“Grand” doesn’t cut it. Mind-blowing? That’s more like it.
Most people have seen photos of this natural wonder, but nothing can ever prepare you for the vastness. The Grand Canyon is so much more than a pit stop for a ‘been there done that’ photo, and our local leaders will help you explore the Intrepid way. You'll experience the most iconic sites and viewpoints, but you'll also hike into the depths of the canyon to discover hidden trails and lookouts, swim in dreamy turquoise waterfalls, and listen to stories from Native American tribes to connect with the land you’re walking on. After camping under the glittering night skies, why not treat yourself to a bit of luxury in the dazzling Las Vegas. Life is all about balance, right?
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Highlights of Grand Canyon National Park
Enjoy the desert oasis of Havasu Falls
Nestled in the depths of the dry and dusty canyon on the Havasupai Reservation is Havasu Falls – a little slice of heaven with turquoise swimming pools, lush waterfalls and leafy gardens. After a sweaty hike you’ll eventually see this oasis emerge in the distance, as if by magic. Find your spot for the day and dive straight in for a dip. You’ll come up for air and be baffled as to how you’re still in a desert. Havasu means “blue-green water” and pai means “people” – the people of the blue-green water”.
Take in the views at Horseshoe Bend
It’s no surprise Horseshoe Bend attracts a lot of attention. The Colorado River dramatically flows around this horseshoe-shaped bend and the contrast of emerald-color water against the orange cliffs looks like the backdrop for a sci-fi movie. Most people walk around the rim, but why not head down to the water and experience this natural wonder up close and personal on a kayak? You could even jump on a helicopter tour for an impressive bird’s eye view.
Hike down to the Colorado River on the Bright Angel Trail
This is the Grand Canyon’s most popular hike, so you can imagine the views are something to shout about. This rim to river trail zigzags 5,000 feet down to the canyon base where you’ll be greeted by the Colorado River. You’ll go through a series of switchbacks that’ll take you through two billion-year-old rock, cascading canyon cliffs and unique desert plants and wildflowers. This hike is doable in a day if you have a good fitness level, but why not take a couple of days and camp halfway to really soak up the canyon vibes.
Experience the inner canyon on the North Kaibab Trail
Did you know the Kaibab Trail takes you through every ecosystem found between Canada and Mexico? Starting at the canyon rim, you’ll be surrounded by fir trees, wildflowers and aspen before descending thousands of feet through colorful rocks where you’ll find spiky cacti and other desert vegetation. You’ll pass amazing sights like Coconino Overlook and Supai Tunnel as well as side trails to the lush Ribbon Falls and Roaring Springs where you can cool off. This hike is best done over 3-4 days with camping at Cottonwood and Bright Angel campgrounds.
Watch the sunrise Mather Point Overlook
Located near the Visitor Center, this will be your first (and probably one of your most memorable) views of this world wonder – talk about first impressions! Walk onto one of the multi-tier viewing platforms that rest on a rocky cliff for absolutely incredible views that stretch as far as 60+ miles on a clear day. You can’t not get some epic photos of the Grand Canyon, and this is one of the best places to do so.
Explore the Grand Canyon South Rim
The South Rim is the most popular section of the park, mostly because it’s one of the most accessible ways to experience the enormity and grandeur of the canyon. You can walk or cycle the South Rim Trail which takes you to all the major viewing points. We highly recommend setting your alarm before the crack of dawn and taking a flask of coffee to watch the sunrise over the canyon – now that’s what you call a good morning.
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Grand Canyon FAQs
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
The closest airports to the Grand Canyon are Las Vegas and Phoenix, but you can also fly into Flagstaff (a one hour drive from the South Rim) or Salt Lake City (about seven hours away by car). Public transport is limited, and the best option is to drive or go on a bus tour.
The Grand Canyon has a free shuttle bus that operates around the South Rim. The shuttles take you to all of the best viewpoints and overlooks that aren’t accessible to private vehicles. Between May and October there is also a Trans-Canyon-Shuttle service between the North and South Rims. Guided bus tours also operate in the park, as well as taxi services between the South Kaibab Trailhead, Grand Canyon Village and Tusayan/Airport.
The best time to visit the Grand Canyon in terms of weather and avoiding huge crowds is between March and May, and September through to November. The peak season is from June to August when thousands of tourists flock to the park for their summer vacation. Temperatures drop quite a bit in the winter and it can even snow, but it’s a great time to visit as there’s hardly anyone there and you’ll have the trails and views mostly to yourself.
No matter what season you visit the Grand Canyon, bring a sturdy pair of hiking boots or trainers with good grip, light and comfortable layers, a waterproof jacket, warm layers, a fleece, a sun hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Also make sure you bring a reusable water bottle and plenty of snacks to refuel throughout the day.
The Grand Canyon is one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s a 10-mile wide and one mile deep gorge that has been carved out by the Colorado River. Scientists estimate the Grand Canyon was formed five to six million years ago and that humans have lived in the area since the last Ice Age.
Some of the animals you might encounter include desert bighorn sheep, deer, coyotes, mountain lions, mule, gray fox and bears. There’s also a diverse range of reptiles, amphibians and birds.
Your cell phone will probably have coverage near the park’s main tourist hubs, but there will be little or no coverage once you start hiking past the canyon rim.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. All park shuttle buses and many viewpoints, overlooks and sections of the South Rim Trail are accessible for travelers with disabilities. There are no wheelchair accessible viewpoints on the North Rim, but the Scenic Drive there offers amazing views. You can download or pick up a free Accessibility Guide at one of the park entrance stations. We’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.
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