Grand Canyon National Park is huge and it consists of three main tourist areas - North Rim, South Rim and Grand Canyon West. Both areas are very beautiful and worth exploring, however most tourists go to the South Rim because it's open year round.
The entrance fee to the Grand Canyon National Park is $25 per vehicle (or $12 per individual walking in) and is valid for 7 days for both rims. You can either get 1 pass valid for 7 days, or 7 passes valid for 1 year. The fee is for entrance to the Grand Canyon only and does not cover camping grounds, tours and lodging.
You might think what's there to do in the Grand Canyon for 7 days? Just come, take pictures and show your friends that you've been there! Well we are glad you asked, because the canyon is so impressive that even 7 days may not be enough to see it all.
Lodging at the Grand Canyon
During your Grand Canyon vacation you can stay either inside the park or in one of the small cities near the park. Lodging inside the Canyon includes El Tovar hotel, Bright Angel Lodge, Yavapai Lodge and Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the canyon. However, they are so popular that you need to book them well in advance.
If you haven't, it's much easier and cheaper to find a place to stay in one of the towns close to the Grand Canyon - Tusayan, Williams or Flagstaff.
Las Vegas To Grand Canyon Tours
Many tours are conducted from Las Vegas. Grand Canyon is one of those things that you simply must do when you are in Las Vegas. There are many ways to get to the canyon from Vegas - you can rent a car, take a jeep, helicopter or a bus tour. While you can easily forget everything you did in Vegas, you will always remember your trip to the Grand Canyon!
From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon
Exploring The Grand Canyon From the Outside
Once you buy your ticket at the entrance to the Grand Canyon, you can enter and leave it as many times as you wish during the week. At the entrance, you can get maps for driving as well as hiking.
Exploring the Grand Canyon starts from the scenic drive - you simply follow the road, stop at all the scenic stops, take pictures and go again. If you don't have a car, you can take a bus - the bus is free, and you can get on and off the bus at any stop.
Even if you have a car they are not allowed in certain areas, so you will need to leave the car at the parking lot and take the bus if you want to explore these areas.
It should be noted that the Grand Canyon looks different and amazing from every point and seeing all the points is well worth doing, if you have the time. So to explore all it parts reachable by car and bus will take you about 2 days. The scenic drives provide a pretty good opportunity for taking great pictures and familiarizing you with the Grand Canyon.
Gran Canyon Skywalk
If you decide to start exploring the Grand Canyon from it's West Rim you should know that it's main attraction is a new glass bridge overlooking the canyon called Skywalk. It doest cost extra $50 to walk this bridge - so it's up to you to take this walk or not.I have to tell you that the views from the bridge are breathtaking - and you can see the Canyon right under your feet through the glass floor!
The lines to the Skywalk can be pretty long, and the weather can be pretty hot so come prepared Wear a hat, have something to drink and something to do while waiting in the line.
Hiking at the Grand Canyon - Explore From the Inside
But you did not really see the Grand Canyon if you didn't see it from the inside! The very basic way to explore the canyon from the inside is hiking down to the bottom of the canyon and exploring the Colorado River that created this miracle.
For beginning hikers there are several short maintained trails that are good for a day trip. These trails be accessed from the scenic drive - for example, Kaibab Trail or Bright Angel Trail.
Remember that hiking down the Grand Canyon will require hiking back up, which is a very difficult task - plan accordingly. The temperature at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is much higher than at the top and people get dehydrated easily - have plenty of water with you.
If you don't think you are capable of hiking to the bottom - there is a great alternative - mule rides.
Rafting at the Grand Canyon - Explore Colorado River
People who are more adventurous or more prepared explore the bottom of the Grand Canyon on rafts. Colorado River rafting trips last anywhere from 4 hours to 18 days. The rafts are more like inflatable boats, quite comfortable and safe. But taking a rafting tour on the Colorado River is as close to a real "adventure" as possible.
Rafting the Colorado River is unforgettable - you will get to explore the hidden caves, waterfalls and caves that there is no other way to see.
Rafting trips on the Grand Canyon are well thought out and everything you may need is provided - from food and drinks to kerchiefs you could wet and put around your neck to cool down when it gets too hot.