I’m Interested…

Grand Canyon & Williams

The Grand Canyon really does take your breath away with its awesome views. The 5 million-year-old Grand Canyon is a must-see with its seemingly never-ending, intricate landscape.

This powerful and inspiring landscape overwhelms the senses of the millions of people that visit each year. Carved by the mighty Colorado River over billions of years, it is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and 6000 feet deep, and one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

The South Rim of the Canyon is the most accessible part of the National Park and is open all year round whereas the North Rim is much less accessible and heavy snow can sometimes close the road to the North Rim from late October to mid-May each year.

Williams – A small town nestled in the pine country of Arizona, Williams offers countless things to see and do. Train enthusiast can ride the Grand Canyon Railway through Arizona’s high country. Route 66 history buffs can explore more than six blocks of historic buildings and shops bursting with memorabilia. Travelers will find a charming resting place at the Gateway to the Grand Canyon. Outdoor adventurers will have trouble deciding between the numerous outdoor activities, from fishing and hiking to camping and horseback riding.

Most visitors to the Grand Canyon travel in the summer months and marvel at it’s grandness from the South Rim. There are however many ways to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Canyon – take a helicopter flight from Grand Canyon Airport over the Canyon for the best aerial views; if you’re feeling energetic, take a guided hike down Bright Angel Trail or just wander as far as you wish on your own…but remember to wear the correct walking attire and have plenty of drinking water with you. For the more adventurous you can take either a 3 hour or an overnight mule trip. If you have more time, the best way to see the Grand Canyon is from the Colorado River so why not try a white water rafting experience. There are numerous trips each year, ranging from 3 days, departing from either Lees Ferry (near Lake Powell) or Phantom Ranch (at the foot of Bright Angel Trail) however they are very popular so you should plan at least a year ahead but it’s worth the wait! It’s an experience you will never forget.

Top Tips for an authentic Grand Canyon experience

Learn from the Rangers – National Park Service rangers at Grand Canyon pride themselves on their knowledge of the park, from the smallest details to the broadest overviews. And they love sharing their insights with visitors. Be sure to check out the schedule of ranger talks, which may be on anything from archaeoastronomy to the Ancestral Puebloans to petroglyphs, geology, and hiking the canyon. A ranger may offer guided walking tours or deliver a talk from one spot along the rim or present an evening lecture at the Shrine of the Ages. Wherever and whenever you find a ranger who’s ready to share information, take advantage of that opportunity.

Hike the Trails – You could spend months viewing the canyon from above, but for a truly immersive experience, take a peek below the rim. From the South Rim, two trails lead into the canyon: the 10.3-mile Bright Angel Trail near the Historic Village, and the 7.3-mile South Kaibab Trail just east of the Visitor Center.
Whichever you choose, preparation is key since your life may depend on it. Before you go, make sure to wear enclosed shoes with soles that have a stable grip, provide toe protection, and offer ankle support. Wear headgear to stave off the sun, carry walking sticks for better balance, bring plenty of water, and carry salty snacks, fruit, and protein bars. One last thing: Don’t walk any further than you feel comfortable with since it’ll be twice as tough retracing your steps out of the canyon.

Drive the Roads – While the Historic Village is the epicenter of activity, Grand Canyon stretches far beyond that. For mile after mile of unfolding views, get in your car (or RV or motorcycle) and head east where you’ll soon discover even more of the park at places like the Yavapai Geology Museum at Yavapai Point where you should take in a view from the broad bay window. Don’t miss the Discovery Channel film, A Journey of Wonder, presented at the Visitor Center, followed by the historic Tusayan Museum and ruins, which include the remnants of homes and kivas created by Puebloan Indians 800 years ago. Roughly 25 miles from the Historic Village, Mary Colter’s 1932 masterpiece — the Watchtower at Desert View — gives you a heightened awareness of Grand Canyon’s majesty when viewed from the top of this classic 70-foot-high observation tower.

