When you think of the Grand Canyon, most people think of the South Rim. Most of the familiar sights are on the South Rim. It is closer to freeways and airports than any other part of the canyon.It is also the most crowded with cars and people especially in the summer months. You won't see many locals at the South Rim in the summer. However the views are worth coming any time of the year.
The South Rim is divided into 3 areas....
The Grand Canyon Village
This is a busy village and has most of the tourist activity. This is where most people see the canyon for the first time. It has two points of interest, Mather Point and Yavapai Point.
Mather Point is closest to the Grand Canyon entrance. Yavapai Point has excellent views but has limited parking however, it has panoramic views of the south rim and is closest to the Colorado River so you can see up and down the gorges.
The village has 5 lodges, places to eat, and other services including historic sites such as hotels and artist's studios. It is also the center for the bus tours and mule trips. All of the park services are located here as well.
Hermit Road (formerly known as the west rim drive) has some of the best Canyon views anywhere. If you enjoy bicycling, Hermit Road is probably one of the best places because of the limitations of private vehicles. Once you get out to Hopi Point you can see the Colorado River and if you're lucky and it's a quiet day you might hear the river as it crashes through Granite Rapids.
The Desert View Trail
Yaki Point is near the South Kaibab trailhead and is a popular place for sunset watching. It is closed to all private vehicles and can be accessed by shuttle bus or on foot.
The Grandview Trail has great views in all directions. It is a narrow unmaintained trail and is very steep for the first mile with switchbacks. You don't want to go further on the trail unless you are an experienced hiker. Landslides are not uncommon and they make the trail difficult. Note: there are no water sources and it can be extremely warm in the summer. There are also abandoned copper mines along the way. Stay away from them as they are very dangerous.
There are several other view points that you may want to explore if you have the time. You can get additional information at the Ranger stations.
More than any other national park in the US, the Grand Canyon has more hidden and inaccessible places such as waterfalls, deep pools, and ravines that cannot be reached easily. Most of the canyon and much of the South Rim will remain empty and unvisited.
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