EPIC GRAND CANYON Itinerary! (November 2019)

Welcome to one of the world’s seven wonders. Where the valleys meet the sky, and where water has, over millennia, carved out the greatest canyon ever seen! Spending two days at the Grand Canyon could never do justice to the impact this behemoth has had on its local people.

However, if one or two days at the Grand Canyon is all you have, then it’s best to get in as many of the good bits as possible! In this Grand Canyon itinerary, we will try our best to fit in all of those bits, whether you’re spending one day in the Grand Canyon, or traveling to its outer reaches and towns of influence!

If nature and culture are your kinds of things, then here’s what to do at the Grand Canyon!

 

Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon vacations can give varied experiences, depending on the time of year. Summers can get up to a sweltering 30°C/86 °F, and winters down to a freezing 7°C/ 45°F. A weekend in the Grand Canyon can feature snow-covered peaks one week, and give you sunburn the next. Quite the turnaround!

When to visit Grand Canyon

These are the best times to visit Grand Canyon!

The crowds of tourists follow the weather and thus can determine when’s best for you to enact your Grand Canyon itinerary. March through May, and September through November are seen as sweet spots for tourists, due to the fewer crowds but with some of the warmer weather!

June through August is the Grand Canyon’s peak season, what with the holiday season in full flow. Experiencing long summer days and with the park fully open for business, the canyon is a hum of activity!

 Average TemperaturesChance of RainCrowdsOverall Grade
January1°C /34 °FAverageMedium / Grand Canyon Celebration of Art🙁
February4°C /39 °FAverageMedium😐
March6°C / 43°FHigh Medium 🙂
April11°C / 52°FLowMedium / National Park Week😀
May16°C / 61°FAverageBusy😀
June21°C /70 °FLowBusy🙂
July24°C / 75°FHighBusy / Grand Canyon Star Party😐
August23°C / 73°FHighBusy / Grand Canyon Music Festival🙂
September19°C /66 °FAverageMedium / Grand Canyon Music Festival😀
October13°C / 55°FAverageCalm / Grand Canyon Celebration of Art🙂
November7°C / 45°FAverageCalm / Grand Canyon Celebration of Art😐
December2°C / 36°FAverageCalm / Grand Canyon Celebration of Art🙁

 

Where to Stay in the Grand Canyon

Situated plum in the middle of Arizona, the Grand Canyon spans 4,926 km², taking up most of the state. Panoramic pictures and social media have contributed to the notion that a visit to the Grand Canyon is made up of that one iconic view. How wrong this notion is!

Where to stay in Grand Canyon

These are the best places to stay in Grand Canyon!

Mather Point is just one of the many outdoor items a Grand Canyon itinerary can be made up of. As large as this iconic site is, so to is its need to host the five million tourists that all want their own exclusive trip of the Grand Canyon.

Traveling the historic Route 66 you’ll get to see the towns that make up the soul of the greater Grand Canyon area. From Williams to Flagstaff, and Tusayan in between, you’ll find hostels, hotels, and campsites are in abundance!

 

Grand Canyon International Hostel (Flagstaff)

Grand Canyon International Hostel (Flagstaff) is our pick for the best hostel in Grand Canyon!

Best Hostel in the Grand Canyon AreaGrand Canyon International Hostel (Flagstaff)

Not only is this the closest hostel to the Grand Canyon National Park, but it also is in the perfect spot to open up the rest of the greater Grand Canyon attractions.

One of the best in the country, the Grand Canyon International is a backpackers five-star equivalent.

Check for Best Price

 

Cutest Home to pass through

Cutest Home to pass through is our pick for the best Airbnb in Grand Canyon!

Best Airbnb in Grand Canyon: Cutest Home to pass through

This tiny home is exactly what you need coming through the grand canyon. There are so many cool things to say about this home, but one memory you won’t forget is how incredible star-gazing is staying here — minimal light pollution. The electricity is powered by solar panels, giving you the some-what of a camping experience, without the bugs and windy dirt that can be intense once you get to that elevation.

Check on Airbnb

 

Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn

Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn is our pick for the best budget hotel in Grand Canyon!

