Today we headed north for about an hour and ended up at the gates of the Grand Canyon National Park. We didn’t know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised the way they have things set up. Of course the canyon was pretty impressive too.
We were advised to take the train from Williams to the park as the vehicle line ups could be an hour or so. It is the end of March and we didn’t think there would be that many people, so we took the truck. Our wait in line was about 5 minutes and you have to know there were about 5 or 6 lines waiting to take your money. We were also told that if we took the trail we wouldn’t have to worry about parking and found, indeed, parking was a problem. The three parking lots closest to the Visitor Centre were full. It turns out that these lots can be full before 10 in the morning.
The Visitor Centre is the best place to start your experience. Located here are the Park Store, the Cafe and Bike Rental, the Visitor Centre as well as the hub for 3 of the shuttle routes. You are also close to the Mather Point which seems to be the most popular point on the south rim. We drove on down the road to Yavapai Point and Geology Museum parking lot. We stayed here for a while and then I walked back, along the canyon rim, to the visiter centre. The distance was about ¾ mile, one way.
Along the walk, there were many places to have a view of the canyon, along with many people from different nationalities. There were hundreds of people out doing exactly as I was, enjoying the canyon. The area around the visitor centre was busy and the Mather Point overlook was extremely busy. It seemed like every second person was running around, actually running, with their selfie stick trying to get that memorable picture. I am not sure what the hurry was, the canyon has been around for years, I think it will be around for a few more. I have never seen so many selfie sticks in one place ever before.
From here we traveled down the road to the parking lot by Maswik Lodge. Here I was able to walk back to the rim and walk past the Kolb Studio, the Lookout Studio, over to Hopi House and ended my walk at the Verkamp’s Visitor Center. After taking a few pictures and battling the wind, I was on my way back to the truck. We then toured around the rest of the village and headed home.
The park is really set up well. I mentioned the shuttle routes, there are 4, three which start at the visitor centre. The shuttle is free to ride and comes by every 15 minute during the day with stops at the most popular viewing areas. You can hop on or hop off as many times as you like. The path around the rim is paved and is limited to foot traffic. There are other trails around the park that permit bikes but the rim trail is only foot powered. The total distance for the rim walk is almost 13 miles. There are also trails that will take you into the canyon and if you are adventurous, you can walk from rim to rim. That’s right, down one side and back up the other. If you are a hiker or walker you would enjoy yourself here.
The weather was changing while we were on the rim. You could see it raining on the other side and the wind was picking up. Our intention tomorrow is to travel back into the park and travel east to Desert View. That way we can take in a few more view points on the rim, take a few more pictures and end up in Cameron where I have been told you can get the best Indian Tacos. But all will depend on the weather.
Here are a few pictures I captured. The panorama shots are best viewed blown up. Enjoy.
Here are the panorama shots.