The Grand Canyon is everyone’s dream nature spot in America. That’s true even if you aren’t a great nature-lover.
We’ve all heard the stories and seen the pictures of the endless beauty, colorful layers and boundless excursions – no exaggeration is needed. The Grand Canyon stretches over 277 miles, has several entrances and offers countless trails.
It’s important to do a little homework before heading out on your adventure. Having just completed my trip to the Grand Canyon West, here’s what I’ve learned:
Grand Canyon West is NOT part of the National Park
Grand Canyon West is operated by the Hualapai tribe and is to the west of the Grand Canyon National Park. It’s still worth a visit, especially if you are staying at Las Vegas which is less than 3 hours away.
Grand Canyon West features a replica Native American village and daily Native American dance performances among other attractions. If you would like to visit the Grand Canyon National Park you should enter at the North or South Rim.
Have an Itinerary
I know this sounds obvious but having a written itinerary and sticking with it would have helped our group see more of the Canyon.
Our original plan was to drive from Phoenix to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on our first day but we ran out of time. We often tend to overschedule ourselves when we don’t consider how much time we will spend at a location and how much time it takes to travel between locations.
We really enjoyed what we did get to see, but we could have also visited the Grand Canyon National Park if we had a working itinerary.
Stay Close to the Canyon
We stayed on the Las Vegas Strip so that we could experience 2 trips in one. The only problem is that it required about 2.5 hours of driving to get to Grand Canyon West.
During peak season, lodging near the Canyon is scarce, but there are many options on house rental websites. Next time, I would stay at accommodations near the Canyon for at least 2 days to avoid the long drives.
I did quite a bit of research on how to dress for August Canyon weather and I’m so glad that I followed through. Since we visited the Canyon in the middle of Summer, temperatures were hovering around 100 º F?️ during our entire trip?.
I was so happy everyday to be wearing my broad brimmed hat, UV protection top and to have a cooling towel! I even found it helpful that I opted to wear a belt bag. It was a fun yet useful accessory and such a relief not to lug around a sweaty backpack — plus everyone loved it ?!
Grand Canyon Skywalk is Pricey
The Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that stretches over the rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s really a beautiful view, looking right through the glass platform you can see a few hundred feet to the base of the Canyon.
The things I didn’t appreciate are that the Skywalk is an extra charge (prices vary depending on where you purchase) AND printed photos are $16 each. I wouldn’t have a problem with photos being extra except for the fact that you are not allowed to bring your own camera or phone on the Skywalk.
We were also on the Skywalk 30 minutes to closing time so I didn’t even notice any photographers and no one asked to take our photos ??♀️. It was a really cool experience, walking on a glass bridge in serenity soaking up the view. I just wish a photo package was included with the price of entry.
Visit During Off- Peak Hours
The best time to visit the Grand Canyon are Spring, Fall and Winter when most people are working and the day time temperatures are cooler.
To be honest, although we visited during the Summer season, we really didn’t run into any crowds for a few reasons. We visited at the end of August which was back to school and back to work time for many. The temperatures were very hot and most people try to avoid that.
We arrived to the Canyon during the afternoon and stayed until sunset while most tourists seemed to arrive for sunrise and were leaving by early afternoon. It was nice not having to wait for the crowd to disappear to take pictures nor did we have to wait in line for the shuttle bus to take us to different spots. Even during peak visitor season, you can enjoy having the Canyon practically to yourself by choosing off-peak hours ?.
Have you visited Grand Canyon West? I would love to hear your tips!
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