The Grand Canyon National Park is located in Arizona. It is the second most visited national park in the U.S. The scenery in the National Park provides an amazing and rejuvenating experience that gives the local and international tourists the peace and serenity they do not get from the ever-busy cities.
The Grand Canyon National Park has millions of years of layered red rocks formed through geological history and more natural features that leave the visitors in awe.
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Why Visit the Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon National Park which is located in northern Arizona measures up to 270 miles long 18miles a meter wide and a mile deep makes it among the deepest canyons in the world. The Grand Canyon National Park is among the most exciting places to visit. Besides the international tourists, even the domestic always find new and exciting things thus making it even more popular.
There are many reasons you should make a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park. Among them includes the great exercise whereby you get fresh air while having a nature walk. But if you prefer the rigorous activities, horse riding, swimming, hiking and many more are available. You get to learn due to educational opportunities like any other national park and the weather around the Grand Canyon National Park is always dry leaving you with no reason to imagine your vacation getting ruined. Also, the natural beauty around is unexplainable especially the visual changes during a particular season like autumn and spring whereby the look is significantly different.
History of the Grand Canyon National Park
The history of the Grand Canyon National Park is dated to have formed back 5 to 6 million years ago. The Grand Canyon was formed when the River Colorado eroded while cutting a deep channel through a layer of rocks. This natural landmark is made up of extensive tributary canyons that are thought highly of for the combination of depth, size, and their layers of colorful colors.
The wall reveals a cross-section of the earth’s crust believed to contain some of the most exposed rocks which are dated back to two billion years. It is through these layers that geologists get the opportunity to study evolution through time. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park is frequently visited by tourists. It contains the oldest rocks dated 1.7 billion years ago when the magma hardened and joined the region up to North America.
How to Get To the Grand Canyon National Park
Visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park can have various modes of transportation. To visit this location, you will have to fly from Las Vegas or Phoenix. The Grand Canyon National Park has two sections: the South Rim and North Rim. To access the South Rim, there is a small airport in Flagstaff that takes an hour to arrive. To travel to North Rim, fly into Lake Salt City.
However, to access the Grand Canyon National Park, there is a need to rent a car. The reason behind this is that this part of the country does has limited public transit. You can travel through the railway by Grand Canyon Railway which departs from William AZ right into the park. Secondly, through shuttle services from Flagstaff, Williams, and Sedona at affordable prices. The entrance into the interior part can be offered by a variety of means too.
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10 Free Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites Within 10 Miles Of the Entrance to Grand Canyon National Park South Rim
Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites #1. Stove Pipe Wells
Forest Service Road 328-Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
GPS: 35.98789, -112.12556
The road in is Dirt and less than 1 miles from a paved road. Forest Service Road 328 is open year round. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. You may stay 14 days at Forest Service Road 328.
Just a touch north of the Tusayan Ranger District and 0.8 miles from the South Entrance Ranger Station (5.5 miles from Grand Canyon Village) is this convenient boondocking area. When arriving late afternoon last week, several others had the same idea and were already settled in most of the roadside flat-ish areas. There are several spots that could accommodate more than one vehicle, however, as long as you don’t mind being close to your neighbor.
The road is dusty, drivers don’t slow down and the vegetation prevents parking more than a few feet from the road’s edge in many places. There are no signs indicating quiet hours so you may also have to listen to some late- or all-night generator noise from rude travelers (or, like us, listen to a persistent one restart his after it died more than 20 times through the night).
My middling rating is based on 1 star for aesthetics, but 5 stars for easy access and proximity to the Park. We were most interested in the latter so just kept our windows closed, headed back to Grand Canyon Village Lot D at first light and used that as home-base between our day’s activities.
Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites #2. Long Jim Loop – Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
GPS: 35.980958, -112.125847
The road in is Gravel and 1 miles from a paved road. Long Jim Loop Grand canyon south is open Year round. There are 16-29 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. You may stay 14 nighs at Long Jim Loop Grand canyon south.
This is a fire road just outside the grand canyon south entrance. There a lots of sites along this road many with primitive fire rings. All the sites in the park were full and a park ranger suggested we could dispersed camp here,and I’m glad they did. Very nice flat sites in ponderosa pine woodland. Plenty of shade and places to hang hammock’s.
Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites #3. Kaibab FR 302 West – Tusayan, Arizona
GPS: 35.964619, -112.108658
The road in is Gravel. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is any. You may stay 14 nights at Kaibab FR 302 West.
A free, dispersed campsites along FR302 just south of the Grand Canyon in the Kaibab National Forest of Arizona. No facilities at all. You cannot camp within 1/4 mile of the highway. There is a sign that lets you know when you have passed the restriction point. Many of the sites are large enough or any sized rig. The road, while it may be somewhat bumpy, is well maintained.
Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites #4. Clay Hills (40 to 51 Miles From Monument Valley)
Clay Hills Camp Site
GPS: 37.294158, -110.397671
Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Monticello District. First come -> First Camped. Reservations not accepted.
Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites #5. Grand Canyon NP – Point Sublime
GPS: 36.2069, -112.247829
The road in is 4×4. This is a free campsite, but you are required to obtain a backcountry permit to camp at Point Sublime. This is a high elevation location. 4×4 and high clearance are recommended. Permit info: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry-permit.htm
Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites #6. Kaibab National Forest Campground – Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
GPS: 35.963141, -111.965377
The road in is Gravel and 0.25 miles from a paved road. Kaibab National Forest campground is open year round. You may stay 14 days at Kaibab National Forest campground. Free dispersed camping. Go past the cattle guard and the sign for the forest and there are a few spots for vehicles and tents. We got directed here by the park ranger.
Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites #7. Forest Road 306 – Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
GPS: 35.926104, -112.134801
The road in is Dirt and 1 miles from a paved road. There are 30 or more campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. This area is great for large RVs. We pulled our 38′ 5th Wheel and parked it easily. Arrive in the day, as we arrived in the evening and couldn’t see where to go. The next day we found a nice lovely spot to park. It is quiet and dark and perfect for a peaceful boondocking experience.
Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites #8. South of Grand Canyon FR688 – Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
GPS: 35.922305, -112.112742
This is nation forest land with at least 20 free sites available with no facilities. This is a good graded dirt fire road with graded ditches, no problem for 2wd vehicles if you stay on the road and driveways. Just minutes to the grand canyon Park. We have a trillium trailer and pull it with S-10 pick-up.
Good area for dear and elk if you are lucky. Just the quite and clean air to breath. No garbage pick up, pack it out. Plenty of room for large rigs, many with circle drive thru. Some have fire ring but observe the fire danger ratings for the area.
Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites #9. FR 307 Dispersed South of the Grand Canyon – Grand Canyon, Arizona
GPS: 35.954567, -111.950028
The road in is Dirt and 1.5 miles from a paved road. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is medium. You may stay 14 nights at FR 307 Dispersed South of the Grand Canyon. Dispersed camping in the Arizona Kaibab National Forest just south of the Grand Canyon. Boondocking with amenities near by. Free… sorta. Ok. If you take the Forest Road 302, a graded and maintained dirt road, about 17 miles from Hwy 180, this camping area is free and you will surely pass other free campsites on your way in. The easier way is via the paved rim road inside Grand Canyon National Park but the park charges an entrance fee.
Grand Canyon Boondocking Sites #10. Saddle Mountain Overlook – North Rim, Arizona
GPS: 36.303032, -111.994572
Great free site with incredible views. If you’re looking for a secluded site right on the rim itself, then this is the camp site you’re looking for. It’s worth the drive! This is a high altitude site, so pack a sweater. We were there in late July and the temperature got down into the 50’s (degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure you stake down your tent if you use one, I could see the wind being a factor at this site.
Costs and Camping For the Grand Canyon National Park
Visiting the Grand Canyon National Park is considered easy and affordable. The Admissions to the National Park is for 7 days in either South or North Rim. For a vehicle permit, the entrance fees for one to 15 people owes to 35 U.S Dollars. For the bikers, a Grand Canyon National Park motorcycle permit goes for 30 dollars.
Admission to one individual entering by foot, bicycle, park shuttle bus, railways, and rafting trips cost $20 per person. Children 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge. Those who prefer camping, obtain a permit Backcountry Information Centre of $10 and an additional fee of $8 per person per night. The entrance fees to Grand Canyon National Park do not cover any other fees needed by third parties for reservations, tours lodging, and concessions.
Places and Things to See on the Grand Canyon Tours
Following the admissions for seven days in the Grand Canyon National Park, there are many famous and amazing natural attractions you will be dying to attend. Among them include:
1. Bright Angel Hiking Trail
This trail consists of the most popular hike in the park. Its departure is from Grand Canyon Village, that is, where the shuttle bus inmates its route. To those who wish to walk down the trail, it takes them 2-3 days to complete Bright Angel Campground. It’s 19 miles to complete the route. Although many prefer a nine-mile round trip hike which takes between six to nine hours to the Indian Garden Campground.
2). Grand Canyon Village
This is an entryway to the park. It is crowded during the peak season like spring and summer. The Grand Canyon Village despite being an entry point is among the best places to view the Canyon. While you may not be a fan of camp, you get one of the lodgings here and experience wonderful views. Also, for an individual who has decided to stay elsewhere, you could spend at least half a day visiting the village’s sights.
