With an estimated 5.9 million people making the trek to this natural wonder year after year, the Grand Canyon has established itself as not only one of the most visited national parks in the United States, but one of the most visited nationwide attractions, period.
While the park has been in operation since 1919, it welcomed adventurers and Indigenous tribes long before that – and its unique landscape is the result of millions of years of geology!
Make no mistake, this work of Mother Nature is ENORMOUS. At a mile deep, 277 miles long, and 18 miles wide, it’s near impossible to see it all.
So, if you’re looking for things to do at the Grand Canyon — be it hiking, adventure activities, camping, or cultural experiences — you can do so by visiting any of the North Rim, South Rim, East Rim, or West Rim.
Throughout this piece, we’ll outline all of the things to see at the Grand Canyon and dive into the most popular travel spots, addressing themes including:
- South Rim
- West Rim
- Inside the Canyon
- North Rim
- East Rim
- Interesting places around the Grand Canyon
- How to reach the Grand Canyon
- Where to stay at the Grand Canyon
Boasting an abundance of visitor services and family-friendly activities, the South Rim is the most popular of all the Grand Canyon hotspots. Open all year round, the area serves as the starting point of a number of the main hiking trails, as well as hosting ranger-led programs and adventure activities!
Be sure to check if your tour covers the entry fee. Otherwise, they’re as follows:
Car: $35. Motorcycle: $30. Bicycle, on foot, or by shuttle: $20.
1 – Hike along the South Rim Trail
Adventure enthusiasts; this one’s for you. Whether you opt for a long or short hike, it’s hard to go wrong: all trails come with an exceptional view. One of the most popular routes (for good reason) is the South Rim Trail, a relatively easy hike that connects Grand Canyon Village with Hermits Rest Point.
The 8-mile journey is split up into three sections: Grand Canyon Village, Desert View Road, and Hermit Road — each of which presents its very own unique vantage point over the iconic natural landmark. For some of the best photo ops, be sure to stop at Mather Point, Yavapai point, and Verkamp’s Visitor Center.
And if you like a little bit of education with your hike, don’t miss the Trail of Time, a 2.83 mile path that traces the evolution of geology in the area. Follow the markers denoting millions of years of change, and admire some gorgeous specimens of local rocks.
2 – Go skydiving over the Grand Canyon!
If you’re after heart-racing thrills and unmatched adrenaline, look no further.
Paragon Skydive is a perfect place for this endeavor, with practiced instructors and an amazing view. They also offer some extra bragging rights: at 16,000 feet in the air, you’ll be leaping from one of the highest drop zones in the world!
With arguably the nation’s most impressive slice of nature sprawled out beneath you — with harsh desert, unique rock formations, and vibrant red hues as far as the eye can see — a 15,000-foot skydive over the Grand Canyon’s South Rum should sit atop the list of things to the at the Grand Canyon.
3 – Take a helicopter tour over Dragon Corridor
What’s the best way to capture the Grand Canyon’s striking orange stones alongside the brilliant blue of the Colorado River?
From above, of course! With either a 25- or 45-minute helicopter tour, you’ll be greeted by unobstructed aerial views of the national park, with plenty of fascinating geological and cultural tidbits relayed by your friendly pilot.
Most flights depart from Tusayan, Arizona, and soar over the South Rim, flying across the Dragon Corridor to the North Rim and back.
4 – Drive the Scenic Hermit Road or walk the trail
An approximately 7-mile road that skirts along the western end of Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim, Scenic Hermit Road is one of the most simple yet rewarding hikes in the area.
It offers an authentic desert trekking experience, with plenty of switchbacks and elevation changes to keep hikers engaged. While it can offer some more challenging terrain, the views are phenomenal, and it offers a remarkable chance to see the red rock landscape up close.
If you’re not up for walking, there’s a free shuttle bus that stops at nine different vantage points along the Hermits Rest Route. Whether on foot or by shuttle, don’t miss Powell Point, The Abyss (which boasts a near-vertical drop), or Mohave Point (a spectacular sunset view).
