Grand Canyon Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Places to Visit in the USA
Credit

Courtesy of Piriya Photography/Getty Images

Best Things To Do in Grand Canyon

Even the most skeptical of travelers becomes awestruck at the sight of the Grand Canyon's massive expanse of gorges, ridges and rock formations. So simply enjoying the view – from a variety of vantage points – is an activity that could take hours. One of the best ways to admire the canyon is on a hiking tour that takes you to the bottom: Some of the best trails include the Bright Angel or Rim trails on the South Rim. Rafting the Colorado River is another option

How we rank Things to Do

Updated August 23, 2019

  • #1
    Things to do in Grand Canyon
    View all Photos
    #1 in Grand Canyon
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Grand Canyon Village is the most popular entryway into the park and, as such, often suffers from heavy crowds during the peak seasons in spring, summer and fall. But there's a reason the area is so appealing. It's home to Yavapai Point, one of the best places to view the canyon. If you don't like camping but want to stay within the park, you should consider looking for lodging here.

    If you're staying elsewhere, anticipate spending at least half a day visiting the village's sights. Stop by the rustic Grand Canyon Railway Depot, which welcomes Grand Canyon Railway passengers to the village. Here, you'll learn about how the expansion of the railroad had an impact on Grand Canyon tourism. For authentic Native American souvenirs, head to the Hopi House, an adobe-style building representing a traditional Hopi crafts studio. Meanwhile, art aficionados should stop by the Kolb and Lookout studios for works of art inspired by the Grand Canyon.

  • #2
    North Rim
    View all Photos
    #2 in Grand Canyon
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Parks and Gardens, Free, Neighborhood/Area
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    The North Rim has a reputation for its rugged, isolated trails, its sparse facilities and a lack of appeal in the eyes of the tourist mainstream. However, this reputation is only partially true. Sure, the North Rim is less crowded than the South, but only relatively so. During peak tourism periods – from the late spring to early fall –  the North Rim accommodates a large number of travelers (about 10 percent of all Grand Canyon visitors). The good news for the nature purist is that there are few available facilities in the North Rim, so the area will likely always remain relatively underdeveloped. Popular spots in the North Rim include Bright Angel Point, which allows views of the Roaring Springs, the North Rim's only water source. You should also swing by the 8,803-foot Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim.

    Recent visitors called the North Rim spectacular and a must-see, remarking on its peaceful and quiet atmosphere. They also recommended booking accommodations here at least a year in advance to guarantee a room.

  • #3
    Bright Angel Trail
    View all Photos
    #3 in Grand Canyon
    Hiking, Free
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Free
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Take this steep trail, which starts just west of the Bright Angel Lodge in Grand Canyon Village, to Plateau Point for some great views of the river. But you should be warned: The Bright Angel Trail is a little more than 6 miles long one-way, and both recent visitors and travel experts say that attempting to hike to the river and back in one day is not a good idea. Make sure to pack camping gear if you plan on going all the way to Plateau Point and carry plenty of water with you – some rest stops along the trail only offer water seasonally.

    For a unique Grand Canyon experience, consider traveling the Bright Angel Trail by mule. Riders are taken to Phantom Ranch for an overnight stay, with a lunch break at Indian Garden. While trips are usually safe, those who are not used to spending time in a saddle may find the ride grueling. The overnight, 10 ½-mile and 5 ½-hour ride costs $588.43 per person. Xanterra Parks & Resorts offers additional mule ride options that vary in price and duration. Visit its website for more details.

  • #4
    Rim Trail
    View all Photos
    #4 in Grand Canyon
    Hiking, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND