Bucket List Adventures: Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
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- The Wonder
More than 270 miles of river carving the mile-deep, 18-mile-wide big daddy of canyons. One of the world's most breathtaking wowscapes.
- The Adventures
Mule trips, river trips, backcountry hiking, camping, guided tours, ranger programs, visitor center, Grand Canyon Village
- One for the Bucket List
Hiking the Grand Canyon is near the top of most adventurers' worldwide to-do lists. Even Oprah's done it. But a river trip affords you the leisure of taking in all the canyon's rapturous, stark beauty -- with not nearly as much huffing and sweating to make you look haggard in Facebook photos.
Journeys on the Colorado range from half-day excursions to trips lasting weeks, and serious river explorers shouldn't expect to venture on a whim. Many commercial outfitters book well in advance, weeks to months ahead for shorter trips and sometimes more than a year ahead for week- to nearly month-long trips. Non-commercial or private parties must apply for river permits via the park's weighted lottery, which is held every February (although cancellations might allow slots to open throughout the year). Find Grand Canyon river tours.
- Seasons and Hours
South Rim: The South Rim is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All visitor services (camping, lodging, and restaurants) are available year round. Reservations are strongly recommended during the busy summer season. Some facilities are closed during the winter.
North Rim: North Rim lodging and camping along with all other visitor services and facilities are only open from mid-May to mid-October. Reservations are strongly recommended. Roads to the North Rim are closed for winter.
- About the Park's Water Bottle Ban
In an effort to curb the amount of litter and plastic waste throughout the Grand Canyon, the park stopped selling water in bottles (and in other disposable packages) in 2012. Bringing in your own water bottles is still permitted, however. To encourage visitors to reuse their bottles, the park has built new filling stations throughout the park that provide free, Grand Canyon spring water.
- Getting There
Grand Canyon National Park South Rim is located 60 miles north of Williams, Ariz., (via route 64 from Interstate 40) and 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff (via route 180). The Grand Canyon lies entirely within the state of Arizona. See map.
North Rim: As the park rangers will tell you, the North Rim is only "10 miles as the raven flies" from the South Rim. However, by road it's roughly 200 miles, or about 5 1/2 hours of driving. The entrance to Grand Canyon National Park North Rim is located 30 miles south of Jacob Lake on Highway 67; the actual rim of the canyon is an additional 14 miles south. Jacob Lake, Ariz., is located in northern Arizona on Highway 89A, not far from the Utah border. See map.
Average Temps (ºF) High/Low
(temps can vary widely throughout the park)
January - 38/16
April - 52/26
July - 77/47
October - 57/30
Approximate Distance From...
Phoenix, AZ - 230 miles
Zion National Park - 240 miles
Lake Powell - 260 miles
Las Vegas, NV - 270 miles
Bryce Canyon National Park - 280 miles
Arches National Park - 330 miles
Fill Your Bucket List With Bewilderness
America the beautiful. You got that right. From the skytops of the world's tallest trees to the underwater color-play of tropical reefs, the National Park Service (NPS) oversees hundreds of parks and areas to conserve many of our country's most precious natural wonders.
Fewer than half of the national parks charge entrance fees, which usually range from $5 to $25 (often just per vehicle). Children 16 and under are always admitted for free. Daily fees for camping usually range between $10 and $20 per party.
If you're planning on visiting multiple parks, the NPS also offers America the Beautiful Passes that cover entrance fees at any national park.
- More National Park Adventures
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