5 – Join a Jeep or Hummer tour!
For a unique, look-at-me way of seeing the towering rock formations up close, an open-aired jeep, hummer, or former military Humvee tour is a regular hit with travelers.
With a local driver escorting you to some of the canyon’s best lookout points, and sharing interesting stories along the way, it’s a wonderful half-day adventure. As you drive, keep an eye out for elk and other wild animals along the way (just don’t feed the rock squirrels… they bite).
Along the way, you’ll also get some great history lessons, as you explore the stories and cultures of the many tribes that have called the area home. And if you really want some stunning scenery, book a sunset tour, and ride into the evening in style!
6 – Get off the beaten path with a mule trip
As one of the most rugged, challenging landscapes in the country, there’s only so far that a tour bus can take you.
To experience the natural wonder in its entirely, it needs to be explored the way Mother Nature intended!
On part of a mule tour, you’ll explore untouched sections of the canyon and be given the chance to see it in a way most tourists could never imagine.
Trips operate in the South Rim, North Rim, and in the Kaibab National Forest (where a twilight bonfire awaits).
7 – Take a seat on the Grand Canyon Railway
In years gone by, the Grand Canyon Railroad was transporting ore through the Wild West; today, the iconic railway serves as an ever-popular attraction for tourists, linking Williams, Arizona with the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.
As you settle into your seat, you’ll be riding through the past – literally!
From the historic vehicles to the awe-inspiring landscapes, this adventure will help you get caught up in the action. And with musicians and performers onboard, you can immerse yourself in the stories of the Old West – without the outhouses and cholera, that is!
Whether you book a ticket from Flagstaff or Sedona, the views along the way are second to none. Feeling fancy? Consider upgrading to First Class!
8 – Conquer the Bright Angel Trail
Covering some 18.4 miles, the Bright Angel Trail is a staple when it comes to basic Grand Canyon hiking experiences. The flanking canyon walls provide plenty of shade, while the views of the Colorado River… well… see for yourself.
You can also trek out to Plateau Point, which offers some classic desert scenery and spectacular views of the canyon. Keep an eye out for rafters far below and birds gliding overhead, and enjoy breathtaking views of the nearby rock formations.
Hot tip: it can be a little icy — especially at the start — so take it slow and be sure to wear appropriate shoes (crampons are used by some hikers).
9 – Explore the area on a bike
Get off the beaten track; ditch the crowded visitor centers and tour busses!
Whether you join a bike tour — which features knowledgeable guides and comfy bikes — or simply rent your own, exploring the Canyon’s rim on two wheels is an experience you won’t soon forget.
Cruise along the pathways of Hermit Road and Yaki Road, enjoying a more secluded experience of the rim and its ecosystem. Or head out on even smaller paths, losing yourself in the sights and sounds of nature.
When you’re feeling peckish, be sure to stop into Grand Canyon Coffee & Eatery to recharge the batteries!
10 – Soar over the canyon with an airplane tour
Ready to soar above the canyon like a California condor?
Flights depart regularly from the South Rim, flying over the western side of the canyon where unbeatable views of landmarks like the Zuni Corridor, Desert View Watchtower, and Point Imperial await.
If you’re staying in Vegas, save yourself the driving time and book a flight that departs from Sin City instead!
Or, for the ultimate experience, choose a tour that combines a scenic flight with whitewater rafting and a stop at Antelope Canyon.
11 – Grab the popcorn at the Grand Canyon IMAX
For the chance to learn all about the history, geology, and universal allure of this iconic National Park, there’s no better way than on an enormous six-story, 82-foot IMAX screen.
Situated at the Visitors Center on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, the immersive film is the easiest way for travelers to experience the wonder of all 277 miles of the canyon in the space of just 34-minute — a perfect introduction before seeing it for yourself.
12 – Tick Desert View Drive off the bucket list
The most popular scenic road trip in Grand Canyon National Park (and it’s not hard to see why), Desert View Drive links Grand Canyon Village with Desert View, a small settlement sitting about 22 miles further east on the South Rim.
