Sarah who is the head of operations recently traveled to the Grand Canyon with her family. Here are her top five favorite things they did on their trip!
Several years ago, my family, which consists of my mom and dad, my husband and two sons, and my sister, her husband, her son and her daughter, started traveling together every other summer. We have done the beach house thing a couple of times. Then we went to Disney. Then two years ago we went to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. This is what began my love for the National Parks.
When discussing where this summer’s adventure would be, we kept coming back to the idea of the Grand Canyon, and so we settled on it. As fate would have it, the house we had rented out side the park sold and we lost our reservation. We decided to stay in the National Park itself, and I am so glad we did. Our lodge was an easy 1/2 mile walk from the rim of the Canyon, we were surrounded by wild life, and we really enjoyed ourselves. While there is a lot to do in the Grand Canyon, here is the top 5 from our days of exploring the big hole in the ground.
1. Bike Rental. During the summer months certain roads are closed off to cars. Only bikes and buses are allowed. The day we rented bikes we biked from the Visitor Center to Hermit’s Rest and back. We totaled over 16 miles of biking. It was a great way to see the Canyon! We stopped at a lot of view points (including one that the park ranger we spoke to that day stated was the best view of the canyon in his opinion). There were some uphill areas that we didn’t enjoy....but going back down those same hills was a rush!
2. Ooh Aah Point. This was a point that was recommended by my mom’s dentist. I am glad we listened to him. South Kaibab Trail is where you can find Ooh Aah Point. The point itself is about 0.9 of a mile into the canyon as the crow flies, but there is an elevation change of nearly 700 feet with a lot of switch backs that make it a somewhat challenging hike back out. But the views are worth it!!
3. Part A: Shoshone Point. On our last full day our group split into two. I went with my parents and the 3 younger kids to Shoshone Point. This is a less traveled path that leads to a really great point with stunning views of the canyon. We were told that there are a lot of elk and wildlife to see along the way. Unfortunately for my dad, we didn’t see any elk that day (I think we were too late in the morning for them), but the views were worth the walk. It was a flat, easy 1.1 mile hike to the point. Part B: The second half of our group hiked the Bright Angel Trail. This is a strenuous hike that leads all the way to the bottom of the Canyon. Our group, which consisted of my husband, my older son, my sister and my brother in law, went to the 3 mile check point and back out, which has over 2000 feet in elevation change. The views were stunning, and they saw a male big horned sheep. The one with the full round horns. He didn’t stand still for a good photo, but they were thrilled seeing him!!
4. The Sunset. You hear a lot about the sunsets at the grand canyon. There are several places you can view them from. We took advice from some people we talked to, and took the bus one evening to Yaki Point to take in the sunset. It was relaxing, and calm, and beautiful. The pictures speak for themselves, and at the same time don’t do it justice.
5. Horseshoe Bend Raft Trip. We took a rafting trip on the Colorado River (It was a motorized raft). We left from Page, AZ at Glen Canyon Dam and rafted 15 miles to Lees Ferry. Being at the bottom of the Canyon where the cliffs above start around 8,000 feet and grow to over 12,000 feet was fun. It was definitely a different perspective of the canyon after viewing things from the top for several days. The water was smooth, calm, and cold, around 47-50 degrees. We made a stop at Petroglyph Beach, where we cooled off in the river, and took a small walk to see some petroglyphs (Wow!!). During our trip we saw a condor flying high above us, and a female big horned sheep drinking from the river.
There is so much to see and do when you are traveling. I like to talk to locals to get advice about what to do. As a tourist, we don’t know how things change with the seasons or what is currently happening. Having a plan is good. Being able to adapt that plan to how the trip is going is even better. We were able to see and do some really great things, and yet there’s still so much to explore!