The Grand Canyon is a popular attraction with more than 5 million visitors per year. Avoid the crowds with these 5 easy travel tips.
In making a bucket list, many people follow the adage, “Go big or go home.” Few attractions are more memorable or bigger than the Grand Canyon, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Although photos elicit plenty of “oohs” and “aahs,” nothing compares to a personal Grand Canyon experience. More than 5 million people visit the national park each year, and the large crowds limit parking, lengthen lines, and reduce privacy. Fortunately, there are ways to explore the Grand Canyon without the crowds.
Head NorthBide Your Time
The South Rim attracts the most tourists from mid-May to mid-October, so people looking for a more peaceful visit make the trip at other times of the year. The park offers lovely blooming wildflowers in the spring and colorful autumn foliage in September and October. Although winter weather is chilly in the park, temperatures are considerably warmer on the canyon floor. Because these trails are challenging, only experienced and equipped hikers should take that plunge.
Ride the Rails
Enjoy what should be another bucket-list experience and avoid the drive to the park’s South Rim by boarding the Grand Canyon Railway. The train leaves from Williams, Arizona, and arrives at the Grand Canyon just over two hours later. Options for travel include a one-day round trip ticket or lodging in the park with a return ticket for the following afternoon. In the winter, The Grand Canyon Railway delights families with a reenactment of “The Polar Express” as the train travels to “The North Pole” for a visit with Santa.
Take a Hike
Although the overlooks offer stunning panoramas, hiking delivers the ultimate Grand Canyon experience. Even a short hike allows you to escape the crowds. On the South Rim, a walk along Canyon Rim Trail offers a number of crowd-free vantage points if you’re willing to peek through the trees. As hikers descend farther into the canyon, the crowds dissipate. For overnight trips, check with the park’s Backcountry Information Center for the best routes and regulations. On the North Rim, try Cape Final, Uncle Jim, and Widforss Trails for spectacular, private views.
At lunchtime, Grand Canyon visitors flock to the park’s restaurants and cafeterias. That’s why it’s smart to pack a picnic lunch. Less expensive and often healthier, a picnic lunch allows you to avoid lines and dine in the open air surrounded by the natural beauty. It’s worth it.
Are you ready to explore one of the greatest wonders on earth? Take advantage of these tips to avoid the crowds, and tell us about your bucket-list adventure on Facebook.