The Grand Canyon is considered one of the 7 Wonders of the World. The South Rim see’s almost 6 million visitor’s a year and that number is rising. If you have a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park and are headed for the South Rim and wondering how you should spend your time, we got you. The following is a list of Tumbleweed Travel Co.’s favorite things to do at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You could pack all of this in in one day, but we suggest spending at least two days in the area.
BIKE ALONG HERMITS REST
3 HRS: Head to Visitor Center (Blue Shuttle Route) and rent bicycles from Bright Angel Bicycles. They have a variety of different options for bikes and even bike trailers if you have little ones. This is a great way to see the area, especially Hermit Road, which is closed to public vehicles. You can cycle to Hermit Road from Bright Angel Bikes or hop on the shuttle and get out at the Hermits Rest stop on the Blue Bus Route. Rentals starting at $32/ half day. If you would rather be led by a guide, Bright Angel also offers a handful of tours, so visit their website. You can book bikes in advance (suggested,) but are also available first-come, first -served, so get there early. Open 8am – 5pm. (bikegrandcanyon.com / (928) 638-3055)
HIKE BELOW THE RIM
2 HRS – Full Day: The two main trails that descend into the Canyon are the Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab Trail. Each trail goes down into the Canyon. The Bright Angel Trail is longer and in a side canyon, which means you descend and ascend at a slower pace. The Bright Angel is slightly busier but has water and restrooms along the way down to the River. The South Kaibab trail is on a ridge, rather than canyon, so it is a little more exposed, but you will get slightly better views. It is a little harder to get to but will have less people on it. Hiking all the way down to the river (and back) is a strenuous whole day affair and not recommended. It is best to hike down either of these trails and turn around when you want. Realize that hiking up takes 2 x as long as down, so if you want to hike for 2 hours, only go down for about 45 minutes. Bring water and wear hats and take pictures!
Located at the Bright Angel Shuttle Stop (Blue Route) or South Kaibab Trailhead (Orange Route)
TAKE A GEOLOGY LESSON
1.5 HRS: The Trail of Time is a paved and flat walk (2 miles) that follows the geologic timeline (physically and theoretically) of the Grand Canyon. Bronze markers mark your location in time; every tenth marker is labeled in millions of years! Along the timeline trail are a series of rocks and exhibits that explain how Grand Canyon and its rock formed. The trail starts at the Yavapai Geology Museum and heads towards the Grand Canyon Village. Located at the Yavapai Shuttle Stop (Orange Route)
DRIVE ALONG DESERT VIEW
1.5 HRS: You will most likely be arriving or departing the Park from this road, which is great, because it is something not to miss. Make sure to take your time driving the eastern rim drive (25 miles between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View) and get ready to pull over for viewpoints. Make sure to stop at Desert View, as it is a great lookout where you can see the vastness of the Canyon and the winding Colorado River below. If you want a less busy stop, Navajo Point down the road has similar views. Another great stop is the Grand Viewpoint. You really can’t go wrong with any marked pullouts and viewpoints on the Rim drive.
RIDE A MULE ALONG THE RIM
3 HRS: This time-honored tradition of using mules for transportation in the Canyon is still popular today. There are two rides available at the South Rim. The Canyon Vistas is a 3-hr. ride that travels along the Rim. The only ride that goes into the Canyon is the overnight Phantom Ranch Ride, which is available via lottery. The Vistas Ride travels along the East Rim Trail built by the National Park Service. Wranglers will stop at least six times along the trail to provide interpretive information about the geologic formations, human history, fire ecology, and more. This is a popular activity and groups max out at 20 riders and must be booked in advance by calling 303-297-2757. Riders must be at least 9 years old and under 225 lbs. $156/pp. Learn more here.
TAKE A HELICOPTER FLIGHT
2 HOURS: Seeing the Grand Canyon from the air is a splurge you might consider. Maverick Helicopters operates flights throughout the region. From the South Rim, you will drive to the airfield 30 minutes south in the town of Tusayan and head out for 45 minutes in the air. The flight will provide you unique views of the South Rim, North Rim, Marble Canyon, the Colorado and even the crystal blue waters of the Little Colorado. Flights are $315/pp all-inclusive. Contact Tumbleweed if you want to book. www.maverickhelicopter.com
If you are able to do all these things, you will have a wonderful trip to the Grand Canyon. If you would like to get here and don’t know how, we, here at Tumbleweed Travel Co., can organize your road trip for you. Weather it be in an RV or car, we can book your accommodations, activities and make sure you get everything out of your visit to the Grand Canyon.