Planning a trip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park this year? It might surprise you to discover that there’s a whole lot more to see than the canyon itself. Our family recently wrapped up a trip to the South Rim and we’re quite surprised at how developed it was. Along with fantastic network of rim and canyon trails, there are many other sites of interest worth exploring.
Because our family usually visits the North Rim, I had forgotten that the south side of the Grand Canyon was home to a number of historic structures. It’s on the South Rim where we took a peek at the historic El Tovar hotel, the Hope house (which has been featuring Native arts and handiwork for over 100 years), the 1906 Verkamp Visitor Center, and the 1905 Victorian Kolb Studio.
For people willing to travel further afield, there are also some historic structures found at the Desert View, some 25 miles east of the Grand Canyon village. Along with a 70 foot watchtower observation center with splendid views of both the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert, visitors can walk through the Tusayan museum and the Tusayan ruins.
And talk about museums! Almost everywhere we went during our stay at the Grand Canyon had a mini museum or a set of interpretive panels to explore. The main Visitor’s Center has outdoor and indoor exhibits to help plan your trip, plus a 20 minute movie and an assortment of exhibit cubes. One mile east of the market center is the Yavapai Geology Museum has panoramic views of the Grand Canyon and tells the geologic story of the area. The Tusayan Museum at Desert View provides a glimpse into Pueblo Indian life at Grand Canyon some 800 years ago.
Ranger led tours
If this is your first time to the Grand Canyon, you might enjoy one of many ranger tours that the Grand Canyon has to offer. Most ranger led tours originate form either the Yavapai Geology Museum or the Verkamp Visitor Centers. There are also a handful of audio tours available for visitors and an assortment of self-guided tours for those who prefer to set their own schedule.
For visitors who are seeing the Grand Canyon for the first time, this isn’t the type of park where you can drive up to the rim for a peek and then go on your merry way. With all the interesting points of interest, rim trails, historic landmarks, and amazing views that the Grand Canyon National Park has to offer, it’s too easy to overlook popular spots without some help. For an idea of what to see, be sure to check out the Grand Canyon NP website at National Parks.gov. It’s here where guests can find help in planning their day, whether it’s for just a couple of hours or the entire day.
Resources: Planning your visit to the Grand Canyon: Visitors Centers
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