Grand Canyon

For millions of years, the Colorado River has carved its way through the Colorado Plateau, forming this expansive, awe-inspiring landscape that we call the Grand Canyon. And it certainly is grand. Words cannot describe what it is like to gaze across the Grand Canyon for the first time.

Grand Canyon National Park is enormous. With millions of acres of land, four rims to visit, plus the options to hike below the rim and raft the Colorado River, there is a lot to do here.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the most accessible and most popular section of the canyon to visit and this is where the most visitors spend their time. But if you are craving adventure or solitude, visit the more remote North Rim or journey below the rim. 


Founded: February 26, 1919

Annual Visitors: 4.7 million in 2023, making it the 2nd most visited national park in the USA that year.

Size: 1.2 million acres

Location: Arizona

Entrance Fee: $35 per vehicle, valid for 7 days

Notable Facts:  The Grand Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Natural Wonders of the World.

Grand Canyon National Park

Top Ten Experiences

Visit the South Rim Viewpoints. The South Rim viewpoints are the easiest way to get jaw-dropping views of the Grand Canyon. There are dozens of overlooks to choose from, all located along the 32 miles of road from Hermit’s Rest to Desert Watchtower. Each one of these viewpoints offers a spectacular view, but some viewpoints are just better than others. Some offer panoramic vistas, some are less crowded, and some make fantastic sunrise and sunset destinations. 

Hike the Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim. If you are up for a big adventure, hiking the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim is one for the bucket list. Over the course of 24 miles, you will descend below the level of the rim, cross the mighty Colorado River, and climb back up the other side. This is typically done over two days, spending the night next to the Colorado River at Phantom Ranch or Bright Angel Campground. However, if you are fit and fast, it is possible to hike rim-to-rim in one day.

Watch the Sunset from the South Rim. Watching the sunset over the Grand Canyon is magical. The top sunset viewpoints on the South Rim are Mather Point, Hopi Point, and Yavapai Point.

Watch the Sunrise at Ooh Aah Point. Hike the South Kaibab Trail to one of the most stunning viewpoints of the Grand Canyon. Not only is Ooh Aah Point a great place to watch the sunrise, but you also get to journey below the rim. The hike is 1.8 miles round trip and it is a strenuous walk back up to the rim.

The Bright Angel Trail. The Bright Angel Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails in the Grand Canyon, due to its trailhead location next to Grand Canyon Village and drinkable water sources along the trail. It starts on the rim and ends 9.5 miles later at the Colorado River. Most people hike just a few miles of the trail, turning around at the 1.5 Mile Resthouse, 3 Mile Resthouse, or Indian Garden.

Raft the Colorado River. This is one of the most famous rafting trips in the world. Over the course 6 to 7 days, you will raft down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, covering a distance of 190 miles. Those who do it say that it is a trip of a lifetime.

Visit the North Rim. The North Rim may only sit 15 miles away from the South Rim but it takes 4 hours to drive here. For the best view, visit Cape Royal Point for sweeping views across the Grand Canyon.

Take a Helicopter Ride over the Grand Canyon. Another way to truly appreciate the sheer size and grandeur of the Grand Canyon is by taking a helicopter ride. Flights last 30 to 45 minutes and leave right from the South Rim. It’s also possible to fly from Las Vegas to the South Rim but these trips come with a hefty price tag.

Climb the Desert View Watchtower. Located at the east entrance of the South Rim, climb 85 steps to the top of the Desert View Watchtower for panoramic views of the Grand Canyon.

Toroweap Overlook. This final recommendation is off-the-beaten-path, but for one of the best views of the Grand Canyon, make the journey to Toroweap Overlook. This remote overlook is located on the North Rim. To get here, you must have a high clearance 4x4 and experience driving rough, dirt roads.

Ultimate AdventureFor the ultimate adventure in the Grand Canyon, you have two options. Cross the Grand Canyon by foot to truly appreciate the immensity and beauty of this place. The hike from the North Rim to the South Rim is 24 miles long and is typically done in two days, with an overnight stay at Phantom Ranch or Bright Angel Campground. We did this in 2018 and it is an unforgettable experience. Rafting the Colorado River is another bucket list adventure to have in the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon Infographic

Learn More about the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon South Rim Viewpoints
Things to do Grand Canyon
One Day in the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim
Grand Canyon Rim-to-Rim Checklist
South Kaibab Bright Angel
Grand Canyon Helicopter
American Southwest Itinerary
Grand Canyon Skywalk
Grand Canyon Road Trip Itinerary
Day Hikes National Parks
American Southwest Itinerary

When to Visit the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon can be visited year round. Peak season is during the summer months and during the holiday seasons of Easter and Christmas. During these times, expect large crowds, traffic jams to enter the park, and hotels booked to capacity.

Spring and fall are great times to visit the park. The weather is pleasant and the park isn’t overly crowded.

From June through September, expect hot conditions and large crowds.

Winter is the off-season. Crowds will be low, but so will the temperatures. Snow is a possibility, but that will only make the Grand Canyon look more magical.

Grand Canyon National Park appears in our Best US National Parks Month-By-Month series as a great park to visit in January, April, June, November, and December.

How Many Days Should You Spend in the Grand Canyon?

We recommend spending two to three days on the South Rim, to visit the highlights. Three days gives you enough time to visit the best overlooks along the South Rim, go on a helicopter ride, and spend one day hiking the Grand Canyon. If you have more time, consider adding on the North Rim, which takes at least one full day with an overnight stay. For those who like the idea of hiking rim-to-rim, this takes lots of advance planning, so make sure you read our posts for important planning information.


With one day in the Grand Canyon, you have enough time to visit many of the South Rim viewpoints and do a short hike. Make sure you stick around for is magical.

Grand Canyon Road Trip Ideas

On this 10-day American Southwest itinerary, visit the Grand Canyon, Sedona, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, and Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. You'll also go off-the-beaten-path and explore Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
This is one of the best road trips in the USA. On this American Southwest road trip, you will visit Utah’s Mighty 5, the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, and several amazing state parks in Utah. It's the trip of a lifetime!
On this Arizona road trip itinerary, you will visit Grand Canyon, Saguaro, and Petrified Forest National Parks, drive past the buttes and mesas of Monument Valley, walk through magical Antelope Canyon, and hike the desert hills of Sedona. Arizona is home to some of the most iconic landscapes in the United States and this road trip is the perfect way to see them.
Here are five sample itineraries that include the Grand Canyon, ranging from 5 to 10 days. All of these itineraries include Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Depending on the length of time of the itinerary, we also add in places like Zion National Park, Antelope Canyon, Sedona, Death Valley, and Monument Valley. Several of these itineraries can be done as a Las Vegas loop road trip.

Did You Know?

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, 1 mile deep, and up to 15 miles wide.

Almost 2 billion years ago, the first rocks in the Grand Canyon were formed. These igneous rocks were later covered by layers and layers of sedimentary rocks. Approximately 30 to 70 million years ago, the entire plateau was uplifted through plate tectonics. And then, just 5 to 6 million years ago, the Colorado River began working its magic, slowly and steadily carving its way through these rocks, forming the Grand Canyon. If you hike from the rim to the Colorado River, you will literally walk past almost 2 billion years of geologic history.

Best Views of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Park Map

Grand Canyon Map

Grand Canyon in Photos

US National Parks List

In our US National Parks List, get information on all of the US national parks, including interesting facts, the most and least visited national parks, and a FREE printable national parks checklist with map.
Grand Canyon
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