The Grand Canyon is easily one of the more iconic National Parks in the USA to visit – and with good reason, it’s breathtaking. Totally iconic and vast, there’s a heap of the best things to do in the Grand Canyon that are dotted all around the park. Plus, along with the Hualapai Indian Reservation, Kaibab National Forest and the Vermilion Cliffs, it’s the kind of place you can spend months exploring.
Best of all, any trip to explore the Grand Canyon can be partnered with a gander around wider Arizona or heading to the bright lights of Las Vegas. Whatever the case, and wherever you choose to visit, make sure to give yourself ample time to visit all around the park itself.
Now, with a park that’s so vast, it can be tricky to nail down a handful of spots to visit during your trip.
So, to help you get the most out of your time, I wanted to share some of the top spots that we totally loved in the Grand Canyon. This way, you can spend much more time enjoying the park without the hassle of researching.
Take a look, below, at the best things to do in the Grand Canyon. Have an amazing trip.
1.) Desert View Drive
One of the best things to do in the Grand Canyon if you’ve got a car, Desert View Drive is totally stunning to explore. With around 20+ miles to drive, through the rim of the Grand Canyon, it’s the kind of drive that’s totally perfect for some incredible views and the Tusayan Museum, too.
Easily accessed upon entering Grand Canyon National Park (at the South Entrance), you can easily follow the route from Grand Canyon Village to the East Entrance to the park itself.
Along the way, you’ll get to see the Colorado River, carving through the impressive landscape that’s just so beautiful. Be sure to visit Moran Point, Lipan Point, Grandview Point and Navajo Points along the route.
Oh, and don’t forget Yaki Point; though, be aware, it’s one of the only viewpoints that you can’t drive to in your own car. To get here, you’ll need to hop on the free Kaibab Rim Route (Orange) Bus right from Grand Canyon Village itself.
For us, we’d recommend visiting at sunset and see those gorgeous hues transform the canyon. Sounds cheesy but it’s stunning.
2.) Bright Angel Hiking Trail
One of the most popular trails in the entire Park, Bright Angel Hiking Trail takes you from the Grand Canyon Village to the area around Indian Garden.
Pretty tough to complete, this is a trail that’s best suited to experienced hikers and shouldn’t be attempted if you’re unfamiliar with hiking, especially as it can take days to complete the 20 (or so) miles route.
That being said, If you’re looking for a shorter (but still tough) day hike, try the trek to Indian Garden Campground. This can still take between 6 and 9 hours but it’s doable in a day if you’re prepared for the trails.
Though, fear not, if you’re not an experienced hiker you can still hop on the half-an-hour Upper Tunnel trail, which is a 0.4 miles roundtrip. This trail will let you get a little taste of the Bright Angel Hiking Trail without dedicating too much time or energy to a longer route.
3.) Toroweap Overlook
Within the much quieter area of the North Rim, Toroweap Overlook is stunning to visit, especially for the views across the Colorado River.
Once here, be sure to join the trails that explore the wider area (the Lava Falls Trail is epic) and camp at Tuweep Campground that’s perfect if you’re looking for a much quieter part of the Grand Canyon to explore.
4.) Havasu Canyon
Perched within the Havasupai Indian Reservation, Havasu Canyon is stunning to visit.
Once here, be sure to explore the area around Mooney Falls and Havasu Falls which are incredible to hike down to. Plus, you’ll also get to see the Fifty Foot Falls and the Little Navajo Falls along the trail.
Just be aware that you will need a reservation to enter and the hike can get tough at times. In other words, your legs will ache like crazy the day after!
5.) Hermit Road Drive
Hermit Road is one of the first route options you can take upon entering Grand Canyon National Park at the South Entrance and really easy to explore via the totally free Hermit Road (Red Route) bus. Though, if you’re fancying a longer stroll, head out on foot.
Along the 7-mile Hermit Road, from Grand Canyon Village, will get you to a number of dazzling look-out points where you can enjoy gorgeous views overlooking the canyon. We loved Trailview Overlook and the views from The Abyss. Both have such huge vistas and really put into perspective the colossal size of the national park.
6.) Horseshoe Bend
Just outside of Page itself, visiting Horshoe Bend is one of the easiest and best things to do in the Grand Canyon when in Northern Arizona. Not only that, you don’t need to walk for hours or trek mountains to get here, it’s totally easy to find and just off Highway 89.
Although it can get busy, it’s well worth visiting at dusk to watch the sunset behind the bend itself. It’s totally stunning.
Plus, you can easily head here after kayaking through Marble Canyon, too.
