The epic Grand Canyon. One of the seven magnificent wonders of the world. One of the most visual spectacles on the planet. The views are absolutely stunning and can only be described as a natural masterpiece.
In the past decade, popular vacation spots like Six Flags, Disneyland and Sea World would trump the most amazing natural wonders as families went looking for more “entertainment” themed family trips.
Recently however, there’s been a growing outdoors movement and some of the most amazing places are starting to make their way back as popular vacation spots.
The Grand Canyon is no different and some of the surging tourist businesses have experienced growth as a result.
The Grand Canyon Railway for instance, runs a train from Williams Arizona to the Grand Canyon. The GCR has become an extremely popular tourist attraction during the wintertime with its keynote experience, “The Polar Express” train ride themed after the popular children’s book & movie.
It’s not all tourist trap themes though. Far from it.
The Grand Canyon boasts camping, hiking, white water rafting, fishing, solo or tandem kayaking and just about any other outdoor activity you can think of including horseback riding, sport rock climbing, or just setting up shop with your favorite camping chair.
There are several natural attractions that we feature in the image gallery below that offer plenty of history and, we hope, enough enticement to place them on your “bucket list.”
If you live in Arizona, you have no excuse not to take a quick weekend trip to see the Grand Canyon, and if you live anywhere within driving distance (We’re looking at you Utah, Nevada & California) then you should definitely make a visit to the Grand Canyon part of your next family outdoor excursion.
Enough rambling from us about how amazing the Grand Canyon is.
If what we’ve said already isn’t enough to convince you to make a trip, check out the totally awesome images below.
We’d also encourage you to share these images and this post with anyone you think might need a nudge in the right direction!
Anyone looking at just how breathtaking this view is will understand that by making a trip to the Grand Canyon, you are viewing one of the world’s most magnificent wonders.
This image was captured at the Havasu falls in the Grand Canyon National Park. It’s one of the little known secrets near the Grand Canyon and is frequented by amateur hikers and backpackers alike. The blue water looks completely out of place from the rest of the scenery. Be prepared for a hike, as you have to book time to go in advance and you can only hike in or get there by helicopter.
This is another spectacular image of the Havasu Falls Area. There are several rock ledges where water flows back and forth from.
Snow storms are common in the winter time. As mentioned earlier in the article, the Grand Canyon Railway does run trips to the Grand Canyon, even in the wintertime. This is a cheap yet fun getaway that the entire family can enjoy.
This image was taken at Horseshoe Bend. While it’s technically in Glen Canyon and not inside the Grand Canyon, it’s only about 5 miles from the start of the Grand Canyon National Park and 140 miles or so from the North/South Rim. While it’s not technically “inside” the Grand Canyon, it’s still beautiful and warrants a stop on your way. It’s also a great hiking location.
This is another amazing picture of the Canyon during the wintertime. There are several scenic stopping points that you can pull over on and take some absolutely awesome photographs.
Helicopter tours have increased in popularity over the years. While much more expensive than a simple hike, you can get views like these for miles.
Desert View Drive is a scenic location. It’s known for having some of the most amazing photo opportunities across the entire canyon.
Vishnu Temple is another great location. While not quite as scenic as Desert View Drive, it still offers amazing views and great scenery.
The North Rim offers some spectacular views. Springtime and summer are both great times to visit. Monsoon season happens in the summer and can bring some very scenic photo opportunities with the clouds as they roll in.
Another amazing picture of the falls on the Havasupai reservation. Make sure you bring plenty of water if you decide to make the hike. You can camp in Havasu Creek and the hike is about 10 miles from the trailhead.
The Grand Canyon makes for an amazing get away from city life in the winter time. You can find some amazing places to stop and take pictures and the weather usually just touches below freezing.
55 miles west of the Northern Rim, Toroweap Point offers camping and some amazing views of the Colorado River.
Timp Point offers some majestic views of the Grand Canyon. This location is north of the Canyon near the Kaibab Plateau.
Another great Timp Point view of the Grand Canyon.
This is a sunset view from the lodge at the north rim of the Grand Canyon. There is lodging here which makes it convenient if you like modern amenities but still want to enjoy the outdoors.
Here’s an amazing shot of the south rim. You can see that the landscape is slightly different from the northern side, but still just as beautiful.
More winter wonderland. The wintertime in Grand Canyon country is extremely mild, even when there is snow. It typically doesn’t get much below freezing during the day making it extremely tolerable even in the wintertime.
There isn’t always a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, but it’s pretty close here in Canyon life.
Desert View Point has some of the most amazing sunsets, no matter what time of year it is.
OOH…. AHH, yep, that pretty much sums it up. Ooh Aah point is a stopping area that has a scenic view that’s primed for pictures. You can access this area by hiking the South Kaibab Trail. There are guided tours and you can always just hike it yourself.
The Grand Canyon isn’t all about canyon views. There are forests nearby the South Kaibab trail that offer canyon views and some lush pine trees.
More amazing pictures of the South Kaibab trail area that offer amazing treeline panoramic views.
As you can see, the evening views are just as stunning as they are when the sun rises in the morning. It’s almost impossible to pick a bad time of year to take a trip and visit.
