and insignificant the Earth really is. You just sit down on a rock by the rim, looking up. After awhile, your neck gets tired and you lay back on the ground, its a bit chilly this evening, but you don't notice the cold. Instead you are lost in your own thoughts and wanderings through the endless stars above you. Most nights it is quite easy to see shooting stars flying overhead, and you have stopped counting the number you have seen this night. Then maybe your thoughts go to past explorers... perhaps some Spanish Conquistadors sat on this very rock, dumfounded by this giant canyon in front of them, and also looked up at the stars. But the explorers of the past probably didn't think too much of the sky like that, there were no city lights back then, every night was as special as this. They just didn't believe it to be special because thats the way it was every night. The thing is, its not that way anymore, you will rarely find a place this remote that you can have no city lights visible, with air this clear. So I ask you to sit there, and look up when you visit the Grand Canyon, and realize why we need to protect the enviroment.
Grand Canyon National Park receives an average of 5 million visitors a year; this means the park is crowded most of the year. Expect heavy crowds during spring, summer, and fall months. During these months reservations for camping and lodging are essential. Day-use visitors should expect traffic congestion and parking problems, particularly in summer. The least crowded time is November through February. However, winter weather is a major consideration when planning a trip during these months.
Most visitors come to the South Rim (open all year). The North Rim (open mid-May through mid-October, weather permitting) has fewer facilities and is more remote (it is over 200 miles one way by automobile from the South Rim to the North Rim, a 5-hour drive for most). North Rim and Backcountry visitors should read the separate section on the North Rim and the Inner Canyon in this guide. When making reservations for lodging and camping remember to identify the rim you plan on visiting.
The South Rim of Grand Canyon averages 7000 feet above sea level, the North Rim over 8000 feet above sea level. Visitors with respiratory or heart problems may experience difficulties; all walking at this elevation can be strenuous.
on Grand Canyon National Park
SOUTH RIM: Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) is located 60 miles north of Williams, Arizona (via route 64 from Interstate 40) and 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff (via route 180). Grand Canyon lies entirely within the state of Arizona. Commercial airlines serve Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Las Vegas. There is limited air service into Grand Canyon Airport (just south of the park) from Las Vegas and elsewhere. Greyhound provides bus service to Flagstaff; public bus transportation is available from Flagstaff to the South Rim on Nava-Hopi Bus Lines (520)774-5003 and South Rim Travel (888)291-9116; (520)638-2748. Amtrak provides rail service to Flagstaff with connecting bus service to the canyon. Grand Canyon Railway offers train service from Williams. For additional information call: 1-800-THE-TRAIN.
NORTH RIM: Although it is only 10 air miles across the canyon,
the North Rim is over 200 miles away from the South Rim by car or a 21-mile
strenuous 2-3 day cross-canyon hike. It is also possible to fly into Las
Vegas and drive from there (263 miles, one-way). The park boundary is
30 miles south of Jacob Lake on highway 67; the canyon rim is an additional
14 miles south. Jacob Lake, which consists of a lodge and gas station,
is located in northern Arizona on highway 89A, not far from the Utah border.
There is no public transportation to the North Rim other than the Trans
Canyon Shuttle (520-638-2820) from the South Rim North Rim
Weather & Climate
Summers are generally hot and dry with temperatures frequently reaching into the 90's.
Winters are generally cold with variable precipitation, temperatures usually in the 30's. Layers of clothing are recommended, especially in spring and fall. Good walking shoes are also recommended. Mosquitoes are common around the visitor center, so repellent is recommended.
The visitor center and the last spike site are handicap accessible. A wheelchair is available for loan upon request.
Camping at Grand Canyon National Park
Camping in the park on the South Rim is restricted to established campgrounds, although a few remote sites are available with a Backcountry permit.
Mather Campground: Operated by the National Park Service and located in Grand Canyon Village, this campground offers tent and RV camping (no hook-ups). Reservations are required from mid-March through November. For online reservations, visit http://reservations.nps.gov or call Biospherics at 1-800-365-2267; outside U.S. call 301-722-1257. Fees are $10 to $15 per site depending on the season. Maximum of two vehicles and six people per site. Sites may be reserved up to five months in advance. Campsite reservations are booked well in advance; make reservations as far in advance as you can. Mather Campground is handled on a first-come, first-served basis from approximately December 1 to March 1 of each year.
Trailer Village: (adjacent to Mather Campground) offers RV sites with hook-ups; reservations may be made by calling 303-297-2757. Cost: $20 per site. A dump station is located adjacent to Mather Campground and Trailer Village on the South Rim (closed during the winter months).
Desert View Campground: (26 miles east of Grand Canyon
Village; no hook-ups) is open mid-May through mid-October and operates
on a first-come, first-served basis only. Cost: $10 per site (maximum
of 2 vehicles and 6 people per site).
Dispersed Camping: Dispersed camping, or camping
"at-large" is permitted in the national forest outside the park.
Camping must be at least 1/4 mile away from Highway 64. Other restrictions
may apply. Contact the Tusayan Ranger District, Kaibab National Forest,
P.O. Box 3088, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023 or call 520-638-2443 for information.
North Rim Campground: Operated by the National Park Service, campsites (no hookups) are $15 to $20. Reservations are required. For online reservations, visit NPS Reservations or call Biospherics at 1-800-365-2267. Reservations may be made up to, but not more than, five months in advance.
Camping is available seasonally outside the park.
DeMotte Campground: Operated by the U.S. Forest Service, 16 miles north of the North Rim, summer only, no hook-ups or reservations.
Jacob Lake Campground: Operated by the U.S. Forest Service, 45 miles north of the North Rim, summer only, no hook-ups or reservations.
Dispersed Camping: Camping "at-large" is permitted in the national forest outside the park; there are restrictions, however. Contact the North Kaibab Ranger District, Kaibab National Forest, P.O. Box 248, Fredonia, AZ 86022 or call 520-643-7395 for information.
Activities and More Information
Although it is only 10 air miles across the canyon, the North Rim is over 200 miles away from the South Rim by car or a 21-mile strenuous 2-3 day cross-canyon hike. It is also possible to fly into Las Vegas and drive from there (263 miles, one-way). The park boundary is 30 miles south of Jacob Lake on highway 67; the canyon rim is an additional 14 miles south. Jacob Lake, which consists of a lodge and gas station, is located in northern Arizona on highway 89A, not far from the Utah border. There is no public transportation to the North Rim other than the Trans Canyon Shuttle from the South Rim (520-638-2820). North Rim facilities are open from mid-May though mid-October, weather permitting.
Services are limited on the North Rim. The National Park Service maintains a visitor contact station on the North Rim. Interpretive programs are offered seasonally.
Mule trips are available from the North Rim (one-day and half-day trips) but do not go all the way to the river. Call Grand Canyon Trail Rides for reservations (435-679-8665).
Weather permitting, the North Rim is open for day use only
in the fall following the close of facilities in mid-October. During this
time there are no services or overnight facilities available inside the
park on the North Rim. The road from Jacob Lake to the North Rim (Highway
67) is subject to closure with little or no notice during this interval
and then remains closed until mid-May.
Copyright 2009: USParkinfo.com. All information on this website is deemed accurate. We are not responsible for any changes to the information. For more information, please contact us