Nowadays, there is a prevalence of virtual tours that allow an individual to explore a beautiful destination without stepping foot outside his or her home. While this initiative is definitely worth trying, there are just places that look better in person. For instance, the majestic Grand Canyon is now back up for business! We are pretty sure you’ll be tempted to visit it at a time when there are fewer visitors. If you plan to do that, let us bring you up to speed!
Here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Grand Canyon this year:
National Parks Are Now Open
The national parks in the United States are opening back up for business, and this includes one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon in Arizona stretches for 227 miles long and averages over ten miles wide. With its impressive size and scenic formations, it’s no wonder that many consider it the state’s best natural wonder. Heck, you need to visit it at least once before you die!
However, we want to remind you to be VERY CAREFUL when going out. We want you to honor social distancing and proper hygiene measures so you don’t risk getting the virus. If you want to see the Grand Canyon (or any other place for that matter), you should try your best to avoid the masses.
The Grand Canyon National Park is open, but you can check the National Park Service website to get up-to-date information on operations.
You can still hike on inner canyon trails. The existing backcountry permits for hikers will be honored, while backpacking permits for August are currently not being issued. You can request a permit for start dates in September onwards.
The Canyon Rim Trail and Greenway Trail System are open to the public outside of the residential area. If you want to hike South Kaibab, you may do so but be prepared to park further away. You will need to add mileage to walk to the trailhead.
Hermit Road is closed to cars but you may access it by foot or bicycle. State Route 64 is also open from Grand Canyon Village to Navajo Point.
Some lodging services are still open such as the El Tovar Hotel, Bright Angel Lodge, Kachina Lodge, and many more. Some closed establishments and services include Hermits Rest, South Rim Kennel, as well as the bus tours. The RV and Camper Services building in the Grand Canyon Village is also closed. If you visit South Rim Village, expect that the only open centers are Grand Canyon Conservancy’s Park Store, Yavapai Geology Museum, and Verkamp’s Visitor Center. The opening hours are from 9 am to 7 pm. Lastly, all Desert View facilities are closed until further notice.
Best Time to Visit
The busiest months of the Grand Canyon are undoubtedly the summer months. The tourist numbers always spike in July and August. If you don’t want to sweat through your OOTD while exploring the beautiful destination, then you can just opt for a different season. That way, you can also keep yourself safe from the intense Arizona heat. The South Rim is open year-round, while the North Rim is closed every winter season.
You should also consider whether you want a sunrise or sunset view when visiting the Grand Canyon. There are many viewpoints that become super crowded around sunset. Given that, wouldn’t it be best to just come there early in the morning? You’ll be treated to an equally magnificent view, and you will be social distancing from everyone! Try the Hopi Point or the Navajo Point for the best views.
Grand Canyon Checklist
First things first, you need to have your Grand Canyon National Park pass with you. This will be your ticket to come in and out of the park. It costs $35 per car and is good for an entire week. You can just buy and download it onto your phone.
As for the gear, you need a trusted footwear and lots of water to navigate through the canyon’s extreme heat, difficult terrain, especially if you’re out hiking. The food options in the park are also limited so you should bring your own so you don’t get hungry in the middle of your exploration.
Lastly, there is only one fuel station inside the park, and it’s at the Desert View on the South Rim. You should come here with a full tank of gas so you don’t end up getting stuck in the road. There is a gas station outside of park limits is in Tusayan, about seven miles south.
Tour the Grand Canyon in the Best Way Possible
You can pedal around on the park’s biking trails to connect with nature, be in front of the scenic views, and squeeze in a quick (or long) workout. There are greenway trails and roads on the South Rim. If you prefer the canyon rim along Hermit Road, that’s not such a bad idea too! Just make sure to check the website to confirm if the area is closed or not.
There are also wrangler-led mule trips available for both the trail and inner canyon rides. This is perfect if you don’t want to get too tired and if you want a more fun photo ops experience. Make sure to reserve or book at least 15 months in advance.
You can also go on a river trip that will cover 277-miles of canyon waters and cruises through 200 white water rapids. Many bold adventurers prefer this because you’d get to traverse hidden gems or waterfalls as well as secret canyons. The Grand Canyon Expeditions Company has been the leading river adventure in the area for over 50 years.
Some areas of the Grand Canyon are open and accessible for visitors to enjoy. Be a responsible traveler and make sure to practice the Leave No Trace principle. Avoid crowding as well as other high-risk outdoor activities, and be patient because some services may be limited.
Grand Canyon National Park website: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/grand-canyon-national-park-public-health-update.htm
Before you go, check out our updated guide on Havasupai for 2020!
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