Destination: Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

I drove up to to Grand Canyon National Park on Memorial Day thinking, “This is going to be crazy, it’s a holiday weekend and I’m going to one of the most visited sites in the world.”

And then, as I came out of Flagstaff and onto the main route to the canyon, I was the only one on the road. For an hour and a half I barely saw another sign of life. Methinks this is the best type of driving. Mountains and forests and open fields and not a soul to interrupt wherever my mind wants to wander. A few pics of the drive to the canyon:

Driving toward Grand Canyon National Park from Flagstaff Driving to Grand Canyon National Park from Flagstaff

Entering the park from the south, the main road takes you to an enormous visitor center (busier x1000 than my drive to the park). This alone took me a half hour to get through, from reading signs to filling up water bottles. There are also a few thirsty visitors to work your way around:

Grand Canyon National Park visitor's center

Thirsty at the Grand Canyon National Park visitor’s center!

I initially walked the Rim Trail, adjacent to the visitor’s center. My spidey senses tell me that this is 90% of people’s first view of the canyon, as it was mine. Here, you walk along a flat, paved trail that traces the edge of the canyon for some time.

Grand Canyon National Park

Along the Rim Trail at Grand Canyon National Park

Next, I drove the lone road out to the Desert View Watchtower at the park’s east entrance, a 70-foot structure built in 1932 to resemble the watchtowers of the Ancient Pueblo People. Inside, the tower boasts murals everywhere. A gift shop makes up the ground floor. God knows I hate when they ruin an attraction with a gift shop at every turn (I’m talking to you, SeaWorld San Diego). But I did appreciate the murals.

Desert View Watchtower

Desert View Watchtower

Desert View Watchtower

Inside the Desert View Watchtower

Another attraction along the route were the Tusayun Ruins, an 800 year old site where Pueblo Indians lived for about 20 years. The short, self-guided path around the ruins is accompanied by a museum that shares tidbits of life about the tribes that lived in this area. Cool.

Tusayun Ruins

Tusayun Ruins

My final stop before exiting the park was the Grandview Trail, a pathway into the canyon less maintained than other trails. I was drawn to this. The park itself is so touristy that you desperately want to grasp at anything semi-wild you find along the way.

Grandview Trail sign

The sign at Grandview Trail “warns” hikers of how fun it is!

View from Grandview Point

View from Grandview Point

End result of my day: a bunch of canyon pictures that all look more or less alike. Learn more about Grand Canyon National Park here.

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2 thoughts on “Destination: Grand Canyon National Park

  1. Pingback: Destination: Sequoia National Park | Colette Kay

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