Grand Canyon, Arizona: A Day Trip to Hike a Natural Wonder of The World
Summary. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is just two hours from Sedona, which makes it a great day trip if you're staying in the Sedona area. Day trips also allow you to skip the expensive lodging near the Park. Arrive early before the crowds and heat. The Grand Canyon itself is hard to describe as it's hard to put into words just how awe-inspiring it is. The enormity can only be appreciated with an in-person visit. This is a "must do," while visiting the Sedona area.
Getting there. We left Sedona early so we could arrive before the parking lots fill, which can be as early as 9:00 a.m. during the busy season. Don't worry too much about where you park when you arrive as there is a convenient shuttle bus service that will take you to the various parts of the Park including the trail head for the day hike we took. If open during the time of your visit, check out the Visitor Center itself, include a 20-minute video on the Grand Canyon's history.
Hike to Ooh-Aah Point. We took a short but challenging hike down the South Kaibab trail to Ooh-Aah Point and back. Total distance is reported to be 1.8 miles round-trip but we made the journey longer by getting off the shuttle bus early and walking along the path that hugs the road and Canyon. The trail itself consists of a series of switch-backs, steps and at times, narrow paths. As you make your way down, you can't help but think, "OK, we have to come up this next!" The views, though, distract you every step of the way so that the difficulty of the elevation gain and loss is hardly noticeable. For those that are afraid of heights, you may find yourself hugging the mountain-side portion of the trail as there are sections of the trail that quite literally drop off.
The turn around point for us was Ooh Aah Point but the trail does continue for another 1.5 miles to Skeleton Point. There is little to no cover on this trail so remember to bring hats, water, and sun protection.
Even with our early start and "off season" travel day, we encountered a fair amount of people on this trail. The trail can be dangerous so take extra care and caution, always paying attention to your footing.
After the hike, we continued on foot back to the Visitor Center so we could capture more views of the Grand Canyon. We stopped at Mather Point for photos and also the Yavapai Geology Museum.
While photos can give you some idea of what to expect, they really do not do the Canyon justice. The vastness of the Canyon really does leave you with a sense of awe and no matter how many times we heard about this before we visited, we did not really appreciate it until we saw it for ourselves.
We left the Park by mid-afternoon, which was just when it crowds really started to take over. The unfortunately reality of being a truly amazing place to see, is that you won't be the only ones there. Arriving early though not only beat the heat but also the crowds, so it's definitely worth the pre-dawn alarm clock.
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