Close to 5 million tourists, like these, visited the Grand Canyon National Park last year. (Photo by Sophia Kunthara/Cronkite News)
8 things to know when visiting the Grand Canyon
What is one thing you wish you’d known before visiting the Grand Canyon?
Visiting the great outdoors is a great way to reconnect or explore new things. But it’s essential to be thoroughly prepared. To help visitors best prepare for their trip to the Grand Canyon, we asked nature enthusiasts and people who have previously visited the Grand Canyon this question for their best tips. From staying hydrated to packing for cold nights, there are several insights that may help you better prepare for your visit to the Grand Canyon.
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Here are eight things to know when visiting the Grand Canyon:
- Plan Ahead for Parking
- Double Check What’s Open
- Get Peace of Mind
- Stay Hydrated
- Allocate More Than a Day to Hike
- Wear Secure Clothing
- Pack for Cold Nights
- Start Training for Hikes Early
Plan Ahead for Parking
Finding parking at the Grand Canyon is tricky! If you are in an RV or coming in past opening time, I would recommend parking outside the canyon and taking a shuttle inside. With that said, I would also recommend checking their website to see the status of their shuttles and if there are any regulations as it pertains to Covid-19.
Randall Smalley, Cruise America
Double Check What’s Open
Before visiting the Grand Canyon, I wish that I would have known the Northern Rim is closed during the winter! The Northern Rim is one of the most beautiful viewpoints of the canyon, and it is often the first thing that pops up on Google when you search the Grand Canyon. If you are hoping to see the painted desert and all the other treasures the Northern Rim has to offer, plan your trip accordingly.
Gregory Drambour, Sedona Retreats
Get Peace of Mind
As one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is a destination for travelers the world over. If you’re an international traveler journeying to the US, preparation is key to a safe and smooth trip. That’s why having travel insurance offers peace of mind. At Abrams Insurance Solutions, we offer travel insurance that provides excellent coverage for foreign nationals traveling to the US. Our International Major Medical plan has the flexibility to see any doctor or go to any hospital in the US.
Chris Abrams, Abrams Insurance Solutions
Bring a reusable water bottle. Inside the park, there are multiple water bottle filling stations that provide free Grand Canyon spring water. Additionally, bring a large container of water and leave it in your car to ensure you always have access to drinking water. Staying hydrated in the desert is critically important.
Adrian James, Markitors
Allocate More Than a Day to Hike
I stopped at the Grand Canyon while on a tour of the West Coast and we only allotted 1 day at the Grand Canyon. We attempted to hike down, but found that it takes a lot longer to get down the spiraling canyon than you’d typically imagine for a hike. For us, it was about 4 hours down and 7 hours back up. If you want to hike all the way to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you should definitely do your research and plan for camping out at the bottom as you’ll need a backcountry permit for this or you can also stay in some affordable dorms at the bottom.
Kristine Thorndyke, Test Prep Nerds
Wear Secure Clothing
The Grand Canyon is very windy. I know that it warns people of that fact online and in reviews, but it is a whole different ball game once you get there. Hats, sunglasses, and more have been blown off and into the canyon. Be prepared for that when visiting, and try to not lose any items. There are people sometimes at the bottom and could get hit with these. Try to wear secure clothing when visiting.
Derin Oyekan, Reel Paper
Pack for Cold Nights
It’s not cold, it’s really, really cold if you are going to be staying anywhere near the Canyon overnight. Last March, we booked an adorable mini school bus Airbnb in Williams–with a heater–and I have still never been that cold. We stacked nine blankets and sleeping bags, but we never did get warm and left as soon as the sun came up. I will pack like I’m visiting the Arctic the next time I go!
Lisha Dunlap, University of Advancing Technology
Start Training for Hikes Early
I wish I’d known just how intensely painful it would be to hike back and forth across the Canyon. I would have trained a lot more before I did it. My friends convinced me to hike Rim to Rim to Rim the first time I’d ever really visited or hiked the Canyon. I’m glad I did it, but I had no real concept of what I was getting into. We did a lot of training hikes and long runs to try to prepare. By the end of the hike, I really wished I had done a lot more.
Jason Carr, Alt House
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