Best Budget Hotel in the Grand Canyon Area – Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn

Situated in Tusayan, 11km from the Grand Canyon National Park, the BWP Grand Canyon Squire Inn is a budgeteer’s dream.

Equipped to the teeth with facilities of necessity (cable, WiFi, laundry) and recreation (Pub, game room, bowling alley), the BWP is as convenient and high quality as those on a budget are going to find!

Check on Booking.com     Check on HotelsCombined     Check on Agoda

 

The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon is our pick for the best hotel in Grand Canyon!

Best Luxury Hotel in the Grand Canyon Area – The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon

The Grand boasts the convenience of being 10km from Mather Campground, 2.9km from the airport, and 12km from the Bright Angel Trail. It comes with an indoor pool, fitness center, and evening entertainment!

With the luxury of satellite TV, an appliance-filled kitchen, and guest wardrobes, the Grand is the best place to stay at the Grand Canyon (in 3 days)!

Check on Booking.com     Check on HotelsCombined     Check on Agoda

 

Grand Canyon Itinerary

The Grand Canyon is huge! So big that you can spend an entire day just driving from the South Rim to the North Rim and back, no stopping! With this in mind, it’s worth mentioning that a well planned Grand Canyon itinerary is a necessity when considering vacationing there.

As much as a mule seems like an awesome way to get around, the buses are better, so make use of their free service! They run throughout the North and South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon itinerary

Welcome to our EPIC Grand Canyon itinerary.

From the Bright Angel Trail dropoff to trying to get onto the world-famous viewing platform, getting around your Grand Canyon itinerary is not as difficult as it sounds. Public transport is the best option in helping you reach your Grand Canyon itinerary goals!

However, should you be lucky enough to have your own wheels, make a stop at the Grand Canyon Village Visitors Centre and pick up a brochure or two regarding traveling the many routes the Grand Canyon has to offer!

 

Day 1 Itinerary of the Grand Canyon

Mather Point | Grand Canyon Village Center | Kaibab Trail | Grand Canyon Village | North Rim Exploration | Hermit’s Rest Road Viewpoints

 

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is often a starting point for the majority of tourists and hikers alike. Anything that’s done in the reserve usually originates here. Thus, we suggest making use of its convenient location and hopefully good weather!

 

Day 1 / Stop 1 – Mather Point

  • Why it’s awesome: This is the main site of that famous panoramic of the Grand Canyon!
  • Cost: Free
  • Food nearby: Snacks and refreshments can be bought from the Visitors center when it opens at 8 am

Can you picture the light cresting over the rocks at one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World? Catch that early morning sunrise and the various colors it leaves on the red rocks of the Grand Canyon!

Think of that famous shot of the Grand Canyon on Mather Point! It’s a must when touring the Grand Canyon for the first time. Mather Point is one of the closest sites to the visitors center and thus one of the first opportunities you’ll have of viewing the canyon!

Mather Point

Mather Point at the Grand Canyon Area, Arizona

As your first stop of the day, you can expect to be up early if you want to catch the early morning rays cresting over the orange rocks of the canyon. Take a short walk, bypassing the then closed Visitors center, down to the point.

Other than not wanting you to miss the beautiful sunrise, we recommend an early start so as to also to beat the crowds and tour buses that will all converge on this location! The center opens at 8 am and due to it being the most well-known spot on the South Rim, it’s worth getting out of the way early on. Try to avoid souring your Grand Canyon points of interest because of tourists!

 

Day 1 / Stop 2 – Grand Canyon Village Visitors Center

  • Why it’s awesome: Every little bit of information you could want about covering the Grand Canyon is here
  • Cost: Free
  • Food nearby: Grab some breakfast at the Mather Point Cafe

The best place to continue your day after a brisk early morning viewing of the canyon! Opening at 8 am, the Grand Canyon Village Visitors center can give you all the relevant information and news you could ever need for your day to day exploration. From hikes to bus times, the visitor center has you set!

Try to get here on the opening of the doors so to start your day ahead of the crowds. It doesn’t take long for the tour buses and tourists to arrive, and for the center to become a hive of activity. This is the gateway to the South Rim, and thus is where everyone will meet and convene for their tours!

Depending on the time of year, you can either have it pleasantly busy or full to the brim, so make your plans for your travel to the Grand Canyon around whether you mind crowds of people or not!

