The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most iconic and breathtaking sights, but is it worth visiting?
Located in northwestern Arizona, this immense gorge was carved out by the Colorado River over millions of years, creating a vast natural wonder that is considered one of the world’s seven natural wonders.
Its dramatic landscape stretches for 277 miles (446 km). In parts, it is a whopping 18 miles (29 km) wide and one mile (1.6 km) deep.
In 1979, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its natural beauty and exceptional scientific value. It is an incredible place to explore, and we are here to tell you why you should plan a visit.
Table of Contents
- Is The Grand Canyon Worth It
- Why Are Some Visitors Disappointed
- What Can You Do At The Grand Canyon
- FAQs For Visiting The Grand Canyon
- To Finish – Is The Grand Canyon Worth It
Is The Grand Canyon Worth It
Is the Grand Canyon worth it? Yes, in our opinion, the Grand Canyon is definitely worth it!
The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most impressive natural wonders and a must-see for any traveler. It offers breathtaking views from its many viewpoints and rim trails, allowing you to take in the spectacular beauty of this vast canyon from different perspectives.
You can also explore the deep inner canyon by rafting down the Colorado River or taking a guided mule ride.
The Grand Canyon offers plenty of education opportunities and outdoor activities for families, such as hiking, camping, birdwatching, and participating in ranger-led programs.
So whether you choose to take in the views from above or explore deeper within its walls, visiting the Grand Canyon will be an unforgettable experience.
📖 If you are heading to the Grand Canyon and want to come home with some good photos, check out our beginner tips for the canyon.
Why Are Some Visitors Disappointed
Unfortunately, some visitors may be disappointed in their visit to the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is among the top 5 most visited national parks in the US, having more than 4.5 MILLION people exploring it each year.
So despite its impressive size and beauty, it can be extremely crowded with tourists during peak season. Long lines at the entrance gates are common, as well as crowds on trails and at the viewpoints.
In addition, due to media coverage and word of mouth, many people may have overhyped their expectations of the Grand Canyon, expecting something extraordinary or otherworldly.
The reality is that although it is stunning, it is still just a canyon and may not meet those high expectations.
📎 Tip: If you are willing to explore beyond the main attractions, visit during the off-season, or find less-crowded trails and overlooks, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable experience.
What Can You Do At The Grand Canyon
Hiking is one of the best ways to experience the Grand Canyon. There are numerous trails, ranging from easy strolls along the rim to steep, strenuous hikes into the inner canyon.
One of the easy hikes in the Grand Canyon is Rim Trail, which stretches nearly 13 miles (20.9 km) along the canyon’s rim. This trail offers spectacular views of the Colorado River and other rock formations.
Since it follows primarily flat terrain along the rim and is mainly paved, it is very accessible for all ages and skill levels.
A strenuous hike if you want a challenge is the South Kaibab Trail, which starts at Yaki Point on the South Rim and descends into the canyon. It offers spectacular views of the canyon walls from below the rim.
This is a challenging hike due to its steep grade, but definitely worth it for the incredible views. Don’t attempt to do the entire hike down and back up in one day, especially during the summer months.
📖 Not interested or up for the strenuous hike? Did you know that you can actually drive to the bottom in a special section of the canyon?
Hitch A Ride On A Mule
For those looking for an unforgettable experience, a mule ride is a great option.
This two-day trip begins with a ride from the South Rim down to the Colorado River, which takes several hours. Once you arrive at the river, you will spend the night at Phantom Ranch before starting your return trip in the morning.
For those who can’t physically do the strenuous hike required to reach the bottom of the Grand Canyon, the mule ride is the perfect option to see the inner rim still.
📖 We have tons of fun Grand Canyon tours you can hit up if you are visiting Las Vegas.
Enjoy A Helicopter Flight Over The Canyon
For an even more thrilling experience, you can take a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.
Several companies offer tours that provide stunning aerial views of the canyon and its expansive formations from above. You will get to fly over some of the most beautiful parts of the canyon, including its winding river and rugged cliffs.
Taking a helicopter tour is also a great way to get a sense of the canyon’s vast size and scope, and it is truly an unforgettable experience.
Our recommendation is this 45-min helicopter flight. With over 1000 reviews, it has a solid five stars!
📖 Curious about what other national parks there are in Arizona? Check out our list.
