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Things To Do At The Grand Canyon, USA


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Tarrah Dimas



Welcome to the majestic and awe-inspiring natural wonder that is the Grand Canyon in the United States. Spanning over 277 miles in length and reaching depths of about a mile, the Grand Canyon is a geological marvel that attracts millions of visitors from around the world every year. As one of the most popular adventure destinations in the world, the Grand Canyon offers a plethora of exciting activities for outdoor enthusiasts, nature lovers, and adventure seekers.


Whether you are a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, the Grand Canyon offers something for everyone. From breathtaking hiking trails to incredible scenic viewpoints, exhilarating river rafting adventures to peaceful wildlife viewing experiences, there is no shortage of thrilling adventures to partake in.


First and foremost, it’s important to remember that the Grand Canyon is a vast and rugged landscape that demands respect and careful preparation. The weather can be unpredictable, with scorching temperatures in the summer and chilly conditions in the winter. It’s essential to dress appropriately, stay hydrated, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.


When planning your visit to the Grand Canyon, consider the time of year and the activities you wish to engage in. Spring and fall are popular seasons for hiking, with milder temperatures and vibrant foliage. Summer is ideal for river rafting and camping, while winter offers a unique opportunity to witness the beauty of the canyon covered in snow.


Whether you are a thrill-seeker or simply seeking solitude in nature, the Grand Canyon will leave you in awe of its breathtaking vistas and immense beauty. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure at the Grand Canyon.


Hiking Trails at the Grand Canyon

One of the best ways to truly experience the grandeur of the Grand Canyon is by exploring its vast network of hiking trails. From short and easy walks along the rim to challenging multi-day treks into the heart of the canyon, there is a trail for every level of hiker.


The most popular trail at the Grand Canyon is the Bright Angel Trail, which offers stunning views and a variety of hiking options. This well-maintained trail begins at the South Rim and descends into the canyon, allowing hikers to experience the changing landscape and breathtaking vistas along the way. It’s important to note that hiking into the canyon requires proper preparation, as the steep inclines and high elevations can be physically demanding. Be sure to bring enough water, wear comfortable hiking shoes, and be mindful of your own limitations.


For those seeking a shorter hike with equally impressive views, the South Kaibab Trail is a great option. This trail provides panoramic vistas of the canyon and takes hikers down to Skeleton Point, offering a taste of the canyon’s beauty without the strenuousness of a full descent.


For experienced hikers looking for a challenge, the Rim-to-Rim hike is a bucket-list adventure. This ambitious trek takes you from one side of the canyon to the other, covering approximately 24 miles. It’s a physically demanding endeavor, requiring careful planning and preparation, but the rewarding views and sense of accomplishment are unparalleled.


Before hitting the trails, be sure to check with the park rangers for any trail closures or restrictions, as weather conditions and maintenance may impact trail accessibility. Additionally, it’s crucial to carry a map, sufficient water, sunscreen, and snacks to ensure a safe and enjoyable hike.


Remember, hiking in the Grand Canyon can be strenuous and physically demanding, so it’s important to listen to your body and know your limits. Take breaks as needed, stay hydrated, and always be mindful of the environment and wildlife around you. From the incredible vistas to the sense of accomplishment that comes with conquering a challenging trail, hiking at the Grand Canyon is an adventure you won’t want to miss.


Scenic Viewpoints

One of the most memorable aspects of visiting the Grand Canyon is the opportunity to witness its breathtaking scenic viewpoints. With its vast size and intricate geological formations, the canyon offers an abundance of stunning vistas that showcase its beauty in different ways.


At the South Rim, one of the most popular viewpoints is Mather Point. This iconic spot provides an expansive view of the canyon, allowing visitors to take in the sheer magnitude and grandeur of the landscape. Additionally, the Grand Canyon Visitor Center is located nearby, where you can gather more information about the park and its history.


Another must-see viewpoint is Yavapai Point, located not far from Mather Point. This viewpoint offers a more panoramic and unobstructed view of the inner canyon and the Colorado River. It’s a perfect spot to witness the vibrant colors and varied layers of the canyon’s rock formations.


