The famed Grand Canyon is truly a sight to behold. Standing on the edge of this dramatic natural wonder, views as far as one hundred miles away stretch before you. Sharply etched cliffs tower over the Colorado River, a shining ribbon far below. Red, green, white and black rock formations pile on each other to create an unimaginable, mile-high spectacle – and one you have to see to believe.
From southern Nevada, a day trip to the Grand Canyon can be made with a bevy of tour groups, including bus and helicopter. Those traveling by car from the Las Vegas area can make the trip to the scenic South Rim, where information centers, ranger programs, hiking trails, cafés, shuttle buses, historic sites and bookstores can be found, in about five to six hours. Rangers recommend visiting the Grand Canyon Village, where in less than half a mile you can learn about the park at the Verkamp’s Visitor Center and explore the Hopi House, the El Tovar Hotel, Bright Angel Lodge, and the Lookout and Kolb Studios, which date to the early 1900s. Of course, you’ll also have ample opportunity to take in breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon from the paved Rim Trail. For another perspective, consider the less developed North Rim. Rather than dramatic views to the river below, the three developed viewpoints on this side give viewers a sense of looking across the magnificent canyon.
Unlike the North and South Rims, Grand Canyon West is located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation and not part of the national park. It’s much more accessible to southern Nevada at just over two hours’ driving time from Laughlin and Las Vegas, and four hours from Mesquite. Since the last 14 miles or so are rough and unpaved, a high-clearance SUV or four-wheel-drive is recommended. Upon arrival, visitors will find amazing tours, the incredible Skywalk and Glass Bridge, which is suspended 4,000 feet above the Colorado River, and an Indian Village that shares the proud heritage of the Hualapai Tribe.
To those who have seen it, it’s no surprise that Grand Canyon National Park draws nearly five million people from across the nation and the world every year. And while any time is a good time to witness the spectacular sights of the Grand Canyon, they are especially beautiful at sunset and sunrise. The low light deepens the colors and shadows on the canyon walls, throwing them into stark relief. Regardless of when you come, it’s one place where you want to be sure you remember the camera!