My family and I finally had the chance to visit the Grand Canyon, and boy was it worth the drive!!! We spent two days and three nights at the South Rim. I thought it might be helpful to share what we did in case you are planning a long-weekend there too.
DAY ONE | Plane Tour
The very first thing we did was to take a plane tour. If you can afford it…DO IT! We left from the Grand Canyon Airport. It was a breath-taking, once in a lifetime, hour-long, plane ride, giving you such a unique perspective on the scope, size and majesty of the Grand Canyon. The plane felt very safe and quite comfortable. The kids were not scared at all.
TIP: Book your ride first thing in the morning for the best weather and visibility
South Rim Trail
In the afternoon, we decided to explore the South Rim Trail. This is a relatively flat, paved trail that goes along the edge of the Canyon. At various points, the views are spectacular! You can’t even believe how gorgeous it is. You are able to get pretty close to the edge, while still maintaining a safe distance like my husband and kids did above. It’s so neat how you can see a thunderstorm miles away!
Be sure to take a stroll through the historic village in the national park. You might even catch the train rolling in!
DAY TWO | Epic Hike
Depending on your level of physical fitness there are a ton of trail options. You can find information about trails on the government website here. We opted to try the South Kaibab Trail. It is one of the less traveled hikes and just as beautiful as the very popular ones. The reason it has a little less foot traffic? The trailhead is off the beaten path. You can get there by bus, which I would highly recommend since parking was scarce.
Ooh Aah Point
We made it down to this amazing spot called “Ooh Aah Point.” Do NOT make the same mistake we did and bring your dog. We had to turn around very soon after this picture because dogs are not allowed on the trail. The dogs spook the mules, which travel all along this trail. This is an aggressive trail and I would only recommend it if you are in pretty good shape. It’s steep and has a significant elevation change. Bring plenty of water!
Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You!
This sign above really cracked us up… but it certainly drives the point home that this trail is not to be taken lightly. I’ll bet you’ve never seen a sign like that before! 😉 If you just go down a mile or so that shortens the hike quite a bit. Round trip to the Colorado River and back would be around 9 miles. Doable, but a tough hike, and I wouldn’t bring little kids.
Later that evening we went to see the IMAX movie about the history of the Grand Canyon, produced by National Geographic. It is short and SO good.
Hotel & Food
We ate at two great steakhouses while here, Big E Steakhouse, and the Yippee Ei O Steakhouse we stayed at the Best Western Premier because they allowed dogs. We loved the breakfast buffet here which included pancakes, waffles, and made-to-order omelets. If you book in advance, take a look at the El Tovar Hotel inside the park. If you are heading into the park for a day of exploration, you may consider packing a lunch as the lunch offerings were slim.
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