Ride The Grand Canyon Railway
The Grand Canyon Railway is a fun way to experience the Grand Canyon.
You will board the train in Williams, Az, for the 65-mile (104.6 km) journey to the canyon. While onboard, you will not only get to enjoy spectacular views out the windows but also be entertained by cowboys and musicians.
Once you arrive at Grand Canyon Village and disembark, you will have more than three hours to explore the Grand Canyon and take in the breathtaking views. Then you will board the train and travel back to the starting point.
Once a month, the railway offers a special train ride pulled by the iconic steam engine.
📎 Note: This is an all-day excursion, but you will only get to spend about three hours within the national park. So you might want to plan on spending a second day in the park.
Take A Hummer Tour
If you want to do a guided tour along the upper rim of the Grand Canyon, look no further than a hummer tour.
These tours hit up all the top viewpoints, are limited to a small group, and are led by a knowledgeable guide. The open-air hummers (during the summer) provide an incredible view of the canyon’s panoramic vistas as they make their way around the Grand Canyon.
Along the way, your guide will highlight interesting geological formations and provide fascinating facts about the canyon’s history.
It’s a great way to start your experience at the Grand Canyon because it is a quick two hours.
We recommend this five-star signature hummer tour.
Visit The Grand Canyon Skywalk
While most of the things we have recommended thus far have been located at the South Rim because it is the most popular area of the park to visit, this one is at the West Rim on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. Therefore it is not part of the national park.
The Grand Canyon Skywalk allows visitors to walk 70 ft (21.3 m) beyond the edge of the Grand Canyon and look down 4,000 ft (1219.2 m) into its depths.
Located near Peach Springs, Arizona, this horseshoe-shaped glass bridge offers unparalleled views of the canyon and the Colorado River below. On a clear day, visitors can see for hundreds of miles in all directions.
This one isn’t for those with acrophobia (intense fear of heights). But if you want an unforgettable experience, then this one is sure to please.
📖 Thinking about whether Zion or Grand Canyon is a good fit for your vacation? We have a comparison that should help you decide.
White-Water Raft Down The Colorado River
If you want some adrenaline-pumping adventure during your visit, try whitewater rafting.
The canyon features some of the most spectacular rapids and scenery in the world, making it a popular destination for rafters from all over the globe.
Rafters will have the opportunity to paddle through 40 miles (64.4 km) or more of thrilling rapids ranging from easy to difficult. Don’t worry; there are some breaks to catch your breath along the way!
From down at the bottom of the canyon, you will witness breathtaking landscapes, see hidden caves and slots, spot wildlife, and make some stops to explore.
With its incredible beauty and adventure, it’s no wonder that whitewater rafting in the Grand Canyon is such a popular activity.
While you can find longer trips with overnights, we recommend this whitewater rafting tour if you have one day.
FAQs For Visiting The Grand Canyon
Do You Have To Pay To Look At The Grand Canyon
There is an entrance fee to get inside Grand Canyon National Park. Once inside the gate, you can look at the canyon’s spectacular views to your heart’s content for free.
Where Should I Go In The Grand Canyon For The First Time
For a first-time visit to Grand Canyon, it is best to explore the South Rim. This is by far the most popular side of the canyon due to its close proximity to major cities and its wide range of amenities.
The South Rim offers stunning views of the canyon and plenty of hiking trails. There are also a variety of guided tours and activities, as well as restaurants and shops.
So if you’re looking to experience the best that the Grand Canyon offers, the South Rim is definitely the way to go!
Enjoy More From Arizona:
–Photographing The Grand Canyon’s Epic Beauty
–Can You Drive To The Bottom Of The Grand Canyon
–From Scottsdale To Tombstone: 11 Best Stops To Enjoy
–An Epic Road Trip From Houston To Grand Canyon
–13 Best Vegas Grand Canyon Tour Excursions
To Finish – Is The Grand Canyon Worth It
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful nature escape or a thrilling adventure, the Grand Canyon will surely exceed your expectations.
From wandering the hiking trail to awe-inspiring views of the canyon from above with a helicopter tour to tackling its thrilling rapids on a whitewater rafting trip, there’s something for everyone in this incredible destination.
When it comes to natural wonders, the Grand Canyon is worth it!