One of the seven natural wonders of the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the country’s 15th national park – there’s nowhere on earth like the Grand Canyon.
The national park covers an area of more than 1,900 square miles; the canyon follows 277 miles of the Colorado River and is up to a mile deep and up to 18 miles wide in some areas. Millions of years of erosion and geologic activity have exposed colorful layers in the rock, creating one of the most dramatic and stunning landscapes in the world. Celebrated for its scientific and geological importance, its cultural significance to indigenous American peoples and the many diverse ecosystems found throughout the region, Grand Canyon National Park is a must-see destination.
There is no better way to visit the Grand Canyon than on one of our guided vacations. You’ll experience the best of the national park without worrying about driving directions, finding accommodation, or missing the best views. Plus, you will enjoy a local expert’s knowledge, who will explain the geology, history, and varied ecosystems of the park.
Here are a few of our favorite ways to experience the immensity of the Grand Canyon.
Where better to appreciate the magnitude of Grand Canyon National Park than from the air? Soar over the vast expanses of this spectacular gorge on one of three flight-seeing tours.
• The North Canyon Helicopter Tour- Admire the colors of the canyon as you soar over the Kaibab National Forest, through the Dragon Corridor, and back through the South Rim on the Canyon.
• Imperial Ecostar Flight- Explore the eastern areas of the Grand Canyon, as well as the famed North Rim and Painted Desert, from the comfort of a modern helicopter.
• Fixed Wing Airplane Tour- The original air tour of the canyon. You’ll see the most famed parts of the Grand Canyon, including the Eastern Zuni Corridor, the Confluence, and the Western Dragon Corridor.
Imagine yourself exploring the vast western landscapes with John Muir and Ansel Adams, as you descend to the canyon floor on the back of a mule. Get a taste of the park’s early history as you ride beneath the canyon rim to the mighty Colorado River and the Supai Tunnel.
See the Grand Canyon from a completely different perspective as you cruise down the Colorado River on a rafting tour. Admire geological features; see petroglyphs left by ancient cultures; catch a glimpse of local wildlife cooling off in the water, and enjoy a relaxing lunch as you glide downstream.
If you’re feeling energetic, get off the main tourist path and onto a hiking trail. You’ll find spectacular vistas along the canyon rim and a chance to look at the vivid colors in the rocks up-close.
Under the Stars
One of the greatest advantages of visiting the Grand Canyon on a guided vacation is staying inside the park. On our premium and first-class guided vacations, you will stay at a National Park Lodge. These lodges sell out every year, sometimes up to a year in advance, and each offer amazing views of the canyon, exceptional access to hiking trails, and fantastic star gazing opportunities. Relax in the park once the majority of tourists have left, marvel at the brilliant night sky, and experience the sounds of the canyon at after dark.
The three lodge areas inside the park are:
• Phantom Ranch – The only lodge located at the base of the canyon, this lodge provides guests access to incredible hiking routes and the meeting point for mule rides.
• North Rim – Only available seasonally, the North Rim Lodge is the only lodging option available along the northern side of the canyon. Offering sweeping vista views and dramatic landscape, this lodge has smaller cabin accommodations.
• South Rim – Also known as the Grand Canyon Village, this is the largest lodging option and offers cabins, a lodge, and dining options. The Village is made up of several different lodges, many of which offer resort style amenities.
Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Share your favorite way to experience the park in the comments below!