Visiting the Grand Canyon in winter has many advantages. Not only are there fewer visitors and lesser crowds, the scenery is breathtaking. The place was designated a national park in 1919 and while the north rim is not accessible after mid October, the south rim is a great place to be.
About 277 miles long and 18 miles across, the greatest abyss in the world is more than a mile deep. A visit in the winter here will allow you to engage in all kind of winter sports as you take in the beauty of the place.
Grand Canyon in Winter – Reservations
Even though the place is not too crowded in winter, it is always a good idea to make your reservations in advance. The Xanterra booking service will help you find the lodges that have availability so that you can check the ones that are open. Choices range from the classic lodge to the historic cabin and you can expect to pay anywhere between $55 and $300 depending on what you choose. Some of the popular lodges in the south rim are Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins, El Tovar Hotel, Kachina Lodge, Maswik Lodge, Thunderbird Lodge and the Yavapai Lodge.
Grand Canyon in Winter – Weather
Winter can be very extreme on the south rim at the Grand Canyon. Be prepared for snow, ice and sleet covered roads and road closures that may disrupt plans at times. At 6950 feet you need to ensure that you have adequate layers of clothing that you can depend on. Warm jackets that are water proof, warm pants, gloves and thick woolen socks are a must. In addition to that make sure that you have warm headgear too.
Grand Canyon in Winter – Sightseeing
There may be days when hiking is not possible due to the weather. These are the days when you can go sightseeing. The El Tovar Lodge has a cozy lobby that you can enjoy anytime. The Hopi House is a multistory stone mason building and gives details about the Arizona native cultures. Hermit’s Rest is another place that you can drive down to. It is located at the end of the West Rim and is about a 9 mile drive from the Grand Canyon Village.
Grand Canyon in Winter – Driving There
Driving to the Great Canyon may be a good idea especially if you are not going there in the peak winter time. But driving all the way from your home town may not be a great idea since it will tire you out. Fly to one of the smaller airports near the park and consider renting a car. It will be easier for you get inside the Grand Canyon too. The charge per vehicle is $25 and you will be able to cover a wider area if you have your own car.
Some interesting things that you can do at the Grand Canyon in winter include rim drives, sunrise and sunset trips, day hikes and mule rides. A hike down the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden and the south Kaibab Trail to Clear Ridge is a good one. No special permissions are required for day hikes. If you are planning to hike, make sure that you bring along sturdy hiking boots that have good ankle support so that you do not hurt yourself on the rocky stones.
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