Hello all! Hope you had a relaxing Veteran’s Day long weekend.
As I previously posted, I spent mine road tripping, camping, and hiking down into the Grand Canyon! Here are a few things I learned that can help you plan your own trip…
#1 November is definitely a good time to go. We were a little worried it might be too cold, but the temperature was actually perfect. Nice and crisp in the morning and downright warm in the daytime
#2 The Canyon has a wonderful little camping spot that was excellent! Be sure to reserve a spot at any campground before your trip, as they fill up. We reserved one four days ahead of time, which worked out fine. You will arrive at your campground, get a place to park and set up your tent, equipped with a fire pit and picnic table. There are also showers (8 minutes, hot water, $2) and laundry services. The best part of the campground is access to the shuttles. The shuttles transport you all around the grounds- from your campsite, to the visitors’ center, the different lodges, restaurants, and of course, the many different trails. Visitors’ center opens up at 8 am, and the staff is extremely helpful in helping you decide which trail you’d like to do.
#3 Get an early start. First of all, the sunrise over the Grand Canyon is magnificent. Second of all, there are far less people out and about at 8 am, than at noon. We started our hike at 8 am, which was perfect because there were some other hikers around (helped us feel safe) but the trails were mostly empty and we were able to enjoy the sights by ourselves. When we finished our hike at noon, carloads of people were just arriving. Plus, it got pretty hot by noon, and you’ll definitely want cooler temperatures and fog overhead to do your hiking.
#4 Definitely bring a backpack and pack multiple waters and snacks with you. Even if you’re not planning a strenuous hike, these trails are intense. It’s very easy going down… little harder coming back up! But, completely worth it. We did the South Kaibab Trail, which turned out perfectly. We are in no means professional hikers, so if you’re looking for a minimal workout and to get into some good Canyon depth, South Kaibab may work for you. The staff at the visitors’ center was really helpful in determining this.
#5 Pack for different temperatures! Layers are a must. I started the hike wearing sweats, a long sleeve shirt, sweater, and vest. I finished the hike in a sports bra and leggings. I also slept in many layers, but walked around during the day in jeans and a t-shirt. So, bring multiple options! It will definitely help you stay comfortable.
Our trip to the Canyon was epic. We drove for eight hours starting in San Diego and headed east. We got to drive through rural valleys, hills, and rocky landscapes. We stumbled upon some huge sand dunes and climbed up them, watching drivers try to catch each other in dune buggies below us.
Essential to any road trip; we stopped for dinner at a Western-themed diner filled with locals. Had a great meal, and, of course, homemade pie.
We slept overnight in our campground and watched the sunrise at 7 am the next morning. The Canyon was vaster than I could have ever imagined. The colors of the rock transform throughout the day, and the sunlight gives them life. Watching the sun slowly illuminate every rock, crevice, and dip as far as my eye could see was incredible to witness.
We had our breakfast at a cafe next to the visitors’ center. Delicious coffee! All ready to go.
When you first start your hike you look down into the canyon and think, that’ll take forever to get to the bottom of. It looks impossible, but the further down you go, little by little, it actually takes no time at all. And soon, you’re halfway down without even realizing it.
The dirt was bright red, and the walls of rock around me were pink from the sun, and light green from far away trees. Each line and divot looked meticulously crafted by wind and other elements. Focusing on each focal point; a tree ahead you, a cliff up ahead, in the distance all you can see is Canyon surrounding you.
No echoes. No nearby chatter (if you go early enough). Just silence. Complete tranquility, as you witness this colossal masterpiece, exquisite by simply existing. Untouched, undisturbed.
A few hours after our hike, we returned to the isolated spot to watch the sunset. The dark night sky and moon enclosed the canyon, painting new colors. In the morning, we returned to the Canyon, just to say goodbye.
We drove home a different way than we had come, and passed by many small rural towns. Had to stop at (another) diner, and made it back in good time.
The Grand Canyon was incredible. What was your experience like?
More pictures featured on my Instagram