Grand Canyon was the inspiration for my western road trip! This national park charges an entry fee of $30 per vehicle, however, this is where I purchased my “America the Beautiful” National Park pass ($80 and it gets you into every national park for a year)! Purchasing this pass, made me want to take in as many national parks as I could! I started planning this trip in April, and luckily, I was able to get two nights of campsites reserved, because the camping is very competitive. Day 2 and day 3 of the 8-day road trip were spent here. There’s so much to see! Day 2 was spent at viewpoints alone! The first viewpoint was the Navajo Point.
I loved being able to see the Colorado River! You have to drive from each view point, because they are spread out and the canyon is HUGE. The next viewpoint you can pull into was the Lipan point.
You could also see the Colorado River from this viewpoint. If you focused really hard on the water, you could see some rapid movement. There were many people climbing on rocks. I ventured out a little bit, but I didn’t get as wild as some of the tourists. Everyone, literally everyone, is so nice. If they see you taking pictures of your group, they will offer to take your picture, so you can get in it too! I ended up snapping some pictures for these guys and sending the photos to them on instagram. I thought they were adventurous and borderline crazy, in the best way.
Ravens were everywhere. In fact, at the camp check in, they had a cooler made of styrofoam on display that had been torn apart by ravens, along with a warning to put away all food. The raven population was very dense at the campsites! They know where the food is lol.
Mather Viewpoint made the canyon look the largest. It seemed never-ending! At any given viewpoint, you will hear six languages at a time! People from all over the world come to view this natural wonder. There’s so many people with selfie sticks and smart phones face-timing. It almost seemed as if people had their backs turned to the canyon more than facing it.
After looking at all the viewpoints, I was excited to make it into the Inner Canyon! The next morning, South Kaibab Trail kicked my butt.
The South Kaibab Trail leads into the inner canyon and has multiple points that can be reached, so you can cater it to your abilities. I wore leggings that went to my ankles and a cardigan to protect my skin. I bought some Oboz hiking boots prior to my trip, and the investment has more than paid off. The incline and decline on this trail was intense. I have know idea how people were doing these trails in tennis shoes or sandals. Here you can see how the trail is maintained. The first trail point you can reach is called Ooh-Aah Point. Ooh-Aah Point is 0.9 miles into the trail (one way) and you decline 600 feet into the canyon. My legs were already feeling the burn, and I started to think about the long journey traveling back up! This viewpoint is worth hiking down and check out. You get a much closer look at the canyon. The trail was mostly shaded, because of the placement of the sun in the morning.
The next viewpoint is Cedar Ridge. It is 1.5 miles into the canyon (0.6 miles after Ooh-Aah point) and you decline an additional 540 feet (1040 feet total). As I declined down this portion, I remember thinking it was going to be a challenging journey back up, because my legs started to shake… going down. Coming up was much more challenging. Cedar Ridge had bathrooms and it’s a great place to eat a snack and enjoy some shade from the trees. On the journey back up the canyon, there were mules coming down! Mules have the ride of way on the trails, as well as, hikers climbing up. It took me twice as long to come up as it did to go down, but I would do it all over again. Next time, I’d like to start earlier in the day and make it to Skeleton Point, to see the Colorado River up close! After I finished this hike, I sat down and drank some gatorade and had a fig bar. I was so tired. I sat there in silence and soaked up the views.
The last viewpoint visited was the Yaki Viewpoint during sunset. It was so beautiful!!! My iPhone picture did not do the sunset justice, but here’s what I got. It’s much better in person, so you will have to go see it for yourself! 🙂