After visiting the Hoover Dam we continued on to the Grand Canyon. It’s roughly a three and half to four hour drive. The distance between the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam is very sparsely populated. I highly recommend having a full tank of gas, before venturing out on your journey. While visiting the Grand Canyon we stayed at the The Grand Hotel located in Tusayan. I really liked the hotel and enjoyed relaxing in the hot tub after a day of hiking.
Tusayan is the closest town to the park and a shuttle service runs from many of the local hotels in to the park. The shuttle is free once you have purchased a park pass which is good for seven days. During the busy summer months, parking fills up quickly. Being able to park at your hotel and ride the shuttle saves a lot time and frustration. Click here for a link to the Tusayan shuttle service.
I recommend staying at The Grand Hotel in Tusayan and using the free shuttle service to reach the park.
Once inside the park free shuttle buses can take you virtually anywhere. All water is free and food is available at the various lodges. If you are looking for a gourmet meal, then I would recommend the restaurant at the El Tovar. The food was delicious and a nice way to unwind from the day. The restaurant fills up quickly so I would recommend making reservations in advance. For guests not staying in the park hotels, they take reservations no sooner than 30 days in advance.
One of the best resources that I found when touring the Grand Canyon is this newspaper put out by the national park service. It gives you wonderful information on the various activities, hiking trails, restaurants and shuttle routes located within the park. The newspaper can be found online, at the visitor center and on the shuttle buses.
Since this was our first time visiting the Grand Canyon we decided to do the Hermits Rest Route and rim trail. This trail goes along the south rim of the canyon and has nine lookout points.
The last point, called Hermits Rest, has a bathroom, gift shop and a canteen. A shuttle service (that runs every 15 minutes) stops at all nine look out points.Being able to hike between lookout points and take the shuttle when we were tired turned out to be a very enjoyable way to see the canyon. I would definitely recommend this trail to anyone with young children or someone with some sort of disability. Below you can see pictures taken from the various look out points.
Upon leaving the Grand Canyon to travel to Sedona, we took the scenic drive Highway 64. This drive includes various look out points. One of these points includes the Watch Tower which was an interesting place to stop off and learn about the various local American Indian tribes. One of the best parts of this drive had to be the rain. The entire time we were at the Canyon rainstorms kept rolling through which were absolutely spectacular to see. Being able to watch rain, clouds and lightning roll through the canyon is a memory I will never forget. It was truly Mother Nature at its finest. We saw rainbows, lightning strikes and fog banks. Here are some of our pictures below.
I highly recommend visiting the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. They are a part of the United States that should not be missed. So tell me, have any of you had the privilege of traveling to these destinations? If so, what did you like best?