Visiting the Grand Canyon: tips and viewpoints

Grand Canyon National Park is on every list of top sights in the United States. The gorge, created by nature, attracts millions of visitors every year and is considered a natural wonder of the world. Visitors can marvel at beautiful views from various viewpoints or even enter the Canyon with a hike or even a camping trip.

Contents

  • Description Grand Canyon
  • Origin of the Grand Canyon
  • Location and accessibility
  • South Rim Viewpoints
  • North Rim Viewpoints

 

Description Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a National Park in America (USA). The park is split into two parts by a 446 kilometer long gorge: the South Rim on the south side and the North Rim on the north side. The distance between the two halves is only 16 kilometers as the crow flies, but to get from the south side to the north side by car, you have to drive more than 300 kilometers. The gorge that splits the two halves is no less than 1829 meters deep and 16 kilometers wide. The Grand Canyon was declared a National Park in 1919. Since then, it has welcomed more visitors every year. In 2016, almost 6 million people visited the Grand Canyon (source: National Park Service Stats, January 2017). Visitors can view the Grand Canyon from several vantage points on the South Rim, as well as the North Rim. It is especially busy during sunrise or sunset. Tourists can then watch the play of colors that reflects the sun on the canyon walls.

Origin of the Grand Canyon

The formation of the Grand Canyon began approximately 65 million years ago. The ground in the area around the canyon was pushed up. The Colorado Plateau emerged; an area that includes the Grand Canyon. The Colorado River, which runs through the entire canyon, cut its way through the different layers of rock and stone, creating a complex formation of the canyon. Each layer of the rock wall has a different color, because these layers consist of different types of rock. That’s because of the effects that Colorado River water and climate changes have had on the canyon. For a long time, the Grand Canyon area was inhabited by Native Americans. White people have also inhabited the area since the 16th century. In 2017, several hundred Native Americans still live in the Grand Canyon.

Location and accessibility

The Grand Canyon National Park is located in Arizona, a southwestern state in the United States. The westernmost part of the gorge is located in the state of Nevada. The viewpoints and sights for tourists are located on the North Rim, the northern side of the gorge, and on the South Rim, the southern side of the gorge. The South Rim, which is open year-round, attracts the most visitors. About 90% of all tourists visit the South Rim. The North Rim can be visited from May to October, due to the cold winter months with possible snowfall. The park has three access options.

South Entrance

The South Entrance can be reached from the south. From the city of Flagstaff, follow Route 180 north. At the town of Valle, after 90 kilometers you continue on Route 64 towards the north. After 55 kilometers you reach Grand Canyon Village. When you come from the town of Williams, you drive north via Route 66. After 95 kilometers you will arrive at Grand Canyon Village.

East Entrance

When you approach the Grand Canyon from the east via State Route 89, you turn off onto Route 64 just south of the town of Cameron. After about 50 kilometers you arrive at the Desert View Watchtower. 25 kilometers away is Grand Canyon Village.

North Entrance

On the north side of the Grand Canyon are the two places, Page and Kanab. These two places are connected by two roads, Route 89 (further north) and Route 89A (further south). Take Route 89A south. At the town of Jacob Lake you continue south via State Route 67. After 70 kilometers you arrive at the Grand Canyon North Rim.

South Rim Viewpoints

Mather Point

In the village of Grand Canyon Village you stop at the Visitor Center. From here you can walk to Mather Point in a few minutes. This is a very busy viewpoint, as all tour buses full of tourists also stop here.

Yavapai Point

Yavapai Point, located in Grand Canyon Village, offers one of the most beautiful panoramas of the National Park and is therefore very popular. However, if you go for a walk on the Rim Trail, things quickly become quieter.

YakiPoint

Five miles east of Grand Canyon Village, you’ll come to Yaki Point. Follow Route 64 (Desertview Drive).

Grandview Point

From Grand Canyon Village, follow Route 64 (Desertview Drive) east. After 20 kilometers you will find Grandview Point.

Desert View Watchtower

From Grand Canyon Village, follow Route 64 east. After 40 kilometers you will find the Desert View Watchtower.

North Rim Viewpoints

Imperial Point

The highest point of the North Rim offers beautiful views. It is said that the sunrise at this spot in the Grand Canyon is the most beautiful. From the town of Jacob Lake on the north side of the Grand Canyon, follow Route 67 south. This road is closed during the winter months due to impassable roads. After approximately 45 miles, turn left onto Point Imperial Road. After about 7 kilometers turn left at the intersection until you reach Imperial Point after about 3 kilometers.

Cape Royal

This Cape Royal provides a beautiful panoramic image. Visitors have to drive a bit to get there, but they get to see beautiful pictures. Drive 23 miles on the Main Park Road from the Visitor’s Center and park at Cape Royal at the end of the road. Walk 1.5 kilometers up the road for the Cape Royal viewpoint.

Bright Angel Point

Bright Angel Point can be reached on foot by hiking a half-mile trail from the North Rim Visitor’s Center. The Visitor’s Center can be reached by taking Route 67 45 miles south from Jacob Lake.