Grand Canyon National Park

Length of stay: 1 day
Visited: January 2023

The Grand Canyon is one of the biggest canyons in the world. It is located in northern Arizona and measures 446 kilometres long, nearly 30 kilometres wide and over a kilometre and a half deep. Grand Canyon National Park encompasses much of the Grand Canyon and it is divided into two main sections, the North Rim and South Rim, each with their own visitor center, scenic drives, viewpoints and hiking trails.

After spending the morning in Lower Antelope Canyon, a narrow slot canyon with tight passageways, we made our way to the ultimate canyon in the United States, the Grand Canyon. The quickest way to get there from Page is through the east entrance. Technically the North Rim is closer, but it’s only open from mid-May to mid-October. We arrived at the east gate in the early afternoon and drove along the Desert View Drive, a paved path that is 35km long and contains six viewpoints. Our game plan was to hit up each of these viewpoints as we made our way across the South Rim towards the visitor center.

The first viewpoint is at Desert View. From the parking lot there’s a paved path that passes the Desert View Watchtower. The weathered stone exterior was designed to look like it’s rising from the canyon. The watchtower was open, so we took a look inside. There’s a gift store on the main floor and a staircase that winds up the tower to an enclosed viewing platform. We appreciated being able to see the canyon while being sheltered from the wind. We made our way down and continued along the paved path to the viewing platform overlooking the rim of the canyon.

We hopped back in the car and continued the drive along Desert View Road, stopping at the other viewpoints to admire the views and learn more about the history and geology of the Grand Canyon. Lipan Point features a spectacular view of the canyon and Colorado River, showing the tilted layers in the rock.

Moran Point showcases some of the beautiful colours in the rocks, along with the three main rocks groups of the Grand Canyon. The viewpoint was named in honour of Thomas Moran, an artist whose work inspired tourists to visit and helped create some of the national parks in the western United States.

Some of the formations in the Grand Canyon take on interesting shapes that resemble things, like a Duck in the Rock (which doesn’t really look like a duck to me).

We finally made it to the visitor center. After checking out the exhibits, we walked to the Mather Point, which provides another panoramic view of the Grand Canyon.

We then headed to Yavapai Point where the Yavapai Geology Museum is located. It was built in 1928. A group of geologists chose this site near the rim of the canyon because the views here were the most representative of the geology of the canyon. In addition to the nice views, there were also a series of displays to highlight the different types of rocks found in the area, along with information about the geology of the area and how the Grand Canyon was formed by geological activity and erosion by the Colorado River.

We continued driving west to reach Hermit Road, an 11km scenic drive that contains nine scenic viewpoints and other unnamed overlooks. Typically this road is only accessible to shuttle buses and bicycles for most of the year, but one of the benefits of visiting in the winter was that we could drive along this portion of the road with our car.

The viewpoint at Trailview Overlook provides a nice vista of the Bright Angel Trail and the series of switchbacks that lead deeper into the canyon. The path looked icy and super challenging. It was not for us.

At this point the daylight was beginning to fade so we drove to the end of the scenic road to Hermits Rest. There’s a stone building that was built near the edge of the canyon to resemble an old miner’s cabin. It was still open for a few minutes, so we popped inside to take a quick look. There was a small gift shop inside. This should come as no surprise, but there was also a nice viewpoint of the canyon.

We drove back towards the visitor center, stopping at the other series of viewpoints along Hermit Road. By this point we had already stopped at over a dozen viewpoints and overlooks, but the views just never got old. I started to lose track of all the various names of the viewpoints though.

We managed to visit every single viewpoint on Hermit Road before it got dark. And just as we were driving out of the park, it started to snow. The forecast was calling for heavy snow in the evening, so we were eager to get going.


87 thoughts on “Grand Canyon National Park

  1. Travel Essayist says:

    It’s interesting to see it in the wintertime as the colours look so different. It’s such a spectacular place to visit. Back in the 90s, I did a fly-over tour by a small Cessna out of Vegas and a couple of years later managed to hike down to the river in the summer heat. Your post brings a lot of fond memories about this natural wonder.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The Grand Canyon is pretty awe inspiring. We were only here for half a day so we really only had time to check out the various viewpoints along the South Rim. It must have been pretty cool to fly over it and even hike into the canyon for a completely different perspective.

