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Grand Canyon

General review

Location: United States, North America

Best time to visit: fall/spring


What to do and what to see:

The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and is located in northwestern Arizona in the western United States. This geographically stunning area that has become Grand Canyon National Park draws close to five million visitors annually, and with its raw natural beauty it is easy to see why. Activities for visitors vary from the sedate and laid-back to the white-knuckle-thrilling variety, and the smaller crowds in the spring and fall combine with amazing weather to create lasting memories. Viewing the entirety of the Canyon from one of several outfits providing helicopter or light aircraft tours is incredibly rewarding and available for visitors at all levels of physical ability. For another relaxed touring approach, the historic Coconino Canyon Train ride offers a fun and informative 4½-hour round-trip transport from the old Grand Canyon Depot in Williams, Arizona to Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim, complete with costumed storytellers and minstrels. Grand Canyon West offers the recently opened Skywalk, a solid glass horseshoe-shaped walkway that is suspended 3600 feet over the canyon floor, and shuttle bus services have increased in availability as an option for sightseeing. Campers can find beautiful campsites at both the South and North Rims, and campers headed north should be aware that the North Rim is accessible from the South Rim only by a five-hour drive around the northeastern edge of the Canyon through beautiful – and sparsely populated – Navajo Reservation lands. The North Rim is often closed during the winter season, so check ahead for road closures and stock up for supplies in Williams before heading north. For visitors in tip-top physical shape, challenging and ambitious ventures include white-water rafting, hiking the narrow fenceless trails, backcountry hiking on the canyon floor, and descending the treacherous canyon trails on the backs of highly trained (and quite large) mules. If all of that sightseeing makes you hungry, the restaurant at the El Tovar Hotel on the South Rim is exceptional, as is the restaurant at the North Rim’s canyon-side Grand Canyon Lodge; reservations are required at both locations. Travelers are encouraged to bring plenty of water, sun-block, sun-hats and common sense along to keep themselves safe in the rugged canyon, as well as plenty of film in the camera to capture all there is to experience at the Grand Canyon National Park.

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