If you’re looking for a different perspective, make sure to visit the Desert View Watchtower. Designed by architect Mary Colter, this historic landmark offers unparalleled views of the canyon from its elevated location. Take the opportunity to climb to the top of the tower for a 360-degree panorama that will leave you in awe.


For those seeking a more secluded experience, venture to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Here, you’ll find fewer crowds and a more serene atmosphere. The Bright Angel Point is a favored viewpoint, offering stunning vistas of the canyon and the lush greenery of the surrounding Kaibab National Forest.


When exploring the viewpoints, be sure to bring a camera to capture these unforgettable moments. The changing light throughout the day will create different moods and hues, enhancing the beauty of the canyon. Whether you’re capturing a sunrise or sunset, the colors and shadows will make for truly breathtaking photographs.


Lastly, it’s important to respect the environment and stay on designated paths and overlooks. The canyon is a delicate ecosystem, and it’s crucial to preserve its natural state for future generations to enjoy. Take your time at each viewpoint, soak in the tranquility and beauty, and appreciate the sheer magnitude of nature’s artistry.


Visiting the scenic viewpoints at the Grand Canyon is an experience that will stay with you for a lifetime. The unmatched beauty and grandeur of the canyon will inspire awe and instill a sense of reverence for the natural world.


Mule Rides and Pack Trips

For a unique and unforgettable adventure at the Grand Canyon, consider embarking on a mule ride or pack trip. These traditional methods of transportation offer a different perspective and allow you to explore the canyon in a truly remarkable way.


One of the most popular mule rides at the Grand Canyon is the South Rim Mule Ride. This guided tour takes you along the rim of the canyon and offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The mules, well-trained and sure-footed, provide a safe and comfortable mode of transportation as you traverse the trails. This experience is ideal for those looking for a more leisurely exploration of the canyon while enjoying the expertise of experienced wranglers.


If you’re feeling more adventurous, consider a pack trip that takes you deep into the heart of the canyon. These multi-day excursions allow you to experience the canyon up close and personal, camping under the stars and immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the surroundings. These trips typically follow historic routes and provide a unique opportunity to learn about the history, geology, and wildlife of the area from knowledgeable guides.


It’s important to note that mule rides and pack trips require advanced reservations and have limited availability. It’s recommended to book well in advance to secure your spot. Additionally, there are weight restrictions for riders, and age limitations may apply. Be sure to check with the park’s official website for detailed information and requirements.


Participating in a mule ride or pack trip at the Grand Canyon is an extraordinary way to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the canyon. Whether you choose a leisurely ride along the rim or a more adventurous trek into the depths of the canyon, the experience of riding atop these gentle and sturdy animals is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. So saddle up, embrace the spirit of exploration, and embark on an unforgettable journey at the Grand Canyon.


River Rafting

Experience the exhilaration and beauty of the Grand Canyon from a whole new perspective with a river rafting adventure. The Colorado River, which carved out the magnificent canyon over millions of years, offers thrilling opportunities for both novice and experienced rafters.


There are two main options for river rafting at the Grand Canyon: motorized raft trips and non-motorized raft trips. Motorized raft trips are popular for those looking for a faster-paced and relatively shorter experience. These trips typically cover a section of the river in a few days, allowing participants to enjoy the adrenaline rush of navigating through rapids while still having time to soak in the awe-inspiring scenery.


Non-motorized raft trips, on the other hand, provide a more serene and immersive experience. These trips can last anywhere from a week to several weeks, allowing participants to truly disconnect from the outside world and explore the canyon at a slower pace. Paddling down the river, you’ll have the opportunity to camp on remote beaches, hike side canyons, and witness the untouched beauty of the canyon up close.


Both types of rafting trips offer a range of difficulty levels, from calm stretches suitable for beginners to adrenaline-pumping rapids for more experienced rafters. It’s important to choose a trip that matches your skill level and comfort level. Additionally, guided tours are highly recommended, as they provide expert knowledge, safety equipment, and logistical support, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience.


It’s worth noting that river rafting trips at the Grand Canyon require advanced reservations, as there is a high demand and limited availability. It’s best to plan your trip well in advance, especially if you have specific dates or preferences.


