Following on from Monument Valley, we headed to the Grand Canyon. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites just outside of the park itself. It was very conveniently located for access to the park without the expense of staying in the park itself.
Our first stop when we entered the park was the Desert View Watchtower. From here we were able to see our first views of the canyon, it was absolutely breathtaking. Photographs and video footage really do not do the scale and beauty justice, the colours are so much more vibrant in person.
There are a number of various different viewing locations dotted the whole length of the southern rim, there is even a hiking trail between all of them if you fancied it.
We decided we would do one hiking trail during our stay and chose to do the South Kaibab Trail as it was easily accessible from the southern rim. In order to take the trail you need to catch a shuttle bus from the information centre, there is no public parking or vehicle access at the start.
The trailhead starts at Yaki Point where you begin your descent into the canyon. The trail is a maintained dirt track with steps and steep sections with towering cliff faces on one side and sheer drops the other.
At just under the one-mile marker you reach Ooh-Aah Point, aptly named for it’s 360° view of the canyon below. By this point you have only descended 600 feet!
We stopped for lunch when we reached Cedar Ridge, this is at the mile and a half point and a total descent of 1,140 feet. We made the decision at this point to turn round and start to head back up the steep pathways. You can continue down to Skeleton Point, three miles into the trail and a descent of 2,060 feet. This is the point of no return for day hikers, if you choose to continue further you will need to purchase a camping permit from the information centre for use at Bright Angel Campground.
The hike was a fantastic experience but it was definitely a challenge. The descent into the canyon was easy, it was just a little hot as there was very little shade. The ascent was hard work and seemed to go on forever! Our tips would be to ensure you take enough water with you, wear layers to help combat the cold winds and hot sun and definitely stop for lunch on the ridge as the views are epic.
If you wish to see footage of the hike, as well as the canyon in general, be sure to check out our video here.
For now, here are a few of our favourite photos from our trip.