Grand Canyon East is located in the area along the Colorado River to the north and east of the South Rim. This is the most difficult area of the Grand Canyon to access, but intrepid adventurers are rewarded with smaller crowds and close-up views of the Grand Canyon.
The primary physical attribute of the Grand Canyon East region is the Little Colorado River (LCR). The LCR is responsible for carving several of the smaller canyons in the region, and its lower 40 miles constitute one of the largest arms of the Grand Canyon. The Canyon surrounding the Little Colorado River is over 3,000 feet deep where it joins the Colorado River near Desert View between the South Rim and Grand Canyon East.
Because of the mineral content in the Grand Canyon East area, the LCR flows with beautiful blue water in the summer months; in other parts of the year, it runs almost blood red.
Weather at the East Rim
- The Little Colorado River Gorge: With almost colorless, cold, gray walls, the Little Colorado River Gorge is strikingly different from the rest of the Grand Canyon.
- Antelope Canyon (top right): A slot canyon located on Navajo land east of Page, AZ. Comprised of two sections: the Upper Antelope Canyon (also known as “The Crack”), and the Lower Antelope Canyon (also known as “The Corkscrew”).
- Cameron Trading Post: A vital and historical part of the local economy.
- Marble Canyon: Marks the beginning of the Grand Canyon, where the Colorado River and the Little Colorado River meet.
- Navajo Bridge: One of only seven Colorado River land crossings, located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
- Horseshoe Bend (bottom right): A horseshoe shaped meander of the Colorado River near Page, AZ, located 5 miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Horseshoe Bend is the only location in the Grand Canyon where you can have your photo taken with the Colorado River in the background. However, there are no guardrails at Horseshoe Bend, so it may not be an ideal attraction for families with young children.
- Rainbow Bridge: One of the world’s largest known natural bridges.
- Part of Lake Powell: This man-made reservoir that straddles the border between Arizona and Utah.
- Part of the Colorado River
Grand Canyon East offers two main viewing areas: one is free but doesn’t have safety guardrails, while the other costs a minimal fee paid to the Navajo Nation, but does include guardrails.
The annual November flooding of the Grand Canyon is also an interesting experience! The annual release of water from the Glen Canyon Dam floods the Grand Canyon via the Colorado River, with the goal of rebuilding the Colorado River beaches in order to benefit local endangered species such as the humpback chub.
Tourism at the East Rim
Compared to the North, South, and West Rims, there is very little tourism at Grand Canyon East. There are many attractions that make it worth a visit, including a number of locally-provided tours, visits to the smaller canyons, boat tours, helicopter tours, fishing, and rafting.
Who Should Visit the East Rim?
The East Rim is worth the effort to reach, but if you’re visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, the other rims are more easily accessible and offer day-trip options.
Because the Grand Canyon East views often don’t feature safety guardrails, we recommend that families with small children visit the South Rim, West Rim or North Rim. However, Grand Canyon East does offer a quieter, less “touristy” experience, and is perfect for travelers who want to experience the less-conventional views of the Grand Canyon or who want to avoid the crowds at the South Rim and West Rim.
Guided Tours You Can Take at the East Rim
Grand Canyon East is less accessible from Las Vegas, but you can experience the east Canyon’s peaceful beauty from a birds-eye view on your way to the North Rim.
VISIT THE EAST RIM
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Featured Image Source: Grand Canyon National Park