The Mrs. and I just returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon, and if you haven’t seen it – the winter is a great time to go. There are fewer people, there’s no summer 100+ heat, and it’s fairly easy to book a room at the last minute – even on a weekend.
I made my first trip to the Canyon in 1996 during a three month cross-country roadtrip that put 17,000 miles on my car and had us touch all four corners of the Lower 48. We arrived on the North Rim in mid-summer with 104 degree heat and mobs of people in every direction. I’m embarrased to say that we didn’t hike a single mile on that trip.
After that experience, I longed for cooler temps and for a backpacking trip to the bottom of the Canyon. I returned in December 2002 to find snow at the South Rim and scant crowds three weeks before Christmas. We hiked 16.6 miles on that trip and stayed at both the Bright Angel and Indian Garden Campgrounds. The hike was on corridor trails which are heavily traveled – even in the off-season – but we enjoyed every minute of it.
When I returned to the Grand Canyon a few weeks ago, snow lingered once again along the 7300′ rim at Shoshone Point. And the canyon looked much as it did ten years earlier -massive, tranquil, and even dangerous as you stand on the unguarded rim.
If you haven’t seen it – you owe it to yourself in this life. It’s one of those fascinating places that (despite its great age) just never gets old.