What else is there to do at the Grand Canyon?
How many times have you been to the Grand Canyon and found yourself asking, Now what? If you’re like most people, the Grand Canyon offers some of the best views in the country and then leaves you wondering what else there is to do besides sightseeing. But don’t worry; there are plenty of ways to spend your day or weekend trip so that you don’t end up leaving at lunchtime wondering what else there is to do besides sightseeing at the Grand Canyon!
The Bright Angel Trail, which starts near Bright Angel Lodge and ends in Grand Canyon Village, is ideal for hikers who want a little more than a simple walk. The most scenic mile or so of Bright Angel trail passes by Indian Gardens, where you can stop for a break under shade trees and enjoy some water before heading back. You’ll also see Ooh-Aah Point on your way down which is great for photos!
After hiking two miles, Plateau Point offers an unobstructed view of Phantom Ranch and most of Grand Canyon National Park. This is a great place for photographers and geologists, as you can see both deep into Grand Canyon and across to Arizona’s Vermillion Cliffs. If you look hard enough, you might even be able to see hikers on Bright Angel Trail! To access Plateau Point, head east down rim trail towards Monument Creek. When you cross the bridge and stop by Phantom Ranch Museum, take a right onto Kaibab Trail and follow it until it ends at Plateau Point.
Hermit’s Rest isn’t a town or a place, it’s a viewpoint! It’s accessible by car and located six miles east of Grand Canyon Village. There are plenty of great viewpoints along Hermit Road, but if you have the time and the energy, drive over to Hermit’s Rest and grab some snacks. Snack while you watch elk roam in front of you, with grand views all around, and no crowds. The best part is that there is no need for binoculars—the elk will be up close!
A fan favorite thing to do in Flagstaff is to grab a few blankets and sit out on a balcony at El Tovar—the historic hotel located inside Grand Canyon National Park. The night air smells like pine needles, and you can see all of northern Arizona laid out before you. Looking up, you’ll be greeted by a blanket of stars; looking down, you’ll see bats fluttering from treetop to treetop. Once your eyes adjust (maybe half an hour), try looking back towards Flagstaff—do you see any cars or lights? On most nights they are hard to even make out!
The El Tovar Dining Room, one of the most romantic restaurants in all of Arizona, is open for dinner and candlelight every night from 5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., and reservations are recommended. Make your way through El Tovar’s lobby and head up a flight of stairs to reach it—there’s even an elevator if you’re feeling lazy, though walking adds a few steps onto your daily total. Once you’ve reached your destination, find a seat with your special someone and order some hot cocoa with whipped cream (because what says romance more than fattening dairy?). Enjoy your complimentary cup of hot chocolate while gazing out over one of America’s most famous sites. Don’t forget to snap a picture or two!
If you’re visiting Grand Canyon National Park, chances are your Instagram feed will be filled with photos of people standing near gorgeous views of Arizona’s famous chasm. But what about those folks who just want to capture a more intimate moment with friends and family without all those crowds around? There are actually some great spots you can go for an easier (and sometimes more scenic) photoshoot—just make sure you know when to keep going and when it’s OK to pull over. For example, The Yavapai Geology Museum offers sweeping views of the sunset from its perch on South Rim Drive.
If you’re looking for something other than sightseeing, consider booking a lesson with Flyboarding Las Vegas. Imagine standing on a platform floating on water and launching yourself over rapids – yes! A spotter keeps you steady while you experience gravity-defying moments that will take your breath away. It takes about 15 minutes to learn how to Flyboard and then you can explore several natural springs in and around Lake Mead National Recreation Area. And it’s not only safe but fun for people of all ages; just be sure to wear a helmet so you don’t get hurt during your exciting ride. Since you’re close to Vegas, don’t forget to book one of those National Park Express Antelope Canyon Tours.
The Grand Canyon has a wide variety of activities available. Sightseeing is always a great way to spend an afternoon, but don’t forget that there are other things you can do while you are here. Check out our other travel guides to know about best places to visit in the USA.