Grand Canyon Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Adventure Vacations in the USA
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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 February 23, 2018

  • #1
    Grand Canyon Village
    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.

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  • #2
    North Rim
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    #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.

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  • #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.

    ...Read More »
  • #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

    While the Grand Canyon Village has plenty to offer visitors, make sure you don't ignore the rest of the South Rim. The Rim Trail is one of the most popular and comprehensive trails in the Grand Canyon and one of the best ways to see the South Rim's most popular attractions and viewpoints. This fairly easy walking path traces the canyon's edge, stopping off at favorite lookout points like Maricopa Point and Hopi Point.

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  • #5
    North Kaibab Trail
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    #5 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

    If you've chosen to explore the North Rim, the North Kaibab Trail is the area's premier hike. The trail leads all the way to the Colorado River, and hiking enthusiasts can take the 14 miles to the Bright Angel Campground near the water. The trail is rough going in the summer, when the hot Arizona sun is unforgiving to hikers. There is little shade along the way, making the journey even more difficult. You might want to walk the trail in the spring or fall rather than the summer; you'll get to enjoy some of the best views in the park sans the sweltering heat.

    ...Read More »
  • #6
    Havasu Falls
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    #6 in Grand Canyon
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Natural Wonders, Free
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Lauded by travelers as one of the most beautiful sights in the Grand Canyon, Havasu Falls is a desert oasis, complete with crystal blue waterways and gushing falls that add an almost surreal quality to the dry canyon backdrop. The falls lie just south of the national park on the Havasupai Indian Reservation. To get there, you must hike about 10 miles, beginning at the Hualapai Hilltop. Facilities are scarce, with just a large parking area and a few portable toilets. For more facilities and services, you'll have to stop in Peach Springs, Arizona. 

    ...Read More »
  • #7
    Colorado River Rafting
    View all Photos
    #7 in Grand Canyon
    Recreation, Sports, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation, Sports, Tours
    TYPE
    Half Day to Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    To see the Grand Canyon from a different point of view, consider taking a rafting trip down the Colorado River. If you're not up for an adventurous whitewater experience, consider a daytrip with a company like Glen Canyon Float Trips, which offers half-day and full-day trips in the northeastern section of the canyon on calm waters.

    ...Read More »
  • #8
    Grand Canyon Skywalk
    View all Photos
    #8 in Grand Canyon
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing
    TYPE
    1 to 2 hours
    TIME TO SPEND

    One of the more controversial additions to the Grand Canyon's surroundings, the Grand Canyon Skywalk is a large, semi-circular bridge with a transparent glass floors, allowing tourists to walk 70 feet out over the canyon and view the floor from a truly unique vantage point – 4,000 feet above. The Skywalk lies outside of the park on the grounds of the Hualapai Indian Tribe. Purists initially criticized the construction of the Skywalk, claiming it ruined the area's natural aesthetic. Still, the attraction has drawn thousands of visitors since opening in 2007.

    ...Read More »
  • #9
    Grand Canyon Railway
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    #9 in Grand Canyon
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Sightseeing, Tours
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Built in the late 1800s, this historic railroad was originally used to transport ore from the Anita mines, which sit just north of Williams, Arizona. The railway began traveling to the Grand Canyon in 1901, making the park accessible to the public. But with the rise in automobile use, the trains lost business, and the Grand Canyon Depot saw its last passenger train in 1968. The Grand Canyon Railway underwent extensive restoration and was reopened in 1989.

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  • Parashant National Monument
    View all Photos
    Hiking, Monuments and Memorials, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Hiking, Monuments and Memorials, Recreation, Free
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Lees Ferry
    View all Photos
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Historic Homes/Mansions, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    2 hours to Half Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

  • Tuweep
    View all Photos
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND
    Recreation, Sightseeing, Free
    TYPE
    More than Full Day
    TIME TO SPEND

    Read More »

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