This post has a complete list of tourist attractions for Grand Canyon National Park and the surrounding area. We’ve included activities for all seasons and all types of visitors, whether your trip is for several hours or several days. The attractions are broken up into relaxing and more adventurous activities so you can find attractions that best suit you on your Grand Canyon National Park Vacation.
Grand Canyon’s more relaxing Tourist Attractions
The Grand Canyon Railway
Go back in time and take a train into Grand Canyon Village. From William, Arizona the Grand Canyon Railway offers a unique way to get to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, complete with a mock train robbery!
Grand Canyon Scenic Drives
Feel like staying in your car. The Grand Canyon is full of opportunities for scenic drives. From the South Rim’s paved viewpoints to jeep roads along the North Rim and even roads down to the Colorado River you can explore a lot of Canyon from the comfort of your car.
Grand Canyon Imax
Nothing beats exploring the Grand Canyon on your own two feet, but there is something to be said about a good movie (especially a Grand Canyon Imax). The Imax is a great way to see all those things you didn't have a chance to see during your visit. If the kids are tired of walking, it's a rainy day, or you just got back from a Rim to Rim hike, or rafting the Grand, the Imax may be the answer for you. The Grand Canyon Imax is about a five minute drive from the South Entrance to Grand Canyon National Park in the gateway town of Tusayan.
Grand Canyon Viewpoints
The Grand Canyon has some of the most amazing vistas in the World. The best access and some say the best views are from the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Access to this part of the park is open year round from the Desert View or Tusayan entrance stations.
If you want a little more solitude the North Rim is the place to be. There are several viewpoints on both paved roads and 4x4 roads on the rim of the canyon. Open from mid-May though mid-October you can find a view to yourself.
Grand Canyon National Park Guided Ranger Talks
The National Park Service offers free guided walks and talks with some very knowledgeable Park Rangers to teach you all kinds of cool Grand Canyon facts. These are offered on the North and South Rim and also include junior ranger programs for the kids.
Grand Canyon Photography
Don’t have so much fun on your Grand Canyon Vacation you can’t prove you were there. Photographs make great memories and the Grand Canyon is very photogenic. Professional photographers from around the globe would love to spend a day at the Canyon. From endangered wildlife and scenic vistas, to whitewater rapids and glorious sunsets be sure to save some of those memories in digital format to show the friends and family when you have to go back home.
Grand Canyon National Park Shuttle
From the free Grand Canyon shuttles, to Grand Canyon Bus tours of all shapes and sizes you can let someone else do the driving for you and just soak in the views on your Grand Canyon Vacation.
Tusayan Ruins Grand Canyon
The Tusayan Ruins and museum on the South rim of the Grand Canyon is an awesome place to learn about the Canyons earliest inhabitants and see some of their architecture and historical artifacts first hand. For experienced hikers and rafters there are many archeological sites below the canyon rim!
Grand Canyon RV Parks
For those RVers making their way to Americas' National Parks the Grand Canyon has limited offerings, and is set up more for tent campers or people staying at a Grand Canyon Lodge. The only location with full hook-ups is Trailer Village on the South Rim, which is a mix of RV's, Trailers, and other inexpensive housing for local residents. There are a few campgrounds throughout the Park where you can park your motor home, but they are more conducive to smaller RV's. There are however, plenty of Forest Service roads and other free campsites for those of you who can go without hookup for a few days. If not nearby cities like Flagstaff, Williams and Kanab will offer up everything an RV needs within driving range of the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon Fall Colors
Because of its high elevation the North Rim of the Grand Canyon has some beautiful Aspen Groves. Head up early in the fall season and you can enjoy few other tourists and the amazing gold colors all along the Rim!
Winter Snow at Grand Canyon National Park
It’s usually sunny at the Grand Canyon, especially during the peak summer season, but there are other sides to this busy tourist destination. Winter is quiet and usually fairly mild, but there are huge snow storm that blanket the Canyon Rim and turn the park into a winter wonderland if only for a little while.
Grand Canyon Wildlife
Huge Elk, mule deer, coyotes, big horn sheep, mountain lions, bobcats, tons of reptiles, the previously mentioned California Condor and much more can all be spotted on your Grand Canyon trip. With over one million acres of wilderness the Grand Canyon is still full of wildlife.
Grand Canyon Sunrise and Sunset
You’d be surprised to see how few people take advantage of a Grand Canyon sunrise or Sunset. With thousands of spots to choose from, this is definitely the most amazing time to watch the canyon in all its glory! So grab a bottle of wine, make a picnic for the kids and enjoy one of the most awe inspiring sunrises or sunsets of your life.
Driving to the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon
Most people only get a glimpse of the Colorado River from afar unless they’re lucky enough to hike to the bottom or go rafting, but there are other ways to see the mighty Colorado. Lee’s Ferry at the eastern boundary of the park has a paved road right to the river and for those of you with a 4X4 you can actually drive through the canyon along diamond creek on the Hualapai Indian Reservation right to the banks of the mighty Colorado.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is open from May 15th through October 15th and is a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle that is common place on the South Rim. The North Rim has beautiful meadows and aspen groves, as well as great views in a more laid back setting.
