66 Kicks to Grand Canyon

Sightseeing the canyon from 7000 feet, 4000 feet and from the river with sunrise and sunset hues. Aqua water with towering red pinnacles is a photographers dream. Magestic elk and deer grazing seemingly unaware of me. Just rafting and hiking the great outdoors.


66 Kicks to Grand Canyon

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by nmagann on June 21, 2002

Watching California Condors and elk with large pronged horns. Dramatic red hues being cast at dusk and deer feeding at dawn. Huge red rock pinnacles and slot canyons rising out of translucent aqua water while rafting. The only sound is wind blowing through my hair.${QuickSuggestions} Entrance fee to the park is valid for a week; steam train tickets include park admission and therefore can be used towards entrance. Bring lots of water and continue to drink whether you feel thirsty of not. Hotels 1 mile south of the park entrance in Tusayan hotels are cheaper with Williams’ 50 miles further south even less. Souvenirs are cheapest at east rim and in Williams. Upscale dining is found Tusayan with retro cafes in Williams and cafeterias and coffee shops in the Canyon. Remember that the further down you hike, the hotter it will get, so dress in layers. www.grandcanyoninformation.com is a good source of information.${BestWay} Within the Grand Canyon, walking, free narrated shuttle buses (covering the village, east and west rim), and mountain biking are all great ways to see the sights. Parking is at a premium, so come early and leave your vehicle parked if you drive. Shuttle vans (popular with hikers) and the steam train are both available from the Williams Train Depot and the municipal airport in Tusayan. By taking Amtrak to Williams and the Steam Train to the Grand Canyon, you can avoid any flying.

Hermits Rest

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nmagann on July 3, 2002

This is any easy to moderate, 7.9-mile one way, hike along the upper rim of the canyon at an elevation of 6800 feet. With the exception of an area where a sensitive habitat area has been marked off with bright orange tape, the trail is a clearly marked unpaved path. A paved road parallels the path off and on providing transportation to the end of the trail and at four other points along the way. This gives a novice hiker the ability to test their stamina to see how far they can hike and return by bus. The bus runs every 15 minutes with stops less than a 1 mile apart, costs nothing and is fully narrated. The only distance exception is between The Abyss and Pima Point, which is 2.9 miles. This is a great idea for someone with physical limitations, time constraints, or younger children.

If your time and/or energy are limited, the most panoramic stop along the route is Pima Point. Here you have the best view of the river as it makes cuts a turn through the deep canyon. Hopi Point is the better choice for observing the sunset. Several of the vista points offer plaques indicating names of canyon formations such as the Temple of Isis and Cheops, as well as providing geological information.

We took 4 hours to cover 6.8 miles one way with several picture stops along the way. The steep canyon walls looking down from the edge seemed to remind me how small I am in the scheme of things as well as the magnitude of some of mother earth’s creation. Photos, even with panoramic lens, simply cannot due these sights justice. The last stop of this trail, Hermits Rest, are a few vending machines and a small gift shop. This is also the beginning of another, very steep, not well-marked trail. There is shade along the trail, one restroom, and no water until the last stop.

Visit the website here

Hermit's Rest
West Rim Drive
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023
No phone available

Colorado River Float

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nmagann on July 1, 2002

The tour began with a two-hour coach ride from the Grand Canyon entrance to Page, including a stop at the Watch Tower, where we viewed more of the river than on any of the trails we’d hiked. This larger stone tower had a gift store on the bottom and a veranda with telescopes for an even better view of the surrounding area.

After passing by the Painted Desert and stopping at the Cameron Trading Post, we proceeded to Page where we transferred to smaller buses to pass through a 2-mile tunnel to the bottom of the Glen Canyon Dam that holds back Lake Powell.

Here, we were loaded onto 22-passenger, solid-bottom, motorized rafts for our 14-mile float trip. This relaxing trip, four hours in duration, brought us floating effortlessly down the 47-degree river as we basked in 100-degree air temperature with cool breezes. Although the deepest point was 130 feet, the majority of the river was 20 feet deep, enabling easy viewing of the trout below. The absolutely massive sheer vertical walls of red compressed sand-stone rising from the emerald green waters were incredible. You could imagine there was no way out other than by river, and only upon reaching a low area.