Get all your relevant information pertaining to your Grand Canyon itinerary before you start your day. Familiarise yourself with the free shuttle bus systems, the Grand Canyon walking tours available, or take a look at the various park ranger programs for you to listen in on!

 

Day 1 / Stop 3 – Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge Picnic

  • Why it’s awesome: Gets you to see a different perspective of the Grand Canyon!
  • Cost: Free
  • Food nearby: Get set for a below-the-rim picnic!

Planning a trip to the Grand Canyon is never complete without some sort of outdoor adventure, and not going on a short hike or walk into the canyon itself is a missed opportunity. The adventure of descending into the gorge, surrounded by the orange rocks and the sounds of the “Wild West” is seriously worth it!

The Cedar Ridge is one of the first major points on the South Kaibab Trail. One and a half miles along the Kaibab, Cedar Point is a nice balance of slightly enduring yet manageable. Put it this way, it’s easy enough and short enough not to spend your whole day doing it and/or recovering from it!

Kaibab Trail

Kaibab Trail at the Grand Canyon Area, Arizona | Source: Anton Foltin (Shutterstock)

The Cedar Ridge offers a “below the rim” view of the Grand Canyon. As some of the locals would say, you haven’t seen the canyon to its fullest until you’ve seen it from below the rim! Although you would have to hike much further to see the Grand Canyon from its base, Cedar Ridge is a good start!

Taking you about 3 hours to complete, you’ll get to see Ooh Aah Point, an appropriately named spot, if ever there was one. As well, it’ll give you the opportunity to have a moment with the canyon at the Cedar Ridge picnic site! A special moment to enjoy alone or with your family.

Insider Tip: You’ll find toilets during the walk, but there is no water along the trail. Use the Visitors center to stock up with water and desired snack for your below-the-rim picnic.

The Best Travel Backpack?!

Pssssst! Not picked the perfect travel backpack yet? The Broke Backpacker team has tried out over thirty backpacks this year! Our favourite carry on backpack is the Nomatic Travel Backpack.

Check out this post to read our full review!

 

Day 1 / Stop 4 – Grand Canyon Village

  • Why it’s awesome: The Grand Canyon Village is full of museums, studios, and food!
  • Cost: Free
  • Food nearby: Grab a late lunch at The Arizona Room

After a morning full to the brim with physical activity, slow it down with a calm afternoon’s touring of the world-famous Grand Canyon Village. Learn about the history of the West, the railroad, and the Grand Canyon itself.

Start at the Visitors Center and pick up a self-guided walking tour brochure for an in-depth analysis of the canyon and village. This brochure will give the autonomy you so desire to see the village and its assets at your own pace.

Highlights include the endearing Yavapai Geology Museum with its stunning view of the South Rim and a topographical map of the Grand Canyon. As well, go see Kolb Studio, Lookout Studio, and Hopi House for the art enthusiasts! Here the locals of the Grand Canyon celebrate the art and culture of the West, with Native American and the Colonial Settler influence in tow.

Bright Angel Lodge and El Tovar Buckey O’Neill Cabin, two of the most famous lodgings of the village, are worth taking a look into. You’ll get a chance to see how the local communities have been influenced by the history of the Grand Canyon and its residence.

You’ll learn about the early development of the Village around the Santa Fe Railroad, and of the molding of the Canyon around the Colorado River. We have no doubt you’ll leave full of knowledge and appreciation for this wonderful site!

Insider Tip: The Grand Canyon plays host to the “Grand Canyon Celebration of Art”. Try time your Grand Canyon vacation around this time of year!

 

Day 1 / Stop 5 – North Rim Exploration

  • Why it’s awesome: You get to see the Grand Canyon from the opposite end of the gorge
  • Cost: Free Transport!
  • Food Nearby: Have a seat at the quaint at Deli in the Pines

The North Rim is often glossed over when being considered a part of one’s Grand Canyon itinerary. This may be due to its positioning and how much of a roundabout way one has to take to get there. In any case, this can work in your favor!

If crowds of tourists are not your thing, and “iconic” is not something you are too worried about, then this may be the spot for you! Although less commercialized and developed, the North Rim has some seriously attractive proposals. And the allure of these proposals can really be summed up in two words: fewer tourists.

