The Grand Canyon is rightfully a World Heritage Site and mere words can not describe the beauty ofthis desert canyon, but would it surprise you that the Grand Canyon does not hold any records? NONE! There are other canyons that are longer, wider, or deeper, but none display itself as grandly as the Grand Canyon or as President Theodore Roosevelt said when he brought it into the NPS “The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world.”
For me it how well you can see 2 billion years of Earth history in the canyon wall and each period is a different color. The rock layers are so well preserved it is as though they were layers in a cake and the Colorado River below was the knife that cut it open. It is one of those spots I found myself alternating between snapping photo after photo and periods of silently sitting on a rock and absorbing the vista before me.
Until you see it with your own eyes, no amount of words and pictures with the Grand Canyon justice. Even if I continue to tell you that it is a mile deep and there are colorful layers all the way down. Or that almost the entire rim drops straight down, so you can sit on rocks and dangle your feet to eternity.
The best way to get here is to fly into Flagstaff, AZ and drive 80 miles along US 180 to highway AZ 64. This will take you to the South Rim, which is by far to easiest (and most crowded) to get to. There is a lot to love on this side though. While you do not want to miss the Visitor Center I would also make sure you get over to Desert Watchtower. West of the South Rim part of the National Park you can go to the Hualapai Indian Reservation and do their Skywalk, which is a glass bottom walkway 70 feet past the rim, but at $80 a person I do not think it is worth it. On the other hand, ff you want to see the Grand Canyon without the crowds getting in the way, then the North Rim is the place for you. It is a five hour drive from the South Rim and the road is closed during the winter.
One thing that really surprised me is how relatively cool the rims of the Grand Canyon are. Even in July and August the South Rim has and average max temperature of 84 and 82 degrees and the average min temperature is all the way down to 47….don’t forget you are in a desert and it can get chilly at night. Of course, this is completely different on the canyon floor where temperatures are an average of 20 degrees hotter. I am told there are times it is snowing on the rims and people are sunbathing down at the river. This fact gets people into trouble quite often, so drinks plenty of water (more than you think) and respect that you have to walk UP once you turn around.