Here’s my ultimate guide to the best things to do at the Grand Canyon – from stunning views to hidden gems!
The Grand Canyon covers some 1,900 square miles. Alongside the looming canyon that stretches out like an ocean into infinity, there are two Visitor Centers, a Market Plaza complete with a post office, a few lodges and a hotel.
It’s easy to get lost, and I do soon after I park. I ask a park ranger: “I’m sorry, but where’s the canyon?” She points me in the right direction and soon I’m looking over its edge.
Not even National Geographic photos can convey the dizzying mix of fear and awe you get when you’re overlooking the canyon. It’s an empowering feeling of unrestrained space.
1. Hermit Road
This 8-mile scenic route includes 9 overlooks with canyon and river views. It ends with a snack bar and toilets at Hermit’s Rest. It’s the route less travelled.
And we’re lucky to be at the canyon when private vehicles are allowed (December-February).
The Hermit Trail and other features in this part of the canyon are named after Canadian-born miner and explorer Louis Boucher, who rode a mule named Calamity Jane. Though he wasn’t a true hermit, Boucher carved a trail into the canyon and lived alone for years near a spring.
2. Tour the lookouts
We drive towards the Trailview Overlook and it feels like we’re back on the road trip we’d begun in Phoenix. My father drives slowly as we gaze into the abyss of the canyon and the green hiking trails along the road.
People walk their dogs, sit in the gravel admiring the views, or jog and bicycle down the shady trails. It’s a more leisurely vibe than the crowded lookouts near the visitor centers.
We make our way down the road and pull over at whichever stops look good. The most incredible lookouts on Hermit Road include The Abyss, a dizzying view that goes 2,600 feet straight down. And there’s also Hopi Point, which looks farther out into the canyon than any other viewpoint.
We finish the ride at Hermit’s Rest with some chips and coffee.