Grand Canyon South Rim, AZ
I had been here a couple times before but never had the chance to actually stay for longer than a couple hours. This time I was intent on getting at least one sunset and sunrise in the canyon. The plan was to arrive around 4pm from Sedona, and walk a bit of the canyon loop trail to find a good spot and just plant ourselves for the grand sunset experience. After that we would figure out dinner and then stay in the El Tovar hotel, conveniently right on the rim of the canyon. Finally, the next morning, wake up at the butt crack of dawn to see the sunrise from the western side of the canyon loop trail.
First sight of the canyon! We parked at lot A by the amphitheater mostly because it was empty. Then walked out to the canyons edge. This was view that greeted us. Andrea had never seen the canyon before so I think she was pretty stunned. The light was ridiculously good. And would only get better as the hours went on.
The trail is pretty interesting. This part had some stone cutouts with labels showing the age of some of the layers. Throughout the whole trail there are little places to walk out to unreal views.
After walking from the amphitheater to Yavapai point (pretty short distance) we decided that was as far as we wanted to go and just planted ourselves. As the name indicates Yavapai point ends in a… point. So you get some solid 180 degree views. It wasn’t terribly crowded either, Id say maybe 20 people.
Standing on the edge, it wasn’t actually that scary as there was another ledge below me that was pretty wide.
I asked a nice couple if they would mind trading camera duty. Luckily it seemed there were a lot of adept photographers there.
Andreas sunset shot. We almost left a couple times because we thought, well thats as good as its going to get! And it must have gone on for another hour. Seriously the most epic sunset experience Ive ever had. Once we did leave it was pretty dark and the wind started picking up. If you go in November like we did, dress for it. It gets COLD.
Made it back to the car! Only downside was we didn’t figure out food yet. There aren’t many options in the park, just the restaurant in the El Tovar which is very expensive or driving out of the park to the chain restaurants about 15 min away. We had PB&J supplies in the car so we opted for that. The hotel was interesting. I was expecting it to be super cool, as a jumpseating UPS pilot told me how much he liked it when he went many years ago. Unfortunately the place is crap. The rooms are the size of a closet but cost more than the Waldorf Astoria. Trust me, save the money and just stay in the Holiday Inn outside of the park.
The following morning we woke up at some ridiculous hour to catch the first bus out to Hopi Point. I found on some other travel blog that this was a prime sunrise spot. On the way up the bus driver confirmed that theory and said any of the first 3 points would be pretty impressive.
We ended up walking back to the other two points along the rim trail, but Id say my favorite spot was Hopi Point. We had the place to ourselves at sunrise and it was just pure magic.
At Maricopa point, three stops down from where we were first dropped off, we hopped on the bus to get back to where we parked. Even the bus ride offered stunning views. We left the park and hit Starbucks in the next town. The same town where the Holiday Inn was. Yet another reason to stay there not in the El Tovar, and then headed north to Page. Thanks for reading! Hope the Grand Canyon makes it to your short list. Its a truly mind blowing place.arizona, canyon, day trip, El Tovar, explore, grand, grand canyon, grandcanyon, national park, NPS, road trip, roadtrip, southwest, travel, usa, wanderlust, weekend