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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.
Written Jun 5, 2009
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.
Written Jun 5, 2009
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…
Updated Apr 12, 2009
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!
Written Feb 2, 2009
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!
Updated Feb 2, 2009
Address: On Hwy 64 just outside park entrance
Its a different way of life out here in the Canyon. As Jim has said several times, down here, no one cares who or what you are up above the Rim. Down here, its all about hard work, personal struggle and experiencing something that's beyond words. There's a certain camaraderie down here which doesn't exist in my world back home. It probably doesn't exist in the worlds of most of the others who venture down here either.
Updated Jun 29, 2004
The Grand Canyon is one of the best places to visit in the Winter months (as far as I'm concern). The air is crisp & cool, just lovely...
Written Feb 25, 2003
Yavapai Lodge Grand Canyon National Park
7 Reviews and 1080 Opinions We decided to go to Grand Canyon on a labor day weekend within the same week, on that Wednesday...
Phantom Ranch Grand Canyon National Park
4 Reviews and 157 Opinions With only 1 place to stay at the bottom of the canyon in a national park that has over 5 million...