Wednesday, December 2, 2015

How to Explore the Grand Canyon in One Day [12/15]

The Grand Canyon is considered to be one of the seven natural wonder of the world (and also a UNESCO world heritage site), and there was a time while I was planing our trip in which it wasn't included. Now this was not because I didn't want to visit it, but more because the visit had to be a day trip from Las Vegas. I know we would have to spend the whole day driving just so we could spend two hours there. But the spirit of travel prevailed and we made the trip, and I guess that why I wanted to write about How to Explore the Grand Canyon in One Day, simply because I know that it is a day trip for a lot of visitors.




How to Explore the Grand Canyon in One Day

The first thing you have to know if you are making the day trip from Las Vegas, like we did, is that you can't trust Google Maps (and yes I'm aware that I have included a google map below :). Not because I won't show you the right way, but more because it will be misleading in time. The drive there takes just over 5 hours, so you have to start your day really early. We embarked on our trip at 7 in the morning, made a stop at a Walmart Superstore to get breakfast and coffee, and headed out into the desert, crossing from Nevada to Arizona.







Grand Canyon Visitors Center

In order for a day trip to work you will have to think of the things you want to see. The Canyon is the main attraction and there are many viewpoints along the South Rim where it can be seen and explored. Multi day visitors have the luxury to plan hikes into the valley or go rafting on the Colorado river. You will have to pay 25$ at the entrance to the Grand Canyon Village which is located along the south side of the canyon. The road leads you straight to the Grand Canyon Visitors Center. You can explore it for a while as well as the main view point (which you can see in the images above), but to me these parts where not that much fun, because of the swarm of tourists.






The best places to see the Grand Canyon from

Driving east along the Desert View Road, will actually get you to the best viewpoints of the Grand Canyon. So yes, the car will be your friend for the day trip, just like in the Yosemite Valley. We were driving towards the Desert View Watchtower, which you will see at the end of this post. Beware that most of the places here have open spots without railings. This means that you can get very close to the edge, but also that you have to be very careful. Deers will come out of the woods in most places. They are used to people though, but it was surprising to just see them sitting along the road.






Desert View Watchtower

We arrived at the Desert View Watchtower just as the sun was starting to set, and indeed it's the best time to be there. You will be tempted to visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk and similar tourist traps (in my opinion), but mostly will skip historical places along the ridge of the canyon. When we arrived there were not many people there at all, which was surprising. The Watchtower overlooks the canyon and Colorado river beautifully. The four-story structure of the watchtower was completed in 1932, and was designed by American architect Mary Colter, an employee of the Fred Harvey Company who also created and designed many other buildings in the Grand Canyon vicinity including Hermit's Rest and the Lookout Studio.





Bring water and food with you for this day trip, since you won't be able to buy any here in the desert. There is a McDonalds and Wendy's right at the entrance to the park, but once you get to the watchtower for example those will be 30 minute driving away. On your way back I encourage you to search for Route 66 signs, since most of the road back coincides with this Historic Route. Make sure to leave early enough so that you don't catch the night in the desert and highway. We only drove one hour in the night as we were returning back to Las Vegas.





The Grand Canyon is an inspiring place. It shows the power of nature, as well as the beauty of it. I hope these tips from our visit could be of help for the future traveler.

We are winding down our visit to the USA. Next stop is Los Angeles!

End of Part Twelve
To be continued...

43 comments:

  1. would like to visit it some time!!!

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  2. Another great series. The canyon always has that surreal look to it, like one gigantic postcard.
    I love it there... and you captured it beautifully.
    I walked down into the canyon once, an adventure of a lifetime.

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    1. I would have loved to hike down into the canyon myself. I can only imagine how great that must be, but unfortunately we didn't have time. We wanted to do so much in a short amount of time, and that's why we had to make some sacrifices.

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  3. Glorious images. This is still on my bucket list...sadly. I really have no excuse for that. But I will refer back to this post when it comes time to make this trip.

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    1. Thanks Rebecca, I hope this will be of use to you.

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  4. Your series on your visit to America - and the series of photos in this post - are stunning. Thank you for showing us our country through your eyes.
    Thanks for sharing at http://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/11/sparkling-crystal.html

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  5. Great Canyon was always something I wished to see... not now though, I couldn't cope with it. However, it didn't stop me enjoying your pictures.

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  6. And the journey continues.... it almost makes me feel like i am part of this trip.... and i enjoy it!
    Stunning surroundings and photo's

    Have a nice abc-day / - week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y <abc-w-team)

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    1. That's my goal. :) To take you along and get you as close as possible to the actual experience. Thanks for visiting!

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  7. You had such a perfect day for your visit to the Grand Canyon. The beautiful skies enhance your stunning photos. It's impossible to capture the grandeur of this place in photos, but you've come mighty close. Well done!

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  8. It is wonderful to see these awesome scenes and you have photographed the area so well. I love thetrees in no 16 all twisted.

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  9. Yep, the Grand Canyon is truly amazing. My husband and I visited the North Rim in mid October and it rained nearly the entire time we were there. I still had a great time and managed to get a few good photos (which I'll be sharing on my blog very soon)

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  10. breathe taking views coupled with your amazing photography skills make me feel like i visited it. that canyon is truly awe inspiring. i am with you, seeking out the views that have the least people

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  11. Ah, I do agree with Sandra, Mersad!! I have been to Grand Canyon several times because I raised my family in an area not too far away and seeing your wonderful captures has been like making one more trip!! Thank you, as always, for sharing the beauty and the fun!! Hope your week is going well!!

