Arizona Fly Drive Destination
Grand Canyon

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Grand Canyon

I would advise at least a one night stop on the south rim if you wish to see much of what there is to see. We stayed at Bright Angel Lodge which is adjacent to the much plusher El Tovar. Both properties are in the national park and fill up quickly. You will need to book with plenty of notice to get rooms.

Grand Canyon at dusk
The best time to view the canyon is dawn or dusk when the light penetrates at a shallow angle and the colours are exaggerated. At midday, the colours tend to be bleached by the intense sun.

This picture is at dusk when the light shines in from the west.

Sunrise at Grand Canyon

This is almost the same view the next morning. Look at the horizon and you can pick out the same shapes. The sun rises in the east over the Grand Canyon. You really should get up early one morning and see the sun rise and start to pick out the features in the canyon.

This picture shows the first sunbeams of the day to shine into the canyon.

First sun into Grand Canyon

If you like to see natural features you will be bowled over by this. This is the view about 30 minutes after dawn. You can see much of the canyon and the colours at at their most intense.

Grand Canyon from helicopter

Just south of the park you can get a helicopter flight over the canyon. If your budget goes this far - go for it.

This view is from the helicopter and you can see into the central canyon and actually see the colorado river which is seen only in glimpses from the rim.

While you are at the helicopter pad, go to the IMAX cinema opposite. This experience complements seeing the canyon from the rim or the helicopters as many scenes were shot from a microlight just above the river.

View across Grand Canyon to Bright Angel Canyon

Lastly a view of Bright Angel Canyon in the north rim of the Grand Canyon from Bright Angel Lodge. The Grand Canyon is 10 miles wide at this point with the main canyon of the Colorado river running from right to left.

A steam train runs up to the South Rim from Williams (see Flagstaff and Williams) and stops just behind Bright Angel Lodge. We did not travel on this, but its an impressive sight to see as it steams in or out of the area.

Site visitor post 16.4.03
I recommend taking the Grand Canyon Railway train, especially for first-time visitors. (However, the train runs during the day, so you will not be able to view it during sunrise / sunset.) We rode the train in the dome observation car, which was worth the higher price. Note: the steam engines only run during the summer months.

For more Grand Canyon information see also the information about Page and Lake Powell (the top of the Grand Canyon) and in the Nevada section see Lake Mead and Hoover dam (the bottom end of the Grand Canyon).

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