North Rim Exploration

North Rim at the Grand Canyon Area, Arizona

As the locals would say, “there is no ugly side to the Grand Canyon”, and there are some beautiful viewing points and hikes on offer here, such as the Bright Angel Point, Coconino Overlook and the North Kaibab Trail!

Grab a bike and ride the roads of the North Rim, or maybe think about camping under the stars at the Demotte or Jacob Lake Campground site. Here at the North Rim, you’ll be getting a more laid back, less congested side of the Grand Canyon. The mule rides are more often available too!

 

Day 1 / Stop 6 – Sunset at Hermit’s Rest Road Viewpoints

  • Why it’s awesome: Catch the last rays of sun hitting the orange rocks as you’ve never seen before!
  • Cost: Free
  • Food nearby: Sundowners at the viewpoint, and try for some supper at the famous El Tovar

Close off your first day with the unforgettable, must-see view of the Grand Canyon at sunset! We can not emphasize it enough when we say you need to catch the last light of the day ending over the gorge! As the first stars coming out overhead, you’ll get to see a sunset and a starry night like never before. Pray for clear skies!

Make use of the reserve’s “park-and-ride” bus shuttle services and catch the bus that takes you along the Hermit’s Rest Road. Prepare for the best way to see Grand Canyon on tour!

As the sun begins to set over the horizon, you’ll stop at one of the many viewing points. With your sundowners in tow, and a good hour or two to spend, you can take in the breathtaking colors and sounds of the Grand Canyon at rest. Stay for that little bit longer and, as the crowds begin to disperse, enjoy the relative peace and quiet. It’s worth taking that moment, trust us!

We’d recommend the Monument Creek Vista viewpoint as it truly encapsulates the Grand Canyon attractions in all their glory! Especially if epic views, unique scenery, and being in nature are your kind of things. The shuttle will bring you home!

Grand Canyon International Hostel (Flagstaff)

Check Best Price

Grand Canyon International Hostel (Flagstaff)
Not only is this the closest hostel to the Grand Canyon National Park, but it also is in the perfect spot to open up the rest of the greater Grand Canyon attractions.
  • $$
  • Free Breakfast
  • Free WiFi

 

Day 2 Itinerary in the Grand Canyon

National Geographic Visitor Center | Bearizona Wildlife Farm | Williams | Route 66 Zipline | Planes of Fame Air Museum

With our 2 day itinerary at the Grand Canyon, you’ll get to experience some of the greater Grand Canyon areas. From the gorges of Tusayan to Route 66 and Williams, we think its the best idea to get a cultural shot from the Old West!

 

Day 2 / Stop 1 – National Geographic Visitor Center, Tusayan

  • Why it’s awesome: It’s an authentic National Geographic operations site! With genuine Native American exhibits!
  • Cost: $19.69 for an IMAX ticket
  • Food nearby: Get a hearty breakfast at the Explorer’s Cafe

Begin your day bright and early for your trip to the greater Grand Canyon area, and to Route 66. Catch one of the many inter-canyon bus shuttles that will lead you out of the park, to the small outpost of Tusayan!

Here you’ll find the reserve’s last bastion, where you can get anything and everything regarding preparation for visiting the Grand Canyon. You’ll have an opportunity to get all your passes, permits and tour items for the rest of your Grand Canyon Itinerary, should you need them. This without having to fight the hordes of tourists at the Village center!

You’ll also find the National Geographic Visitor center! What makes this place special is not only its wealth of knowledge and incite to the greater Grand Canyon area, nor its amazingly authentic exhibits and museums! No, rather it is the IMAX theatre it hosts, where Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets is shown on the hour, starting at 8:30 am.

You would be wise to spend a short time experiencing the Grand Canyon in IMAX. It’s truly awe-inspiring to soar above the Canyon and see it from the skies, from the plains, and the Colorado River below. And all this in the majesty of 3D!

 

Day 2 / Stop 2 – Bearizona Wildlife Farm

  • Why it’s awesome: Bears, Bison, Reindeer, and so much more!
  • Cost: $25 Adult ticket
  • Food nearby: Grab a late brunch or early lunch that Bearizona’s 6000 ft² restaurant, Canyonlands!

