The Grand Canyon is nothing short of jaw dropping. It is one of the few places in the entire world where I simply chose to set my camera down and enjoy the moment instead. That never happens. My camera is an extension of me, and I travel specifically for the photo opportunities, but the Grand Canyon’s view is so powerful that it stopped me in my tracks. All I could do was sit and enjoy the moment and the majesty. If you are planning a trip to this natural wonder, be this two day Grand Canyon itinerary will help you plan the perfect trip.
Important Information About Visiting Grand Canyon National Park
Entrance Fees: $35 per vehicle
- $30 per motorcycle
- $20 per individual when entering the national park by foot, bicycle, park shuttle bus, and private rafting trip (Children under 15 admitted free when entering this way)
- Free for America the Beautiful pass-holders
- Main South Entrance: This entrance is the main entrance to the park and is closest to the Grand Canyon Village. It is 5 miles north of the town of Tusayan, and it is the entrance point for those traveling from Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Sedona.
- Main North Entrance: The entrance to the North Rim is located 30 miles south of Jacob Lake on Highway 67. Jacob Lake, Arizona is located near the Arizona-Utah border. This entrance is open seasonally from May 15th – October 15th.
- Desert View Entrance: The Desert View entrance station is located approximately 30 miles west of Cameron, AZ. It is both a secondary entrance to the South Rim and the primary portal to the Desert View area. The entrance is open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon is one of the most famous geological features in the United States and resides in the homeland of eleven different indigenous tribes. The canyon itself includes 278 miles of the Colorado River and miles of incredible viewpoints.
The canyon is composed primarily of sedimentary rocks such as sandstone, limestone, and shale that have been laid down over millions of years. Its walls display intricate patterns created by these different layers, as well as an array of fossils that can be seen in some places.
The Grand canyon was supposedly formed by the Colorado River cutting through layers of sedimentary rock over a period of six million years. This constant erosion caused by water caused the exposing the different geologic strata and revealing the different layers and colors of the canyon.
The Grand Canyon is estimated to be 70 million years old and has a depth of over 6,000 feet in some places. The area is home to many species of animals, including bighorn sheep, elk, and mule deer that are often seen along the Rim Trail or grazing on the canyon walls.
In 1919, Woodrow Wilson designated the Grand Canyon as an official national park, and the beautiful canyon now sees millions of visitors each year.
“Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.”-Teddy Roosevelt
Weather at the Grand Canyon
It is important to note that the Grand Canyon South Rim sits at 7000ft in altitude and the North Rim at 8000ft. This means that not only are you closer to the sun on hot days, but that it can also get cold despite its location in the desert.
The weather at the Grand Canyon can be unpredictable. One minute it can be sunny and the next minute it can be storming. It is important to bring a jacket, even in the summer, because the temperature can drop quickly especially in the evenings. The wind can also be quite strong at times. Because of its high elevation and location in the desert, it is often very sunny and can get extremely hot so make sure to bring a hat and sunscreen, and always stay hydrated.
If you plan to descend into the canyon, be aware that the canyon gets hotter and dryer with every 1000ft loss in elevation. According to the National Park website, the temperature in the canyon raises by roughly 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1000ft elevation loss as you descend into the canyon. By the time you reach the bottom, it can easily be 30 degrees warmer than the top of the canyon.
The Grand Canyon is located in Arizona and experiences a temperate climate. The average temperature is around 60 degrees Fahrenheit, and the weather is generally mild with some variation depending on the time of year. The canyon can be quite hot during the summer months, with temperatures reaching up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit, while it can be quite cold during the winter months, with temperatures reaching below freezing at times. Visitors to the Grand Canyon should be prepared for a wide range of temperatures throughout the year.
Below are the average temperatures the South Rim in each season. In general, the North Rim is colder and the inside of the canyon is significantly warmer.
Average High: 51-70 degrees (F)
Average Low: 25-39 degrees (F)
Average High: 81-84 degrees (F)
Average Low: 47-54 degrees (F)
Average High: 52-76 degrees (F)
Average Low: 27-47 degrees (F)
Winter (December- February)
It is important to note that according to the National Park’s website: “From November 1st – December 1st, the North Rim is open for “dawn to dusk” day use with limited services. However, if snow closes Highway 67 before December 1, the park will also close.”
