Nothing compares to the grandeur of The Grand Canyon. The sheer scale and splendor of this natural wonder are enough to leave you breathless. Whether you’ve visited Grand Canyon National Park before or it’s your first time, there are always more ways to explore the park and surrounding areas. From the best day trip hiking trails, things to do, and where to eat at the Grand Canyon, this guide will help you plan your adventures in the American West.
Things to See Around the Grand Canyon
Watch a Yaki Point Sunset
Sunset at the Grand Canyon is a sight to behold. Yaki Point Overlook in Grand Canyon National Park offers views to the east and west making it the perfect place to watch sunrise or sunset. Reach it by taking the free eastbound Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route shuttle, departing from Grand Canyon Visitor Center’s Shuttle Bus Terminal. While you’re there, you might also want to check out nearby Ooh Aah Point and see why this overlook got its name.
Step Back in Time at Grand Canyon Village
Built in the early 1900s, the historic Grand Canyon Village inside Grand Canyon National Park is a must-see to experience the canyon’s Native American and pioneer history. Situated on the edge of the South Rim, The Village is a one-stop for refreshment, Grand Canyon souvenirs, trailheads, historical artifacts, and more—all on the edge of one of the most magnificent vistas.
Take in the Views from Mather Point
Just a 5-minute walk from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Mather Point offers the first glimpse of the Seventh Wonder of the World and boasts one of the most expansive views of the canyon. On a clear day, you can see 30+ miles to the east and 60+ miles to the west, and down to the Colorado River below. This is a popular place to catch the sunset for spectacular views on a paved walkway only steps from the parking lot.
Visit Yavapai Point and Geology Museum
Perched on the edge of the canyon rim at Yavapai Point, Yavapai Geology Museum has one of the best vantage points of the canyon. Visitors can wander the museum and soak in dramatic views through panoramic windows. Here, you can learn about the geology of the rocks and how the infamous canyon took shape over hundreds of millions of years.
Look for Rocky Mountain Elk
Along the South Rim, there’s a good chance you’ll spot elk among the ponderosa pines and juniper forests. Interestingly, the Rocky Mountain Elk are not native to the area but were introduced to the Grand Canyon in the early 1900s from Yellowstone National Park. While elk can appear calm, it’s important to enjoy them from a distance of at least 100-feet away when possible.
Things to Do Around Grand Canyon National Park
Hike the South Rim Trail
Easily one of the best Grand Canyon hikes, South Rim Trail is a relatively flat, paved walking and biking path that boasts incredible views of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. You can hike as much or as little as you want as this main trail links to other trailheads and shuttle stops. This trail is accessible and dog-friendly because it stays above the canyon rim – just remember to protect your pup’s paws from the heat with booties or paw wax and bring plenty of water for both of you.
Hike Below the Rim
Bright Angel Trail is the most popular trail leading into the Grand Canyon. Hikers can walk in the footsteps of Native Americans, canyon miners, and pioneers as they descend into the depths. With expansive views, morning and afternoon shade, resthouses, vault toilets, and drinking water available during the summer, this trail offers an excellent first trip into the canyon. If you are hiking from the South Rim to Bright Angel Campground and back, a popular option is to take the South Kaibab Trail down, and the Bright Angel Trail up, making it a “loop hike”. You should plan for at least twice as much time back up as it took to go down for this inverted mountain hike.
Ride the Grand Canyon Railway
The historic Grand Canyon Railway departs daily from Williams, AZ to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon. Since 1901, passengers have taken the same tracks to the heart of one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Riding the train feels like a step back in time with its vintage rail cars, entertaining Western musicians, and cowboy characters. Grand Canyon Railway tickets can be purchased online and offer six different rail car classes including an Observation Dome for an extraordinary visual journey.
Bike Along Hermit Road
Built by early pioneers, Hermit Road winds along the Canyon’s rim for 7- miles. It boasts some of the grandest views along the South Rim and is your best opportunity to see the Colorado River rapids from the rim. We recommend renting bikes from Bright Angel Bicycles and using their shuttle that drops you at the Hopi Lookout Road, skips the inclines, and offers a 5-mile, mostly flat ride suitable for families and recreational cyclists. Some say it’s the best scenic bike ride in the West!
