On August 25, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the National Park Service Organic Act and officially created the National Park Service. 100 years later, the National Park Service has grown from its original 35 parks to more than 400 national parks, monuments, and lands. That’s certainly something to celebrate!
To help mark this momentous occasion, we asked 7 intrepid adventurers to share their favorite memory of visiting the Grand Canyon. Here’s what they had to say:
Hitting the Hiking Trails
Jen’s Grand Canyon hiking trip was “one of the hardest (and best) hiking adventures that [she’s] ever been on”. She hiked down the South Kaibab Trail:
I chose the South Kaibab Trail because it is possible to see some of the unique geology of the Grand Canyon on the way down. I passed through three geologic layers on the way down, and that is something you can’t see close-up from the overlooks. I spent a few hours enjoying the view from Cedar Ridge and reflecting on the accomplishment of hiking down into the Grand Canyon. This will always stand out as one of the most memorable and rewarding hikes of my life, and I can’t wait to go do it again!
– Jen, Jaunting Jen | Instagram
Exploring the Rim
If you can explore the Grand Canyon during the day and stay on the Rim after the sun sets, you’ll be rewarded with an incomparable view of the night sky:
There are so many things to do at the Grand Canyon, but our favorite memories of visiting the Grand Canyon are seeing the canyon at different times of day. A surprising number of people visit the Grand Canyon for just a couple hours, sometimes even just minutes, before continuing on their way. The Grand Canyon cannot be fully appreciated in such a short amount of time. We hiked along the rim during the day. We sat and watched the sunset. We stared at the sky at night when we saw more stars than we had ever seen before.
– Katherine Belarmino, Travel the World | Instagram
Katherine Belarmino runs the travel website Travel the World with her husband Romeo. They work full-time and travel as much as possible with limited vacation time.
Watching the Sunset
Nothing compares to a Grand Canyon sunset. Christina from Currently Exploring shares why:
Image Source: Currently Exploring
As the sun dimmed, shadows slowly crawled the canyon walls. The deep red rock curves turned to bright orange flame, striations became darker, deeper, more pronounced and each new version of the visual creation lasted only a few seconds until the next. The temperature dropped quickly. I fumbled with my camera in an attempt to capture a glimpse of the experience, but knew as I was snapping that even the most advanced technology wouldn’t do. After 7 hours of driving and lots of pit stops, this was one of my longest sunset-chases to date, and I’d made it just in time.
– Christina, Currently Exploring | Instagram
Braving a Blizzard
It snows at the Grand Canyon, too! Megan from Mapping Megan was taken by surprise by an unexpected blizzard when she visited the Canyon:
Image Source: Mapping Megan
It’s a day we had been building up in our minds for a very long time – the day we would get to visit the Grand Canyon. Though our hopes of standing on the rim and gazing awestruck out into the massive expanse continued to fade as we drove closer and closer to the park gates. We had left Las Vegas dressed in T-shirts and shorts, though once we got to Arizona we found ourselves in the middle of a blizzard. Sure, we had the whole national park to ourselves that day – a dream for those who hate tourist crowds. But we stood on the rim and couldn’t see our hand in front of our face! A memorable experience to say the least!!
– Megan, Mapping Megan
Beating the Bright Angel Trail
The Bright Angel Trail is a popular hiking trail for hikers of any skill level, and it’s easy to see why – the view is impressive from any elevation:
Image Source: Gigi Griffis
My favorite Grand Canyon memory is hiking the Bright Angel trail with my best friend and boyfriend. Those first few miles from the top down into the canyon are especially breathtaking. The canyon is so vast when you’re looking down into it from the beginning of the hike and then, again, when you look backward at the end and soak in the satisfaction that comes with a long day of hiking with a lot of elevation loss and gain.
– Gigi, Gigi Griffis | Instagram
What could be more romantic than saying “I do” on the floor of the Grand Canyon?
Image Source: Reeves Do Travel
Our favourite memory of visiting the Grand Canyon has to be when we flew to the bottom to get married. Experiencing the Grand Canyon from a helicopter whilst the sun was setting around us gave us an amazing view which you just can’t get from anywhere else. Saying our vows stood upon the 200 million year old rocks; alongside the sweeping Colorado River, was certainly something we’ll never forget.
– Barry and Stef, Reeves Do Travel | Instagram
Night Time at the Grand Canyon
Night time is one of the most magical times of day to visit the Grand Canyon:
Image Source: Karate and Caviar
My favourite memory about visiting the Grand Canyon was the sunset (stunning change of colours) and the subsequent night sky programme. Once it was dark a group of circa 25 visitors plus two guides got together near a cliff a few minutes walk away from the lights of the nearby restaurant and toilets. Here we sat down on benches and were asked to switch off the torches that the guides had provided to us earlier. Suddenly it was pitch black and all you could see was the incredibly beautiful night sky. I had never seen so many stars before and you could clearly see the milky way. It was such a surreal feeling – it almost felt like you were floating in the universe being surrounded by countless stars and galaxies. Throughout the night sky programme we talked about the night sky, the milky way and also discussed the issue of light pollution which prevents so many people all over the world from experiencing such a beautiful night sky. After around 90 minutes we made our way back to the restaurant. Though I could have stayed overnight, just watching the night sky for hours and hours.
– Nadine, Karate and Caviar | Instagram
Share your Favorite Memory!
Thank you to all of our contributors for sharing their most magical Grand Canyon experience!
What’s your favorite memory of the Grand Canyon? Tell us on Facebook, tweet us, or share your photo on Instagram. Don’t forget to tag @canyontours and use #canyonselfie on Instagram!