3. Rim Trails
Located in the Grand Canyon South Rim, the rim trails is a paved walking path that follows the rim of the Grand Canyon. It is a 13 miles path that is popular and comprehensive allowing you to see the attraction site and viewpoint as well as the Grand Canyon. The path features sun and scattered shade thus great exercise that is characterized by fabulous views.
4. Geological Museum
The geologist who wants to learn more about the Grand Canyon has the ideal place for the activity. The location was chosen by high-profile geologists in the 1920s, for the ability to experience an unforgettable view.
The ability to learn the detailed layers of the rock, the huge diagram on the description and formation of the canyon, and the uplifting of power to the power of water running from a river with the ability to erode, gives you more information. Besides, views of different hiking trails below and river Colorado.
5. Desert View Watchtower
To the individuals who enter the Desert View Point from the east to park, The Indian Watchtower is a place you don’t want to miss. Besides, looking ancient, the 70- foot tower was built in the 1930s and is one of the four structures in the park. The watchtower has an observation deck of the second level and an enclosed one on the top floor. Here you can watch the canyon and the desert on the east side and be wowed by the incredible views. Experience peace and relaxation at their peak here.
6. Visitor Center & Mather Point Outlook
This is a place at the Grand Canyon National Park you don’t want to miss. You visit through the South Entrance when coming from the direction of Williams. At the Visitor Center, you will meet with the staff who will give you a brief overview of the park and history. It is from the visitor center that you take a short path leading to Mather Point Overlook. Here you enjoy breathtaking and amazing views of a large area on the peninsula jutting out and great vistas of the Canyon.
Things to Do in Grand Canyon National Park
There is a lot of activities to enjoy while having a vacation in Grand Canyon National Park. Not only will these activities keep you refreshed and exercising, but they also enable the sight-seeing of various natural attractions.
1. Go Hiking
To anyone who fancy hiking, the Grand Canyon National Park is the ideal place for these activities. With more than three hiking trails, you can hike according to your ability. The national park has an undeveloped backcountry whereby you only need your map, backpack, and get exploring with your map and get an exhilarating experience.
2. Ride Bikes in the Grand Canyon National Park
Viewing the famous sights from afar or a few of them may not seem as fun. However, with a bike, you can explore the most breathtaking views in a closer look. Hire a bicycle at the Bright Angel Bicycle, and enjoy the ride on the Hermit Road. The road is closed to passengers with the vehicles, that way you get an uninterrupted ride and relaxing ride around the Canyons.
3. Ride on the Grand Canyon Train
This is an exciting way of getting the most memorable experiences in your camping life. Through the Grand Canyon Railway, you get most of it from history, adventure and sightseeing rolled in one vacation. Simply park your car at Ariz or Williams which is 60 miles south of Grand Canyon South Rim and board the train. The adventures of the views and attractive sights you will come across will be unforgettable.
4. Stand on the Grand Canyon West Rim Skywalk
Despite the fact that skywalk grand canyon is not a part of the Grand Canyon National Park or National Park Service, it is worthy to note in the list to do. The Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped walkway that has a clear glass bottom of 4 inches. It extends to almost 4000 feet out of the Canyon at Hualapai-owned Grand Canyon West. At the railing, you will see the canyon and vertical abyss of 4,000 feet.
5. Take a Drive Near the Grand Canyon
In the Grand Canyon National Park, there are so many drive opportunities near the Grand Canyon. When you take a vacation here, do not miss the scenic drives around as it will be worth it.
6. Go Camping
It is authorized to camp in the Grand Canyon National Park. Spend a couple of nights camping and having fun with your friends away from home under a starry sky in a tent.
Top Trails to Hike in the Grand Canyon National Park
Hiking gives you the ability to put exercise into your body while experiencing the amazing views and great sites. The Grand Canyon National Park is well known for its scenic hiking trails in both the South Rim and the North Rim. These trails can be used for those who merely wish to trek for short distances and to vigorous trekking options deep into the canyon. There are top trails to follow while experiencing the most beautiful scenery. Among them include:
1. Bright Angel Trail
While the trail descends 4000 feet in nine miles down between the South Rim and River Colorado, there are many unfolding views you get to savor. With this popular hiking trail that descends steeply at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, you experience fantastic views incomparable to being at the rim.
2. South Kaibab Trail
Although no personal vehicle can be allowed on this top trail in the park, you can use a convenient shuttle system that will transport the hikers to and from throughout the day. Although the route does not have any water source available and exposure to sun and radiating rock formation, the trails provide you with stunning views of how the expansive canyon is.
3. Grandview Trail
The trail is easier to secure permits off and a better option over South Kaibab and Bright Angel that is very crowded. The route was scratched by copper miners and their mules. Has camping spots like Horseshoe Mesa that is a great spot to turn around for a day’s hike.
