Of all the attractions in Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park is the most famous, drawing about five million visitors from all over the world every year. The park measures over 1900 square miles and includes both the North Rim and the South Rim. Grand Canyon starts at Lee’s Ferry and follows the Colorado River 277 miles to Grand Wash Cliffs. The width of the canyon varies from five miles to eighteen miles. The canyon width at the South Rim Village area is ten miles and the depth is 5,000 feet. The depth is 6,000 feet at the North Rim.
Grand Canyon South Rim The South Rim is 7,000 feet above sea level and is where you go to see the picturesque views you hear about. Grand Canyon Village is the central location for hotels, restaurants, campsites, cabins and other amenities. There is a 26 mile drive from Grand Canyon Village to Desert View.This drive has many pullouts and short drives for views of the canyon.
If you do not feel like driving, take advantage of the free shuttle bus system offered by the National Park Service. To use this free service just wait at one of the numerous shuttle bus stops. Shuttles run from before sunrise to after sunset, come by frequently, and do not require any ticket or toll. Riders can get on or off at any stop.
Several companies provide helicopter or fixed-wing scenic flights from the Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan. Cost varies by type of aircraft and duration of flight.
There are many hiking trails around the South Rim. If you feel adventurous you can take a hike down Bright Angel Trail to the Bright Angel Campground. This hike has an elevation change of 4380 feet and is 9.5 miles long, so plan on staying overnight at the campground or the Phantom Ranch. You will need reservations.
From Bright Angel Trail you can also hike all the way to the North Rim. This is considered a tough hike and you will need permits. The distance is 23 miles each way with plenty of elevation changes. Allow 3-4 days for this hike.
Grand Canyon North Rim The North Rim sits considerably higher than the South Rim, 8,200 feet above sea level at the edge of the canyon and almost 9,000 feet at the entrance station. The road into the North Rim opens in mid-May and remains open until the first heavy snowfall in November. Most facilities are open mid-May to mid-October.
The North Rim offers a unique visitor experience. Solitude and awe inspiring views are a draw of the North Rim. Camping and hiking are popular here. Deer, turkeys, and bison feed in the open meadows. Golden aspen and scarlet maples highlight autumn trips and pine trees always decorate the landscape.