Go Horseback Riding in the Grand Canyon
Follow in the footsteps of the Old West as you step into the stirrups of your guided horseback or mule ride tour. Experience the thrill of descending into the canyon or riding along the rim while your guide shares expert knowledge of the park. Horses are iconic to the American West, but the steed of choice at the Grand Canyon has long been the mule for its size and sure-footedness. Create family memories with an unforgettable mule ride in one of the most amazing places on earth.
Get Your Kicks at Historic Route 66
Just 30 minutes from Under Canvas Grand Canyon, in Williams, AZ, you’ll find a stretch of Route 66 with shopping, dining, lodging, and cowboy fun for the whole family. Take a picture with a classic car, sip some Arizona wine, and enjoy the small-town charm Williams has to offer.
Visit Bearizona Wildlife Park
Take a walk on the wild side with a visit to Bearizona in Williams, AZ. This dog-friendly drive-thru wildlife park is home to North American animals like black bears, bobcats, and tundra wolves that can be seen from the comfort of your vehicle. You can drive through the park as many times as you like during your visit. Bearizona tickets can be purchased online or at the park’s ticket booth.
Where to Eat & Drink Around the Grand Canyon
Restaurants Inside Grand Canyon National Park
Get a taste of Grand Canyon cuisine at one of the Grand Canyon Village restaurants or find breakfast and on-the-go options at a nearby cafe.
Sip on Arizona craft beer and savor delicious burgers, house-smoked wings with Prickly Pear BBQ sauce, or pizza-style flatbreads at one of the South Rim’s only outdoor dining areas.
El Tovar Dining Room
Dine where the likes of Teddy Roosevelt, President Bill Clinton, and Sir Paul McCartney once dined in casual elegance with famed El Tovar dining room views.
Grand Canyon Village Market & Deli
Grab a freshly made sandwich or salad to enjoy on the go or sit and stay awhile at the casual indoor or outdoor seating options.
Canyon Coffee House at Bright Angel Fountain
Kickstart your morning with an assortment of coffees, teas, and a fresh baked cinnamon roll before heading out on a canyon adventure.
Bright Angel Bicycles & Mather Point Cafe
Rent a bike and choose from a selection of delicious Grab ‘n Go sandwiches, salads, and pastries to fuel your two-wheel adventure.
Restaurants Outside of Grand Canyon National Park
Discover plenty of restaurants in Williams, AZ to satisfy every palate.
Find a selection of family-friendly menu items such as Neapolitan-style wood-fired pizzas, pasta, soups, and salads with views of Historic Highway 66.
Grand Canyon Brewing + Distillery
Quench your thirst with craft beers inspired by the desert landscape and equally inspired spirits and ready-made cocktails like the Prickly Pear Vodka Soda.
Historic Brewing Barrel + Bottle House
Enjoy a fast, casual meal that pairs perfectly with 16 craft beers on draft, local Arizona wine, and signature and classic cocktails.
South Rims Wine & Beer Garage
Visit Arizona’s premier tasting room offering delectable dining options, Arizona wine, craft beers, unique souvenirs, and Native artisan collectibles located on historic Route 66.
Jeff’s Place at Goldie’s Route 66 Diner
Step back in time at this popular retro diner that offers cooked-to-order burgers and fries topped with milkshakes made with real ice cream.
Gateway Sandwich Co.
Go on a journey with a sandwich named after one of the many trails and points in the Grand Canyon–from Bright Angel to Yavapai–these tasty sandwiches will take you on a journey.
Your Grand Canyon Glamping Vacation
Under Canvas Grand Canyon is located just 25-minutes from the South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park and offers safari-inspired glamping accommodations complete with nutritious dining options, premium espresso beverages, nightly campfires with s’mores, and camp programming to make your outdoor adventures even more unforgettable. Our Guest Experience Coordinators are always available to help you plan the best things to do during your Grand Canyon stay.