Average High: 41-45 degrees (F)
Average Low: 18-21 degrees (F)
Tips For Visiting the Grand Canyon
When visiting the Grand Canyon, be prepared for a long drive. The canyon is located in northern Arizona and is an hour and a half drive from Flagstaff and a four hour drive from the closest airport in Phoenix. There are several ways to visit the canyon, including by car, bike or foot. If hiking, be aware that the trails are strenuous and not all are suitable for visitors with limited mobility or low physical fitness levels.
There are also ranger-led tours available which provide information about the geology, history and ecology of the park. Visitors can spend as little as an hour or two at the park or spend several days exploring all it has to offer.
If you are planning on visiting the Grand Canyon, here are a few tips to help you make the most of your trip:
- Make sure to plan ahead. The Grand Canyon is a popular destination, and it can be extremely crowded during peak season. Make sure to book your hotel and/or campsite as far in advance as possible, and be prepared for long lines at the park’s entrance.
- Spend some time exploring the different areas of the park. The Grand Canyon is huge, and it would be impossible to see everything in one visit. Pick a few areas that interest you and spend some time exploring them.
- Be prepared for the weather. The Grand Canyon can be hot during the day and cold at night. Make sure to dress in layers, and bring plenty of sunscreen and water.
South Rim vs. the North Rim
The North Rim and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon offer different experiences to visitors. The North Rim is roughly 10-18 miles from the south rim depending on the area of the canyon and is 1,000 feet higher in elevation. Because of this, the North Rim has a cooler climate with more trees and greenery. The South Rim however is home to the Grand Canyon Village as well as the most famous viewpoints in the park. Because of the popularity of the viewpoints and the trailhead accessibility on the South Rim, it is significantly busier than the North Rim.
Overall, the North Rim offers a more peaceful and remote experience while the South Rim offers more amenities and easier access. It is important to note that, despite being only a short distance from each other, driving between the North and South Rims requires going around the entire canyon. The drive between the two rims can range from 3 to 4 hours.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is different than the south rim in a few ways. For one, it’s at a higher elevation, so the views are more expansive and the air is cooler and thinner. The North Rim is also less developed than the South Rim, with fewer services and amenities. But what it lacks in creature comforts, the North Rim makes up for in natural beauty. The forests of pine and aspen that line the canyon walls are stunning, and the wildlife sightings (including deer, elk, coyotes and black bears) are frequent. The North Rim is open from mid-May to mid-October, so visitors should plan their trip accordingly.
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. The rim stretches for over 10 miles and offers stunning views of the canyon below. There are a number of lookout points, trails, and visitor centers located along the rim, making it the perfect place to spend a day or two exploring.
Some of the main features of the south rim include Mather Point, Yavapai Point, and Grandview Point. Mather Point is located near the entrance to the park and offers great views of the canyon. Yavapai Point is located further down the road and has an observation deck that provides a 360-degree view of the canyon. Grandview Point is one of the most popular spots on the rim and offers some of the best views of the canyon.
The South Rim is also home to a number of visitor centers, including the Visitor Center at Grand Canyon Village, Desert View Visitor Center, and Cameron Trading Post. The Visitor Center at Grand Canyon Village is located near Mather Point and offers exhibits about the history and geology of the canyon. Desert View Visitor Center is located on the east side of the park and offers exhibits about Native American cultures in the area. Cameron Trading Post is located on the Navajo Nation and offers exhibits about Navajo culture and art.
This itinerary will focus on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon which you can access year-round.
Sample Itinerary For One Day at the Grand Canyon
Enjoy the Rim Trail
Start your first day at the Grand Canyon by enjoying the Rim Trail This is the most popular area of the park, and for good reason. The South Rim Trail offers breathtaking views of the canyon, as well as a number of different lookout points that allow you to really experience all that the South Rim has to offer. The rim trail offers hikers stunning views of the canyon floor 1,000 feet below. The trail is well-maintained and easy to follow, making it a great option for first-time visitors.
There are a few things to keep in mind when hiking the rim trail. First, be sure to allow plenty of time to complete the hike; it can take several hours to hike from one end of the trail to the other. The Rim Trail is 13 miles in its entirety, but you can choose to just hike a part of it and take a shuttle back to your starting point. If you don’t want to hike, you can rent a bicycle from Bright Angel bicycles and enjoy a faster way to see the Rim Trail.
Second, be prepared for changing weather conditions. The rim trail is open year-round, but it can be very hot in the summer and cold in the winter. Finally, always stay on the designated path; off-trail hiking is not allowed and can be dangerous. People die every year by falling over the edge of the canyon.
