The Grand Canyon is an expansive place and chances are very likely that travelers won't be able to explore the whole thing in just one day. With 277 miles to cover, the trick is knowing that not every mile must be walked in order to truly have seen the entirety of all this natural wonder has to offer. With only one day to spend, that's plenty of time to see all the things that make this canyon so great, whether visitors are seeking a family-friendly itinerary or traveling solo.
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the most popular and also holds the key to feeling as though one can see everything there is to see here. Not only does this part of the canyon offer the best views of any, but it's also easy to navigate and is open year-round, so there's no need to search for specific times and dates prior to a visit. This area of the canyon also offers plenty of lodging accommodations, places to find food, and, most importantly, bathrooms. So forget the myths about this natural world wonder and get ready to plan the next big adventure.
Catch The Sunrise To Start The Day Off Right
There's nothing like a sunrise to set anyone off on a good note, and catching one over the Grand Canyon is like nothing else. One of the things visitors should know beforehand is that not only is this a great motivator to get an early start on the day but watching the sky come to life in a variety of colors and light is sure to blow anyone's mind. Grab some breakfast beforehand, find a good spot to sit at Mather Point, and enjoy the show.
What To Do And See
Off the South Rim Trail, visitors can find the Trail of Time. This is a neat stop-off point and details the timeline of the Grand Canyon. There, one can find actual rock samples collected throughout the life of the canyon, an actual timeline in the form of trail markers, and insightful information on the formation, composition, and history of the canyon.
Visitors can also get information on the Hopi House, which was built in 1904 to accommodate a market for Native American crafts. It's also not a far walk from the visitor's center and is worth the trek.
Shuttle Rides: Are They Worth It?
The answer is yes, for two reasons: For one, this cuts down drastically on walking time. Secondly, catching the shuttle along Hermit Road provides views faster than tourists can walk to them. And after all that, it's free! So there's really no reason not to hop on this shuttle, especially for those looking to experience as much as they can from this work of nature's art. From various viewpoints - Trail View, Hopi, Powell, and Mohave - tourists can take in views from various stop-offs along the shuttle route.
Make Sure To Fit A (Short) Hike In There
And by short, it should be one of these three: The South Rim, Bright Angel, or South Kaibab. The Trail of Time is just off the South Rim, but any of these trails are short enough to be fit into one day visit.
The best part about these trails is that all of them offer either switchbacks that make it easy to go back to the start or an easy enough chance to simply turn around when you're ready to move on.
Stop By The Visitor's Centers
The first visitor center is obviously the main building, which is definitely worth stopping in. Here, visitors can visit the park store, explore other avenues for trails and shuttles, and get info about ranger programs, which are also a great thing to add to a one-day itinerary.
The second visitor's center that's worth a gander is the National Geographic Visitor's Center, which is best added prior to or after leaving the canyon tour and is open until 10 PM from March to October.
End The Day With A Magnificent Stargazing Session
For this, it's best for visitors to use their own car or plan to walk - but it's worth it. Shuttles stop running one hour after sunset, but visitors can walk to any viewpoint on the South Rim in order to watch the night sky in what's considered one of the best places in the world for stargazing.