Saddle Up – While hiking into the canyon is an authentic experience, riding a mule into the canyon may be easier, but not a snap. One of the canyon’s most recognized images, mules have been carrying visitors in and out of Grand Canyon for well over a century. It’s such a popular activity that reservations can be booked 13 months in advance — and the spaces fill up fast. While a waiting list is available at the Bright Angel Tour desk for day-before cancellations, those chances are slim. Note that the weight limit is 200 pounds, and riders must be at least 4 feet 9 inches tall, fluent in English, comfortable with heights, and unafraid of large animals.

Two-Wheel It – Bicycling is another fun way to get around. Chances are you won’t arrive with a bicycle in tow, which is where Bright Angel Bicycles can help — at least between March 15 and Oct. 31. You can ride along the Rim Trail, on the roadway, and the Greenway, which is a 6.5-mile trail between the town of Tusayan and the South Rim Visitor Center. Keep in mind the elevation here averages 7,000 feet, so it can be a challenge for guests with respiratory or heart problems.

Awesome Things for Kids to Do

Take Part in a Junior Ranger Program – With its historic sights, walking trails, museums, exhibits, and the canyon itself, Grand Canyon National Park may be America’s largest classroom. For kids, one of the most popular activities is participating in a Junior Ranger program. Lessons are related to nature, history, the environment, and geology and every program is free. Kids can pick up a Junior Ranger book, complete the activities inside, and then bring it to a ranger at the Visitor Center. After they review the answers, they administer the Junior Ranger pledge and then present them with their Junior Ranger badge. They can even take their new badge to one of the park’s bookstores for a custom sew-on patch related to their award.

Learn Geological History – Understanding the immense span of time it took to create Grand Canyon can be daunting, but the 2.8-mile Trail of Time on the South Rim is a perfect visual aid to help kids understand how it was formed. They can even earn a Junior Ranger badge here. Follow this interpretive timeline east from the Village and show your kids how the canyon’s rock layers reveal its geological story. Brass markers every few feet represent one million years and the farther you walk, the farther back in time you travel until you reach the ‘bottom’ of the canyon where the oldest layer of rock is nearly two billion years old. On the trail, ask your kids to imagine each million years as just one day. The top layer was formed 270 million years old, so that is just ‘nine months’ old. The bottom would be nearly 2,000 days old — more than five years at that rate. If you need a little assistance in explaining it to your children, look for interpretive materials that will help you understand the geological process, or ask a ranger for a quick overview of how the canyon was formed.

Study Ancient Human History – Drive east along the South Rim to the Tusayan Ruins and you can teach your kids about the human story connected with the canyon. An excavated village includes the remnants of shelters and meeting houses Ancestral Puebloans used for religious rituals and political meetings. These tribes had established dozens of communities in the area, one of which was at the Grand Canyon. You can connect your kids to history by asking them to imagine how those people lived — where did they get their water? How did they dress? What did children their age do for entertainment? For the answers, visit the small museum here where the answers are found in exhibits that showcase tools, jewelry, art, and artifacts unearthed at this spot.

Ride a Mule – Riders will have to be at least 4 feet 9 inches to participate in one of the most popular activities for kids (and adults); the Canyon Vista Mule Ride. Tell your kids you’re going to take them for a ride on a ‘long-eared taxi’. They’ll fall in love with the gentle mules, and it gives them a perfect opportunity to see Grand Canyon from a new perspective. Along the way, they’ll learn a little about geology, nature, the outdoors, and how to behave around large animals. This is a signature Grand Canyon experience.

Get Wowed by the Sunrise – Even if it’s not a school day, your kids will want to get up early to witness one of the most beautiful sights in America. Sunrise at Grand Canyon is a wonderful experience for families to share. It’s worth it to get up before daybreak to see the canyon change colors with the changing light. It is something you and your family will remember forever.

Suggested Itineraries

How Can We Help?

  • North America Travel Service
  • The Kennedy Building,
    48 Victoria Road,
    Leeds, LS11 5AF
Join our newsletter

Get updates on the latest offers, news, events and more.