Road Trip Day 9 – The Grand Canyon

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I probably don't even need to say this, but the Grand Canyon really is grand. Seriously. I've seen canyons before, and I thought I was prepared for the “big one.” But I definitely was not. I was blown away.

The Grand Canyon is just so VAST. It stretches on further than the eye can see, and is deeper than I ever could have imagined. And the COLORS!

Grand Canyon Sunset, South Rim, Mather Point
Sunset at Mather Point, South Rim.

But before we get to that, how did we get to the Grand Canyon?

Originally, the plan had been to be at the North Rim for sunrise. But, at 10 p.m. the night beforehand, I simply could not fathom a whole day of driving around the canyon on only 3 or 4 hours of sleep. So, instead, we decided we'd shoot for sunset.

We left just after 9:30 a.m. from Page, Arizona, and began a twisting ride down a mountain and along the Vermillion Cliffs on our way to the North Rim.

Vermillion Cliffs, Arizona

Driving over the Colorado River got us excited!

Colorado River, Arizona

Navajo Bridge

Along the way, we stopped at Cavedwellers, which is a spot where a woman built a house next to the canyon that incorporates a few oddly-shaped fallen rocks in its design.

Cliffdwellers, Arizona

Cliffdwellers, Arizona

We eventually entered Grand Canyon National Park after a twisting drive through Kaibab National Forest, and were immediately greeted by a herd of buffalo!! Real, live buffalo! It was a great start to our Grand Canyon adventure.

Buffalo
Buffalo

Then, we finally arrived at the North Rim visitor's center, which is located within the rustic Grand Canyon Lodge. Instead of checking out the lodge, however, we immediately hit the trail that would lead to Bright Angel Point (the highest overlook point in the canyon), because some rain clouds were moving in and we didn't want to miss the view.

Grand Canyon North Rim
Walking out to Bright Angel Point.

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is much, much less touristed than the South Rim, and it was evident as we made our way along the trail. Yes, we ran into other canyon visitors. But it was by no means crowded. It was almost like we were all sharing in a secret.

So, without further ado, I present to you the Grand Canyon (North Rim):

Grand Canyon North Rim

Grand Canyon North Rim

Grand Canyon North Rim

Grand Canyon North Rim

Grand Canyon North Rim

After spending some time at the North Rim, we hit the road again for the 4-hour drive around the canyon to the South Rim. Even though many swear that the North Rim is “better” because it has less crowds, we knew we had to see both sides to judge for ourselves. As the raven flies (and there are lots of them in this part of the country), it's less than 20 miles across the abyss that is the Grand Canyon. But the winding road has to go all the way around the canyon, and takes hours.

It was totally worth all the hours in the car, though. And it wasn't really all that crowded, either.

Grand Canyon South Rim, Desert View

We arrived at the South Rim about an hour and a half before sunset, and were pleased to find that the clouds from earlier in the day had disappeared.

We first stopped at Desert View, which is the first spot on the South Rim where you can view the canyon if you're coming in from the east park entrance. There's an old watchtower here you can climb for even better views.

Grand Canyon South Rim, Desert View

Grand Canyon South Rim, Desert View

Grand Canyon South Rim, Desert View

We also stopped at Grandview Point, which really did live up to its name.

Grand Canyon South Rim, Grandview Point

Grand Canyon South Rim, Grandview Point

About 15 minutes before the sun began to paint the sky pink, we made our way to Mather Point, near the South Rim Visitor Center. There are some great overlooks here, and the sunset was fantastic. Being at the Grand Canyon as the sun sank below the horizon was really quite surreal.

Grand Canyon Sunset, South Rim, Mather Point

Grand Canyon Sunset, South Rim, Mather Point
Grand Canyon Sunset, South Rim, Mather Point

Grand Canyon Sunset, South Rim, Mather Point

So, does the Grand Canyon live up to its name?

Absolutely. I already can't wait to go back someday.

Grand Canyon North Rim

Each day, I’ll be cutting together a quick video to show you what we’ve been up to. Here’s Day 9:

Tomorrow, it's on to explore Sedona, Arizona!