River rafting at the Grand Canyon is not just about the thrills and excitement; it’s also a chance to connect with nature in a profound way. As you float along the river, surrounded by towering canyon walls and immersed in the tranquility of the wilderness, you’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the sheer magnitude and geological significance of the Grand Canyon.


So grab your paddle, put on your life jacket, and get ready for an unforgettable adventure on the Colorado River. Whether you choose a motorized raft trip or a non-motorized expedition, the experience of rafting through the Grand Canyon is bound to be a highlight of your visit.


Camping Options

For those looking to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon, camping is an excellent option. Spending a night under the stars in this awe-inspiring wilderness is an experience that is sure to create lasting memories.


The Grand Canyon National Park offers several campground options for visitors. The most popular campground is the Mather Campground, conveniently located near the South Rim. This campground provides a range of amenities, including restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities. It’s important to note that reservations are highly recommended, especially during peak season, as the campground fills up quickly.


For a more rustic and secluded camping experience, consider the North Rim Campground. This campground offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere, with breathtaking views of the canyon. Keep in mind that the North Rim has a shorter camping season compared to the South Rim, typically from mid-May to mid-October. Advance reservations are strongly recommended for this campground as well.


If you’re looking for a backcountry camping experience, the Grand Canyon offers backpacking permits that allow you to explore remote and less-visited areas of the park. These permits are limited, and it’s essential to plan ahead and obtain the necessary permits and information from the Backcountry Information Center.


When camping at the Grand Canyon, it’s essential to practice Leave No Trace principles. This means packing out all trash, minimizing campfire impact, and respecting wildlife. Remember that you are a guest in their habitat, and it’s important to maintain a safe distance and not disturb their natural behavior.


As with any camping trip, it’s crucial to come prepared with the necessary equipment and supplies. Be sure to bring a sturdy tent, warm sleeping bags, cooking utensils, and sufficient food and water. Keep in mind that the Grand Canyon can experience extreme weather conditions, including scorching temperatures in the summer and chilly nights in the winter, so it’s important to pack appropriate clothing and gear.


Camping at the Grand Canyon allows you to fully embrace the tranquility and beauty of the natural environment. As you sit around the campfire, watching the sun set over the canyon and gazing up at the star-filled night sky, you’ll feel a profound connection to the natural world and a sense of peace.


So, whether you choose to stay at a developed campground or venture into the backcountry, camping at the Grand Canyon is a remarkable experience that allows you to truly appreciate the wonders of this extraordinary place.


Visitor Centers and Museums

When visiting the Grand Canyon, take the time to explore the various visitor centers and museums scattered throughout the park. These educational and informative sites provide valuable insights into the geological history, cultural significance, and natural wonders of the canyon.


The Grand Canyon Visitor Center, located near the South Rim, is an ideal starting point for your exploration. Here, you can gather information about the park’s attractions, hiking trails, ranger-led programs, and upcoming events. The visitor center offers exhibits that delve into the geology and formation of the canyon, as well as displays showcasing the diverse plant and animal life found in the park.


Another must-visit location is the Yavapai Geology Museum, also located on the South Rim. This museum provides in-depth information about the geological forces that shaped the Grand Canyon. The displays and interactive exhibits give visitors a deeper understanding of the canyon’s unique rock layers, ancient fossils, and the powerful forces of erosion that continue to shape the landscape.


For a glimpse into the human history of the Grand Canyon, head to the Tusayan Museum and Ruins. This site showcases the rich Native American heritage of the region, with exhibits that highlight the lifestyle, art, and cultural practices of the ancestral Pueblo people who once inhabited the area. Adjacent to the museum, you can explore ruins of an ancient Pueblo village, offering a tangible connection to the past.


If you’re interested in the pioneering history of the Grand Canyon, make sure to visit the Kolb Studio. Located on the South Rim, this historic building was once the home and photography studio of the Kolb brothers, who captured stunning images of the canyon that helped popularize it as a tourist destination. Today, the studio serves as an art gallery and museum, showcasing their work and offering insights into their adventurous lives.