To appreciate all the favorite viewpoints — like Duck on a Rock, Grandview Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point, and Navajo Point — the drive takes about four hours, however, you could do it in much less.
From historic pueblos to striking geologic formations, jaw-dropping viewpoints to invigorating hiking trails, each stop along the way offers its own charms. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the area’s most iconic sites – and best of all, you can do it at your own pace!
13 – Stroll around the Grand Canyon Village
One of the most quintessential things to do at the Grand Canyon, a day exploring the quaint and historic Grand Canyon Village is always a hit with travelers.
Home to a variety of parks and structures, many of which are officially designated National Historic Landmarks, there’s no shortage of things to do.
With plenty of traditional hotels on offer — namely the Bright Angel Lodge; early-20th-century El Tovar; and the historic Hopi House, built from native stone — an overnight stay is always welcomed!
You can also enjoy some creative perspectives on the landscape with a visit to the Kolb Studio. Originally built as a combined photography studio and family residence in 1905, the building still hosts a variety of art exhibits celebrating the Canyon and the surrounding areas. It’s a wonderful place to soak up the history of the region – and the art of its early residents!
14 – Learn about the area with a Ranger Program
What better way to understand the lay of the land than with a local expert? In either a geology and history tour; wildlife introduction tour; or special events (think stargazing, for example), a park ranger will share fascinating insights and stories.
South RIm Village offers most of the presentations, with a number of walks departing directly from the center. But from May to October, there are also daily presentations over on the North Rim, offering even more opportunities to explore the area in-depth.
For youngsters interested in the outdoors, it’s an incredible experience that could pave the way for a future career!
15 – Tackle the South Kaibab Trail
As one of the Grand Canyon’s most celebrated hiking routes (Bright Angel Trail being the other), the South Kaibab Trail runs along the length of a ridge, offering unreal views of the rocky and river-laden landscape from start to finish.
The trek to Ooh-Aah Point (appropriately named) is just under two miles; Cedar Point is a three-mile round trip, and the journey to Skeleton Point (which requires a full-day commitment) is a six-mile round trip.
Due to these routes’ popularity, it’s recommended to arrive early.
16 – Explore the wild world of Kaibab National Forest
As you explore the South Rim, venture a little ways from the canyon to explore Kaibab National Forest! This is a place with a little bit of everything, from forests and plateaus to mountain formations and open prairies.
When the weather is warm, you can hike some stupendous trails, or go fishing in the nearby bodies of water. And in the winter, there’s snowmobiling, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing, with the stunning landscape as a backdrop.
It’s the perfect place to get in touch with nature!
17 – Dive into the area’s history at the Yavapai Geology Museum
The Grand Canyon was carved over some 6 million years — that’s 6 million years worth of erosions, geological movement, and archeological discoveries.
To learn all about the area’s natural history and dive deep into the science behind this fascinating world wonder, make a beeline for the Yavapai Geology Museum.
Learn the ins and outs of the many rock layers in the region, and check out the stories of the stones. Then check out the sprawling topographic map, where you can see the whole area from a bird’s eye view – at a fraction of the size!
Besides being a great learning experience, thanks to its location on the very edge of the canyon rim at Yavapai Point, it also boasts unbeatable views!
18 – Watch the movie at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Did you know that the Grand Canyon itself can influence the weather? Or that its elevation spans from around 2,000 feet to over 8,000 feet?
These cool facts, and so many more, are showcased in the Grand Canyon Visitor Center’s film: “Movie Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder”.
The beauty of the film is that the camera has capture one-of-a-kind scenes in places that the average traveler would never have the chance to visit.
19 – Admire the exhibits at the Tusayan Ruin and Museum
With plenty of historical information to share and 2,000-4,000-year-old artifacts on display, this museum is a wonderful place to see artifacts made by ancestral Puebloans and learn about the original inhabitants of the now-tourist-centric area.
