Last spring, we crossed the Grand Canyon National Park off of our bucket list. We went in mid May. The daytime weather was perfect for hiking but it got pretty cold at night. We tent camp and weren’t using air mattresses so we were freezing at night! Our last morning, we woke to SNOW! In ARIZONA! We knew in theory that it snowed in AZ but since we’re in southern part of that state, we don’t see it. It was fun for the girls but a pain trying to get everything packed up.
We camped in Mather Campground inside the park. It was a great campground! We were able to get a site near the potty which was important with A. Really big campsites with picnic table and fire rings. The best part? The wildlife came to us! There were deer and elk literally walking right through our camp. The girls and I were amazed. Dad was less than thrilled as he is a hunter and felt they were taunting him!
The visitor center is huge with an awesome map of the Canyon spanning the wall. They have short movies to watch and exhibits with various Canyon features. We started off our hiking by doing the rim trail to Mather Point that is right off the visitor center. It’s a short walk but gives you a great first look at the Canyon. Our big hike this trip was The Bright Angel Trail. We went as far as the 1.5 mile resthouse (3 miles roundtrip, 1120 ft one way elevation change). Both girls were in backpack carriers. The way down, you feel great…like you could go the whole way! Dad wanted to keep going but I put the kibosh on that and after our snack/potty break, suggested we head back up. Good thing too because you really feel that elevation change on the way back up…our calves were killing us. But we made it!
We also did the Desert View scenic drive. There were a lot of scenic pullouts on this drive, mostly just ‘side of the road stuff’ and not many small trails to take but that’s because the road is literally on the edge of the canyon. We went to a museum of ruins that is on this drive and it gave a nice break to get out of the car, run around, and of course, see the ruins! The drive ends at the Desert View Watchtower which you can climb for a top view of the canyon (this is also a visitor center and snack shop now).
We loved our visit to the Grand Canyon and there are just no words to describe how you feel looking over it for the first time. It is truly one of the wonders of the world and I am so glad we were able to experience it and show it to our children!
Look for our next National Parks posts in August…we’re visiting 3 Utah parks in July!!