The Grand Canyon has long been identified as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and boy does it deserve the prestigious title!
Little text is needed with photos like these, just one individual image, in my opinion, should sway you to add this spectacular sight to your bucket list. What words I will fill this page with however, is exactly when and how you should plan your visit 😉
There are three public entrances to the grand Canyon, the North, South and East rim with the South taking centre stage as the most frequently visited entrance. The North entrance is only seasonally opened and is a great spot to escape the crowds in peak season as it’s a less publicised entrance and a little further away from the iconic Route 66 entrance that draws in thousands of tourists year round. The views from this look-out are apparently spectacular but you’ll have to rely on other opinions to support that I’m afraid as I was travelling just outside of peak season. We were not aware that the entrance was closed in October so drove all the way to it to have to return to the South Rim entrance (so make sure you check if it’s open before heading there ;)). After realising the closure, we opted to enter the national park via the South entrance.
We ended up entering the park in the late hours of the evening, which was a pretty amazing experience in itself if I’m honest. There’s something rather eery and a little creepy about driving on the cliffs’ edge in pitch black, it was pretty awesome all the same though as we were able to arrive into the park and get tucked up in bed ready for the morning’s sunrise in a matter of minutes upon entry! It also meant there was no-one at the entrance to charge us a fee, bonus 😉
We chose to stay in the national park itself, which was actually pure luck. We didn’t plan any accommodation on our Route 66 trip, our process throughout was driving to our preferred locations and just finding accommodation there, as and when. I didn’t even know you could stay in the park itself! So we were pretty lucky to find the Yavapai Lodge upon entry and even luckier that there was a room available! This accommodation was amazingly located and the staff were so brilliant and attentive, the rooms were large and comfy and you could walk to the bus stops for the look-out routes, it was pretty darn perfect in my opinion!
The most amazing time to see The Grand Canyon in all it’s glory is during sunrise and sunset, both times of day allow you to watch the pretty colours dance across the rocks and see them change dramatically in the space of an hour. Sunset is beautiful, but very busy. If you are looking for perfectly uninterrupted pictures and videos then you need to get your butt up for sunrise!
Waking up in the pitch black is not an easy task, braving the freezing morning weather is just about bearable but the reward is more than worth it!
If you stay in the park there’s a number of complimentary bus routes that take you to certain look-out points to see the sunrise. As it’s so ridiculously early and cold, few people are brave enough to sit and wait in the dark for the sun to rise so you get to enjoy one of nature’s most amazing sights in near solidarity. Each look-out point is also a walking trail so you can walk to different spots and see the breathtaking natural artwork as the sun rises. These photos were all taken Yaki point. We walked for just 10 minutes each way and saw no more than 12 people on the same trail. As the sun rises the busier it gets, as I am sure you can appreciate!
If you are willing to brave the cold it’s so worth the numb fingers and toes. Wake up, layer up and watch the one of the greatest shows nature has to offer!