Day #2 – The Grand Canyon
I woke up EARLY (4-5am) to get to the Grand Canyon in time for sunrise. Sunrise was around 7am when I visited but check before you go. It’s a 1.25 hour drive, but don’t forget to add time for getting gas, getting through the front gate (there was no line), and finding parking (the lots were empty). The front gate opens at 7am and admission is $30 per vehicle which grants you (and whoever is in your car) access for 7 days.
If you plan on visiting more than 2 parks, it makes more sense to get the $80 annual park pass which allows you (and the members of your car) into ALL of the National Parks for free for an entire year. ← That’s what I did.
Sunrise at Mather Point
I asked the woman at the front gate to direct me to Mather Point since I read that was one of the best places to watch the sun rise. It’s super easy to get to and you’ll see tons of signs. Head to this viewpoint, you won’t regret it.
What you can’t see, is the FaceTime video with my mom showing her the Grand Canyon. She’s never been and now she has! How cool is technology? This is one of my favorite things to do while traveling. It lets your family and friends join a little part of your experience. Also not pictured, tears of happiness and complete disbelief. This was my FIRST solo trip and I made it to the GRAND CANYON to watch the SUNRISE. What a surreal moment.
Bright Angel Trail
I left my car parked where it was, hopped on the shuttle, and headed to Bright Angel Trail. Parking is easy at the Grand Canyon and shuttles are everywhere. Just remember where you parked (shuttle color, stop name/number) and what your car looks like because I totally forgot and that was a disaster(#rentalcarproblems) .
A friend recommended Bright Angel Trail, as it is one of the Grand Canyon’s most popular hikes, but to be honest, I didn’t like it. It was a great trail, but just a little boring for me. The 6-mile trail included many switchbacks which kept the scenery pretty much the same for the entire hike. I turned back at the 6-mile mark but apparently there’s a cool view point at the bottom. If you make it there, let me know! Here’s a list of all the trails.
After a few hours of hiking, I opted to spend my afternoon on the “easy” trail. Described as one of the easiest trails at the Grand Canyon, I don’t know what made me want to do it (after all, I love adventures) but this was the BEST decision I could make. The Rim Trail is a 13-mile trail which circles the rim of the canyon. It’s completely flat, mostly paved, and has a bus stop every half-mile or so to pick you up and drop you off at the next viewpoint if you get tired.
This was perfect! I had a great afternoon circling the canyon and I saw a variety of different viewpoints. I highly recommend this trail no matter how simple it may sound. It’s also a great way to rest after a morning of hiking.
Living life on the edge
The Rim Trail ends at Hermit’s Rest, an area with a small gift shop, snack bar, and restrooms. Alternatively there is another trail here but I opted to head back to my car. A shuttle will pick you up from here and drop you off at the parking lots. Don’t forget where you parked though… I did!
When traveling solo, tell someone where you are. Give a family member or friend the color, make, model and tag of your car. Tell someone which trails you will be on, where you plan to sleep, and what you are wearing JUST IN CASE something were to happen. I snapped a photo of myself every morning and sent it to my mom. If she didn’t hear back by midnight (or morning or whatever time you choose), then she knew to send someone looking for me.
Hi Mom! Not pictured: black jacket, black pants, black tank
The Adventure Continues…
Day 2 – Grand Canyon ((you are here))
Which trails are you planning to hike?