This picture was taken near Nankoweap Trail, which is dubbed as one of the HARDEST trails in the canyon. It’s not recommended for novices. You should be well prepared to take on some tough areas if you decide to make a venture here, but the scenery is absolutely amazing.
Another long range picture of the Colorado River at the Canyon during dusk.
There are some awesome looking trees all over the place. In this particular shot, you can see it was taken in a more desert looking terrain of the Canyon, probably somewhere near the South Kaibab Trail.
The Desert View Watchtower, (AKA Indian Watchtower) is one of the cooler man made features anywhere near the Canyon. It’s absolutely a must visit if you take a trip. It’s in the Desert View area of the canyon and offers some truly spectacular views in this area.
Another awesome picture of the Desert View Watchtower in the wintertime.
This is another awesome picture from the Desert View area.
Another amazing sunset at horseshoe bend, near the Grand Canyon National Park.
Another great shot of the Havasu Falls near the Grand Canyon. As we said earlier, please make sure you’ve planned on venturing a 10 mile hike if you try to take this one on.
Another perfect sunrise at Desert View. You can see the Colorado River with a view that could capture your attention the entire day.
Here’s an awesome view of the Grand Canyon in the summertime. You can tell that the Colorado River has a touch of dirt running through it, more than likely due to monsoons that may have pushed the dirt down into the river during a storm.
You can tell this photo was taken during the spring. The Canyon will show a lot more green during the spring season before temperatures start to spike in the summertime.
Here’s another great view from up top. As mentioned before, views like this often come at the expense of a helicopter tour. While a guided tour can take you down into the canyon itself, a Helicopter ride can do much of the same and without the legwork if you aren’t used to hiking long distances.
This is another aerial shot during the wintertime. The snow will rest on the peaks during the winter months.
This north rim picture was taken during the end of spring, just approaching summer. You can see the monsoon clouds starting to roll in to the area.
This is a view from the Western Rim of the Canyon at a place called Guano Point. There is a historic Tram in the area to check out and this is one of the more popular attractions along the West Rim.
A great shot of the Grand Canyon with some desert haze in the early morning.
Here’s another great desert shot of the South Rim landscape.
The South Rim in the winter time after a fresh dusting of snow.
Here’s another great shot of the area before sunrise during the winter. It’s amazing how much detail goes into every crevasse of the Canyon.
Another Great Shot of Horseshoe Bend. It’s common for people to take a day rafting trip to explore the bend from the river instead of just hanging around up top.
Here’s another great shot of desert view in the spring.
Here’s a shot of Bright Angel Trail at the South Rim. It’s an amazing trail where you can occasionally see people getting the rare experience of riding a mule on a trail.
Hopi Point is along the West Rim and offers some amazing desert canyon views.
Another fresh dusting of snow taking the Canyon hostage in the winter time.
Here’s another amazing shot of the Grand Canyon in the winter time as the snow is melting away.
We close out our top 50 images list with one final credit to Horseshoe bend.
Grand Canyon: 5 Lesser Known Facts
- President Theodore Roosevelt was the first American politician to protect the Grand Canyon. America’s 26th President turned the natural wonder into a game reserve (1906) and a national monument (1908). Roosevelt was reportedly so impressed by the landmark that he said during a speech on May 6, 1903, “Leave [the Grand Canyon] as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.”
- With 6 million visitors every year, the Grand Canyon is the second most visited national park in the U.S., behind the Great Smoky Mountains (11 million).
- Surprisingly, the most dangerous animal in the Grand Canyon is not the California condor, the mountain lion, and not even the venomous Gila monster. It is the rock squirrel. The national park’s rangers warn that the bright-eyed bushy-tailed critters can be “absolutely ferocious.” There are numerous reports of rock squirrels teaming up and attacking lone tourists. Don’t try to feed them either, even if they aren’t in a group.
- The Grand Canyon is shrouded in mystery. In 1909, a team of Smithsonian-funded researchers reportedly found a bizarre system of tunnels and caves tucked deeply underneath the canyon with well-preserved artefacts pointing to a long-lost ancient civilization of unknown origin. Smithsonian denied the whole thing, dismissing it as a hoax. Many people believe to this day that we are dealing with a government cover-up. You can read more about this story here. It makes an interesting read.
- The Grand Canyon is the site of a geological anomaly, scientists have been trying to wrap their heads around for years with no success. The anomaly which goes by the name of “The Great Unconformity” refers to the fact that the top rock layers in the Grand canyon are reportedly 250 million year old while the bottom layers are 1.2 billion year old with no middle layer in between as if hundreds of millions of years simply didn’t happen.
With so many beautiful and amazing images that can come from one small area (OK it’s pretty big), there is absolutely no reason why making a trip to one of the largest wonders of the world shouldn’t be on your bucket list at least some point in your life.
If you live anywhere near this amazing feat of nature, then you have no excuse not to make it one of your next weekend road trips. And if it’s your first time there, remember this little gem by Parks and Recreation’s anti-hero:
Jonathan O’Ryan is what you might call a seasonal digital nomad. When he is not thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail or finetuning his custom UL camping gear in the middle of nowhere, he comfortably sits at his home desk – yes, he still has a physical address, we don’t know for how long though – sharing his insights on all things outdoors with Wilderness Today’s audience. We know life is an adventure, Jon, but we’d still like to have that urgent work email answered by noon.