Welcome to Route 66! After catching an hour-long bus ride from Tusayan to Williams, taking in the breath-taking landscape of the Arizona plains and its forests, you’ll find yourself coming into Williams – the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon”!

Your first stop is due east of Williams, 10 minutes outside of the town. Surrounded by beautiful pine trees, you can enter the farm just off the right of Route 66, and be met by an enormous “Bearizona” sign.

Bearizona Wildlife Park

Bearizona Wildlife Park, Arizona | Source: zurina (Shutterstock)

Bearizona is home to a multitude of wildlife! From the ever famous black bear to reindeer, arctic wolves, bison, wild pigs, and mountain goats, there’s plenty of variety. Oh, and did we mention the bears? Bears in trees, bears in bushes, bears a hair’s breadth from your car! We guess it’s called “Bearizona” for a reason!

But the wandering animals are not all this awesome farm has to offer. In its walking portion, Bearizona hosts a fowl show, a barn full of your favorite animals, and an enclosed area where you can see bobcats, otters and a seriously beautiful jaguar!

Bearizona is a must as you make your way through Route 66. From its stunning scenery and wildlife on show to its hosting rangers, your first experience of the greater Grand Canyon area will be a wholesome one. It’s that feel-good stop you need to kickstart your day!

 

Day 2 / Stop 3 – Williams

  • Why it’s awesome: The world-famous Route 66 and all it has to offer!
  • Cost: Free
  • Food nearby: Grab a snack and coffee at Brewed Awakenings Coffee Co., and receive some of that famous local hospitality!

After your “bears-capade”, you can now make your way back to the town of Williams. Welcome to the most authentic, traditional Route 66 town you’ll find! As single-road towns go, you won’t get a more accurate depiction than this.

By visiting the Wild West Junction, you’ll start your Williams tour by getting into character! Here you’ll experience that Wild West theme to its fullest, except it’s not so much a theme as it is the real thing! Take a walk into the saloon with its live re-enactments, or visit the famous Drovers Inn. It’s the Old West come alive!

Williams

Williams, Arizona | Source: MattLphotography (Shutterstock)

Next, take a look at the awesome museum, Pete’s Route 66 Gas Station. Salvaged from an old service station, Pete was able to restore it into a sort of time capsule! Filled with some old treasures from the golden years of Route 66, this museum will take you back to the time of small-town communities and big dreams!

The Brewing and Wine companies of Williams are always worth a look-see, especially if experiencing the local beverages is your thing! Have a look into the open-air museum, or maybe make use of one of the iconic diners. Either way, always remember that the allure of Williams is not necessarily in its things to do, but rather in being there.

From Kaibab Lake to the world-famous “Gateway to the Grand Canyon” metal arch, Williams will give you the authentic oldtown experience you never thought you needed!

Insider Tip: Sometimes the town hosts a mock gunfight straight out of a western movie. Find out when this “high noon pistol draw” might be happening and be a part of it!

 

Day 2 / Stop 4 – Route 66 Zipline, Williams

  • Why it’s awesome: Get a very unique view of Route 66 and Grand Canyon Boulevard!
  • Cost: $15 Solo Ticket
  • Food nearby: Take an early supper at the iconic Cruisers Cafe 66 and experience some delicious diner food

You’ve spent a good few hours experiencing Route 66 at ground level, in all its glory. You’ve gone through the history of the Williams and its role on this famous road. You’ve tried its food, its drink, and its famous hospitality! Now, it’s time to experience it from a different point of view.

Make your way to the center of town, just alongside the famous railroad. There you’ll find it: the Route 66 Zipline tour! 110Ft. High, 700ft. Long, 30mph forward and backward, and with a twist at the end!

This zipline tour is designed to give you a new vantage point of Route 66 and its surrounding landscape. It will have you marking key locations you’ve been to, scanning the horizon for notable landmarks, and taking in the beauty and historic value of the town of Williams!

With your co-chair next to you and 15 minutes of free time, we’d recommend going tandem with someone who you’d want to experience the view with. For us, it’s one of the more appropriate ways to finish your time on Route 66. With the sun at your back, the Hollywood Boulevard beneath your feet, and the old Route 66 town laid out before you!

