Written by Dennis, then 17. (Photos by Vit, unless he is in the picture)
Near the culmination of my family’s summer road trip in the wild west, we journeyed to the greatest national park of them all: the Grand Canyon National Park.
(To book your own Grand Canyon experience, check out Get Your Guide site).
Situated in Arizona, the most famous out of all the American parks lives up to its legendary status: the canyon seems to go on forever in endless magnificence. At an astounding 277 miles long there are plenty of trails to hike and views to take in. As I was in the company of two height fearing parents most of these stones were left unturned, and my heroic attempts to make the most of the environment was met with accusations of reckless and suicidal behavior. Regardless, there are a handful of family friendly experiences available for those on the cautionary side.
Our family started our Grand Canyon experience with an initial observation from the Desert View lookout, at the Eastern Entrance of the South Rim. Despite looking like a native American relic, the Desert View Tower is, in fact, a modern architecture (1932) by Mary Colter painstakingly designed to emulate antiquity.
After taking in the majestic views and snapping pictures of soaring eagles, we continued the 25-mile scenic drive along the south rim to the Visitor’s Center and Grand Canyon Village.
Once in the Village, we took the Hermit Road shuttle and hiked along the edge of the canyon between the bus stops. We walked to Hopi Point from Powell Point bus stop along the edge of the rim for about half a mile. There is railing at the view points (bus stops) but not between the stops.
We peered into the abyss before getting back on the bus to make it to the end of the route – Hermits Rest where we bought some snacks and refreshed. I’ve grown a sneaking suspicion that someone in our family must be a rain magnet, however: not soon after a thunderstorm developed and we all crammed into the final bus back to the Village as the route became dangerously wet.
As we retired to a meal in the Bright Angel Lodge (National Historic Landmark), we were rewarded with a glorious sight: a mythical double rainbow.
A walk in the Grand Canyon Village offers several historical buildings and cultural museums for viewing, as well as a safer way for families to admire the Canyon (we walked the under half a mile portion of the rim trail between the Bright Angel Lodge and El Tovar Hotel and it had a short stone fence along the edge of the rim. The one-mile portion of the rim trail between the Village and Maricopa point on the Hermits Rest shuttle route is paved, but not fenced, except at the lookout areas). Check out the Village map for details.
As we departed from the Canyon, I felt more American than I have ever felt. I vowed to come back on my own.
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