After checking out the museum’s exhibits, spend a few minutes roaming through the bookstore. For an even deeper insight, guided tours led by local rangers are offered every day.
20 – Enjoy the view at the Desert View Watchtower
That view from the South Rim speaks for itself, wouldn’t you say?
As one of the very few buildings of its kind, the 70-foot-high Desert View Watchtower —made from stone in the style of Ancestral Puebloan towers — is an essential visit on any trip to the Grand Canyon.
Since its construction in 1932, the structure has combined stunning views with fascinating glimpses into the area’s history.
Start your journey in the Kiva Room, built in the style of a traditional religious chamber; you may even catch a glimpse of some cultural displays while you’re there! Walk up to the observation deck, snap a few photos, and then browse through the bookstore inside!
21 – Grab a brew or a bite at Yavapai Tavern
After a long day of exploring, unwind with a drink or two at Yavapai Tavern. Located in Yavapai Lodge, this charming space offers a relaxed atmosphere and an awesome roster of drinks… especially if you like beers!
Try a tasting session to explore some different palates, and don’t miss out on the impressive selection of Arizona craft beers – it’s a great local treat!
And if you want some food to go with your beverages, the tavern also offers a wide-ranging menu with everything from sandwiches and pizza to soups, nachos, and even elk burgers!
The South Rim might receive the bulk of the Grand Canyon’s tourists, but if you’re after adventure, thrills, and more unbelievable views, the West Rim has it all.
With rafting, hiking, camping, and so much more, there’s no shortage of things to do at the Grand Canyon’s West Rim.
Keep in mind that the section requires entry fees:
General Admission — $56. Skywalk — $26. Meal Tickets — $18.
22 – Gaze 4,000 feet down to the Canyon’s floor on the Skywalk
Who says you need to hop in a helicopter for a breathtaking aerial view? As you stroll out 70 feet to the edge of the Skywalk (if you’ve got the stomach for it), you’ll be greeted by a landscape unmatched anywhere else in the world.
Gaze straight down at the rocks and river below, or further outwards to see a panorama of the canyon. You can even hire a photographer to capture the moment, with an unforgettable backdrop.
There’s a reason why this Hualapai Tribe tourist attraction is the most famous landmark at Grand Canyon West!
23 – Go horseback riding through the Wild West!
If you’re looking for things to do at the Grand Canyon that provide a unique experience compared to the tour busses and high-trafficked hiking routes, a horseback riding adventure is a wonderful option.
As you travel through the rugged terrain of Nevada’s southwestern desert, keep an eye out for local wildlife and towering rock formations while hearing stories of the area’s rich history and culture.
Typically starting from Las Vegas, some tours make it all the way to the Canyon’s West Rim.
24 – Snap a selfie at Guano Point
Showcasing what is considered one of, if not the most dramatic visuals of any viewpoint in the Grand Canyon, Guano point is a surefire hit for anyone visiting the area.
Its creative name comes from the neighboring guano mine, which specializes in bat droppings – yes, you read correctly! But there’s no need to cover your head while you’re there; both the mine and the tram that ran to it have long since shut down.
You can still see some remnants of the structure during your visit, along with some truly phenomenal scenery. After soaking in the views and checking out the historic tram display, recharge the batteries at the on-site Guano Point Café.
Thanks to its proximity to the Skywalk, it makes for the perfect back-to-back West Rim itinerary.
25 – Spend the night at Hualapai Ranch
Besides being a tourist attraction in its own right, the Hualapai Ranch also serves as a unique accommodation, offering an authentic Wild West-style lodging experience unmatched anywhere else.
In addition to its cabins, the ranch also boasts quaint shops, ziplining adventures, and a nightly campfire (with S’Mores). You can lean even further into the local experience with the live entertainment, including wagon rides, music, and roping lessons.
After a few days of adventures, you’ll want to gather up a posse of your own!
26 – Check out the views at Eagle Point
Home of the aforementioned Skywalk, Eagle Point offers a range of entertainment options.