"It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and, if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might get swept off to." - JRR Tolkien

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40 Comments on “Road Trip Day 9 – The Grand Canyon

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  1. Gorgeous photos! I can easily understand your enthusiasm because when I visited the Grand Canyon I felt overwhelmed by its beauty. A pity that you are not staying longer. Spending a few days and having a few hikes is the best way to fully savor all the magic of the place.
    Now looking forward for your next stop! 🙂

      I wish we could have spent more time there, too. Though, I’m saying that about almost every place we’re stopping! Haha. Someday I’d like to come back and dedicate a couple of weeks just to Arizona. It’s a beautiful state!

    Good shots of the Bison. You’d have to go to a zoo, or Asia/Africa to find buffalo 🙂

      Well, the park ranger called them buffalo, too, and they sell buffalo jerky out here. So I’m calling them buffalo! 😛

    It’s great that there are chairs to allow the visitor to just sit back and enjoy the show. Very thoughtful!

      Yes, those chairs were at the Grand Canyon Lode, which is on the North Rim. They had all sorts of nice spots for people to just sit and enjoy the view there. It was great!

    Love it! I’ve been to Flagstaff, but managed to miss out on visiting the Canyon. It’s really gorgeous! …oh, and you can tell what an American (and a Californian) I am by the fact that the first thing I thought of when I saw your pics was the Grand Canyon Diorama you see on the Disneyland Railroad. Was half expecting to see a stuffed cougar posing in one of the shots. 😉

      Hahaha no stuffed cougars here!!! Just lots of breathtaking views! Too bad you missed out on it! I think it deserts all the hype. I definitely want to go back someday!

    Such stunning photos! You’ve got such an eye for capturing a beautiful shot. I wish my own photos from my Grand Canyon were as amazing.

      Awww thanks. You are far too kind. I just capture what I see. 🙂 And as for your own photos, well, we both know no photos can truly do this place justice!

    Going to the Grand Canyon is one of the top three experiences of my life. Seeing these pictures makes me eager to go back and see it again. Great pictures and article!

      It was pretty amazing. I would have loved to spend more time there. But I guess that just means I have to go back sometime!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the photos, and the post. Thanks for reading!

    A picture tells a thousand words… so no need to comment further here – its all up there in your post – fabulous 🙂

      Thanks, Linda. 🙂 I’m glad you enjoyed the photos!

    That is some seriously awesome photography Amanda 🙂

    Awesome pictures! I went to the Grand Canyon and Sedona on my honeymoon last year. Best. Trip. Ever!! Glad you are enjoying yourself.

      Thanks, Claire! And what a cool honeymoon idea! That part of Arizona is awesome! The next post I have coming up is all about Sedona! Loved that town.

    It’s amazing, the Grand Canyon is astonishing. The pictures also are very great, grade A+. Have fun !!

      The Grand Canyon really is jaw-dropping. You don’t really realize just how vast it is until you see it in person. I was blown away. I’m glad you liked the photos!

    Yes, you are right. The Grand Canyon is grand 😀 But not only big (would probably fit all of NZ in it…) but also its landscape and colours. Another spot on the bucket list!

      Haha, you probably COULD fit a good bit of NZ into the Grand Canyon! Though, NZ has too many pretty places itself to get stuck into a canyon. 😉

      And yes, whoever named this canyon hit the nail on the head. It is “grand” in every sense of the word.

    After all of the traveling I *have* done, and as close as I live to it (a state over), you would think I’d have been to the Grand Canyon… But no, it’s still on my to-do list! After these photos, though, it just got a lot higher! 😉

    Sara

      You MUST go there! It should be required for all Americans, I think. You definitely won’t regret it, that’s for sure!

    Those pictures are phenomenal. I forgot how red the rocks were as the layers of sediments go down to the river. What a gorgeous natural wonder… it’s been years since I’ve seen it in person, maybe it’s time I started driving to Sedona too.

      I think it might indeed be time to make the drive!! I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. Thanks for reading!

    At last, the Grand Canyon post, you made some breathtaking pictures! Some seem unreal…
    Real nice video also, kinnda melancholic. Keep it up!

      Thanks Cristian! I’m glad you liked the photos and enjoyed the video. It was a great day, for sure!

    These are gorgeous shots! I love the intensity of the colours!

      Thanks, Samuel! The Grand Canyon is a pretty gorgeous place. And yes, the colors under any sort of skies are amazingly vibrant!

    I am heading out there in two weeks. Looking forward to seeing the canyon again. Will be my third trip. I am curious, what software did you use to cut the video with? I would love to see Grand View Point on this trip. We shall see. Great shots.

    Amanda, your photography is stunning! I love that view of the Watchtower – very unique.

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