  2. Rick Horne says:

    Grand Canyon is one of my favorite places to visit/stay. Looking forward to being there next month. In my various trips I have stopped at all of those viewpoints … I actually walked from Bright Angel Lodge in the Village to Hermits Rest. Great photos.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks! I can easily see why the Grand Canyon is one of your favourite places. There’s never a bad view. It’s awesome that you’re able to visit so often. Happy travels next month!

  3. kagould17 says:

    After we had already seen 5 canyons in 2018, we wondered if the Grand Canyon would be Meh! or Holy Sh–! It was the latter and we were lucky to spend 2 days there. We hiked part way down the trail from Hermits Rest (after hot chocolate and fresh cookies from the visitor center), just to see if we could do it. It turned out to be a training exercise for our hike the next day down Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point. 6 miles and 3,000 feet down and then 6 miles and 3,000 feet back up. Exhausting at our age, but we are so glad we did it. It was great to see this canyon in the off season. Happy Sunday Linda. Allan

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It sounds like you were saving the best for last! We were only here for the afternoon so we only had time to hit up the viewpoints along the scenic drives through the South Rim. No complaints as the weather wasn’t the greatest as it was cold, windy and overcast. It’s awesome that you had the time (and energy) to hike the Bright Angel Trail. I’m never a fan of trails that start with a descent as it’s very easy to overestimate your abilities. It sounds like it was worth the challenge though and a great way to get a different perspective of the Grand Canyon. Thanks for reading. Hope you had a wonderful weekend. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. The weather wasn’t ideal as it was quite cold and blustery outside, but I’ll take it over the scorching heat in the summer. It was nice to visit in the off-season without having to elbow our way through the crowds. Plus we got to drive along the scenic roads instead of having to rely on the shuttle buses, which was very convenient.


    I can see the duck! The Grand Canyon is a stunning place in the summer, but so full of tourists. You chose a perfect time to go even though it’s not the greatest time to hike down an icy trail. Just observing the views in awe is enough. As you say, the views never get old.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      For sure. Even though it was a bit chilly and windy outside, I’ll take that over the sweltering heat in the summer along with the crowds. It was also very convenient to just drive to the viewpoints instead of taking the shuttle bus.

  5. Ab says:

    Linda, you and K simply astound and inspire and also exhaust me at how much you are able to pack into a day. I can’t believe you did this on the same day as the Antelope tour.

    I loved your tour and photos of the Grand Canyon. What a beautiful place. And it was cool for you to see it at different vantage points.

    We visited in 2014 and had a short tour – because I wanted to see Britney Spears in Vegas. 😆 The hubby and I made the mistake of wearing shorts and T-shirt and neatly froze to death. Haha.

    Hope the snow wasn’t too bad on Friday. We flew out just as it was picking up and currently in tropical Mexico. 😊🙏 Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

    • Laura says:

      I truly can’t imagine the humbling feeling of looking out at this vast expanse of crags and layers of the earth…Lipan point and Moran point looked particularly beautiful and awe-inspiring. I hope to see this marvel some day!

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The Grand Canyon is pretty breathtaking. It looks like it goes on forever. It’s nice that there are a lot of overlooks and viewpoints to see different vantage points of the canyon. Hopefully you’re able to see it for yourself someday.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      We certainly try to pack in as much as we can while on vacation to the point where sometimes I think we need more time off after a vacation! It was neat to see the contrast between Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon. Despite visiting so many viewpoints, the views just never got old or boring. Glad to hear that you managed to squeeze in a short visit when you were in Las Vegas. I’ve heard Britney puts on one heck of a performance.

      You picked a great day to fly out. While the snow wasn’t nearly as bad as the storm from last week, I’m just so over shovelling. We’re supposed to get some rain over the next few days, so hopefully it’ll all melt by the time you return.

