At a mile deep and up to 18 miles wide, the magnificent natural landscape of the Grand Canyon is the perfect retreat from the bright lights of the strip and a chance to enjoy one of the seven natural wonders of the world during your trip to Vegas. By enjoying the heights of the Vegas cityscape and the depths of the Colorado River, you can discover everything the area has to offer.
The History of the Grand Canyon
It is thought that the human inhabitation of the Grand Canyon and the surrounding area dates as far back as over 3000 years ago. Native Americans were the first known group to inhabit the area, long before the arrival of Spanish explorers in 1540 who traveled to the South rim but were forced to turn back due to lack of water.
The first instance of American exploration was in 1826 when James Ohio Pattie and his mountain men discovered the Canyon. From that point on the presence of Americans in the area was more common. As the popularity of the area grew it became more important to protect it. One of the main proponents for the conservation of the area was President Theodore Roosevelt. After his first visit to the park in 1903, he set about lobbying to increase the protection of the Canyon. In 1906 it became a game preserve before it was established as a National Monument in 1908. Eventually, President Woodrow Wilson would sign a law classifying the Grand Canyon National Park in 1919.
Reasons To Go
The wonders of the natural world surround you in the Grand Canyon National Park but it is not just the geology that visitors are able to enjoy. The National Park is home to a variety of animal species, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Lions and a variety of birds of prey all roam across the area. As you take in the beauty of the landscape you can also discover and learn about the unique species that call it home.
The Grand Canyon is famous for its mesmerizing hiking trails which provide challenging yet rewarding exercise as well as unrivaled views along the way. Whether you are visiting or staying on the South or North Rim of the Canyon you have a host of options for day hikes. On the South Rim, some of the most popular hikes include the South Kaibab Trail, the Grandview Trail, and the Bright Angel Trail. On the North Rim, look out for the Bright Angel Point Trail and the Transept Trail.
The Skywalk was opened on March 20th, 2007 and since then has been a hugely popular destination for visitors and tourists. The Skywalk is a glass-bottomed bridge which extends 70 foot over the edge of the canyon. It’s great for thrill-seekers and offers a sensational and unique perspective of the canyon. There’s also a restaurant for those who are looking for dinner with a view!
Another way to see the Grand Canyon is by helicopter. A number of companies now offer helicopter tours with the option to fly from the edge to the bottom of the Canyon or over the Hoover Dam. It’s a great way to travel to the Canyon and see it from a new perspective. If you are staying in Las Vegas you can pick up a helicopter tour from near the strip.
More recently, skydiving has become a popular activity over the Grand Canyon. In 2016 the first skydiving experience opened creating the highest drop zone in the world from 16,000 feet. If you want to give skydiving a go then why not do it in one of the most picturesque locations on the planet to make the experience extra special.
Rafting and boat trips
The Colorado River at the bottom of the Canyon affords visitors the opportunity to enjoy rafting and boat trips. Whether you want to conquer the rapids with some white water rafting or you prefer a more leisurely journey across the water there is something for everyone.
How do I get to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas?
If you are driving, the 250 mile trip from the Las Vegas Strip will take around four and a half hours. If you’d rather sit back and relax or are nursing a hangover from the night before you can take advantage of an organized bus tour. These tours tend to stop at idyllic locations for you to enjoy the views from the edge of the Canyon. You can also travel by air, helicopter tours take you to the West Rim of the Canyon although not specifically into the National Park. Small planes depart from the Tusayan airstrip when you land it’s just a short bus ride to the rim.
What is the weather like?
Depending on how far you descend into the Canyon temperatures are very variable. Generally, temperatures are hottest at the bottom of the Canyon and you can expect there to be a 20 degree Fahrenheit difference between the rim and bottom. In the summer between July and August, you can expect temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit so you’ll need the right equipment and plenty of water. In the winter months of December to February at the rim typically lie between 20 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit. In Spring and Fall, the temperature varies but you can typically expect anything between the low 40s and low 60s Fahrenheit.
How much does it cost?
The entrance fee per vehicle for 7 days is $35 or $30 for motorcycles. Alternatively, you can purchase an annual park pass for $70 which gives you access to a number of other National Parks. Some tours will include National Park entry so make sure you check the small print before you set off.
When in Las Vegas the Grand Canyon is not to be missed. So if you can tear yourself away from the excitement of the strip make sure you take in the amazing views and activities in the Grand Canyon National Park.