I was so excited when I heard there was fishing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I'm not a bigger fisher person - I don't have my own poles and I don't always like hooking the bait on myself, but its an activity I always enjoy and like to try whenever the opportunity presents itself. Being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon is a bit different than being out on a chartered boat from the marina, though and I soon realized this may not be the activity for me. You need to bring your equipment with you. If there are rentals available, I didn't see any. But also be prepared to do some paperwork before leaving. You need to get a fishing license from Arizona and it must include a trout stamp, which runs about $50. So while it initially sounded fun, it quickly disappeared off my to-do list for this trip. However, we were in the same group with our buddy, Romano. At the ripe young age of 85, this was Romano's 40th (yes, that is not a typo) trip to the canyon. He was clearly well prepared, with his grappa in his pocket and his fishing pole in tow. He caught 17 fish while we were there! Nice job for a day's leisure activity...
This is still in use, and a number of people come to the park on a train. The ride is from Williams Arizona (60 miles south) to Grand CAnyon. This was built in 1901 by Atchison, Topeka and Santa FE RR which had a newer track coming west and to here then. It wanted to promote tourism to the park, and aligned with Fred Harvey for hotel and eateries. The depot is two story and of original wood made in log cabin style. It is only one of three still remaining. It is used by Amtrak today.
The train operated until 1968, and later revived by a group in 1989 to bring back the railway rides. Cost to rework was $2 million. It carries over 200,000 visitors annually now.
The RR line closed in 1968, but revived in 1989 and now carries over 200,000 passengers annually.
This is 80 years celebration of the finishing of the lodge. It is not changed at all; maybe some upgrades, and the new lodge that was built over the first in 1937 after a fire in 1932. It totally destroyed the old lodge. The huge wood beams make the inside seem as rustic as it is. Gilbert Stanley Underwood made the back porch area a spectacular view for the guests/tourists. The views never did change, though
This is the main anchor of where people come and congregate. It gets very clustered around the back door on the trail. Many buses come here and drop off tourists for short stays of 1-2 hours and that brings in another 100-200 at one time. I had a hard time just getting through the crowd to see the hotel. The lodge has an ice cream shop, gifts shops, 2 restaurants, and a history room. The history room is a lot on Fred Harvey era, who had the concessions for food and operated the hotels. In 1935 Mary Colter designed the lodge and Fred Harvey built it.
These are three sites near the Bright Angel lodge and worth the walk along rim trail to get to see the insides. The Kolb Studio is now a gift shop, was built in 1904 by Ellsworth and emery Kolb. they loved the park and every day, in good weather they took tourists down the Bright Angel trail a way and took photos of them on mule back. They did not work every day, so in the interim, they hiked all around the canyon. Daily, they went down to the canyon floor to process the photos. That takes going down in 4+ hours and getting back up same time. A long day. In 1911, they decided to follow the route of John Wesley Powell and explored the Green and Colorado rivers over 3 month period. They were close to losing their lives more than once. The result was they made a film and showed it for a fee to tourists in the studio, and later on road shows. The Lookout studio was designed by Mary Colter in 1914. Bucky O'Neill cabin is from 1895 and when he was a miner used it for shelter. later he became a judge, politician, and author. The building is the original.
These have a lot of history form the days of old. Mary Colter designed and helped build Hopi House in 1905 and the theme was patterned after the Hopi name of Orabai, meaning Hopi village. It is two story and chuck full of gifts to buy. The Hopi Indians used to sell the goods themselves here when it first began. The Verkamp Curious was a gift store and from 1905 John and later family ran the store until 2008. It sold out to the park service. It is now the visitor center for main information.
It was built in 1905 by Charles Whittlessey, and famed architect who also designed other structures for Fred Harvey group. This is a four story hotel and has 79 rooms. It is in the same condition as when built, but some porches were added. The lobby has open faced log supports. There is a gift shop, restaurant, and lobby relaxing area. It is a luxury hotel, and has been that since the Atchison, Topeka, SAnta Fe RR brought people here on its tracks back in early 1900's
This is a great place to stop and see the exhibit inside the old structure as well as the ruins on the trial outside. There are Ranger programs every 1/2 hour to walk along the trail and explain the history of the Tusayan Pueblo Indians settling here and how they lived over 800 years ago. They had a good environment to find food, hunt, access to water and shelter in this area, and on a flat plateau, with suburb views. The living quarters were about 1 mile form the cliff edge, and in a forest area. Archeologists believe they lived here in late 1100's. These ruins are as they were found in 1930's when excavated.