 

Day 2 / Stop 5 – Planes of Fame Air Museum

  • Why it’s awesome: One of the most iconic Air museums around, filled with preserved history!
  • Cost: $10
  • Food nearby: Grab a hearty meal at The Grand Canyon Inn. The burgers are worth it!

Finally, we get to the end of our 2-day itinerary at the Grand Canyon! As you make your way back to the reserve, we don’t believe it would be worth you having come all this way without making a stop at Valle’s Planes of Fame Air Museum!

For a day filled with the old and traditional, why not finish with a last look at some of the most iconic and original planes that have ever flown our skies! It truly is an eye-opener for those of the aviation variety, as well as those who can’t get enough of vintage!

Williams

Planes of Fame Air Museum, Arizona | Source: Eric Salard (flickr)

There are nearly 3 dozen vintage airplanes found at this museum, ranging from warplanes of yesteryear to the classical passenger planes straight out of the black-and-white movies! These include the founder’s (Ed Maloney) very own private airplane!

Within this huge hanger you’ll find history galore, and not just pertaining to the planes. The museum’s primary purpose is actually to preserve man’s history of flight. This includes the men and women who devoted their lives to flight and its advancements, famous and otherwise. Their stories are shared and commemorated here so as to not be forgotten!

Insider Tip: If you time it right, you can get to see one of their many airshows! This is when they showcase some of their planes in action! It’s worth a watch.

Gardens Neighborhood, Cape Town

You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.

GET IT HERE

 

Day 3 and Beyond

Ride a Mule | Grand Canyon Skywalk | Bright Angel Trail | River Rafting | Grand Canyon Railway

If you’re lucky enough to need a 3-day itinerary at the Grand Canyon, then we highly recommend you take a look into some of the options below. They will be worth your while!

 

Ride a Mule

  • Can cost $140 and above
  • Its highly sought after with a waiting list of over year!
  • You’ll see the Grand Canyon on routes you wouldn’t normally get to travel

Starting at either the South or North Rim, ride your very own mule as you explore the Grand Canyon across its deepest ravines and narrow trails. Not only is it an experience in and of itself, but it also will grant you a Grand Canyon trip full to the brim with memories!

You may be asking yourself why would you want to put yourself through this? Well, not only will you have some outlandish and remarkable stories to tell your friends and family when you return home, but you’ll also be able to cover more trails than you ever could on foot!

Ride a Mule

Ride a Mule at the Grand Canyon Area, Arizona

Mules are endurance animals and great for the canyons narrow trails, allowing you to cover good ground on paths not suited for horses. You also get to take the strain off your own feet! But, don’t think it isn’t difficult!

Mule rides vary from Canyon Vista Rim tours to the Bright Angel Trail descent. Times can vary from two hours to four hours in length, as well as overnight options! Be wary though, bookings can go back to over a year in advance, so get in the queue now!

Insider Tip: The South Rim tours are the most popular due to convenience and location. Make use of this by traveling to the North Rim and doing your Mule Ride there instead!

 

Grand Canyon Skywalk

  • One of the newest attractions of the Grand Canyon
  • A marvel of engineering design!
  • You get a 360-degree view of the Canyon, even directly beneath you

The world-famous Skywalk! The Grand Canyon’s latest feature and a truly inspiring feat of engineering, standing at 4000 feet above the Colorado River. With its unbeatable 360 degrees view of the Grand Canyon, this marvel is a must for anyone planning an itinerary for the Grand Canyon!

Found on the West side of the Grand Canyon, the Skywalk is not actually a part of the Grand Canyon National Reserve. It is rather located on reservation land owned by the Hualapai Indian Tribe, sanctioned and blessed by the Native American leaders of the area.

By no means budget-friendly, this is still one of the most unique experiences you can have of the Grand Canyon. You are able to get a Legacy Gold Package Day Pass to the Grand Canyon West. This pass comes with a pass to enter the Skywalk, a meal, a visitation certificate, shuttle privileges throughout the West Canyon, and the opportunity to interact with the local Hualapai people.

Costing $30 million to build, the Skywalk has been built as a testament to the natural wonder and cultural significance the Grand Canyon holds in the hearts of its locals. Should you get the opportunity to go, be prepared to wait in some form of line due to its popularity!