Watch the songs and dances of the Hualapai Tribe; take a self-guided tour through the local Eagle Point Native American village, and grab a couple of handcrafted souvenirs at the Creations by Native Hands Gift Shop.
After soaking in those views and snapping a handful of jealousy-inducing pics for the ‘gram, tuck in for a well-deserved meal at the Sky View restaurant, where the panoramic views are second to none.
27 – Explore the area with a Hummer tour
If the faced-pace, sleepless lifestyle of Las Vegas has taken its toll, you could do much worse than a day trip to the relaxing, picturesque West Rim to recharge the mind, body, and soul.
On an air-conditioned Hummer tour, guests travel past the 900-year-old Joshua tree forest, the manmade Lake Mead, and the world-famous Hoover Dam en route to the final destination: the Grand Canyon’s West Rim.
With lunch, a knowledgeable tour guide, and hotel pickup and drop-off included, it’s as hassle-free as can be!
Inside the Canyon
The outer rims provide exceptional views of the canyon — there’s no doubt about that. However, for an entirely new perspective; for the chance to get up close with the rivers, waterfalls, wildlife, and caves, a trip inside the canyon should be a high priority.
28 – Take a dip at Havasu Falls
Of all the things to see in the Grand Canyon, it’s hard to go past the colorful Havasu Creek as one of the most photogenic natural locations.
While easy to navigate, the hike to Havasu Falls from the trailhead is long — roughly 10 miles, eight of which take you to the town of Supai, and then another two to the campground and falls.
The only option to visit the falls is to book a 3-day permit, so be sure to keep this in mind. Craving more hikes? Make your way to Beaver Falls and Mooney Falls for more epic views!
29 – Go rafting!
As an unforgettable activity that takes you down into the heart of the Grand Canyon along the Colorado River, a rafting tour should sit high atop any adventure enthusiast’s list of things to do at the Grand Canyon.
Besides the exciting Class III+ rapids, the journey also features stops at hidden canyons and waterfalls, with a bonus hike to the beautiful Travertine Waterfall.
It’s the perfect mix of adrenaline and education; one minute you’re bouncing through a natural rollercoaster, the next, you’re drifting through remarkable formations and seeing the historic settlements of the Hualapai tribe.
(most) Tours depart from Las Vegas, so you don’t have to worry about any of the annoying logistics!
30 – Camp overnight under the stars
An absence of light and noise pollution from tourist-trodden towns makes the canyon’s night sky light up in spectacular fashion.
Self-organized camping trips are possible, however, for the most straightforward experience, everything from 2-day to 2-week camping adventures can be booked.
Depending on the tour, multi-day camping trips can also include stops at Zion National Park, the Hoover Dam, and plenty more.
31 – Kayaking in the Black Canyon
To wade through the waters at the base of one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World — there’s nothing else quite like it.
Besides the once-in-a-lifetime chance to kayak down the Colorado River, surrounded by towering canyon rockfaces, travelers can also kayak along the Hoover Dam or Black Canyon rivers.
Conveniently situated between the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, this action-packed tour takes you through some of the best natural and industrial scenery in the area.
Navigate through the wild rapids, watch for wildlife, and relax in some hot springs, before coming straight up to the mouth of the Dam. It’s a rare opportunity to see both natural and manmade wonders in conjunction with each other!
32 – Walk across the Black Suspension Bridge
At about the six-mile mark on the South Kaibab Trail, you’ll come across what is arguably the most picturesque suspension bridge in the entire national park.
Straddling the mighty Colorado River, the Black Bridge is 416 feet long and barely 5 feet wide, sitting 65 feet above the rushing river water.
Pack a camera; the views are nothing short of spectacular!
Standing at over 8000 feet elevation (1000 feet higher than its southern counterpart), there are so many things to see in the Grand Canyon along its North Rim.
While the extra height means that the temperatures drop about 10 degrees, it also welcomes substantially more plant and animal life
While the nearest city is Fredonia, Arizona, the North Rim is also a popular destination for anyone making the journey down from Utah.
