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Tips for visiting the Grand Canyon

Whether you're living it up in Las Vegas or enjoying your all-American stay elsewhere, a trip to the Grand Canyon is an unforgettable addition to your holiday. The sheer immensity of this magnificent natural wonder can be daunting, so we've compiled a few handy pointers to help you get a head-start on your visit.


Know what kind of trip you're taking

First-time visitors to the Grand Canyon are in for an unparalleled treat. However, the national park is so vast, you have multiple options for enjoying your time here.

The most popular trail – where you're bound to meet plenty of other travellers and holidaymakers – is reached via Highway 180 North. For many visitors, it's the first port of call. With good amenities, knowledgeable guides and plenty to see, your initial steps into the Grand Canyon will be well-served from this entrance.

For a nature-packed experience on the path less trodden, enter the park from the east entrance via Highway 89 instead. Fewer travellers at this gateway mean you can fully soak in the awe-inspiring experience without losing any stunning views. Climb the Desert View Tower near the entrance to fully appreciate the majesty of your surroundings from its viewing platform.

Finally, for the truly panoramic vistas, head to the South Rim. Most photographs of the full expanse of the Grand Canyon have been taken from this area, so watching the sun set from its vantage point is a must.

As above, so below

Taking in the Grand Canyon from its uppermost ridges is a sublime experience – the Colorado River weaves through the bedrock miles below, and rugged cliffsides dotted with tufts of shrubbery set a magical scene. While incredible from above, you'll also find plenty of ways to immerse yourself in the world below.

For the truly adventurous, a mule ride over narrow, winding ridges will test your courage as you descend into the canyon's rocky depths. Or, if you're after a more serene option, consider the Tonto Trail – snaking across a tremendous plateau far below the ridge of the Grand Canyon, it still looms over 300 metres above the Colorado River. Amazingly, it's tranquil enough that you can hear the gushing water of the river as you trace the trail for yourself.

Raft rides on the river

A raft journey along the Colorado River is the ultimate way to experience the heart of the Grand Canyon. Pack good, waterproof gear for the journey though, as occasional whitewater regions can dampen an otherwise calm trip. Guides share in-depth knowledge about the history and myths surrounding the area and leave you with a deeper appreciation of the splendours of this extraordinary natural wonder.

Respect your surroundings

As with any trip into nature, self-awareness is key. The Grand Canyon enjoys thousands of visitors per year, but keep in mind that many of its ridges are entirely open. Make sure you're always aware of your footing before snapping your selfies.

Similarly, remember that this is a desert region even in winter months. Nights are cold and days are blazing hot, especially within the confines of the canyon where the cooling winds can't reach and there's no shelter from the sunlight. Ensure the clothing you take fits the environment – a good bottle of sun cream doesn't hurt, either.

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