The Grand Canyon

Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon is awe inspiring.  The vastness of this great chasm, carved over millennia through the rocks of the Colorado Plateau is simply hard to comprehend.  It is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and over a mile deep.  It was established as a national park by congress and Woodrow Wilson in 1919.  The national park is split in two parts by the canyon: the North Rim and South Rim.  Nearly five million people visit the Grand Canyon each year, and most of them see it from the overlooks on the South Rim. The North Rim is 1000 feet higher in elevation than the south rim and it is much less accessible, even in good weather.  If you need to cross the canyon, there is only one way to do so that does not involve airplanes, feet, mules or rafts.  To get your RV from the north rim to the south rim or vice versa, you will need  to do so via the Navajo Bridge between between Bitter Springs and Jacob Lake in Arizona.

If seeing the canyon from the edge isn’t enough of a thrill for you, you may want to visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk.  The skywalk is a horseshoe shaped steel and glass structure built 4,000 feet above the Colorado River and it extends 70 feet from the canyon walls.  Beware… in addition to giving you a birds-eye view of the canyon, a visit to the skywalk may also leave you feeling a bit lighter in the wallet.  Current adult admission to the skywalk is about $30 but there are also additional costs involved in seeing it.  Visitors are required to park at the  Grand Canyon West airport and then purchase a bus tour package to reach the skywalk.  In addition to getting you to there, the tour also includes a stop at Guano Point (an overlook point), a buffet lunch and a trip to Hualapai Ranch.  The cost for parking is about $20 and the bus tour package will cost about$40 for adults.

If you want to do more than just sight see from the canyon walls, recreational activities abound.  Whitewater rafting, hiking, running and helicopter tours are especially popular with visitors to the area.  Getting to the floor of the canyon requires you to ‘hoof it’ by foot or mule back, as there are still no paved roads that lead to the canyon floor.  If hiking isn’t your thing, the canyon floor can also be reached by boat or raft from upriver.  You can also get great views of the canyon by taking a helicopter or small airplane tour.

Where you camp will depend on which rim of the canyon you want to visit.  If you are planning on visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and you are looking for a more rustic experience, try the Jacob Lake Campground in the Kaibab National Forest or the Grand Canyon National Park North Rim Campground.  If you are looking for a campground with full hookups on the North Rim, try the Kaibab Camper Village.

Camping on the South Rim offers a few more options.  Some of the closest to the canyon are Mather Campground in the Grand Canyon National Park for primitive camping or the Grand Canyon Trailer Village for full hookups.  A bit farther, but still nearby are the Grand Canyon Camper Village, the Ten-X Campground in the Kaibab National Forest or the Canyon Gateway RV Park.

No matter if you visit the North or South Rim, be prepared for a humbling experience.  The beauty and splendor of this natural wonder are only outdone by the sheer vastness of its size.