33 – Make a beeline for Bright Angel Point
Of all the Insta-worthy viewpoints in the Grand Canyon, Bright Angel Point — thanks to its ease of access and sweeping vistas — reigns as one of the best.
The paved trail that begins near Grand Canyon Lodge is short, at less than a mile, but forewarning, it can be steep (and a little icy in the colder months).
It also offers an awesome cross-section of the local environment, from dense greenery to soaring juniper and pinon trees. Even though the trek is short, you’ll see some incredible sights, all complemented by those spectacular vistas.
To appreciate all of the visible landmarks to their fullest, download the Guide to Bright Angel Point app.
34 – Join an ATV tour!
One for the adrenaline junkies, an ATV tour through the seemingly endless desert landscape should sit high atop the Grand Canyon bucket list!
For the best bang for your buck, combine a quad bike adventure with a scenic airplane flight to experience the world wonder from multiple perspectives!
As you bounce along through the wild terrain, you’ll get to see all manner of plants and animals, and get a little bit of that desert dust on your shoes. Then it’s off to the plane, where you can enjoy spectacular overhead views of the same landscape – truly the best of both worlds!
Some tours make a stop at the Bar 10 Ranch, a secluded desert oasis perfect for a hearty BBQ lunch!
35 – Stand proud on the Kaibab Plateau
Otherwise known as Kaibab Mountain, the 8,700-foot plateau dishes up utterly spectacular scenes in every direction — particularly at dusk and dawn.
Along with its selection of worthy hiking trails, the plateau connects five famous lookout points along the Rainbow Rim Trail: Parissawampitts, Fence, Locust – pictured above, North Timp, and Timp.
As if the views weren’t motivation enough, the 44-mile drive from Jacob Lake to the North Rim is considered “the most pleasant 44 miles in America”.
36 – Trek through the wilderness on the North Kaibab Trail
The least popular but most challenging of all of the Grand Canyon’s three major hiking routes, North Kaibab is not for the inexperienced. But for those who do tackle it, an unbelievable experience awaits.
Due to the North Rim’s extra altitude spectrum, as they descend, hikers get a glimpse of a range of ecosystems reminiscent of everything from Canada to Mexico.
Make your way through vibrant forests and past stunning limestone cliffs, with optional detours to places like Roaring Springs, where water gushes straight from stone.
Then it’s up to the summit, for stunning views of Bright Angel Canyon and the diverse plant life in the area.
37 – Spot wildlife at Point Imperial
Towering at precisely 8,803 feet high, Point Imperial holds the title of the highest of all the North Rim lookouts.
The roughly-2-hour Point Imperial Trail is easy and mostly flat, otherwise, there’s also the option to take the scenic drive.
As you stand atop the lookoff, keep an eye out for wildlife like Falcons, condors, squirrels, and deer (remember, there’s more activity here on the North Rim); and see how many caves you can spot.
38 – Relax and unwind at Bar 10 Ranch
Advertising itself as a ‘Unique Blend of Serenity & Adventure’, the family-owned Bar 10 Ranch has been welcoming and delighting visitors since the 1970s, offering not only whimsical accommodation but a range of incredible adventure activities.
Depending on your style, choose from river rafting, horse riding, quad biking, and scenic flights — or, to tick off all of the best bits at once, opt for the all-inclusive, multi-day ‘ultimate package’.
39 – Check out Cape Royal and Angels Window
You’ve been warned: walking above Angels Window may not be a good idea if you’re afraid of heights!
A naturally-formed archway that offers up sweeping views of the canyon in every direction, Angels Window — a little detour hike off the main Cape Royal Trail — is a wonderful addition to any North Rim itinerary.
At less than half a mile each way, it’s suitable for everyone. And it’s well worth taking your time on the trail to make sure that you see all of the canyon’s complexities, all perfectly framed by the natural window.
Afterwards, head back to the main trail for some more remarkable views, and a pleasant stroll along the rim of the canyon.
