Planning a visit to the spectacular Grand Canyon and looking to find out what you need to know?

You’ve heard people mutter about the various options such as the ‘West rim’ or the ‘South rim’ but you’re still left wondering which is best? And when’s a good time to visit? How do you get there and what will it cost? Well you’ve come to the right place.

If you’d rather cut to the chase, then we’d recommend scrolling to the bottom of this article where you’ll find all the answers to your questions! Or if you’d like to increase your excitement levels just that little bit more then first have a read through our experience of visiting the spectacular Grand Canyon South Rim…

Grand Canyon South Rim

Despite only spending a few precious hours there, the Grand Canyon’s epic beauty and vastness captured our hearts immediately. Grand is most certainly the right word for it.

Visiting The Grand Canyon South Rim

From the moment we first laid our eyes on the canyon, to trekking around the various observation points, we were truly in awe of it. The South Rim is widely regarded as the most spectacular viewpoint, and it’s easy to understand why.

Grand Canyon South Rim

It was a particularly mixed weather day when we visited, with moments of beautiful striking sunshine, which quickly changed to dark stormy clouds before suddenly clearing again to reveal blues skies. Although it was tricky to get the camera settings right, it made for some very dramatic views!

Grand Canyon South Rim

It was amazing to witness the different views and colours that came with each change of light. If you look carefully, you can see the Colorado River snaking its way through the canyon during this hazy moment.

Grand Canyon Colorado River

After 2 hours walking along the South Rim, we jumped on the national park shuttle bus to see the mighty Canyon from some other viewpoints. We decided to stay as long as possible, hoping to catch at least the beginning of sunset, but alas time was getting on and we had to get on our way to our accommodation for the night.

The only regret we have is not planning to spend more time at the Grand Canyon. It’s easy to follow the routine of the majority of other visitors i.e. just rock up for a few hours and tour the same viewpoints of the South Rim, but since our visit we’ve realised there’s so much more you can do! So amidst our reminiscing today, we’ve been dreaming and plotting our return to this natural wonder of the world…

We’ve had a taste of hiking in canyons now and loved it (see our Epic Hike To The Highest Point In Zion National Park) so it feels necessary and exciting to dedicate at least a few days to this awesome place!

Grand Canyon South Rim, Arizona

If you’ve read our recent posts, you’ll know that trekking and hiking has become a main feature of most of our favourite travel experiences to date. There’s something very special and exhilarating about the challenge of a hike, and of course the feeling of satisfaction when you finish it, never mind the spectacular views along the way.

In fact it was following our visit to the Grand Canyon that inspired our recent visit to another famous desert canyon, Zion National Park. Although it doesn’t match up in size, it’s incredible natural beauty and amazing day hikes were inspiring and rewarding. (Read more about our Epic Hike To The Highest Point In Zion National Park here.)

Zion National Park, Utah

Alas we vow to return to the Grand Canyon and next time to ‘go over the edge’! Apparently it’s only by getting close to the detail of the canyon that it can be fully appreciated so watch this blogspace for the update, photos and stories to come!

Our Grand Canyon Facts & Tips

As always we’ve compiled our top tips and some important information to help you plan your adventure, so here’s what we learned along the way so far!

Getting To The South Rim

Coming from the South (typically via Flagstaff), you have a couple of entry options to choose from to get to the South Rim area of the Grand Canyon. Most people enter via the 180 North, however a good alternative route is via Highway 89 North to Cameron as this way you’ll enter by the less busy east entrance where you can also enjoy viewpoints overlooking the Little Colorado River Gorge, Desert View (including the Watchtower) and Grandview Point along the East Rim.

Getting Around

A free shuttle bus system operates in the Grand Canyon Village area which takes you to various different viewpoints. We’d recommend leaving your car and using this easy frequent service to get around!

When To Visit

The busiest time to visit the Grand Canyon is from the end of May to early September, however the crowds are less at the start and end of this time. We visited in mid May and found the climate to be extremely pleasant and there weren’t many crowds. Note that it can get extremely hot during peak summer so if you do visit during June, July or August, be sure to bring plenty of water and stay hydrated! October is said to be a nice month to visit due to mild weather and the beauty of the aspens changing colour, and much reduced crowds! Finally, plan to stay for a sunset as they’re said to be spectacular!

Entry Fees

Admission to the Grand Canyon National Park is for seven days and includes both the North Rim and South Rim. The cost for a private vehicle is $30.00 or for individual entry (including cyclists), the cost is $15.00. Simply pay upon entry to either the South rim, East rim (‘Desert View’) or North rim.

Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Did you hike? Share your experience and stories in the comments section below!