You’ve probably seen a lot of photographs of the Grand Canyon and maybe you’ve also read a lot about it. But nothing really prepares you for the sight of it. It’s not for any reason become one of the seven natural wonders. It is so iconic and familiar you can’t take your eyes of it. The immensity of the canyon and the sheer intensity of light and shadow at sunrise or sunset scream for superlatives. If your planning to make a road trip to the West Coast of the USA, the Grand Canyon is a must visit.
The layer of Vishnu Schist at the bottom of the canyon is some of the oldest exposed rock on the planet. It is about two billion years old, that’s half of Earth’s total life span! The mighty Colorado River continues to carve its way 227 miles through the canyon as it has for the past six million years.
Per year 4,6 million people visit the Grand Canyon and most of them head to the South Rim. That’s about an hour’s drive north of Flagstaff. Here you’ll find the main Visitor Center, shops and six lodges led by the grand old El Tovar. The lodges are considered the crown jewel of all the other national park lodges. Hopi craftsmen build it in 1905 by native stone and ponderosa pine logs. You’ll have a edge-of-the-world view and the best food in the park.
When you want to go down you can take a guided mule ride to Plateau Pont or you can hike the Bright Angel Trail that runs 9,3 miles to Phantom Ranch. The more scenic South Kaibab Trail gets less foot traffic. Even the easy and mostly paved Rim Trail is hard to walk, but the views will leave you breathless. The North Rim of the canyon is less popular though no less inspiring. It’s also 1000 feet higher and therefore cooler. Many short trails lead to various overlooks and the North Kaibab trail runs 14 miles down to Phantom Ranch.