 

Bright Angel Trail

  • One of the most famous hikes at the Grand Canyon
  • Explore some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area
  • Walk the banks of the Colorado River

Begin its 4380 feet descent at the Grand Canyon Village, and make your way towards the Colorado River. Conjoined with the South Kaibab Trail, the Bright Angel Trail will take you to the base of the canyon, and run along the Colorado River. Here, you’ll be able to enjoy an unobstructed, awe-inspiring view of the Grand Canyon from below.

Being at least a 2-day hike, you can expect to camp! The Bright Angel Campground or the Garden Campground are both highly suitable stops. You’re going to need an Overnight Permit, issued by the Grand Canyon National Park Backcountry Information center, to do this, however. You can get this at any one of the visitor’s centers!

Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail at the Grand Canyon Area, Arizona | Source: Roman Khomlyak (Shutterstock)

Being able to experience a hike in the Grand Canyon is recommended to any first-timers, and the Bright Angel Trail is top of that list. Water is provided via the trans-canyon pipeline, and the paths are well maintained and monitored. This trail is challenging enough to be memorable, yet rewarding enough with all its sites, sounds, and experiences to warrant the effort!

 

River Rafting

  • Get a chance to travel the Colorado River!
  • $350 and up for a whole day
  • Options for both the adventurer and those who want to take it slow

The Colorado River trip would be one of the highlights of your 3-day itinerary in the Grand Canyon, hands down! Imagine yourself clinging to a raft as you hurtle downstream, the river splashing in your face! Imagine yourself camping on the side of the river, stars overhead and the sound of said river rushing alongside!

There is no shortage when it comes to options for traversing the river. Sixteen companies offer services to take you downstream, and not all of them are high octane, adrenaline-pumping rides.

Grand Canyon Rafting offers you choice on whether you want to do the white water rafting or just take it slow on a motorized raft. With so many high quality, experienced companies having your back, you know you are going to get the experience you are after!

You can spend 3 days on the Grand Canyon river, or 19! You can choose to have a more nature-centered tour or a more social one. It is worth noting that trips can fill up quickly and bookings disappear in a flash. Make sure, as in most things to do with your Grand Canyon itinerary, that you are well organized and booked in advance!

Insider Tip: If a multi-day rafting experience isn’t your thing or maybe not in your budget, try the Hualapai Nation’s Grand Canyon West resort.

 

Grand Canyon Railway

  • Iconic and authentic in design and experience
  • Lots of choices in regards to how you’ll travel
  • The views and experience are well worth the price

This is definitely one of the main attractions we’d recommend you visit in the Grand Canyon (in 3 days)! Buy your tickets at the Williams Depot where you’ll get to choose which car you would like to ride in. Built in 1908, the depot will give you a small taste of what you’re in for!

Starting with The Pullman Class ($67), this is the standard and classic car, with its bench-style seats from circa 1923. Next tier is the 1950s “Coach” Class ($82), more streamlined, with big windows and air conditioning. First Class is next, sitting at $159, with you getting over-sized seats, enormous windows, bar service, and complimentary snacks!

Grand Canyon Railway

Grand Canyon Railway, Arizona | Source: Cheryl Gescheidle (Shutterstock)

The next 3 are part of the “luxury” suites. The Observation Dome ($189), Luxury Dome ($226), and Luxury Parlor ($226) all boast a beautiful vantage point of your journey. Spacious lounges, bar service, and tasty snacks are what’s in store for those fortunate enough to get a seat!

Whichever car you choose, you are going to experience what it was like to travel on the railroad circa the 1930s. It does not get more authentic than this, and although slightly pricey, we believe it is well worth the experience! When the whistle sounds and the train pulls out of the station, you’ll know you’ve gone back in time.

 

Don’t forget to pack a good book!

Grand Canyon: This is our top recommendation for an awesome and inspiring read on this magical city.

 

Staying Safe at the Grand Canyon

With the excitement of traveling into the “Wild West” comes a necessity to be aware of the dangers being at the Grand Canyon can bring. It is a nature reserve after all and thus has many elements of the wilderness in tow.

