Grand Canyon National Park
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The Grand Canyon is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Its extraordinary views and unbelievable size attract travelers from the all over the world. Although pictures of the Grand Canyon are abundant, none can show the true magnificence of the canyon.
Relevant Guidebooks & Maps
The park service has the best seasonal information.
From campus take I-10 east to I-15 north. Follow I-15 to the I-40 split. For the North Rim continue on I-15 through Vegas into Utah. Take 59 southeast to 67 south to the rim - about 10 hours. For the North Rim take I-40 east to 64 north in Williams, AZ. 64 brings you to the rim - about 8 hours.
The Grand Canyon has something for just about any level hiker / backpacker. The canyon has two access points. Separated by the enormous canyon itself, the North Rim and South Rim are completely isolated from each other beside by backpacking.
South Rim: The South Rim gets the majority of the tourists and warmer weather. Because of the canyon's popularity it is not recommended to camp at the rim. Either camp down by Williams (or in Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon 2 hours away - a cool spot on its own) or backpack in the canyon. To pack you need reservations far in advance. Several popular trails drop from the rim for day hikes or week treks. The Bright Angel Trail is probably the most famous and used trail. Some trails don't allow donkeys - if you want poop-free dirt stick to these. To get stellar views with a few less tourists, follow the rim road west to the more secluded turnouts.
North Rim: The North Rim is considerably less populated and just as grand. Its drawback is a longer drive and colder weather (more snow). If you want to travel through the Canyon make reservations a long time before (1-2 months). If you have amore than a few people with you, you need to make reservations 2-4 weeks ahead for a group camping spot. Even if you are unable to get a permit for backpacking in the canyon the day hikes are well worth it. Keep in mind that the park service isn't kidding when they say there's snow on the North Rim in October. On route to the North Rim you pass close to Zion - combining the two trips is a good idea for Spring Break trips.
When hiking into the canyon remember that its much harder getting back up. The extremely hot temperatures in the summer can make the hike dangerous if you don't carry enough water. In colder months crampons may be needed for ice near the rims. The temperatures change dramatically as you descend into the canyon.
Edited by (in order): OTL Staff
Last updated: 05/22/2009