Along the way we viewed slot canyons, small waterfalls formed by seepage, eagle nests the size of vehicles, and cap rocks (inverted rocks) also known as poison rocks because one drop kills. A postcard with an aerial view of horseshoe canyon was passed around. The river nearly encircles this monolith, which is viewable by a trail along the top. Unfortunately we were informed you would have to take several pictures and paste them together to have something like what was shown in the postcard. A 20-minute rest stop provided us with a short walk to view petroglyphs and listen to a brief history lesson. We had a 30-minute buffet lunch on nice beach where the water was calm enough for wading. I dove off the back of a raft for a refreshing dip that didn’t last long. We were informed about how quickly hypothermia could set in, but it felt good nonetheless.

Lee’s Ferry was the end of our trip and the beginning of the whitewater rafting. Old buildings were all that remained of the old Lee’s Ferry stop, which was the only way to cross the river. Mormons that need to cross here in order to be married in Utah traverse a trail along the other side of the river before reaching the ferry crossing. Children 12 and under are required to wear life jackets, water and soda is provided on the raft, and there is no splash to soak belongings. Hats and sunscreen are a necessity. Pick up is at 6:00am and return is approximately 6:00pm with a choice of three hotel stops. Admission to the Grand Canyon is not included, but I was able to use my train tickets which was valid for a week.

Colorado River Float

Grand Canyon, Arizona
1-866-944-7263

Bright Angel

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nmagann on July 22, 2002

This steep, dusty, zigzagging trail is the same trail the mules take guests to Phantom Ranch nearly 10 miles away. Although the first rest house at 1.5 miles and the second at 3.0 miles offer water, take plenty bottles of water or a good sized camel pack along with salty snacks. I consumed 4 pints of water in 1.5 miles in spite of not exerting a lot of energy. This hike is recommended for experienced hikers and/or people in good health. Rangers are stationed at the 1.5-mile rest house to check on hikers and advise them of the conditions that lie ahead. Depending on departure time, weather, and experience the most common turn around points are the 1.5-miles rest house, 3.0-mile rest house, and Indian Gardens which is green oasis offering camping and a photographic site from the trail above. I went as far as the 3-mile rest house as my companion stopped after 2 miles. I covered the 6 miles round trip in approximately 4 hours. The beginning elevation is nearly 6800 feet dropping to 4750 feet at the 3.0-mile rest house and 3800 feet at Indian Gardens.

The dramatic red pinnacles and slot canyons dotted with evergreens are what make this hike so spectacular, no matter what distance you cover. Since the trail is somewhat narrow, most people walk a few feet beyond the zigzagging corners to stop. Looking straight up the sheer vertical walls can be a challenge to your natural balance. I really appreciated these views having seen them from the top on the rim hike. To go from the top to the middle and then the bottom via raft trip was just fabulous.

The California Condors made several appearances, as did swallows with beautiful electric blue colors. Large lizards and horned toads are also native to this area, along with chipmunks and squirrels. Deer and elk can also be glimpsed in the early morning and evenings, but they are quite shy. Rangers continue to advise people not to feed the animals as they become aggressive toward humans that don’t have food for them.

Bright Angel Trail
Begins near the main Visitor Center complex
Grand Canyon, Arizona, 86023
(928) 638-7888

Grand Canyon Railway

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nmagann on July 2, 2002

A scenic, historic steam train trip departs Williams at 10:00am reaching the Grand Canyon Station at 12:15 and departing at 3:30. Five classes of service are offered from coach class with cushioned bench seats and sodas to luxury parlor cars with champagne and appetizers. The windows open for fresh air and unobstructed picture taking. We passed pastures of cows and horses at the lower altitudes and elk and ponderosa pines at the higher elevations.

