Five Fabulous Ways to Take Vacations in Grand Canyon

#1- Take a Vacation Rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Rafting Vacation
The Best Vacation in Grand Canyon

rafting vacation along the Colorado River through Grand Canyon is our specialty.  There is no better way to see the entire Grand Canyon than by raft.  The Colorado River travels 278 miles through the Grand Canyon.  Along the Colorado River’s path from Lees Ferry to the Grand Wash Cliffs; the Grand Canyon rises and falls, passes by hundreds of unique and beautiful side canyons, and encounters some of the best whitewater rafting in the world.

Many options are available for a rafting vacation along the Colorado River in Grand Canyon depending on the amount of time you have and the type of boat you wish to travel on.  There are upper grand canyon rafting vacations that require hiking out of the Grand Canyon.  As well as Lower Grand Canyon rafting vacations that require hiking into the Grand Canyon.  In addition there are vacations that exit the canyon via helicopter, and rafting vacations from Las Vegas that helicopter into the Colorado River at Whitmore Wash.

 #2- Take a Grand Canyon Backpacking Trip

backpacking in Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Hikers Yield to the Grand Canyon Mules on the inside of the trail.

The most popular backpacking route in Grand Canyon National Park is to go rim to rim from the South Rim to North Rim or vice versa via the Bright Angel Trail and North Kaibab Trail.  The campgrounds along this route are Indian Gardens Campground between the South Rim and Colorado River, the Bright Angel Campground at Phantom Ranch, and the Cottonwood Campground between Phantom Ranch and the North Rim.

The total distance along this route is 23.5 miles and there is an elevation gain of 5761 feet from the Bright Angel Campground to the North Rim and 4380 feet from the Bright Angel Campground to the South Rim.  The best Grand Canyon backpacking vacation is to spend 3 nights on the route and spend an adequate time in the Grand Canyon to appreciate all of its sites and sounds.  A permit can be obtained from the Grand Canyon Backcountry Permit Office.

#3- Spend Your Grand Canyon Vacation at Phantom Ranch

Colorado River at Bright Angel Creek
Phantom Ranch Boat Beach.

Phantom Ranch is located along Bright Angel Creek at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.  It is only accessible by hiking, mules, or rafting down the river. The ranch was designed by Mary Colter and completed in 1922.  In December of 1966, Phantom Ranch was damaged by the same flood that changed Crystal Rapid.  While you are there be sure to check out the Kaibab Suspension Bridge.

Today, staying at Phantom Ranch is very popular.  Phantom Ranch has a huge demand for reservations and has transitioned to a lottery system.  There are both dorm style rooms and cabins available to stay in.  The ranch is a great place to stay on a cross canyon trek, or as a destination.  It also acts as a base for exploring the Grand Canyon.  Phantom Ranch has a small Cantina and serves food daily.  For information on lodging availability at Phantom Ranch follow this link.

#4- South Rim of the Grand Canyon

View of Sunset From South Rim
The view from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is a beautiful place to vacation.  It offers chances to hike into the Grand Canyon, stargaze from the rim of the Grand Canyon, and listen to various National Park Service Ranger interpretive talks.  The South Rim is home to the historic El Tovar Lodge built in 1905, as well as the Kolb Studio, where Emery and Ellsworth Kolb showed their famous Grand Canyon movie about running the rapids of the Colorado River.  You can watch the movie on the University of Northern Arizona’s digital archive collection.

The Bright Angel trail starts next to the Kolb Studio, just under the Bright Angel Lodge.  The South Kaibab Trail starts at Yaki Point, which can be reached via the Grand Canyon Village Shuttle bus.  Both trailheads offer nice opportunities for day hikes below the rim of Grand Canyon.  Another option while on vacation at the South Rim is to rent a bicycle and ride it along the rim of the Grand Canyon to Hermit Rest and back.

A common saying is you have not “experienced” the Grand Canyon until you have witnessed a sunrise and sunset.   After the sunset, the night sky will be almost as impressive as the Grand Canyon itself.

 #5- North Rim of the Grand Canyon

North Rim Photo
Taking in the beauty of the Grand Canyon from the North Rim.

The North Rim is much less crowded than the South Rim.  Perfect for taking a Grand Canyon Vacation!  It is a little harder to get to than the South Rim, and the lodges and roads are only open seasonally.  Lodging on the North Rim is typically open from May 15 to October 15.  There are multiple beautiful viewpoints to check out on the North Rim including Point Imperial and Cape Royal.  The Lodge at the North Rim is spectacular.  It has huge windows and really nice outdoor seating.

The North Kaibab Trailhead is located about 1 miles from the North Rim Lodge.  The North Kaibab Trail leads down to Phantom Ranch.  There are also various day hikes along the North Rim including the Bright Angel Point Trail, Widforss Trail, Point Imperial Trail, Transept Trail, and Uncle Jim Trail.

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