Friday, 5 February 2016

Postcards from the Grand Canyon, Arizona

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon, tranquil and unspoilt.
Destination? Grand Canyon, Arizona
Travel Mode? Hire car
Time spent here? 3 days
Month? August
Stayed for? 1 night at Jacob Lake Inn (North Rim), followed by 2 nights at Grand Canyon Inn (South Rim)

North Rim of the canyon
North Rim
North Rim
We began our trip by driving down from Utah in a hire car to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The North Rim is much harder to get to than the South Rim (it took 4-5h if I remember correctly via Salt Lake City) and so there are very few tourists. If you really want to appreciate the Grand Canyon at your own pace (and without hoards of people on tour buses) I would highly recommend the North Rim.

It then took us around 5-6h to drive to the South Rim. You have to drive all the way around the outside of the canyon (obviously you can't drive through it). The landscape we passed on the way was unlike anything I've ever seen, the roads were empty and so it's an easy drive. We noticed a huge difference as soon as we arrived at the South Rim of the canyon... millions of other tourists. The proximity to Las Vegas on this side of the canyon means that there are lots more amenities and hotels to choose from (so it can be cheaper).

South Rim
As the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is so quiet, you can drive your car right up to where the trails start and walk from there. However, on the South Rim, you are obliged to use the shuttle bus system provided by the national park. This means that it takes a lot longer to get around rather than driving yourself, so you're much more restricted as to where you can get to quickly. The South Rim is stunningly beautiful and if you aren't feeling very adventurous in terms of exploring independently then it could be a good choice.

South Rim

Hiking the famous Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail
The Bright Angel Trail (one of the most famous walks of the Grand Canyon) wasn't very easy to find, but luckily the park staff were really friendly and pointed us there. The first hour or so of the trail is just stepping down from the rim down into the lower part of the canyon. We walked for about an hour down and then another hour back up, which was enough hiking for us! I did see exhausted-looking people who had set off from the North Rim that morning and arrived at South Rim that night, but we are definitely not in good enough shape for that!

Making friends...
The Grand Canyon offers the most stunning scenery I've ever seen. If you ever get the chance to go, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

With love, Tania xo


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