Grand Canyon – Arizona

Sunset from the South Rim | Desert View Watchtower | Bright Angel Trail

Date of Visits: April 1-3,  2012 & April 12-13, 2017 & July 20-22, 2021.

How we got there: Drove from Joshua Tree National Park, 5.5 hours.

Lodging: Maswick Lodge and Yavapai Lodge (2012 & 2017), Frontier Cabin and North Rim Campground (2021).


  • Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point – Very strenuous 12-mile out-and-back day hike to a point overlooking the Colorado River. It’s as far as they recommend going down in a day.
  • Hermit Trail to Dripping Springs – Ride the shuttle bus to Hermit’s Rest and descent into the canyon on the Hermit Trail. There are a few hiking options here, but we chose Dripping Springs as our destination, 6 miles out-and back. The trail clings to the edge of beautiful red rock cliffs and ends in a shady cove with water dribbling from the ceiling.
  • Dinner at El Tovar Lodge – Historic lodge located right on the canyon rim. Dining room is one of the former famous Harvey Houses.
  • Desert View Watchtower – 70 foot tall stone observation tower overlooking the eastern portion of the canyon. Designed by Harvey House architect Mary Colter to appear in a partially ruined state.
  • North Kaibab Trail to Roaring Springs
  • Cape Royal Road and Viewpoints

Tips: Visit in spring, fall or winter when temperatures are reasonable enough to hike during the day. Bring a variety of clothing for varying temperatures that time of year, we started a hike at 25 degrees and finished it at 75.
Remember that hikes into the canyon start with the easier descent and finish with the steepest climb, plan your timing accordingly.

Next time: Rim to Rim hike with overnight stay at Phantom Ranch.