Everyone told us that the Grand Canyon was something you spend a couple minutes looking at, check off your list, and then move on to lunch. They were so wrong.
We arrived to the park after a stunning drive from Flagstaff through the mountains. We thought we would spend an hour or so and then get back on the road. We had no idea what to expect.
We were stopped in our tracks when we walked out of the visitor center and were confronted by the Canyon. It was so much bigger and wider and deeper than I had imagined. We ended up hiking along the South Rim for the next 8 hours.
I took about 500 photos throughout the hike so narrowing down which ones to share was a tough task. Every angle and view was breathtaking. I felt like I had walked into another universe and I couldn’t get enough of it.
Most of the South Rim path was paved, but there were frequent opportunities to diverge from it. Since we only had a day we weren’t able to do one of the hikes into the canyon. There was so much to do and see on this trail though that I was perfectly content to take it all in from up high, and since Dave has never been to the Canyon, I will definitely be going back.
I started off being a little nervous to approach the edge. Then I saw others venturing out onto these narrow ledges. Even kids were brave enough to dangle their feet off the cliffs so I knew I needed to muster some courage.
And I did. I progressively became more comfortable with the cliffs.
Maybe even a little too comfy?
The views were spectacular, and so was the history. Along South Rim there were several museums and historical trading posts from the original development of the park.
The Hopi House is a 19th c. trading post. It was a popular destination for westward travelers and still is operated by the Hopi tribe today. The modern addition of AC was a welcome break from the Arizona heat, and the handmade arts and crafts were fitting souvenirs (I ended up taking home a Navajo arrow and dream catcher – which now look awesome in my living room).
There were other attractions along the South Rim hike. Like the billion year rock walk that had stones of different ages marking a geological timeline.
And then there were a ton of great stops for the kids – who didn’t quite understand why they couldn’t play in the canyon – so we had to divert them towards climbing slightly safer cliffs. You know like this one:
Clearly he was born to boulder.
While it took some vigilance to keep the kiddos from jumping enthusiastically into the ravine, for the most part the national park was kid friendly. Mari and her gang certainly enjoyed it.
I am in love with everything about this place and I can not wait to go back and see more.