The Grand Canyon stole a piece of our hearts, true story.
Magnificent, marvelous, stunning, awe-inspiring, unbelievably beautiful are just scratching the surface of the possible adjectives you could use to describe this landscape. We’ll keep it simple and just tell you plainly, it’s awesome.
If you ask us, everyone at some point in their lives should take the time to experience this magical place. Go, just go, that’s all there is to it and when you do keep these simple tips in mind, and your experience will be so much better for it, we promise!
Don’t Go At Peak Season
5 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year. Ok, now pick your jaw up off the ground, and keep reading… A large portion of that 5 million visit during the summer months when kids are out of school and families have time to travel together. A large portion of the trails and overlooks on the Southern Rim of the Canyon are only accessible by riding the park’s shuttle bus, an amazing an economical way to get around the park, however… even outside of peak season these buses can be stuffed full, now imagine a hot summer’s day at the Grand Canyon packed into a bus like a sardine in a can or even worse having to wait 20 plus minutes to catch a ride… do yourself a favor and visit in the shoulder seasons and avoid the chaos and the crowds!
Stay In The Park
Whether you’re RVing, tent camping or calling a hotel home for the duration of your stay, staying within the park boundaries is the only way to go! Other than those choosing to tent camp and lucky enough to snag a coveted spot at Mather Campground, you’re going to be paying a premium to stay at a park hotel or the Grand Canyon Trailer Village RV Park however, the unlimited access to the park, the immersion into nature, and the never having to move your car once its parked is more than worth it.
Bonus Tip: Buy all your hiking snacks, and stock up on food before heading into the park. Although there is a small market available within the park at the Village, the prices for food are astronomical- we’re talking almost $3 for a single green pepper, avoid the price gouge and buy ahead at the Safeway in Williams, AZ.
Take A Hike Below The Rim
Out of the 5 million visitors that visit the Grand Canyon only 5% actually hike below the canyon rim. Five percent isn’t that insane! Don’t go with the flow, throw on your sturdiest pair of hiking boots, grab your trekking poles if you use them, pack a lunch and head on out on one of the Canyon’s incredible trails that descend below the rim. The most popular trails are the Bright Angel Trail, and the Kaibab Trail so if you’re planning on hitting one of these go early to avoid crowds. The least hiked trail in the park Hermit’s Rest guaranteed to give you solitude and excellent views of the Colorado River. Always remember when hiking into the canyon that what goes down must come up, keep an eye on how you’re feeling and respect your own boundaries!
The trails into the canyon can be icy and snowy at times especially during the fall, winter and early spring. A good pair of microspikes will keep you safe while trekking along the narrow trails. When in doubt we always wear ours, you can check them out here: Kahtoola Micro Spikes
Always Carry Water
The naturally dry air of Arizona in combination with the high altitudes of the canyon rim will suck the hydration right out of your body, mix in some pretty solid hiking and without water your internal organs are bound to start looking like a California Raisin. The Park Service provides water refill stations throughout the park, so save some plastic and pack your reusable water bottle, you’ll be glad you did
In search of the perfect water bottle? We love our Hydroflasks, you can check them out here: Hydro Flask 18 oz
Dress In Layers
The weather is constantly changing in and around the Grand Canyon especially if you’re going to be going below the rim of the canyon walls. Dressing in layers is an essential art form to master in order to ensure your comfort when traipsing around this stunning landscape! Always avoid cotton fabrics in your layers, synthetics or fabrics that wick moisture away from your body is the way to go.
Some of our favorite layerable gear can be found here
- Katie’s Favorite Hiking Top-
- Katie’s Favorite Mid Layer-
- Dj’s Favorite Hiking Top-
- Dj’s Favorite Mid Layer-
- DJ’s Favorite Hiking Pants-
- Dj’s Thermal Pants-
- Katie’s Favorite Hiking Pants-
- Katie’s Thermal Pants-
Catch A Sunset or A Sunrise
Or better yet, do both! The vibrant colors of the canyon walls are impressive under any condition but when the light of the new day or the setting sun settles across these magnificent structures the colors take on a whole new sort of magic! Every sunrise and sunset at the Grand Canyon is a once in a lifetime experience, and worth the effort to make it happen. Our personal favorite sunset spot is at Hopi point off the red shuttle route, Mojave Point is also an excellent option.
Bonus Tip: unlike other sunset locations, don’t look West to where the sun is setting but look to the East walls of the canyon where the sun lays against the walls and lights up the world!
Charge Your Camera Batteries
Whether you’re planning on carrying an action cam, big fancy DSLR or just using your cell phone camera, whatever you do, don’t forget to charge those batteries! The views at the Grand Canyon never get old, and even when you’re not staring in awe at the natural beauty of the canyon walls, you might just cross paths with one of the park’s resident elk, mule deer or other critters just begging for their own photo op!
We love this external solar chargeable battery pack to keep our devices charged up in a pinch: Waterproof Solar Charger
If you’re curious about the camera gear we carry you can find our whole set up here: Camera and Video Gear