Once you’re done at the South Rim, head over to Bright Angel Lodge for Dinner. This historic lodge was designed by famed architect Mary Colter and is one of the best places to eat in the park. After lunch, take a stroll down Bright Angel Trail. This easy hike will give you some great views of Bright Angel Creek and the canyon walls. Finish up your day with dinner at El Tovar Dining Room, another Mary Colter-designed building that offers beautiful views of the canyon.
Famous Viewpoints on the Rim Trail
- Mather Point
- Yavapai Point
- Yaki Point
- Powell Viewpoint
- Hopi Viewpoint (Popular sunset photo spot)
- Mohave Viewpoint
- Hermit’s Rest
Visit the Grand Canyon Village
The Grand Canyon Village is located near the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and is home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and food stands. There are a few sit-down restaurants, such as the El Tovar Dining Room and the Bright Angel Lodge Dining Room, but most people come to enjoy a nice cold ice cream cone as they take a break from the desert sun. There is also an on-site grocery store, the Village Market, which sells sandwiches, pizza by the slice, snacks, and drinks. The Grand Canyon Village is a great place to eat if you’re looking for cheap and convenient food options.
The first thing that you should do when you arrive at the Grand Canyon Village is to visit the Visitor Center. The Visitor Center has a wealth of information about the park, including maps, exhibits, and guided tours. If you’re not sure where to start, the staff at the Visitor Center can help you plan your visit.
Grand Canyon 2 Day Itinerary
Take a Hike
The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the United States. With its miles of trails and dramatic scenery, it’s easy to see why. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker, there’s a trail for you in the Grand Canyon.
Most Famous Hikes in the Grand Canyon
Hiking in the Grand Canyon is a great way to explore its many wonders. There are many trails with a range of difficulties. It is important to note though that many of the trails in Grand Canyon National Park are rated as strenuous due to the steep inclines in and out of the canyon and the severe lack of water availability on the trails. No matter which trail you choose, make sure you bring plenty of water (more than you think you need) and wear sturdy shoes – some trails can be quite rocky. For more experienced hikers, there are options for more strenuous backpacking trips that last several days. Before embarking on any long hikes, make sure you plan well in advance, prepare physically, and familiarize yourself with the demands of each trail.
If you’re visiting the Grand Canyon during the winter months, be sure to check the weather conditions before you start your hike. Many of the trails are closed during the winter due to snow and ice.
South Kaibab Trail
One of the best ways to see the grand canyon is to hike down into it. There are a number of trails that lead down into the canyon, and each one offers its own unique views and experiences. If you’re looking for a challenging hike, the south Kaibab trail is a great option. This steep trail leads down to the bottom of the canyon in just 6 miles, but it is steep and challenging. This trail offers amazing views of the Colorado River.
The views from the trail are worth the effort though. The South Kaibab Trail is home to the famous Ooh Aah viewpoint which many people choose to hike down to and turn around. This hike is 1.8 miles and has a roughly 700ft elevation gain.
Bright Angel Trail
If you’re looking for a hike with a more gradual descent into the canyon, the Bright Angel trail is a good choice. There are different versions of this trail that start at 9 miles long depending on where you turn around and the route that you take. Some people like to combine this trail with the South Kaibab trail. This trail takes you from the top of the canyon to its bottom.
There are a few things first time hikers should know about hiking Bright Angel Trail. It is important to be well prepared for the hike, both physically and mentally. Here are some tips:
- Make sure you are in good physical condition and have plenty of water before starting the hike. The hike is 12 miles round trip and can be strenuous, especially in the summer heat.
- Start in the early morning to avoid the hottest part of the day.
- Be aware of the dangers involved in hiking Bright Angel Trail. dehydration, exposure, and heat stroke are all real possibilities if you’re not careful.
The trail is well marked and has a number of resting places along the way. There are also several water stations where you can refill your water bottle, but it important to check the trail conditions and water availability with a park ranger before beginning your hike.
The best time to hike Bright Angel Trail is in the spring or fall when the temperatures are cooler. Be sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as well as sunscreen and a hat. There are few places to find shade along the way, so be prepared for sun exposure.
The Bright Angel Trail is a challenging hike, but it’s well worth the effort. The views of the canyon are stunning, and you’ll feel like you’re on top of the world when you reach the river.
When planning your hike down Bright Angel Trail, it is important to be aware of the difficulty of the hike and the potential dangers. The first few miles of the trail are relatively easy, but the last few miles are very strenuous. The trail is also quite steep, and there are a number of areas where you can lose your footing and fall. It is important to stay on the trail, and to be cautious when walking through these areas.
