The immensity and spectacle of colors seen at the Grand Canyon is something most of us have heard about, but few of us can really explain in a way that would do justice to what it is like to actually being there.
During the Whiskey Sister HERstory Tour, we got to stop here. We had planned to only stay long enough to take some photos and have lunch, but it was clear that a quick first visit to the canyon isn’t really something one does.
There are plenty of camping areas, as well as a resorts and restaurants, both in the South and North Rim of the canyon. Even in high noon the views were breathtaking, I can’t even imagine how glorious a sunset there would be.
Sadly, we didn’t stay long enough to enjoy one, though we did manage to get some fun photos. I often found myself just staring out into the vast open space of the canyon marveling at the wonders of nature. I felt so incredibly small here, humbled the power of time, the force of the earth, and the beauty both create together.
In keeping with the theme of finding influential women of the Southwest, we ventured to the Mary Colter Indian Watchtower, a 70-foot tall tower overlooking most of the canyon from the South Rim. Colter, an interior designer turned architect left her mark in much of the architecture found along the Southwest.
This tower was her way of both celebrating and recreating the ancestral Pueblo Indian watchtowers found throughout the region.
The best views are from the top where it seems you are literally towering over the canyon with views to the Colorado River, the span of the desert, and the depth of the canyon itself. The stairs to the top are narrow, and it is a bit hot getting up there, but it is so worth the climb. There isn’t really much food here, more like snacks and water, but they do have two gifts shops. Some other activities to enjoy include white water rafting, hiking – which is quite intense and not for the ill-prepared – and even mule rides down to the canyon. I wouldn’t mind an easy hike to the river and have placed that on my bucket list for future family travels.
My kids will love it here! If you are road tripping and just passing through, I would allot at least two days to the Grand Canyon with lots of activities to take on. I would recommend against taking on a hike on your own, and would recommend booking camping and resort lodging earlier on as this area is visited by millions of people from all around the world each year.
I would also recommend water, sunscreen, and a visit to the visitor’s center for more information before taking on any activity, no matter your skill level. Here is a full list of where to go when visiting the Grand Canyon, a wonderful resource to help you organize your visit.
It is so easy to get distracted from all the beauty here and I wouldn’t blame you if you did (you absolutely should allow yourself as much). A good plan before getting there helps you manage your time and get the most out of your visit, which can otherwise become a bit overwhelming. I know I am not the first to say so, but this is definitely a must see American treasure, and if the Southwest heat is too much for you, then simply consider going earlier in May when most of the park’s amenities and resorts open up for business. Either way, I hope you get there and take your camera, though give yourself a moment to put it all down and just take it in. No amount of pictures will ever replace that moment of total wow, so enjoy it.