      • Ab says:

        I can imagine it not getting boring at all. 🙂 When we visited in 2014, we read that you could book these excursions to do multi-day rafting and hiking trips at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Might be something you and K consider one day! 🙂

        Britney was awesome. She sounded just like she did back in the 90s. 😂😂

        I’m not looking forward to heading back to winter. But hopefully warmer weather will be just around the corner.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        I’d be a bit worried about hiking to the bottom of the canyon and not being able to make it back up! The multi-day rafting trip sounds like it would be an awesome adventure.

        Hope you’re enjoying the rest of your time in Mexico. The days are starting to get a bit warmer and noticeably longer. And hey, at least there’s not much snow on the forecast!

      • Ab says:

        Thanks Linda. Good point about needing to come right back up after. 😆

        Today is our last day and we fly back tomorrow. So sad but so thankful for the time away. It’s been pure bliss.

  6. Mike and Kellye Hefner says:

    Our first look into the Grand Canyon resulted in nothing but clouds! It was a weather phenomenon called an inversion, but we were very disappointed until the clouds dissipated later in the day. I really enjoyed your photos and overview of the park. I hope you get to visit the north rim someday.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Even though it was a bit blustery and cold outside, it was nice not having to deal with the crowds. Plus we could just drive to all the scenic viewpoints rather than having to rely on the shuttle buses. It was very convenient. There are definitely a lot of pros to visiting in the winter.

  7. Hanna says:

    I knew the Grand Canyon was amazing, but these photos give me a new understanding of the National Park.
    That landscape looks as from another planet? 😎😊

  8. NortheastAllie says:

    Your landscape photography is amazing, and it is so cool to see all these layers of earth in the Grand Canyon. After reading your post, I can understand why this place is well known for its beauty and history.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. It was pretty amazing to see the Grand Canyon in person. I can’t get over the scale of it. I totally understand why it’s one of the most visited national parks in the United States.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. The Grand Canyon is pretty grand. It was a bit overcast and gloomy outside, but I’m glad we were able to still enjoy the views. Enjoy the rest of the week. Linda

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I was actually surprised to hear how much snow the Grand Canyon gets in the winter. No wonder the North Rim is closed for about half the year! There was actually a decent amount of snow along the main road along the South Rim and most of the viewing platforms were icy. I’ll take it over the sweltering sun though!

  9. Pepper says:

    Great pics of a beautiful place. We have been there once but there wasn’t any snow. Maybe because it was in the middle of summer. 😁

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      WordPress has been doing some weird things with some of my comments lately and I’ve noticed a bunch of them ending up in my spam folder for some reason. It’s kind of annoying, but at least my spam inbox doesn’t get very full, so at least it’s not painful to check.

  10. Thattamma C.G Menon says:

    Grand Canyon National park we schooling time studied , the red and orange rocks so
    huge portions 🙏🌹👍🏻😊now so great view and all the photography excellent 👏👌
    Wonders of earth and nature 👌🙌🌍😍
    I never think great canyon can see, God gave the opportunity from you dear friend 🥰🙏
    Description also so inspiring 👌♥️ thank you so much for sharing and grace wishes 🙏

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks so much for your kind words and for leaving a comment. It’s pretty incredible how colourful and vast the Grand Canyon is. Nature at its finest. I’m glad we were able to see it in person as it truly is breathtaking.

  11. leightontravels says:

    Lovely photos. What an absolutely breathtaking place to experience, it looks even more beautiful in winter. This is on our list if we can ever figure out how to travel and work in this part of the world without decimating our savings. I fear we will have to do it as a ‘holiday’ rather than the usual long-stay routine.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks! I was surprised at how much snow there actually was along the South Rim. Most of the viewing platforms were covered in snow and were icy. I’ll take it over having to deal with the sweltering heat (and the crowds) though. It’s definitely a good one to have on your list for when you visit the US, along with the other nearby national parks in southern Utah. The Canadian dollar is terrible these days, so I feel your pain in terms of travel expenses.