A lot of hazards can be avoided by listening to the resident rangers! They are the professionals and your guides, so adhere to their every word and you should remain safe and sound.

Make sure to bring enough water and snacks whenever adventuring out into the Canyon. Water and food are a necessity in the heat and over long hiking trails!

Try staying within the safety railing so as to ensure that you or any children don’t take any unnecessary falls into the canyon.

Finally, don’t feed the animals! Not just because it’s bad for them, but the number of bites people receive from trying to interact with animals such as squirrels is more than you think! Just make sure you’re aware of your surroundings and alert to any possible dangers, and the Grand Canyon will remain a safe and enjoyable place!

Don’t forget to sort your travel insurance! We’ve put together a roundup of the best travel insurance for backpackers, or if you’re low on time, get a quote from World Nomads now, our favourite travel insurance provider.

 

Day Trips from the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is quite well situated to a few key landmarks, making day trips possible. Due to its location in Arizona, and being very close to the world-famous Route 66, you can choose to go east or west and you’d still be able to find some rather incredible places!

Here are some day trips from the Grand Canyon that can get you out of the reserve, but not out of Wild West!

 

Las Vegas

Las Vegas Hop On Hop Off TourSpend a day in Las Vegas, touring the city on an open-top bus! Make use of this tour, and give yourself an eye-opening experience of one of America’s most famous cities!

As you catch the early morning bus out for a day in Las Vegas, you’ll get to see all the beauty of Route 66 on your way there. Once you’ve arrived, hop on and off throughout the day as the bus takes you along the Vegas Strip!

Check Tour Price

 

Flagstaff

Flagstaff Segway Tour

This Segway tour is one of the most unique and fun tours we’ve seen as of late. Hop onto your very own Segway and explore Route 66’s Flagstaff!

From the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad to the Northern Arizona University, you’ll get to cover Flagstaff in its entirety! All the while receiving informative incite into the history of the town and its involvement with the greater Grand Canyon area!

Check Tour Price

 

Sedona Vortex Food Tour

Sedona Vortex Food Tour

The Sedona Vortex Food Tour is a culinary experts dream! Not only will you get to taste some of the best offerings of the region, but you’ll get to see the famous Red Rocks to boot! Food with a view!

You’ll learn about Sedona, its natural landmarks, its restaurants, things to do there and its many other hidden gems.

Check Tour Price

 

Hopi Lands

Hopi Lands

Take a trip to one of the oldest occupied villages in America, as you delve into the heart of the Hopi lands. Explore the Hopi Cultural Center, and experience a traditional Hopi meal!

Departing from Flagstaff, take a drive to the Hopi Nation and Reservation, visiting its mesas, the Indian Nation, and the many archaeological discoveries found at the Hopi Museum and Art Gallery!

Finish your trip off at the home of Walpi, the most original and spiritual home of the Hopi settlements, and meet its residence!

Check Tour Price

 

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

Antelope Canyon

Traverse the famous twists and bends of Antelope Canyon, with its water-carved walls and its narrow channels.

Start your tour with a stunning view of the San Francisco Peaks, after climbing through the Oak Creek Canyon. You’ll then make your way into the Painted Desert o your way to the famous Horseshoe Bend overlooking the Colorado River!

Finish with an exciting tour of the slot canyon, and get a personal experience with its narrow walls and eroded sedimentation!

Check Tour Price

 

Universal Travel AdapterOne of the best investments you can make is a worldwide travel adapter that will work anywhere! The one featured here is tough, reliable and a solid buy – Don’t leave home without one.
GET IT HERE

 

Some Last Remarks

The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s greatest and most majestic natural landmarks. To be able to spend a day there is an experience in itself. However, to really get a feel of what makes this place so beautiful, one would need to spend time exploring its many areas.

From its resident towns of Williams and Flagstaff, and Route 66, to the North and West Rims. From the valley bed and the Colorado River to the Skywalk in the Hualapai National Reserve, the Grand Canyon is so much more than just a good view.

It is hoped that we have done it justice and that this itinerary can suffice in some manner when trying to cover traveling to the Grand Canyon!

 

Yay for transparency! Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation through the site, The Broke Backpacker will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps me keep the site going.


Need More Inspiration?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *