Yesterday we visited the Grand Canyon! It is the 9th National Park we have seen on this trip. Yesterday was day 11 of our 4,500 mile Epic Road Trip- Our Late Start to Summer
Let me first say that the Grand Canyon is a more dangerous place to visit than you think. I was worried about letting my kids hike along the edge of the canyon, so I thought I would google to find some information on accidents that have happened at the Grand Canyon. My hope was to put my mind at ease with explanations online of safety railings and fencing that prevents kids and adults from getting too close to the edge. This is not the case. Not AT ALL. It only confirmed my worries and made us plan ahead for this stop on our National Parks trip. You will want to think about safety too if you are bringing small children to the Grand Canyon.
Did you know that an average of 12 people die at the Grand Canyon every year? This article states that the most common reason for death in this National Park is falling: https://www.mygrandcanyonpark.com/park/falling-to-death-grand-canyon.
With this information in mind and having 3.5 year old twins who are a bit wild, love to climb, and seem to thrive on running away from their parents; we decided they would not be allowed to walk the South Rim Trail. This trail is a paved path that runs for a total of 12 miles along the rim of the Grand Canyon. It has steep drop offs along most of this path. Great for photo opportunities, but bad for small children who don’t look where they run or tend to sprint away from their parents just for fun.
I highly recommend bringing a stroller (which works great on the South Rim trail because it is paved and handicapped accessible). If you have carriers for your kids, those will work well too!
We had the twins ride in carriers on our back. Yes, they are much heavier than the last time we used these carriers a year ago. We managed to carry and hike for about 2 hours with them though, along the rim. Here are some of the photos we got:
Thanks to the smart thinking of our friends Phillip and Elizabeth we were able to find a place to stay on property. People typically make reservations to stay at the Grand Canyon a year in advance because the place fills up. Elizabeth was able to find us rooms in their basic lodges (no air conditioning) before the trip. While we were driving to the Grand Canyon Phillip called and was able to find two better rooms that had been canceled by other guests, the only two rooms even available. We stayed in the Kachina Lodge and had views of the canyon from our room.
I recommend booking a hotel on property so you don’t have to drive in and out of the park each day. You can also get a room with a view of the Canyon. They have all sorts of price ranges, including Presidential Suites, where former Presidents have stayed. Here is the link to their website (they manage all 6 of the hotels on the Canyon property): http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/
Here is some information from their website about their lodging.
We saw elk while we were there. A number of them actually, but managed to get a close up of this juvenile elk that walked along a roadway inside the park.The grand canyon is a fun place to visit. I would like to come back and stay for 4-5 days. I highly recommend coming to visit for more than one day. One day really is not enough time. They have some great adventures for guests including mule rides down into the canyon, helicopter tour rides, plane tours, bicycle rentals and tours, bus tours, jeep tours, and more. There are plenty of reviews online for all of these activities. I recommend looking at TripAdvisor.com for reviews on Grand Canyon activities, as there are many different businesses operating in the Grand Canyon area offering their services. Prices differ, as do experiences, so be sure to research before booking.
Keep in mind that there are two rims (North and South), which are about a 5 hour car trip apart. Most people opt to visit just one rim and not both in the same trip. We visited the south rim, which is the most popular. Be sure you know which canyon rim you want to visit before you make any reservations!
They have the Junior Ranger program at this National Park, much like all the rest. This one requires that your child attend one of their Ranger presentations during their visit or watch the video (I never did figure out which video or where). We attended a Critter Chat presentation that was educational for all of us! Did you know that Ravens are highly intelligent birds, perhaps the smartest bird of all? When you stop into the visitor’s center to get the Junior Ranger book, also check the schedule for the presentations, so you know where you need to be and when. You don’t want them to miss getting a badge because they missed all the presentations!
The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most amazing parks in the United States. It is also one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. I highly recommend putting it on your bucket list!