Destination: American West
The Grand Canyon has been a quintessential American destination and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. There are no high-end accommodations close by, requiring visitors to strategize when it comes to plotting an itinerary (contact our Bookings Team for help planning a trip).
Lay of the Land: Located in the northwest corner of Arizona, the Grand Canyon extends for nearly 2,000 square miles. Its two main entrances, the South Rim and the North Rim, are both easily accessible by car. The more popular South Rim is a few hours’ drive from such airports as Phoenix and Flagstaff, in Arizona. This is the place that has those iconic red-ravine views. Its South Kaibab Trail offers a good hike, but on days when the sun is strong, the more sheltered Bright Angel Trail is the better choice. The more remote North Rim gets about 10 percent as many visitors as the South Rim. At a much higher elevation, it’s most easily accessed from Las Vegas or by driving from Utah’s Amangiri. The drive from the South Rim to the North Rim takes five hours. Passes for the Kaibab National Forest may be purchased, and the drive to Saddle Mountain or Tuweep are not to be missed.
ITINERARY 1: THE ROAD TRIPPER The Grand Canyon is well situated for road trips between Sedona and Las Vegas. Must stops along the way include Lake Powell, Zion National Park and Grafton, Utah, a bona fide cowboy ghost town. The Grand Canyon can be toured when driving from one destination to another or as a day trip from Amangiri (www.amanresorts.com), a two-hour drive to the North Rim, or from Arizona’s Enchantment (www.enchantmentresort.com), a two-and-a-half-hour drive from the South Rim. To avoid the biggest crowds at the South Rim, plan to go at the beginning of summer (early June) and visit first-thing in the morning or during sunset. For an overnight, the best option is El Tovar (www.grandcanyonlodges.com), a lodge whose accommodations are not high-end but which is booked up to a year in advance because of its location.
ITINERARY 2: THE ENDURANCE HIKER
Adventure seekers will relish the opportunity to hike in the Grand Canyon as a way to enjoy the majestic site without the tour buses. Located within the canyon, the Phantom Ranch (www.grandcanyonlodges.com) is rustic, with gender-separated dormitories and basic cabins with bunk beds, but it makes a good base camp for hikers. Plan to stay at least two nights to allow time for the day it takes to climb down into the canyon, a day for trekking and a full day to climb back up to the rim. Hikers are rewarded with incredible landscapes, but this itinerary requires endurance.
ITINERARY 3: THE GLAMOUR TRAVELER
By far the glitziest option is to take a private helicopter tour, from Las Vegas. Choose the three-plus-hour “landing tour,” allowing for extra time to explore the canyon rim on foot. In Las Vegas, a good hotel option is the Mandarin Oriental, which has a contemporary design scheme and a relaxed ambiance, thanks to the fact that there is no casino on the premises. Another great conclusion to an American West tour is by ending up at the Enchantment Resort, in Arizona, or at the Amangiri, in Utah; both resorts take inspiration from their incredible natural surroundings, making them memorable and destination-specific conclusions to a trip.
When to Go: Heavy snowfall can make the North Rim inaccessible in winter, but the South Rim has desert-like weather throughout the year (expect some rain in August).
Luxe Camping: Indagare can help arrange custom expeditions in the Southwest, which include the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Moab. Nights can be spent in private luxury camps in canvas tents with mattresses. It’s as luxe as camping in the U.S. gets.
For help planning a journey there, contact our Bookings Team.
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