If you are looking for an amazing hiking experience in the Grand Canyon, Plateau Point is a great option. The hike to Plateau Point is about 9 miles roundtrip and takes most hikers between 6 and 8 hours to complete. The trailhead can be found just south of the village of Grand Canyon National Park on the east side of the canyon.
The hike includes a steep climb on the Bright Angel Trail, but it is well worth it once you reach the top. The views at Plateau Point are stunning, and you can even see down to the Colorado River below. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, as there is no water or food available along the trail.
Options for Non-Hikers
Rafting down the Colorado River is a popular way to experience the Grand Canyon. A river trip through the Grand Canyon is a must-do for any outdoors enthusiast. The 277 mile journey down the Colorado River offers something for everyone, from Class III rapids to calm stretches perfect for a leisurely float.
There are multiple different options for rafting trips from a day tour to multi-day experiences. Several companies offer guided rafting trips down the Grand Canyon, so there’s no need to worry about the logistics of going on your. Just make sure to book well in advance, as space on these trips fills up quickly. By joining a rafting tour, you also get the opportunity to learn about the Grand Canyon from your tour guide as you navigate the Colorado River.
Attend a Ranger-Led Program:
Another way to experience the Grand Canyon is to attend a ranger-led program. Park rangers offer programs on a variety of topics throughout the park. There are a variety of programs to choose from, such as ecology studies, geology lessons, and history walks. These programs can provide you with an in-depth look at the area and its incredible features.
Desert View Drive
If you’re not up for a hike, you can take a scenic drive along Desert View Drive, which offers more great views of the canyon. There are also several interesting places to stop along the way, including Moran Point, Lipan Point, and Grandview Point. You can also visit one of the many Native American villages located in the park or go for a walk or bike ride on one of the park’s many trails.
North Rim Visitor’s Center
If you don’t feel like hiking into the canyon, you could spend the second day of your two day Grand Canyon itinerary visiting the North Rim.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is a beautiful and serene area that offers visitors plenty of activities to enjoy. Some of the things that can be done at the North Rim Visitor Center include hiking, biking, horseback riding, and fishing. There are also ranger-led programs and exhibits available for visitors to learn more about the history and ecology of the canyon.
One of the best things about the North Rim Visitor Center is its location. It is situated near some of the most amazing views in the park, including Bright Angel Point, Point Imperial, and Cape Royal. Visitors can easily spend an entire day exploring the area and taking in all the beauty that it has to offer.
Another great thing about the North Rim Visitor Center is that it is less crowded than other areas of the park. This makes it a great place to relax and take in all the natural wonders that surround you. Whether you’re visiting for a few hours or a few days, be sure to stop by the North Rim Visitor Center and experience everything it has to offer.
Best Places to Watch Sunset at the Grand Canyon
If you are only spending two days at the Grand Canyon then you will want to make the most of each sunset. Some of the best places to watch the sunset at the Grand Canyon are Yaki Point and Mather Point. Yaki Point is located on the South Rim of the canyon, so it’s a great place to get started! It offers an incredible view of the layers of rock that make up the Grand Canyon walls. As you watch the sun go down, you’ll also be able to take in some breathtaking views of both North and South Rims.
Mather Point is another great spot for sunset-viewing and can be found on the South Rim as well. This popular lookout point has plenty of room for visitors to spread out, even during peak times. With its elevated position at more than 1,500 feet above sea level, Mather Point offers unobstructed views across much of the Grand Canyon – perfect for taking in those gorgeous sunsets.
Both of these popular points are relatively accessible, and no special permit is required to visit – just be sure to follow the designated trails and signs, so you can keep your footing safe and secure! And don’t forget, you’ll need a flashlight or headlamp if you plan on staying to watch the sunset.
Wildlife at the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, and for good reason. The canyon is home to a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, black bear, elk, and bighorn sheep.
If you are lucky, you may spot one of the most interesting animals at the Grand Canyon, the California Condor, during your two days at the Grand Canyon. These birds are among the largest in North America, and they can weigh up to 30 pounds. They are also known for their impressive wingspan, which can be up to 10 feet wide.
The California condors are an endangered species, and there are only about 400 of them left in the world. The Grand Canyon is one of their last strongholds, and visitors often have the chance to see them soaring overhead.
Another interesting animal that can be found in the Grand Canyon is the American bison. These animals were once common throughout North America, but they were nearly hunted to extinction. There are now about 500,000 bison living in North America, and a small population of them can be found in the Grand Canyon.