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  12. That is one place I would love to visit. Beautiful photos!!

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  13. Truly an amazing place. I was only there once, but it stuck with me. Nice job.

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  14. My husband and I flew our plane to the Grand Canyon on our honeymoon. One time we took a team of pilots from Mt. San Antonio College to the Grand Canyon Airport to refuel on the way home from an airmeet in Arizona. Two good sized young men were in a smaller Cessna 150. As we followed them away from the airport they were having trouble gaining altitude. When they came to the rim, it seemed like they just dropped over the side. But after a few seconds we saw them climbing to altitude. Whew!! - Margy

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  15. You certainly have some beautiful pictures of the canyon.

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  16. I guess I was there when I was about one year old, so I certainly don't remember it. Gorgeous colors on the cliff face! :)

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  17. I do so enjoy your travel posts! the Grand Canyon is certainly a spectacular spot to visit. I saw it in 2006 or 2007 (can't quite remember) and approached it from south through Sedona and upwards. So we would have seen the eastern rim and it was amazing! Keep on posting about your travels - absolutely love your photos!

    Leslie
    abcw team

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  18. Hi Mersad, your photos. as usual, are exceptional. All of these places out West I have not been to myself. Just up and down the Easter coast of USA. I am finally back to blogging. Good to see you are moving right along.

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    1. Good to see you back Peggy. I love the east coast of the USA as well, and it's definitely on my bucket list.

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  19. awesome photos mersad! i was there as a kid but i'm sure i didn't appreciate it like i would now!

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  20. Great post! You had a beautiful day. I was there many years ago. Wonderful place!

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  21. What an amazing spot and the view it breath taking. You've shown me images I haven't seen before. Maybe one day I'll make it that far. Beautiful captures.

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  22. Great photos. The Grand Canyon is one of my favourite places in America's southwest but, unfortuately, although I have been there three times, I was not yet into photography!

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  23. What amazing photos! Distances in the US are huge, aren't they. We should make the 19 hour drive sometime to see it!

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    1. Distances are really huge, especially in this part of the USA. Nothing but desert in between places. The drive can get long, but luckily we are all drivers so we could switch!

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  24. Visiting from Little Things Thursday...what a great travel blog you have here. Keep up the good work.

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    1. Thanks so much. Glad you liked it.

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  25. You know there were fences here today but they paled in comparison to the amazing views of the canyon you captured. Loved seeing this post and perhaps someday I might actually get to visit the Grand Canyon. If I don't though I can always view your photos as they were just wonderful.

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    1. Thanks Ida. There were a lot more fences here, but I didn't include all the shots. It's a really grand place, and definitely deserving of the name tit has.

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  26. it is a wonder to behold. i've not been there in many years.

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  27. I've actually never been to the Grand Canyon, or Arizona. Interesting insights.

    ROG, ABCW

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  28. Der Grand Canyon ist natürlich ein gigantisches Erlebnis, es muß man einfach einmal im Leben sehen. Eine Arbeitskollegin von mir, war auch vor 2 Monaten dort und sie haben einen Helikopterflug über dem Canyon gemacht, es wäre auch mein Traum. Liebe Grüße

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    1. Die Helikopterflüge sind uns natürlich auch durch die Gedanken gekommen, alerdings sind sie sehr teuer :( deshalt konnten wir sie nicht machen. Aus Las Vegas gibt es sehr viele Firmen die so etwas anbieten.

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  29. Beautiful photos and some great tips. It's been quite a while since I last visited, and it makes me want to go back!

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  30. The color variations are just gorgeous! Glad you made the effort!

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    1. In the end we were glad as well. It would have been a shame to miss it.

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  31. You did a great job making the most of the time you had! You seemed to be able to find the best way to view the Canyon in such a short visit. I have hiked in the Grand Canyon twice...down to the bottom from the South Rim and back out the same way (after camping) on one trip and then on the other we went in and out the North Rim, which is very different. Both were amazing trips and one of the hardest things I have EVER done! :-) I was a lot younger then. My husband has hiked it seven times. Our most recent visit was to show it to our grandson. We took the train ride out of Williams AZ to the Canyon, which was a lot of fun because we were attacked by marauders on horseback (all for show) and serenaded by cowboy singers. Once at the Canyon we had limited time and ended up at the crowded touristy area of the South Rim. Our kids hiked just down to the petroglyphs and back (a short distance) but my hubby and I can no longer do even that. I'd like to go back and do what YOU did! I've been to the Watchtower before, but it would be the best way to do another short trip with the grandson I think. Our daughter and I had planned to stay long enough to get photos of different light effects on the Canyon. But that didn't happen. Need to go back! :-)

    If you EVER come back to the US, plan on seeing Monument Valley! I am SO happy you went to the Canyon! I knew your photos would be amazing, and they are!

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    1. Thanks Marie. Visiting Monument Valley was initially on our list, but when we made the travel plan it simply had to be cut for time. I read about it and we liked it immediately. I think that you can really see the most of the canyon if you use the car (fastest way) or the free Shuttle (you will wait in between stops).

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  32. Arizona's Gem! It looks different in every light. There's lots of snow there right now and I'd love a trip up there to catch the snow in the Canyon but the drive would be too treacherous in my vehicle. I can't emphasize enough your warning about the rocky edges. Several people each year lose their lives by stepping too far out!

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