The Western Bluebird is amongst many different birds that call the Grand Canyon home at some point during the year. Since the canyon has many different terrains, bird variety is unsurprisingly large. The bluebird is in the thrasher family that feeds on insects and berries. This particularly colorful male was putting on quite a show for us at El Torvar one afternoon.
The Tusayan Ruins are the National Park's concession that indeed Native Americans once called this area home around 1185 which is little surprise considering its beauty. This is just one of 4300 such recorded sites within the park's borders. The Grand Canyon does extend beyond the park's borders and there are Native Americans still living in some of those areas. They can be visited but are not part of the National Park pass system. The ruins here are not the most elaborate but are interesting to see if you have the time. We visited them on our way out of the park. It was an overcast day and it was a nice break from all the Grand Canyon splendor of the proceeding days. Remnants of the circular kivas are easy to see though not as well preserved as what you can see at Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado. There is also a free small museum on site to help explain what you see.
One thing about the desert is if you pay close attention, you'll see more wildlife than you might otherwise imagine to be there. The collared lizard was to become one of our favorite sitings in the southwestern US. This one in the Grand Canyon was the first of many. We spotted him on the hike from Phantom Ranch to Ribbon Falls. This muscular little lizard is most closely related to the Leopard Lizard and share a few key qualities such as being able to run on its powerful hind legs alone. They also do not grow back a tail and hence it does not detach easily. Their prowess is hunting and the feed on other lizards and small invertebrates. My guess is if they were bigger, they'd feed on us too.
The Grand Canyon is not a particularly noted animal park like Yellowstone but it's a big area and wild animals are bound to be drawn into it if it is their natural habitat. The size of the park works well for them but not for you in trying to spot them. Even though the Grand Canyon attracts millions of visitor each year, 99% of them are concentrated in about a square quarter mile of it. Big horn sheep do not come to mind when you think desert but there is a subspecies that are natural to certain desert areas. The Desert Bighorn Sheep are found in rocky cliffs much like their relations but migrate closer to water sources during the dryer times of year. We were lucky to see some young ones right on the Bright Angel Trail at the tail end of our backpacking trip.
There are several hotels at the Grand Canyon Village and it’s a nice experience sleeping at the RIM itself because you can wake up early and catch the beautiful sunrise at one of the great views.
There are over 2000 hotel rooms available at the South Rim but reservations are necessary ahead of time. Once, we were able to get a room at Bright Angel by being on the waiting list.
My wife claims she had the best steak filet at The El Tovar Hotel which was built in 1905 and is the most luxurious lodging on the South Rim. The hotel, designed by Charles Whittlesley, consists of 4 stories with a rustic chalet appearance. Sometimes, we see families of deer just outside the hotel.
Hotel list includes El Tovar, Bright Angel (both already mentioned), Maswik Lodge, Phantom Ranch. Thunderbird and Kachina Lodges, and Yavapai Lodge (all inside the park). At the Tusayan (outside the park), you have the new Grand Hotel, and also Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn, Quality Inn and the Red feather Lodge. Sorry if I missed some, but the facilities at Grand Canyon’s South Rim do grow every year…
All Aboard!!! This is a fun ride on a vintage train that starts from Williams to the Grand Canyon National Park ---- the kids will love it! They even have a mock train robbery!
“The Grand Canyon Railway made its first journey to the South Rim in 1901….Today, you can travel to Grand Canyon National Park along the same rail line your parents or grandparents did.” This is what the Grand Canyon Railway website says, and it’s truly a trip back to time. Even the windows of the trains are with open-close mechanism that comes from a time long gone.
You can also choose to go first-class for a few more dollars and get extra-comfy seats and champagne!
There are also several packages available where you can stay at certain hotels and get discounts on the train. But the best hotel to stay is at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel which has a rustic cowboy feel and directly adjacent to the departure station. All aboard!
After visiting the Grand Canyon or while staying around the area, you can visit the National Geographic Visitor Center with exhibits about the Grand Canyon as well as a small cafeteria where we ate pizzas!
This center is along Hwy 64 just outside the South Rim park entrance (on the west side). It also has a huge 7-story screen with a 12,000-watt digital sound system, called the IMAX theater - and for years it has been showing the Grand Canyon IMAX Movie which is the most watched IMAX movie of all time!
The movie showcases great cinematography and you'll feel like you went down the canyons themselves and went river rafting. It also includes a history of the area, from the discovery of the Grand Canyon to the present status of this natural wonder. The shows are given hourly and can be seen in 7 langugages!
We decided to go to Grand Canyon on a labor day weekend within the same week, on that Wednesday...more
With only 1 place to stay at the bottom of the canyon in a national park that has over 5 million...more
Parashant National Monument, PO Box 910088, St. George, UT 84791-0088, Arizona, United States
Good for: Solo