Grand Canyon.jpg

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Grand Canyon National Park is 101 years old, and so beloved that it draws around six million visitors annually. Captured on canvas, in photographs, and on countless cell phone videos, the majesty of the canyon itself, carved by the mighty Colorado River some six million or so years ago, is impossible to overstate. It is breathtaking.

The list of activities that can be enjoyed at the canyon is long and diverse, starting with one way in which you can arrive in style. The Grand Canyon Railway travels from Williams, Arizona, 64 miles to the South Rim of the canyon. Built in 1901 as part of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway — and currently run by Xanterra Parks & Resorts — this branch line is a wonderfully picturesque ride. And for those who want an added dose of nostalgia, the line occasionally operates a steam locomotive, made greener by being powered by waste vegetable oil.

Visitors to the canyon can hike, bike, camp, take a mule excursion, go river rafting, listen to presentations by rangers, and enjoy the 1,217,262 acres of the park in numerous other ways.

Due to the pandemic, some activities may not be available, and visitors are strongly encouraged to check on what’s currently open and operating before making the journey.

Also, be aware that as beautiful as it is, the Grand Canyon can be a hazardous place. About a dozen people die yearly at the park, and countless others sustain injuries ranging from minor to severe. Physician Thomas M. Myers, who has worked at Grand Canyon Clinic for three decades, is the co-author of Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon, which details many of the fatalities at the park over the years. He also is the author of the recently published How Not to Die At Grand Canyon. This laminated, fold-out pocket guide includes information about a dozen different hazards — from heat-related illness to hantavirus — and how to avoid them. It also contains first aid instructions that could be lifesaving for anyone who has suffered a heart attack, rattlesnake bite, or other serious medical emergency. Copies of the guide can be purchased by visiting Shop.grandcanyon.org.

For more information on the park and to verify what’s open, go to Nps.gov/grca/index.htm. To learn more about the Grand Canyon Railway, or to book a seat or lodging at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, visit Thetrain.com.

Live help

Recommended for you