40 – Grab a souvenir at the North Rim Visitor Center
Located next to the Grand Canyon Lodge, the North Rim Visitor Center is the common starting point for anyone visiting the area.
Besides providing plenty of souvenirs, maps, education exhibits, and an on-site cafe, the Visitor Center is staffed by local experts who know the canyon like the back of their hand.
So, if you have any questions regarding viewpoints, hikes, or activities, this is the place to ask!
While less-trafficked than its southern counterpart, there’s no shortage of unforgettable spots on the East Rim. Boasting a selection of infamous viewpoints, including Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend,
41 – Take that iconic photo at Horseshoe Bend
Of all the things to see in the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most iconic.
With the vibrant orange hues of the cliffs juxtaposing the sparkling blue Colorado River over 4,200 feet below, it’s a photo opportunity unlike any other. And while it’s great to take pictures, it’s even more fun to explore the area up close!
Whether you’re hiking the trail or kayaking through the gorgeous waters, this surreal landscape is well worth experiencing at length. To tick off two must-see destinations at once, opt for a tour that also visits Antelope Canyon.
42 – Wander through the mesmerizing Antelope Canyon
Honestly, have you ever seen anything quite like it? While Antelope Canyon isn’t technically in the Grand Canyon, it’s close enough to be able to tick off in the same trip.
With its surreal landscapes and canyons full of undulating stone walls, this has become a social media hit – and it’s also a great hiking destination!
Be forewarned that this spot is extremely popular, and that you can only visit with an accredited group tour, so you’ll need to book your spot well in advance. But the views are well worth it!
Tours operate from both Las Vegas and Phoenix, or you can also make your own way there. Either way, be sure to combine it with a strop at Horseshoe Bend — two of the most iconic natural landmarks in the country.
43 – Appreciate the colors at Little Colorado River Gorge Navajo Tribal Park
The majority of the Grand Canyon radiates a bright, in-your-face orange hue. However, over at the Little Colorado River Gorge, with its near-colorless gray walls, the visual is a stark contrast to the rest of the natural wonder.
While the area does offer a selection of hiking trails, for those looking to keep it simple, two viewpoints lay within walking distance of the main parking lot.
44 – Cross the historic Navajo Bridge
As the former highest steel arch bridge in the world, the Historic Navajo Bridge still stands as intimidating as ever, with travelers holding on tight to the railing.
As you look down, the rushing Colorado River sits 467 feet below, providing a mesmerizing visual contrast to the orange rockfaces which encompass it.
Originally built in 1929 to help move traffic between Utah and Arizona, the structure has been an exciting sightseeing option for walkers since 1995, when the new bridge was built alongside it.
As you take a daring stroll along the path, you’ll get an eyeful of some remarkable infrastructure, as well as a feel for how it’s incorporated into this unique, breathtaking landscape.
Other interesting places nearby
Straddling the border between Nevada and Arizona, the gigantic Hoover Dam is approximately 40 miles from the heart of Las Vegas and 95 miles from Grand Canyon West — making it an easy addition to any Vegas or Grand Canyon holiday.
At over 726 feet tall, the concrete arch dam is as foreboding a structure as any.
Zion National Park
About 2 hours north of the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, Zion National Park is flush with natural wonders.
In addition to wonderful hiking routes like Angels Landing and The Narrows, the park also boasts a plethora of Canyoneering and Rock Climbing hot spots.
Be sure to take the shuttle down the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive — it’s chock-full of jawdropping sights!
Hot tip: read our Zion National Park complete guide.
Thanks to the Hoover Dam around the corner, Lake Mead exists as a unique desert oasis, housing 9 trillion gallons of water and, therefore, an endless array of waterborne activities fit for the entire family!
Within its 700 miles of shoreline, Lake Mead offers wakeboarding, water skiing, tubing, kneeboarding; dinner cruises; shoreline hiking trails, and so much more.
Valley of Fire
Protruding like a giant piece of artwork from the hot floor of the Mohave Desert, the aptly-named Valley of Fire offers plenty of things to see and things to do.
