Seeing the Grand Canyon, has always been on our bucket list so we felt it has to be the first thing check off our list.Shortly after we arrived in Phoenix post our wedding, Abhi and I repacked our bags, loaded the car and headed towards Northern Arizona. We visited the Grand Canyon in May to escape the scorching heat of the Arizona summer.
We drove directly to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix and it was a 4 hours drive through the beautiful pine forests. Even though we wanted to visit the canyon at sunrise, but we knew we wouldn’t be able to reach that soon, and we eventually settled on sunset. Excited with the anticipation of seeing the Grand Canyon, we started early and drove through the amazing morning light.
On reaching the visitor center, we directly went to Mather Point that is closer to the visitor’s center but can get incredibly crowded during the day. In no time, we saw the great canyon in full view and were spellbound by the vastness of it. After we got some stunning pictures at Mather Point, we got on to the Orange shuttle that took us to Yaki Point. It was a gorgeous sight to look out on the canyon, as the sun glow was illuminating everything.
There were a few people already there, but Abhi and I had scouted locations at Yaki on Instagram the day before and knew what spot we wanted. We had to hike down some rocks to get to a landing spot that overlooked the entire canyon. Once we got down there we had the whole place to ourselves and what a treat it was.
In true sense of the term, the Grand Canyon is enormous. We must have seen the canyon in so many movies, but seeing it in person was an amazing feeling. It’s pretty much a rainbow of colors amongst all the rocks, trees, and cliffs, and those colors continue to change as the sun begins to crack the surface on the horizon. As we sat and enjoyed the panoramic views of the canyon, ‘chipmunk’ came to say hi!!
Abhi and I walked a little down the South Kaibab Trail, we hiked down to Cedar Ridge and back. South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge is a 3 mile moderately trafficked hiking trail and is rated as difficult. Cedar Ridge had beautiful, sweeping vistas, amazing morning light, cool conditions, relatively empty trails.
Seeing the sun set over the Grand Canyon is a magical phenomenon to witness. The shadows creep up the canyon walls and the lengthening shadows with deep orange glow of the setting sun can be seen against these walls. It’s amazing to watch the formations take on different colors and shapes with the angles of the sun. We arrived about 30 minutes prior to sunset to see it all unfold.
We were pleased with our vantage point for sunset over the canyon where the dramatic clouds made for impressive colors in the sky. We were worried that the sun would simply be a sliver of light in the sky, but exactly at the magic hour, she didn’t disappoint and burst her rays through the narrow opening between the clouds and the canyon. It was spectacular and allowed us to witness one of the most beautiful scenes on earth; sunset over the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon is just so vast and gigantic. It stretches on further than the eye can see, and is deeper than we ever could have imagined. And the mesmerizing colors! The Grand Canyon is going to be stunning whichever way one look at it, but it’s the south rim, which possesses the vistas that you see in movies and on postcards, is the best rim to visit. The Grand Canyon makes for a perfect ‘gasp-worthy’ trip of a lifetime and perhaps we can never stop boasting about it.
Few points to remember while visiting the Grand Canyon:
– Never forget to bring water, even if it’s cold outside.
– Be sure to check out more tips on visiting the Grand Canyon at sunrise/sunset here.
– Check the weather before you go. The Grand Canyon is cold in the morning (what do you expect when you’re 7,000 feet above sea level?)
– Mather Point is the most popular spot for viewing sunrise/sunset at Grand Canyon since it’s a short walk from the main visitor center, but Yaki Point takes you a little deeper into the canyon.
– The Grand Canyon shuttle buses are the best ways to travel around the South Rim. They’re free and heated/air conditioned. Park at the visitor’s center and just hop on and off.
Have a great weekend!!
Photos by Abhi & Suchi