Grand Canyon’s more adventurous Tourist Attractions
Grand Canyon Scenic Plane or Helicopter Flights
One of the area’s most popular tours is the Helicopter and Plane flights that soar above the world’s grandest canyon. Several tour operators offer scenic flights over the canyon with departures from various destinations around Grand Canyon National Park.
Grand Canyon Skywalk
The Grand Canyon Skywalk as well as several other activities is located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation in the Western Grand Canyon a few hours from Las Vegas, NV. The Skywalk is a Glass Bridge hanging suspended over the Rim of the Grand Canyon 4,000 feet above the Colorado River. The Skywalk was opened in March of 2007 and allows visitors to walk beyond the rim via a clear glass bridge with views of the Canyon floor well below their feet.
Grand Canyon Hiking
Hiking the Grand Canyon is an activity almost anyone can enjoy. From a short stroll along the rim to an all-day adventure hiking is one of the best ways to experience this awesome place. For those of you who want more than a day below the rim, grab your backpack and set off on a multi-day adventure. What a local expert to take you on a hike, no problem contact one of the local outfitters to do all the planning for you.
Walk the Rim Trail- This is a great mellow walk along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This trail starts at the South Kaibab Trailhead and follows the rim to Hermits rest. The entire trail is over 21 miles, but all you need to do is hop on and off the free shuttle to hike small sections.
Hike the most popular trails- The corridor trails consist of Bright Angel, South Kaibab and North Kaibab trails. These are the most heavily used trails leading into the Grand Canyon within the Park.
Day Hikes- the South Rim has the easiest access to trailheads for day hikes, but there are great hiking trail throughout the Grand Canyon! Read more about Grand Canyon Hiking Trails.
Backpacks- the Grand Canyon has some of the best backpacking trips in the world. The South Rim is open all year, but backpacks off the North Rim are closed in the winter due to snow fall. Read more about Grand Canyon backpacking trips.
Havasu Falls- There are no roads to Havasu Falls so hiking or horseback are usually your only options to access these turquoise waterfalls, unless you make it on one of the occasional helicopter flights. Located on the Havasupai Reservation deep within the western Grand Canyon this is a must see destination for the adventurous traveler. Experienced hiker can do the trip on their own, but there are also some great backcountry guides to take care of everything for you.
Grand Canyon Wilderness- If you are an experienced hiker that doesn’t like to be around herds of other people check out some of the hundreds of miles of lightly traveled trails and routes the Grand Canyon has to offer. Learn more about these hikes. Backpacking Grand Canyon trails outside the corridor is a big step up in regards to difficulty and preparation. The trails are steeper and less maintained and water is scarce. The trade-off is beauty and solitude is in a tree desert wilderness. Learn more about these backpacking adventures.
Grand Canyon Mule Rides
Looking for a more historic way to travel through the Canyon? Look no further a Grand Canyon mule ride will transport you back to the Wild West. Xanterra runs all the mule trips at Grand Canyon National Parks South Rim, as well as the overnight mule trips to Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Canyon. If the South Rim trips are booked up, there are also mule rides in the National Forest outside the Park to make sure you get in the saddle. If you’re not visiting the South Rim, you can also hop on a mule at the North Rim or Grand Canyon West for a day trip.
Grand Canyon Rafting
From mellow one day float trips to week long wilderness adventures the Grand Canyon has it all for the boating enthusiast. Although most trips on the grand are multi-day whitewater adventures, there are also one day whitewater and smoothwater options.
Go on a leisurely float down the River- Although the Grand Canyon is known for its thrilling whitewater rafting trips, the Colorado River also offers up a great smooth water float just upriver from the park for families and people who want a more relaxing experience.
One Day Whitewater Adventure- Get your adrenaline fix with the only one day whitewater rafting trip through the Grand Canyon. This trip is run by the Hualapai Tribe in the western Grand Canyon and even includes a helicopter ride up to the rim at the end of the trip. Be ready for a full day and possible cancelations if summer monsoons close the road.
Embark on a Rafting Expedition- Running the Grand is one of the premier whitewater trips in the world. Exciting rapids, amazing views and a wilderness experience will make this an adventure you will never forget. From 3 days to two weeks the Grand’s Certified Guides offer several options for the adventure of a lifetime. For those of you with the experience to run the Grand Canyon on your own, sign up for the National Park Lottery and cross your fingers.
The Grand Canyon is a great place to camp! Aside from backcountry hiking and backpacking, there are several campgrounds on the North and South rim of the Grand Canyon. Many of these campgrounds need to be reserved in advance, but there are some there are some great campsites along the rim that require no permit and offer a lot of solitude if you have high clearance and a bit of time.
Campgrounds- there are only a few campgrounds with facilities you can drive to in Grand Canyon National Park. The largest is on the South Rim, but there are also campgrounds on the North Rim and other parts of the canyon. National Forest and Tribal Land along the Grand Canyon. Learn more about Grand Canyon campgrounds.