  12. wetanddustyroads says:

    Snow in a desert-like area … it’s a strange sight to me! Wow, the views you guys had are exceptionally beautiful – the colours and shapes must be amazing to see. But I agree with you, I tried hard to see the duck but alas nothing in that line 😉.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I was surprised at how much snow there was along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. While the roads were all plowed, the viewing platforms were quite icy. The views however were still spectacular. Glad to hear that I’m not the only one who couldn’t spot the duck!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to take a bad picture of the Grand Canyon. It was fun to hit up all the various viewpoints. The views continued to amaze us. And yes, I’m so glad we got out before the snowstorm. There isn’t much protection from the wind there.

  13. Little Miss Traveller says:

    Stunning photos of your visit to the Grand Canyon Linda. We entered through the north rim on our April / May visit but it was ages ago as one of our son’s was in a pushchair so definitely need to return!

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. We’ve been to the Grand Canyon twice now and both times the North Rim was closed. I guess we’ll need to return as well! There was plenty to keep us busy at the South Rim though. I thought the day wouldn’t be as adventurous or exciting since we weren’t actually doing any hiking, but that wasn’t the case at all.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Oh I know! At first I thought it would be a bit of a slow day since we weren’t actually hiking any trails, but that wasn’t the case at all. After visiting over 15 different viewpoints, the views continued to amaze us. The Grand Canyon really is grand.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It’s incredible how vast the Grand Canyon is. It truly is awe inspiring. I can easily see why this was one of your highlights from your trip to the United States. The views never get old.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. It’s pretty impressive that you hiked the Bright Angel Trail down to the river and then back up again. Getting down would be the easy part, but coming back up would worry me! Especially in the heat!

      • MichaelStephenWills says:

        We did it during University of Arizona spring break….the rim is cold then, the bottom cosy. This is Arizona so the sun blazes down and yes, the way up with tougher if only because it came after the descent.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        The one nice thing about the return trip is that at least your bags were a bit lighter from drinking water and eating some snacks! But I imagine it was a tough hike. I bet the desert looks gorgeous in the spring when all the cacti are in bloom though.

  14. Bama says:

    Every time I see pictures of the Grand Canyon, I can’t help but think of the cringeworthy names some places in Indonesia have adopted to market themselves. Case in point: Green Canyon, Brown Canyon, and I don’t know how many more “canyons” out there that seem neither grand nor canyon-y. But I guess such is the appeal and reputation of this national park in the US that inspired people living halfway across the globe to name the sites in their backyard after it.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Oh I know. My other personal favourite is where they use the Grand Canyon name, but then add a region or place to it, so it’s something like “the Grand Canyon of the north” or “the Grand Canyon of Canada”. We suffer from the same effect around Niagara Falls.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your kind words. The Grand Canyon is pretty awe inspiring. Even though we visited over a dozen different viewpoints, the views never got tiring. Hopefully you’re able to see it for yourself someday.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The nice thing about visiting the Grand Canyon is that there’s a paved road that follows part of the edge of the rim, so it’s quite accessible. There is no special gear to visit, you just need a car and a park pass! We didn’t end up doing much hiking as we were only here for a half a day, and instead drove along the road and stopped at the various scenic viewpoints to admire the views.

      • WanderingCanadians says:

        No problem. The landscape around the Grand Canyon is pretty vast. It’s impressive how they’ve managed to make this whole area more accessible by having a paved road along the rim. It truly is a sight to behold.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      It became a race against the clock, but I’m glad to say that we managed to hit up every named viewpoint along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I must say, the views continued to amaze us.

  15. BrittnyLee says:

    That’s awesome that you ended up beating the snow. I’m glad you got to see such great sites. I enjoyed these photos so much 😄😊 nature is so beautiful ❤️

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      Thanks for your lovely comment. The Grand Canyon is pretty spectacular. It was insanely windy though. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like if it was also snowing. I’m glad we finished hitting up all the viewpoints along the South Rim before the snowstorm.

    • WanderingCanadians says:

      The timing worked out well as just as we finished checking out the last viewpoint and were driving out the park, it started to snow. Part of the drive was a bit sketchy, but we just took it nice and slow. It helped that there weren’t many cars on the roads either.

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