One of the United States’ most incredible natural wonders, the Grand Canyon is something you simply have to see to believe. To make the most out of your visit - whether you’re seeing it for the first time or the hundredth - here’s what you should know before you embark on your visit to the Grand Canyon.
1. Prepare for the wind
This comes as a huge surprise if you’re not prepared—it’s very windy! Bring a hat or hair ties if you have long hair to keep the wind out of your face (and your photos).
2. Take your photos from the South Rim
Arguably the best spot for photo ops, the South Rim is open year round and has a number of different places for you to snap a selfie. Hermit Road features seven miles of lookout points, while Desert View Drive has a watchtower you can climb to get an unbelievable 360-degree view of the canyon.
3. Plan the perfect time to visit
May through September is the busiest time of year for visiting the Grand Canyon, but crowds will start to thin out around August. While cold, the winter months are also the least crowded. For those who want a mix of fewer crowds and better weather, early spring or fall (September and October) are great times to go. Keep in mind: heavy snows generally close the road to the North Rim from late October to mid May, but the South Rim stays open year round.
4. Go early (or stay late)
Experiencing sunrise or sunset in the Grand Canyon is a unique and special way to experience this natural wonder. Pack some snacks, a blanket and some warm clothes, then sit back and take in the views.
5. Check it out from above
A helicopter ride above the Grand Canyon is a great way to see it from a completely different perspective, and takes as little as half an hour.
6. Pack plenty of layers
The weather at the Grand Canyon can be extremely unpredictable, due to the canyon’s varying elevation and geology. Expect it to be hot during the day and to cool down quickly at night—light, sweat-wicking clothing and a sweatshirt or windbreaker will help you adjust to the changing temps.
7. Bring your own water
In an attempt to reduce waste, plastic water bottles are no longer sold at any of the Grand Canyon locations. You can purchase a refillable souvenir bottle, fill up your own water bottle at one of the many filling stations, or simply stop at one of the water fountains for a quick drink.
8. Explore in a new way
As an alternative to hiking around the Grand Canyon, which can be a difficult feat, the canyon offers mule rides along both the South and the North Rims. With a variety of trips from one to three hours, you can book a mule ride up to 13 months in advance—so plan to make your reservation early!