Your time at the Grand Canyon affords you three great options. One is taking the free east rim shuttle and selecting a couple of points at which to get off the bus as they run every 15 minutes. Another choice is visiting the shops at the village and having lunch. And the selection I made, to take the west rim hike of 1.75 miles one way to the Yavapai Observation Station stopping in route at the various historical buildings. This is a paved trail with little or no elevation change suitable for wheelchairs. The observation station offers a 180-degree view from inside with large glass windows. There are books on the Grand Canyon’s flora and fauna as well as geological displays.

On the relaxing return trip, gentlemen with guitars walk the aisle of each car inviting guests to join in singing songs from "This Land Was Made For You and Me" to "America The Beautiful". Shortly before reaching Williams a team of train robbers came riding up, forced the train to stop and walked through the cars demanding money. Western facades created a backdrop for a brief western comedy staged at the Williams Station.

A few facts about the Railway, in 1901 it was the first passenger train to arrive at the South Rim. The popularity of vehicles in 1968 began its demise, but reconditioning of cars began in 1989 with the Grand Canyon Depot completed in 1990. In 1995 the railways begin daily service and the Fray Marcos Hotel next door opened. By October 1998, the millionth passenger rode to the Grand Canyon.

The price of the train ticket includes admission to the Grand Canyon, which at the kiosk costs $10 per person or $20 per vehicle. I saved my train tickets for re-entry into the park and for my rafting, as it was valid for park entry for one week.

Grand Canyon Railway
233 N Grand Canyon Blvd
Williams, Arizona, 86046
+1 800 843 8724

Getting Started Overview

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by nmagann on July 2, 2002

South Entrance Hikes
East Rim Trail-Easy, paved, wheelchair accessible, elevation changes of 200 feet, some shade and park benches, highlights include historic buildings, round trip times depending on turnaround points 15 minutes to 1 ½ hours. 8 miles round trip

West Rim Trail-Easy to moderate, paved or well-marked path, elevation change of 200 feet, some shade, highlights include California Condors, River Views, Temple of Isis Formation, Temple of Cheops Formation and sheer vertical cliffs. 2.35 miles round trip

Bright Angel Trail-Steep, zigzagging, dusty, potholes, narrow, same path as mules use, little shade, rest house with water and restrooms every 1-½ miles, increasing hiking temperature, highlights include squirrels, lizards, views looking upwards, oasis camping at Indian Gardens, river view at Plateau Point, Camping at Phantom Ranch along with mule pack riders. 20 miles round trip

South Canyon Shuttle Buses:
Hermits Rest Route-80 minutes round trip without getting off, 7:30 to sunset every 10-15 minutes during summer.

Village Route-60 minutes round trip without getting off, 6:30 to 11:00pm every 10-15 minutes during summer.

Kaibab Route-20 minutes round trip without getting off, 4:30am to 8:30pm every 10-15 minutes during summer.

Wildlife:
Although my hiking was primarily during the day, mountain lions, pumas and cougars do exist. Therefore it is advised not to hike alone, do not run from the animal and do not leave food out. On the other hand there are elk, deer, squirrels and cheerful birds.

Ranger Programs:
Although I am partial to the astronomy programs especially with group of specialist there at the time and with the eclipse, there are varieties of programs available to the beginner as well as those with some background. Evening programs about nature and cultural are held at Mather Amphitheater and Condor Talks by Lookout Studio where they are likely to be seen. Walks with a ranger include 1 ½ hour walks from the visitor center to 1 hour walks from Yavapai Observation Center. There are least a dozen programs with some accessible to wheelchairs. There are also junior ranger programs. During June through August were several photography programs, which I wish I had time to participate in, but I did get some tips at the visitor center.

Prohibited:
Feeding animals is prohibited and if rangers if think they see you doing it for a photo they’ll say something. Tagging or defacing the rocks and such is a $1000.00 fine we were told. Pets must be on a leash.

Geology:
At the top is the newer material is the Kaibab limestone, 260 million years old, and at the bottom is Vishnu Schist some 1.7 billion years old. The canyon is 277 miles with widths averaging 10 to 18 miles. Erosion from wind, rain, and river flow are constantly changing the terrain.


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