Backcountry Car Camping- Along the North Rim, South Rim and other areas of the Canyon you can find a campsite to yourself along the rim if you have high clearance and are willing to drive a bit. Learn more about these off the grid campsites.
Car Camping in the National Forest- the Grand Canyon is surrounded by National Forest. There are tons of dirt roads to drive down and find a campsite and some of them even lead to the rim of the Grand Canyon. Learn more about USFS camping options.
Grand Canyon Jeep Tours
If you’re into 4X4 vehicles there are several jeep tours offered both inside and outside the National Park. If you’re a little more adventurous, renting a 4wd vehicle will give you access to rarely visited viewpoints along the rim of the canyon that offer up a real adventure. Check out Point Sublime, South Bass and Toroweap to get started and be sure to have the proper maps, equipment and supplies, these places are far away from any help!
Grand Canyon Swimming Holes
You won’t find much water on the Grand Canyon Rim, but for those of you willing to do a longer hike, or multi-day backpack the Grand Canyon has some awesome spots to cool off in the hot desert sun.
Grand Canyon Rock Climbing
It’s not Yosemite, but the Grand Canyon still has some rock climbing available. Although there’s lots of rock, most of it is not very stable so be careful.
Bouldering- There’s some bouldering available near the South Rim and along the canyon floor and side canyons if you’re willing to hike long distances with your crash pad. Learn more.
Sport Climbing- There’s several sport climbing routes along the South Rim. Most of these are found near the Bright Angel trailhead. Learn more.
Multi-day trad routes- For more experienced climbers there are multi-pitch trade routes deep within the canyon and almost certainly some 1st ascents available for the taking. Just be selective when climbing in the canyon as it’s mostly made up of soft sedimentary rock. Learn More.
Grand Canyon Biking
The Grand Canyon has some great options for riding a bike. There are some nice places to cruise around in Grand Canyon Village, highways to ride, dirt roads and even some great single track.
Rent a bike on the South Rim- Most people don’t bring their bikes with them on vacation, but riding a bike is a great way to see the South Rim. Bike rentals are available at Mather Point and offer a good option to park your vehicle, be eco-friendly and avoid the sometimes maddening traffic at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Mountain Bike the Rainbow Rim Trail- A little known single track trail along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is an awesome way to explore the park. This trial is actually in Kaibab National Forest along the canyon rim and is the only single track bike trail along the Grand Canyon. You’ll need high clearance and a map to get there, but it’s well worth the drive.
Grand Canyon Cross Country Skiing
South Rim- The South Rim of the Grand Canyon can receive over a foot of snow in a good storm. If you live close by, or happen to be around during this winter event you'll wonder why there isn't a Nordic Center on the Rim. This can be a unique way to enjoy the solitude the winter months bring to this bustling destination, but snow does tend to melt off the South Rim fairly quick after a storm.
North Rim- The North Rim on the other hand actually gets a snow pack due to its average elevation of over 8,000 feet. The Road to the North closes after the first snow (usually some time in later November) and does not open until May 15th. A Winter Rim to Rim is popular with hardcore Canyon hikers, and there are also limitless forest service roads, as well as a couple trails on the North Kaibab ranger district.
Grand Canyon Geocaching
Geocaching is a great way to learn about the Grand Canyon. Although you can’t cache physical objects, the park has a virtual geocaching program. You can download the Earthcache Program from the parks website, or grab a copy when you arrive at the park.
Grand Canyon Fishing
The Grand Canyon has some great fishing, and in particular fly-fishing. Although you can bring your fly rod or casting equipment any time you'll be by the Colorado River, or one of its larger side canyons like Bright Angel Creek, the Guides and Outfitters are all located near Lees Ferry. The Grand Canyon has both Rainbows and Brown trout near Lees Ferry and the upper canyon. If you head further down river on a river trip you'll find striped bass that have been making their way up from Lake Mead, as well as catfish due to the warming water.
Toroweap Grand Canyon
In the far western Grand Canyon off the North rim is a seldom visited area called Toroweap (also known as Tuweap). From Kanab, UT several hours down a dirt road will offer a rustic campground, a rugged trail to the Colorado River, small Ranger Station and a lot of Solitude. This is an area best enjoyed during the cooler seasons for travelers who are not on a tight schedule.
Grand Canyon Rock Art
The Grand Canyon Area has a treasure trove of archeological resources including some great pictographs and petroglyphs. Although most of the locations are not given to the public do a little exploring and you can easily find these links to the past. Just a few hundred yards down the Bright Angel trail on the cliff faces to your left is a good place to start.
Grand Canyon Caves
Most people don’t know that the Grand Canyon is full of caves. Although most of them are not legal to enter, there are a few fun options.
Grand Canyon Caverns- If exploring a cave on your own doesn’t sound like your cup of tea try Grand Canyon Caverns, located outside of the park near Seligman it offers a nice guided tour in the largest cave in the area. Learn more.
Cave of the Domes- Cave of the Domes off Horseshoe Mesa is accessible. It’s a strenuous trail to get there and there are no signs so you’ll have to do your research to find it, but it’s a great experience if you do. Remember you are on your own down here and there is no water, food stands or elevator to get you out.