- Things to Do
- Where to Stay
- Dining & Nightlife
- Plan Your Trip
Find the right Grand Canyon adventure for you
The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited national parks in the United States, with the South Rim attracting nearly six million visitors every year. Unfortunately, most of these visitors don’t get to truly experience the Canyon in all of its glory. Whether they don’t budget enough time, they don’t know where to go, or they get lost in all of the options, many people miss out.
As lifelong admirers of the Canyon, we want to provide what we believe are the best ways to see the Grand Canyon! There are lots of factors to consider when choosing what’s best for you. What season do you want to see the canyon in? Are you looking for adventure? If so, how much adventure? Asking yourself questions like these can help you decide what type of Grand Canyon adventure is right for you.
On Your Own
If you are feeling confident in your knowledge and exploration skills, you are 100% able to explore the Grand Canyon on your own. Hiking, driving, and biking can all be done without a guide. Grand Canyon National Park can be reached by car or by train (the train only goes to the southern entrance). Flagstaff is an easy drive at only 80 miles from the Grand Canyon. Once inside the national park, it is a must to explore beyond the village. The South Rim of the Canyon has over 25 miles of rim views, so don’t limit yourself to just one.
There are tons of activities to do at the Canyon, but of course, it’s known around the world for its hiking. Hiking in the Grand Canyon can be both beautiful and challenging, so understand your limits and don’t push them. There are also plenty of viewpoints throughout the national park, and it can be tricky to figure out at which ones you should and shouldn’t stop! Just to be clear, there are no bad viewpoints, just a lot of them. If you stop at every single one, you run the risk of running out of time to see some really great ones!
On a Guided Tour
We highly recommend taking a Grand Canyon tour, whether that is with us or with someone else (even though we do think we are the best)! There are many benefits to seeing the Grand Canyon on a guided tour, such as getting to learn all about the history and geology of the Canyon and the stories that make it special, or simply not having to figure out driving or worry about parking.
Tours give you a chance to see the entire South Rim and ensure no one misses out on their chance to see the canyon! If you are looking to customize the tour to fit your group’s needs, a private tour is the way to go. Private tours adjust the length of the tour, the number of stops, lunch, tour during sunset, and/or even add a helicopter air tour! Opting for a guided experience will ensure you have a great day at the Canyon. It can even act as an introduction, providing ideas for places you want to revisit more in depth later!
Exploring from the Air
Exploring the Grand Canyon from the air presents you with several choices. First, you need to decide whether you would like to depart from Las Vegas or from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. From Las Vegas, there are several options to see the western side of the Grand Canyon, and from the South Rim, you will get a chance to see the Southern and Northern sections. The next choice you must make is whether you would like to be in a helicopter or airplane (aka a fixed-wing aircraft). This is a personal preference, though helicopters are allowed to fly closer to the rim of the canyon and are the most popular.
Combo Ground & Air Tours
If you’re not sure which you’d prefer, contact a guide to help you decide and book the best tour for you! Air tours are a great way to see the area from a totally unique perspective with an expansive bird’s-eye view of this iconic landscape, the experience is simply different from the sense of vastness you get when standing right on the rim or hiking into the Canyon. That’s why we recommend pairing an air tour with a ground tour—it’s truly one of the best ways to see the Grand Canyon.
River trips give you the unique opportunity to see a ton of the Canyon. If you were to do the equivalent journey on foot, it could take upwards of 6 months to cover that same ground! Not to mention you would be putting your name in the record books, as only 13 people have previously accomplished this feat.
There are a couple of options when it comes to rafting the mighty Colorado River. Not much time, try a three- or four-day rafting trip and you’ll get to see a portion of the Canyon. You can fly or hike into the Canyon and raft out, or you raft into the canyon and fly or hike out. If you are looking to raft the entire canyon, there are rafting trips ranging from 7-21 days, and no, we can’t arrange hotels for you while you are on the river (a real question we have been asked). You will be sleeping in tents throughout the trip. If you are interested in doing a rafting trip, here’s a list of the companies you can book with.
A guide is highly recommended with roughly 130 rapids throughout the journey and nearly 40 Class V rapids. This is truly a big river and demands a high level of respect and skill. A permit must be secured if you do not use a guide and enter a lottery for a self-guided river permit.
There are lots of options when it comes to deciding how to visit the Grand Canyon. Though this can be overwhelming to choose what is best for you and your group, that is one of the things that we at Grand Canyon Adventures are here for. We can provide advice and help ensure you have the best possible experience at the Grand Canyon. Whether you are looking for an all-encompassing multi-day Grand Canyon tour or you just have a single day to see the Canyon, we would highly recommend doing a tour.
Grant Mohn is the Director of Operations at Grand Canyon Adventures. He grew up in the southwest and has spent most of his life exploring the great outdoors, but for him, nothing compares to the Grand Canyon. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, photography, and off-roading with his wife and two dogs.