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Grand Canyon, AZ

by TerriAnn
Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

One place that many hope to visit someday is the famous Grand Canyon in Arizona. Well, during our southwest road trip a couple of years ago, we finally made it all the way to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Impressive? Yes. Beautiful? Yes. Massive? My, oh my, yes!

Grand Canyon National Park in ArizonaGrand Canyon National Park in Arizona

No matter where you stand near the canyon, you are sure to get an amazing view. The thing is, the Grand Canyon is huge and the only way you can really grasp that fact is when you are visiting it in person. The canyon is so expansive that you can feel like the only person in the world even at the height of tourist season.

What was most interesting was not ‘wher’e you looked but ‘when’. It seemed that the South Rim pretty much looked the same from each viewing spot. However, catching a glimpse at different times of day seemed to create completely different landscapes and enhanced the grandeur.

Grand Canyon National Park in ArizonaGrand Canyon National Park in Arizona

We were not the adventurous type to take a mule to the bottom and camp out so we mostly did our touring around the rim. There was plenty to do and see including some of the structures built years ago such as the landmark Watchtower.

Watchtower at Grand Canyon National Park in ArizonaWatchtower at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

Not far from the Watchtower was the Tusayan Ruin and Museum. There you can walk around and see different exhibits which show features of the Native American/Indian life that once prevailed here. Kids will need you to bring the exhibits to life by helping them to imagine what it was like living as they did.

Going into town provided us with a bit more culture. At the Visitor Center, The ‘show’ in the center square was a bit strange and, well, kind of dinky. It consisted of one guy with a feather-laden hat chanting and asking for donations while the other flapped around in a circle. Let’s just say that it did not deepen one’s impression of the Navajo culture, which was the purpose of us watching it.

Native American Indian Kiva at Grand Canyon National Park in ArizonaNative American Indian Song Dance Performance Event at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

We much preferred touring the Hopi House behind the performers. It was very interesting to see the architecture and some of the native textiles and crafts. The Verkamp Visitor Center was another great feature and I loved the open, clean layout of the displays and accompanying information. Plus, there were a few comfy rocking chairs to rest our tired feet on the porch outside.

Our favorite spot was Hermit’s Rest. The drive up was a bit long but the snack shop was such a welcome sight. Those pre-packaged tuna sandwiches tasted so good after eating the rubber-type offerings in the park. This was a really relaxing and enjoyable stop.

Hermit's Rest at Grand Canyon National Park in ArizonaHermit's Rest at Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

An extraordinary part of our visit was one that we just happened to stumble upon. Due to my father-in-law’s knee problems, we were given a special access code to use the roads reserved for shuttles. Even after the shuttles stopped running, the code was still valid and allowed us to drive the incline that leads to Hermit’s Rest when it was dark. We pulled into one scenic viewing area and just stared at the night sky. Never in my life had I seen so many stars, and so vividly at that. With no lights for miles across the open canyon, it was as if we could peer endlessly into space.

Grand Canyon is definitely a memorable sight to see and one that can only be appreciated in person. However, make sure this is the first stop on your vacation. Other national parks in the area such as Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon are mesmerizing in their own way and may lessen the impact the Grand Canyon has on you. That said, it was truly a privilege to visit this unique place and see why it is called the GRAND Canyon.

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Henrietta Newman February 9, 2012 - 7:13 am

Oh how I want to go to the Grand Canyon! I remember going with my mom and dad back when I was around 7 or 8, it was amazing! I wish I could take my kids to see it!

Cookies & Clogs February 13, 2012 - 9:29 pm

It really is the type of place that one can remember for a lifetime, eh? I’m sure you’re kids would thank you if you got a chance to see it 🙂

Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell February 9, 2012 - 7:52 am

The way you described the night sky makes me want to go. I can only imagine the expansive view you’d have there. Fabulous. I went there as a child, but I would just love to go again!

Cookies & Clogs February 13, 2012 - 9:30 pm

Haha, yes, I was feeling quite poetic at that moment 😛 I really wish we had brought some kind of telescope or something. Maybe your travels will bring you back to the area soon!

Sonia February 10, 2012 - 8:59 am

We went to the Grand Canyon last summer and had a blast. Of course we went after the kids went back to school so the only people we saw were Europeans. No crowds and the weather was fantastic. Did you get a chance to check out Zion National Park or Bryce in Utah? The first time we went to the Grand Canyon, we went home via Utah and skipped on Bryce Canyon opting for Zion and it was fantastic. Last year we drove through California, Nevada, Utah and visited Bryce. These national parks are a dream and the views are simply amazing. Thanks for bringing back some fun memories!

Cookies & Clogs February 13, 2012 - 9:35 pm

Funny about the Europeans 😛 My husband is from the Netherlands so we know all too well how many vacation days they have there! We did visit Zion but only drove through it. It was amazing and every time you turned around was like looking at a completely different view. I hope to spend more time there someday. Bryce is something that is just so unique and spectacular that it deserves a visit though. These were so cool that, by the time we got to the Grand Canyon, it was just kind of ‘eeh’. Did you read my review on Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ? You should definitely put that on your ‘to visit’ list for next time. By the way, we got the National Park pass and that saved us a TON in park entrances.

Lisa April 20, 2014 - 6:32 pm

I have never been, but plan to take the family one of these days. So many beautiful places we can drive through on the way too!

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