Each visitor center and museum at the Grand Canyon provides a unique perspective and adds depth to your understanding of this natural wonder. Exploring these sites will enrich your overall experience and give you a deeper appreciation for the canyon’s majestic beauty and rich history.


It’s important to check the opening hours of each location, as they may vary depending on the season. Some sites may also have entrance fees or require a separate ticket, so it’s recommended to plan your visit in advance.


So, take the time to immerse yourself in the educational and cultural offerings of the visitor centers and museums at the Grand Canyon. Expand your knowledge, gain a greater appreciation for the canyon’s wonders, and embark on a journey of discovery as you explore these informative and engaging sites.


Wildlife Viewing

The Grand Canyon is not only a spectacle of natural beauty but also a haven for diverse wildlife. From majestic birds of prey soaring above the canyon walls to elusive mammals roaming through the wilderness, the Grand Canyon offers countless opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts to connect with nature.


One of the most iconic and sought-after sightings at the Grand Canyon is the California condor. With their impressive wingspan, these critically endangered birds are a sight to behold. The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the few places where you can glimpse these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Join a guided birdwatching tour or head to designated viewpoints, such as the Rim Trail at Yavapai Point, to increase your chances of spotting these rare and majestic birds.


Another common sighting at the Grand Canyon is the bighorn sheep. These sure-footed animals are known for their ability to navigate steep cliffs and rocky terrain. Keep an eye out for them near the canyon walls as you explore the rim or take a hike along the trails. The best time for observing bighorn sheep is during early mornings or late afternoons when they are more active.


The vastness of the Grand Canyon provides a habitat for a variety of mammals, including mule deer, elk, bobcats, and coyotes. These animals may be encountered while hiking along the trails, particularly in more secluded areas. Remember to observe them from a safe distance and avoid feeding or approaching them, as they are wild creatures and should not become habituated to human presence.


For avid birdwatchers, the Grand Canyon is a paradise. Over 350 different bird species have been documented within the park, making it a haven for ornithological enthusiasts. Look out for brightly colored birds like the western bluebird, the Steller’s jay, and the vibrant summer tanager. The riparian areas along the Colorado River are particularly great spots for birdwatching as they attract a wide range of bird species.


As you explore the Grand Canyon, make sure to bring a pair of binoculars or a zoom lens for your camera to enhance your wildlife viewing experience. Pay attention to the sights and sounds of nature, and be patient as you wait for wildlife to reveal themselves. Keeping a respectful distance and being a responsible observer allows animals to carry on with their natural behaviors undisturbed.


The Grand Canyon is home to a vast array of wildlife, both large and small. Each animal plays a vital role in the delicate ecosystem of the canyon. By engaging in responsible wildlife viewing practices and promoting conservation efforts, we can help protect these incredible creatures for future generations to enjoy.


So, venture into the wilderness, keep your eyes peeled, and let the grandeur of the Grand Canyon’s wildlife captivate you.


Helicopter Tours

If you’re looking for a truly exhilarating and unforgettable adventure at the Grand Canyon, consider taking a helicopter tour. These thrilling aerial excursions offer a unique perspective of the canyon’s vastness and grandeur, allowing you to witness its beauty from a whole new angle.


Helicopter tours typically depart from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and provide breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. As you soar above the canyon, you’ll experience a sense of awe as you take in the expansive vistas and the intricate details of the rock formations below.


One of the highlights of a helicopter tour is the opportunity to witness the stunning beauty of the Grand Canyon from all angles. The helicopter provides panoramic views, allowing you to see the vastness of the canyon, the meandering Colorado River, and the towering cliffs and ridges that make up its unique geological features.


There are various tour options available, ranging from short introductory flights to longer, more comprehensive tours. Some tours may even include landing in the canyon, where you can step out and explore your surroundings before returning to the helicopter for your return flight. This allows for a more immersive experience, letting you truly appreciate the scale and beauty of the canyon up close.


It’s important to book your helicopter tour in advance, especially during peak seasons, as they tend to fill up quickly. Be sure to check with the tour operator for any age restrictions or weight limits that may apply.


While a helicopter tour offers a thrilling vantage point, it’s important to remember that it is a more controlled and limited experience compared to hiking or other outdoor activities. It provides a glimpse of the grandeur of the canyon, but it doesn’t offer the same level of intimacy and connection with the natural environment.


Helicopter tours at the Grand Canyon are a fantastic way to appreciate the sheer magnitude and beauty of this natural wonder. The combination of the thrill of flying and the awe-inspiring views will create an unforgettable experience that you’ll cherish for years to come. Capture the incredible moments with your camera, and soak in the breathtaking vistas as you take in the beauty of the Grand Canyon from above.


Dining and Shopping

Exploring the wonders of the Grand Canyon can work up quite an appetite, and fortunately, the park offers a variety of dining options to satisfy your cravings. From casual eateries to charming cafes, there’s something for everyone.


Many of the dining establishments are located near the South Rim, offering scenic views and a chance to relax and refuel after a day of adventure. Enjoy a hearty meal while gazing out at the canyon at one of the sit-down restaurants, or grab a quick bite at one of the grab-and-go options. Options range from classic American cuisine to international flavors to accommodate a variety of tastes.


If you prefer to pack your own meals, there are picnic areas available throughout the park. Take advantage of these picturesque spots to enjoy a picnic lunch surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the canyon. Just remember to follow park guidelines and be mindful of wildlife, disposing of any trash properly.


In addition to dining, the Grand Canyon also offers an array of shopping opportunities. Visit the various gift shops and stores to find unique souvenirs, Native American crafts, clothing, and outdoor gear. These shops provide a chance to bring home a piece of the Grand Canyon’s spirit and support local artisans.


Take the time to explore the historic Village area, where you’ll find a collection of shops offering everything from handcrafted jewelry to artwork inspired by the canyon. Discover locally sourced products, such as Arizona-made food products or handwoven textiles, as you browse through the charming stores.


When planning your shopping experience, keep in mind that the park’s visitor centers also have gift shops where you can find a range of items, including books, maps, and educational materials that further enrich your understanding of the canyon.


Lastly, while dining and shopping can enhance your Grand Canyon experience, it’s important to remember to be mindful of your surroundings and the natural environment. Dispose of any waste responsibly, respect wildlife, and adhere to park regulations to ensure the preservation of this incredible natural treasure.


So, whether you’re indulging in a delicious meal with a view or searching for the perfect souvenir to commemorate your visit, dining and shopping at the Grand Canyon offer opportunities to further immerse yourself in the magic and allure of this iconic destination.



A visit to the Grand Canyon is an adventure like no other. This awe-inspiring natural wonder offers a multitude of exciting and unforgettable experiences for all types of travelers. Whether you’re hiking along the rim, rafting through the mighty Colorado River, or simply taking in the breathtaking views from scenic viewpoints, the Grand Canyon never fails to inspire awe and wonder.


Immerse yourself in the stunning beauty of the canyon’s diverse landscapes, from the towering cliffs to the meandering river below. Explore the hiking trails that wind through rocky terrain, revealing hidden gems around every corner. Be captivated by the wildlife that calls this place home, from the majestic condors soaring overhead to the elusive bighorn sheep roaming through the wilderness.


Enhance your visit by delving into the educational offerings of the visitor centers and museums, where you can learn about the geology, history, and cultural significance of the Grand Canyon. Take a helicopter tour for a truly breathtaking aerial perspective or indulge in the tranquility of camping under the starlit sky.


Eat delicious meals at scenic restaurants or enjoy a picnic surrounded by the stunning canyon views. Don’t forget to explore the variety of gift shops and stores, where you can find unique souvenirs to remember your adventure.


Throughout your visit, remember to respect and preserve the natural environment. Follow Leave No Trace principles, stay on designated paths, and be mindful of the wildlife that call the canyon home. By being responsible and conscientious visitors, we can help ensure the preservation of this incredible natural treasure for generations to come.


Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures, peaceful reflections, or simply a deeper connection with nature, the Grand Canyon offers a truly remarkable experience. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and get ready for an unforgettable journey through one of the world’s most magnificent wonders – the Grand Canyon.