Be sure to check out the 2000-year-old petroglyphs carved into the sandstone formations, and take a drive along Mouse’s Tank Road, where you’ll be able to admire the rocks as they change from pink to red to orange.
Hot tip: read our Valley of Fire State Park complete guide.
A popular vacation destination that welcomes some two million people per year, Lake Powell provides a great opportunity to take it slow and unwind.
Go camping, boating, hiking, or simply drive and the outskirts of the lake, admiring its gorgeous deep-blue color.
How to reach the Grand Canyon
From Las Vegas
- By Car — On average, the drive to the West Rim (the closest section to Las Vegas) takes approximately two and a half hours. Both the North Rim and South Rim, each located further away, take about four and a half hours. The majority of the trip is on the freeway, along I-11 S and US-93 S, before turning onto Pierce Ferry Road.
- On a tour (bus/minivan, jeep, or helicopter) — Why worry about logistics? If you book a tour, the experts pick you up from your hotel and arrange the entire trip. It’s hassle-free and definitely worth the extra few bucks (if you ask us)!
Have more questions? Learn how to travel from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon and check out the best Grand Canyon tours from Las Vegas.
From Sedona, Flagstaff, or Williams
- By car — About an hour and a half from Flagstaff or two hours from Sedona, the drives up from Arizona are all relatively straightforward. Just take the I-17 N to Flagstaff and then the I-40 W and AZ-64 N.
- By train (Grand Canyon Railway) — One of the most picturesque and charming methods of travel is the Grand Canyon Railway. For ultimate luxury to complement the views, consider a first-class ticket.
- On a tour (bus/minivan) — Most tours include an air-conditioned bus or minivan that picks you up from your accommodation. No stress, no worries!
Read more about the best Grand Canyon tours from Sedona
- By car — The drive from Phoenix is about three and a half hours. Just take the I-17 N to Flagstaff and then the I-40 W and AZ-64 N.
- On a tour (bus/minivan or helicopter): The basic and stress-free option is to book a tour that includes hotel pickup and drop-off. However, the fastest and most exciting way to get to the Grand Canyon is undoubtedly the helicopter option!
Where to stay in the Grand Canyon
Typically, travelers coordinate their trips in one of two ways:
Option one: they stay in a nearby major city (Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Sedona, Phoenix) and arrange a day trip or multi-day trips with tour companies.
Option two: they stay closer to the action at lodging in Tusayan or Grand Canyon Village (both very short drives to the main sights and trails). Or, they camp in one of the National Park’s many campgrounds.
Both of these accommodation plans have their own benefits, depending on the type of travel you want to do. Day trips or multi-day treks are great if you want to explore the stunning landscape, but still focus primarily on fun and games in the city.
But if you want to focus more on biking, hiking, rafting, and so on, then the nearby campgrounds are an excellent option, making it easy for you to pack in the activities – then sleep under the stars!
Where to go next?
While the Grand Canyon is (understandably) one of the top attractions in the Southwest, there are tons of other awesome things to do in Arizona!
From the red rocks of Sedona to the multicultural hub of Tucson, vast deserts and stunning caves to ancient settlements and historic railroads, the Copper State makes for a truly unique vacation experience.
Head to Phoenix for a major cosmopolitan experience, complete with museums, hiking, and nightlife. Or check out the nearby town of Scottsdale, rife with history, art, and awesome immersive experiences.
And when you’re ready to head out of the state, try out another iconic spot: Las Vegas! Sin City’s reputation is well-deserved, but its hedonistic streak is nicely paired with interesting art, unique museums, and shops and shows for the whole family.
If you want to get two adventures in one, check out our guide for how to get from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon.
When a landscape is as iconic as this one, it can be hard to think of anything beyond the visual splendor. But with its outdoor adventures and unique culture, there’s no shortage of amazing adventures to try.
From adrenaline-filled trips to contemplative interludes in nature, you’ll find plenty of memorable things to do at the Grand Canyon. So pack your sense of adventure, and prepare to explore a true natural gem!