4. Cape Final Trail
This comprises a 4-mile hike on the North Rim that is encompassed with exhilarating views. The route has few crowds and it leads you to navigate through the forest to the rim of Canyon’s edge for stunning views of the Cape Final.
5. Widforss Trail
This trail follows the North Rim for two miles to start seeing stunning and breathtaking views on this quieter side of the canyon. The scenic trail was named after Gunnar Widforss known for his water colorings of the Grand Canyon. The trail navigation goes into the forest with significant remnants of a past fire in the area back to canyon views of Widforss Point.
How Much Time Do You Need For Your Visit?
You can make your visit to the Grand Canyon National Park for as long as you might wish. However, people who do not have many activities to do but want to capture the most from the park need at least 2 days in the park. With a strategic plan to visit the basic yet awesome sites in the park-like Grand Canyon Village History District. Desert View and Hermit Rest. With 2 days duration, you will accomplish at least the basic area while others are still left untouched. Thus spending 2 days will have you get great and memorable moments.
Accommodations and Dining Near the Grand Canyon National Park
Some numerous hotels or lounges can accommodate you while you visit for vacations. There is the best place near the Grand Canyon in an area called Tusayan. It has hotels which are 6 miles or 10 minutes drive. These hotels are cheaper than those in the National Park while they are more luxurious. Among them are:
1. The Grand Hotel at Grand Canyon.
It is a 5-star hotel and very luxurious with swimming pools, spacious rooms, hot tubs, and a restaurant. Being in this hotel gives you the convenience of the Grand Canyon National Park while providing the full time of a nice comfortable hotel.
2. Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon.
When you are looking for an affordable room that is of good value to your money, you are in the right place. It is a 3-star hotel that has an indoor pool, spotty free Wi-Fi, and a hot tub.
Eating is an essential part of the functioning of our bodies, thus an exercise we have to undertake. There are several restaurants and markets where you can buy groceries in the park. However, the food here is overpriced, thus the need to arrive prepared. The food may cost around $38 per individual.
Restaurants to Food Trucks In the Park Include
1. El Tovar Hotel Dining Room
Gourmet dining in an atmosphere of historic and casual elegance describes this world-class dining experience. Elegant American restaurant inside the El Tovar Hotel with Grand Canyon vistas from some tables.
2. The Bright Angel Restaurant
Bustling café serving up standard American comfort food and no-frills entrees in a basic setting. Also located at Bright Angel Lodge, Fred Harvey Burger is a family casual restaurant featuring healthy diner-style dishes prepared in the Harvey House tradition.
3. Arizona Steakhouse
Located directly on the rim of the Grand Canyon National Park, this is the place to enjoy the best of Arizona. Dine on aged, hand-cut steaks, BBQ ribs, chicken, and fish inspired by flavors and ingredients of Arizona and the American Southwest.
4. Maswik Lodges
One of our most popular Grand Canyon National Park restaurants, the Maswik Food Court is ready to satisfy any appetite.
5. Hermit’s Rest Snack Bar
A welcome resting spot for weary hikers, travelers and history enthusiasts. Here you will find many delicious snack items, including sandwiches, chips, ice cream, and hot chocolate. But do not leave before sampling one of the freshly baked signature cookies.
6. Phantom Ranch Canteen
Dining at the Canteen is absolutely one of the most unique and memorable culinary experiences you will ever have. That is if you can get there. The Phantom Ranch Canteen is located at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
7. Food Trucks
Grand Canyon South Rim now features two snack carts that offer fast-casual offerings for guests who want something quick on the go.
From these and many more restaurants you can eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. However, they do not have takeaway service.
Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon National Park is always open all year round since its views are always great to look at. However, there is a particular time that is recommended for sight-seeing in this national park.
The best time for a vacation is during springs, which is March to May, and fall, which is September to October. At these seasons, you are guaranteed that it is less crowded. And the weather is great for hiking and other fun activities on big landscapes.
Summer seasons are preferred due to sun availability that is favorable for hiking and other enjoyable moments. However, this is usually the peak season for the National park as people who have taken a break or children are out for summer, thus increased entry.
To avoid competing for parking space and crowds, Visit is during those seasons for utmost enjoyment.
What to Pack for Your Visit to the Grand Canyon National Park
It is important to be prepared for the vacation in the Grand Canyon National Park so as you enjoy each bit and be content. Visiting different places and doing a lot of things that engage the body will leave you thirsty. Ensure to pack your refillable water bottles to ensure you get plenty of hydration.
Also, the amazing and incredible natural views with their beauty will have you carry them with you. Take a camera and spare batteries to catch each breathtaking view you find. Besides, comfortable and sturdy shoes, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are important things to pack.
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