In 2019, the Grand Canyon National Park celebrated its 100th birthday. It was pretty neat to visit during such a special year. The Canyon is stunning and well worth the trip!
The Grand Canyon has 3 rims– North, South (technically there are two entrances here), and West (this is owned by the Hualapai Indians, not the National Park Service). The North rim is closed from mid-October until mid-May and is the least busy of all three rims.
Aaron and I had visited the West rim previously before we had kids and it was gorgeous and really interesting learning more about the American Indian tribe, but this time we opted for the South Rim to try something new (and so our girls could get their Junior Ranger badges 😉).
We lucked out and were able to get a somewhat last minute booking at Thunderbird Lodge and had gorgeous views of the canyon from our window! Normally, these lodges fill up quickly, so it’s definitely worth planning out in advance.
I’ll be honest, our first day was a little tough with one of our kids. She was surprised by how cold it was and wasn’t very excited about going on any walks. We only did one short walk that took us to Mather Point, a beautiful outlook over the canyon. Then, we made sure to warm up by heading over to the Visitor’s Center and picking up the girls’ Junior Ranger packets.
We had dinner at the Bright Angel Lodge and then walked out into quite the snow storm! Of course, the kids were excited to see so much snow and talked non stop about it as we walked back to our room.
We woke up a little before sunrise, so we all quickly got ready and bundled up to go outside. The view from our room was spectacular with snow all around the canyon.
There are a lot of great hikes into the canyon, but since it was so cold and icy, we didn’t feel comfortable taking the kids on any of them. Instead, we took the free shuttle on the Kaibab Rim Route and made stops at various locations along the rim. This was a great way to see different viewpoints, while still allowing the kids to warm up in between.
This also included a stop at the Yavapai Geology Museum, which was interactive and fun for all of us. The girls both finished up their Junior Ranger packets (they now have a badge from Olympic, Rainier, Cascades, and the Grand Canyon) while we were there so that we could turn them in once we were back at the visitor center.
It was a short trip, but such an interesting visit with all of the snow! I’d love to come back again in a few years and do a bit more hiking with the kids.
Have you been to the Grand Canyon before? What’s your favorite activity there?