7.) The Desert View Watchtower
Taking the less popular (but no less beautiful) route, via the South Entrance, and heading right down Desert View Drive will get you to the gorgeous, Desert View Watchtower.
Built back in 1932 and designed to look like an ancient Anasazi watchtower, the Desert View Watchtower has tow stunning observation decks to take in the views.
The views are totally incredible across the canyon, though, their equally impressive at night to spot planets and constellations. It’s stunning. Just be sure to take a windbreaker, it can get blustery at this point.
8.) South Kaibab Trail
Starting on the south rim, joining the South Kaibab Trail is one of the best things to do in the Grand Canyon for the wrap-around vistas at Skeleton Point.
Now, you won’t be able to drive to the trailhead so make sure to join the shuttle and get off at Yaki Point. If unsure, ask the ranger for local directions and a nudge when you arrive (sometimes this is easier).
Taking around 6-miles to fully complete, you’ll get to see Ooh-ahh Point, which is incredible, along the way. Just be sure to take enough fluids and snacks for the trip; there’s no water along this route.
9.) Skywalk at Eagle Point, West Rim
If you’re up to a 4-hour drive from the Park’s South Entrance, head on over to Eagle Point where you can walk across a vast glass bridge extending 70 feet over the Grand Canyon.
Totally breathtaking, the views across and straight down into the Grand Canyon are incredible to see. Though, if you suffer from vertigo, you might wanna give this spot a miss.
Afterwards, head around 5-minutes away to Guano Point, another stunning view that’s within easy reach of the Skywalk itself.
Alternatively, you can easily hop on a helicopter tour from Las Vegas to explore the western fringes of the Grand Canyon.
This is amazing to do if you’re only visiting the city and fancy a little 2-hour, or so, jaunt to the natural beauty spots of nearby Arizona.
10.) The Trail of Time hike
Great for families and with a more accessible paved route, the Trail of Time is designed to represent the geological history of the Grand Canyon itself.
You see, for every metre walked on the Trail of Time, a million years has passed in the Canyon. Along the trail, you’ll encounter corresponding markers signifying the place in history that you are currently at, as well as exhibits and rocks that explain the formation of the Canyon.
It’s totally unique and you don’t need to be an avid geologist to enjoy it!
Afterwards, you can partner this up with a gander around the Yavapai Geology Museum and see the views from nearby Mather Point.
Also, if you fancy carrying on your hike, head on the South Rim Trail that takes in so many gorgeous viewpoints across the National Park. It’s totally beautiful.
11.) Tusayan Pueblo Ruin
Considered one of the major archaeological sites of Arizona, the Tusayan Ruin, also known as the Tusayan Pueblo is the historic site of an 800-year-old indigenous town from the 1100s!
Excavated in 1930, the site is around 3-miles west of the Desert View Watchtower and really easy to partner up a visit whilst exploring this area of the Grand Canyon.
Once here, take a stroll around the Kiva, see the living areas and follow the gravel paths through the farming area. It’s so surreal to see.
Plus, the site also includes a museum which can be reached by a trail from the ruins which is great to get a background history of the area.
12.) Yavapai Geology Museum
Founded in the 1920s, the Yavapai Geology Museum is one of the best things to do in the Grand Canyon when exploring the South Rim.
The small group of well-known geologists who set up Yavapi chose it as it’s one of the best areas to see the diverse geology of the Grand Cayon itself.
Complete with exhibitions, history and huge relief maps, it’s a great spot to better understand the geography of the park and the processes which have carved it for millions of years.
13.) Marble Canyon
Getting a permit to paddle, float or otherwise enjoy the Colorado River running through the Grand Canyon is a notoriously difficult process, requiring high fees and extremely early applications and booking. But there is one area in the Park that thankfully doesn’t require all that work to enjoy, Marble Canyon.
Now, Marble Canyon is the section of the river between Lee’s Ferry and Little Colorado River. It’s technically the point at which the Grand Canyon begins and well worth heading here if you fancy taking a ride on the river.
You can even kayak Horseshoe Bend (with this rental company).
14.) Elves Chasm
In a much more remote part of the Grand Canyon, visiting Elves Chasm is for those that want to get far off the beaten track. Reached via the Royal Arch Loop, it’s the kind of hike that’s very tough.
This means that it’s perfect for experienced hikers (but still, you’ll likely need a guide). It’s the kind of place you visit if you’re looking for a challenge and certainly very difficult.
Don’t ever attempt the hiking route here without expert knowledge, information and fully equipped. After all, no one likes a reckless hiker.