places to visit in Grand Canyon National Park
Even the most skeptical of travelers becomes awestruck at the sight of the Grand Canyon’s massive expanse of gorges, ridges and rock formations. So simply enjoying the view — from a variety of vantage points — is an activity that could take hours. One of the best ways to see the canyon is on a hiking tour that takes you to the bottom: Some of the best trails include the Bright Angel or Rim trails on the South Rim. Rafting the Colorado River is another option; Travelers highly recommend O.A.R.S. for its excellent raft tours.

Grand Canyon Village
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Grand Canyon Village is the most popular entryway into the park and, as such, often suffers from heavy crowds during the peak seasons in spring, summer and fall. But there’s a reason the area is so appealing. It holds some of the best lookout points in the park, including Yavapai Point, whichFrommer’s claims is one of the best places to view the canyon. If you don’t like camping but want to stay within the park, you should consider looking for lodging here.Best Things To Do in Grand Canyon National Park

If you’re staying elsewhere, anticipate spending at least half a day visiting the village’s sights. If you’re interested in history, stop by the rustic Grand Canyon Railway Depot, which welcomes Grand Canyon Railway passengers to the village. Here, you’ll learn about how the expansion of the railroad had an impact on Grand Canyon tourism. For authentic Native American souvenirs, head to the Hopi House, an adobe-style building representing a traditional Hopi crafts studio. Art aficionados should stop by the Kolb and Lookout studios for works of art inspired by the Grand Canyon.

The park’s best hotels, including the El Tovar Hotel and the Bright Angel Lodge, lie within the village border or in close proximity. (Take warning: lodging within the park can be very expensive).

North Rim
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The North Rim has a reputation for its rugged, isolated trails, its sparse facilities and a lack of appeal in the eyes of the tourist mainstream. However, this reputation is only partially true. Sure, the North Rim is less crowded than the South, but only relatively so. During peak periods of travel — from the late spring to early fall — the North Rim accommodates a very large number of visitors. The good news for the nature purist is that there really are few available facilities in the North Rim, so the area will likely always remain relatively underdeveloped.

Popular spots in the North Rim include Bright Angel Point, which allows views of the Roaring Springs, the North Rim’s only water source. You should also swing by the 8,803-foot Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim.

Lodging is available at the Grand Canyon Lodge, the only available lodge on the North Rim. Rates run in the high $100s, and reservations (the earlier the better) are an absolute must.

Bright Angel Trail
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Take this steep trail, which starts just west of the Bright Angel Lodge in Grand Canyon Village, to Plateau Point for some great views of the river. But you should be warned: The Bright Angel Trail is a little more than six miles long one-way, and both recent visitors and travel experts say that attempting to hike to the river and back in one day is not a good idea. Make sure to pack camping gear if you plan on going all the way to Plateau Point and carry plenty of water with you — some rest stops along the trail only offer water seasonally.

For a unique Grand Canyon experience, consider traveling the Bright Angel Trail by mule. Riders are taken to Plateau Point and back on the same day, with a lunch break at Indian Garden. While trips are usually safe, those who are not used to spending time in a saddle may find the ride pretty grueling. There are also overnight mule rides, which continue on from Plateau Point and circle back up the South Kaibab Trail. Prices vary depending on the trip you choose.

Rim Trail
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While the Grand Canyon Village has plenty to offer visitors, make sure you don’t ignore the rest of the South Rim. The Rim Trail is one of the most popular and comprehensive trails in Grand Canyon and one of the best ways to see the South Rim’s best attractions and viewpoints. This fairly easy walking path traces the canyon’s edge, stopping off at favorite lookout points like Maricopa Point and Hopi Point. Rim Trail begins at Pipe Creek Vista (several miles east of Grand Canyon Village) and ends at the popular Hermit’s Rest lookout point west of the village. In total, the Rim Trail stretches about 12 miles. Fortunately for travelers, a shuttle bus runs along a paved road along the trail, allowing for easy access to the village and points along the way.


North Kaibab Trail
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Best Things To Do in Grand Canyon National Park. If you’ve chosen the North Rim, the North Kaibab Trail is the area’s premiere hike. The trail leads all the way to the Colorado River, and hiking enthusiasts can take the 14 miles to the Bright Angel Campground near the water. Writers and travelers both agree that the trail is rough going in the summer, when the hot Arizona sun is unforgiving to hikers. There is little shade along the way, making the journey even more difficult. You might want to walk the trail in the spring or fall rather than the summer; you’ll get to enjoy some of the best views in the park sans the sweltering heat.

If you’re new to hiking and camping, you should probably stay on the tourist-friendly South Rim. But if you want to escape the crowds, you can still take a guided, mule-driven tour through the trail from May to October.

If you’re up for the challenge of the North Kaibab but want a shorter distance, travelers recommend the four-mile roundtrip hike to the Supai Tunnel, which starts at the North Kaibab’s trailhead. “Obviously a lot of work on the way back, but definitely worth the effort,” one TripAdvisor traveler writes.

Havasu Falls
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Lauded by travelers as one of the most beautiful sights in the Grand Canyon, the Havasu Falls is a desert oasis, complete with crystal blue waterways and gushing falls that add an almost surreal quality to the dry canyon backdrop. The falls lie just south of the national park in the Havasupai Indian Reservation. To get there you must hike about 10 miles, beginning at the Hualapai Hilltop. Facilities are scarce, with just a large parking area and a few portable toilets.Best places to visit in Grand Canyon National Park

Don’t try Havasu Falls if you don’t plan on spending the night camping. The initial hike to the waterway is far too strenuous to complete in one day.

After you’ve visited the falls, stop by the village of Supai, where the Havasupai Indians sell souvenirs and snacks. However, be aware that — because this community’s economy depends on tourism — prices here are exceptionally high.