Beyond the 956 | Plan a visit to the Grand Canyon
As part of our Beyond the 956 Series, we are excited to share with you some of the highlights of our recent summer vacation to Las Vegas, Nevada, and our very first visit to the Grand Canyon, in Arizona.
In this particular blog post, we will focus on our experience at the majestic Grand Canyon, which is considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. If visiting this beautiful location is on your travel bucket list, then we highly recommend you keep reading as we share important tips and information to help you have a great and safe experience.
Located in Arizona, the Grand Canyon is 10 miles wide and covers 277 miles of the Colorado River and nearby uplands. For our visit, we booked a Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tour from Las Vegas as it is the closest to Las Vegas, Nevada (where we stayed), and offered free cancellation just in case the unexpected happened.
Personally, this tour made our experience very convenient and enjoyable as Comedy on Deck picked us up in a comfortable air-conditioned bus near our hotel around 6:00 am and the trip included admission tickets to the Grand Canyon West Rim, breakfast, lunch, and water bottles. In addition to the Grand Canyon West Rim and optional Skywalk, we also stopped for a photo-op at the Hoover Dam before returning to Las Vegas before 5 pm.
Overall, the drive to the Grand Canyon was about 2.5 hours long and went through the beautiful but scorching hot Mojave Desert. Along the way, we got to learn about the local wildlife such as the Big Horn Sheep, snakes, native plants, and see the landscape change from bushes to beautiful Joshua Trees. Joshua Trees are spiny, tree-like plants native to the Mojave Desert and part of the agave family. Their unique and twisted limbs are the iconic image of the Western American landscape, often celebrated in folklore, and a popular cultural icon of the region. These desert plants can grow up to 40 feet high and live up to 150 years!
Grand Canyon West
Grand Canyon West Rim is situated on the Hualapai reservation. The Hualapai Tribe’s Grand Canyon West Rim features adventures to see and do giving you access to Eagle Point (with the Skywalk), Guano Point, Aerial Tours via helicopter, and their Zipline.
As part of your visit, you can learn about Native American culture and shop for souvenirs at Eagle Point. Eagle Point is named after a natural rock formation that resembles an eagle. This stop also features the Skywalk, a 10-foot wide, horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that extends 70 feet out over the rim of the Grand Canyon and gives visitors a clear view 4,000 feet to the Canyon floor below. While they don’t allow you to take photos, you can have your pictures taken by their reps which are available for you to purchase.
According to the website and our tour guide Charlie, Guano Point has one of the most dramatic viewpoints of the Grand Canyon. From here you can take the “Highpoint Hike” for stunning, 360-degree views of the Canyon. Be very careful as there are no railings! Through your hike, you will be able to see the remnants of a historic tram that once stretched 8,800 feet across the canyon to a guano mine. During our tour, we enjoyed a delicious scenic and restful lunch on the edge of the Canyon at Guano Point Café. As we enjoyed our lunch, we witnessed large ravens swoop down near the tables eager to catch some crumbs. These ravens are a sight to see as they were as large as well-fed house cats!
If you’re planning a visit to this breathtaking location, here are some of our best tips to help you have a great experience:
1. Book a tour
If you are near Las Vegas, we highly recommend booking a tour as you don’t have to worry about navigating to the Grand Canyon West Rim. There is no cell service in the area and the route includes sections with very narrow winding roads through the scorching Mojave Desert. If you have a large family and prefer to save money by venturing out on your own, here's some information to help you get there safely.
2. Prepare for the weather
If you plan to go during the summer, be prepared for very HOT weather. Pack sunscreen, hats, comfortable clothing, hats, tennis shoes (sand is too hot for sandals), and plenty of water.
3. Prevent motion sickness
Regardless if you take the bus tour or venture out there on your own, pack some Dramamine if you’re prone to motion sickness. The meandering desert roads will get the best of everyone.
4. Take a selfie stick or tripod
Avoid depending on people to capture your photos by taking a small tripod or selfie stick with you. You will be able to capture great shots!
Although our experience at the Grand Canyon West Rim this summer was very hot, we absolutely loved the majestic views and getting to witness one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Coming from the Rio Grande Valley, the views and scenery are absolutely breathtaking.
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