If you’re planning a visit to the Grand Canyon then there are some important things you should keep in mind before making the trip.
Read on below to find out more about the most important facts about the park.
It gets crowded
A lot of people visit the Grand Canyon every year. Over six million people in 2017 made the trek to visit the park and enjoy the view. During the hot summer months the crowds can be in the thousands. Accommodation and campsites can book out many months in advance for popular times of the year and you can expect to compete for a table at many of the local restaurants.
Key tourist sites and attractions such as the Skywalk and local museums will be hotspots for visitor activity.
Some areas are busier than others, the South Rim is by far the most popular area and home to many of the iconic sites that are familiar when people think about the Grand Canyon. The West Rim is also very popular because of its accessibility from Las Vegas.
If you want to visit these areas than a Grand Canyon helicopter tour is an excellent way to avoid the crowds and get a view of some of the most popular spots at the Grand Canyon without fighting hordes of people for a view.
Seeing the popular landmarks from above in a helicopter tour is one of the most thrilling and fun ways to enjoy the park. West Rim tours can be done as a day trip and operators offer hotel shuttles from Las Vegas. The tour usually lasts 70 minutes and is a highly memorable and informative way to see everything that’s on offer around the West Rim.
More remote areas of the park such as the North Rim and the East Rim are far less populous and much easier to enjoy without the crowds at any time of the year. These areas are home to many amazing and iconic sights themselves and there is no shortage of activities to enjoy, whether you’re hoping to hike, do some adrenaline inducing watersports or take part in a mule ride.
It gets hot
Parts of the park get very, very hot throughout the summer months. It is desert landscape after all.
There are areas of the park that easily hit the high thirties to forty degrees during the summer months, and every year this contributes to high numbers of rescues of in-distress park visitors.
If you don’t have a choice and you must visit in the summer months, then consider a trip up to the North Rim where the increased altitude keeps things about ten degrees cooler.
Another great way to avoid the heat whilst enjoying some sightseeing is from the comfort of a helicopter during a helicopter tour of areas such as the West Rim.
Some of the later months of the year, like October, are much milder and crowds begin to thin out around this time of the year. It is important to be aware that parts of the park like the North Rim are seasonal and will close during the cooler months.
The North Rim closes half way through October and reopens in May.
Another important thing to think about when camping outside is that the park can also get cold! People forget to think about this as they’re out in the desert and because it can be so hot during the day, but deserts are home to some extreme temperatures!
Whilst it can be very hot when the suns out, temperatures can quickly drop when the sun goes down. If you’re planning on staying out after down then make sure you bring plenty of warm layers.
You might have to do some paperwork
Campers and backpackers through the park will need to apply for the correct permits to ensure they’re allowed to stay in the park. There are limits to the number of people that are allowed to stay in areas of the Grand Canyon of a night, and some areas are off limits to campers to protect the ecosystem of the park.
If you’re planning on an adventure when you visit the Grand Canyon then make sure you look into the visitor requirements before you get there.
How to get there
Some tour groups, like the helicopter tours at the West Rim can organize shuttles from the hotels in Las Vegas or from Boulder City. If you don’t have a rental car or you’re not familiar with the area then this can be best way to get to Grand Canyon without accidentally lost.
If you’re planning to self-drive then it’s roughly a four and a half hour drive from Las Vegas to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon using the highway 95.
If you’re going to the South Rim then it’s about a three and a half hour drive out of Arizona.