When is the Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon
In general, I’m a big fan of shoulder seasons. The summer is considered peak season for the Grand Canyon, but it is hot and extremely crowded. I generally recommend traveling during the shoulder seasons like just before summer or just after so that you can see the sites with fewer crowds. This way you have more time to spend enjoying the canyon and your 2 Day Grand Canyon itinerary instead of battling the summer crowds.
Is Two Days Enough For the Grand Canyon?
The Grand Canyon is a sight that should not be missed. It is one of the most beautiful and impressive places on Earth. However, it is important to plan your visit carefully in order to make the most of your time there. While this is a two day Grand Canyon itinerary, most people need at least three days to see the Grand Canyon properly, especially if they plan to hike down into the canyon.
There’s no doubt that the Grand Canyon is a must-see destination. With a little bit of planning, you can make sure that you have enough time to enjoy this natural wonder.
How To Get To Grand Canyon National Park
If you’re planning spending two days at the Grand Canyon, one of the most important things to consider is how you’ll get there. The park is a long way from any major cities, so there are a few different options for transportation.
The first option is to fly into Flagstaff or Phoenix and take a shuttle from there. There are several shuttle companies that offer trips to the Grand Canyon, and most of them depart from either airport. The trip takes about four hours from Phoenix, and the cost ranges from $50 to $100 per person. You can also take a bus tour from Las Vegas. The trip takes about eight hours, and the cost is around $100 per person.
Another option is to drive to the park. The drive from Flagstaff is about one and a half to two hours depending on traffic, and from Phoenix it’s around 3 and a half to 4 hours. If you’re driving, be sure to allow plenty of time for the trip, as there are often traffic jams on the roads leading to the canyon.
Getting Around Grand Canyon National Park
Getting around the Grand Canyon is relatively easy as it is well marked. There are limited parking lots however that can fill up quickly during peak season. If you are visiting on a busy day, it is recommend that you park at the Grand Canyon Village and utilize the free shuttle bus system that the National Park Service provides. This shuttle will take you to multiple different view points where you can hop off and enjoy the canyon. You can find more information on the shuttle system here.
Where To Stay in Grand Canyon National Park
If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, you’ll want to stay near the park so that you can enjoy its beauty and majesty as often as possible. There are a few great options for places to stay near the Grand Canyon, depending on your budget and preferences.
If you’re looking for a luxurious experience, consider staying at the El Tovar Hotel, which is perched right on the canyon’s edge. The hotel has beautiful views of the canyon and offers all the amenities you could want, including a restaurant, bar, and gift shop.
If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, try camping at one of the nearby campgrounds. There are several campgrounds to choose from, each with its own unique setting and amenities. Some campgrounds offer showers and restrooms, while others have more primitive facilities.
Finally, if you don’t want to camp or stay in a hotel, there are also several small towns near the Grand Canyon that offer a variety of lodging options. These towns offer everything from hotels and motels to bed-and-breakfasts and RV parks.
Driving an RV Through Grand Canyon National Park
If you’ve never driven an RV through the Grand Canyon, it’s a must-do experience. The park service roads are well-maintained and provide spectacular views of the canyon at every turn. There are a few tight spots and a few steep drop-offs, so make sure you’re comfortable with driving your RV before attempting the trip. It is important to note that there are very few places where RVs can park at the Grand Canyon so you will want to ask a park ranger at the entrance station for the free RV guide.
There are several camping areas within the park, so you can choose to stay overnight or for several days. The campsites have picnic tables and fire pits, and many of them offer stunning views of the canyon. Keep in mind that temperatures can vary dramatically in the canyon, so be prepared for both hot weather and cold weather.
Packing List for the Grand Canyon
No matter the time of year, it’s important to be prepared for all kinds of weather when you visit the Grand Canyon. Here is a suggested packing list to help make sure your trip goes smoothly:
- Comfortable hiking shoes and socks
- Lightweight jacket or raincoat
- Sunglasses, hat and sunscreen
- Hiking poles if going into the canyon
- Snacks and water bottles
- A camera for capturing memories
- Basic first aid kit (bandages, antibiotic ointment, etc.)
- Binoculars if you plan on doing any bird watching or wildlife spotting
The Grand Canyon is one of America’s most iconic tourist destinations for good reason – it truly is an unforgettable experience. By following this two day Grand Canyon itinerary, you can make sure that you make the most of your time there and see all that this natural wonder has to offer!
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