Grand Canyon South Rim, Arizona

6/17/2018 to 6/20/2018

So many beautiful views!

Sunday 6/17/2018     We only had about 125 miles to drive today and check-in time at our next site was noon so we were in no hurry to leave Meteor Crater RV Park. We pulled out around 10 am. We had to backtrack a little to Williams, AZ and then head north to the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is very busy this time of the year but I had made reservations months ago for a campground right inside the park. What’s nice is that it’s very close to the Visitor’s Center. After we arrived and set up we rode our bikes to the visitor’s center. At the campground it was nice and quiet but when we arrived at the visitor’s center it was full of people. There’s a bike rental shop, a gift shop, the bus station and the visitor’s center itself. We looked around the gift shop for a few minutes and then we headed to the main visitor’s center to watch a 20 minute movie about the Grand Canyon. After that, we walked to a lookout called Mather’s Point which is just a short distance from the center. It was very difficult to get any decent photos as people were several deep trying to take their shots and selfies. We walked maybe a mile around this area and then walked back to our bikes and rode back to the trailer. After getting something to eat, we walked out of the campground to a place down the road that houses a lodge with a restaurant and a grocery store/gift shop. We walked around this area for awhile and began walking back to the trailer before dark. We want to get a good night’s sleep because we plan to get up very early and walk back to the visitor’s center and begin a very long hike on the Rim Trail to Hermits Rest. We decided this would be the only way to beat the crowds and the busloads of people that usually arrive about 9 am.

Monday 6/18/2018     We woke early and began our walk around 7:00 am. There’s a paved path that goes from the campground to the Visitor’s Center. From The Visitor’s Center it’s a short walk to Rim Trail. The Rim Trail runs from the Kaibab Trailhead west to Hermits Rest, a distance of approximately thirteen miles. All along the trail there are different lookouts to view the Canyon. When we started out there were very few people out and about. It felt as though we had the place to ourselves. As we walked along the trail we would check out every lookout we came across. We even came upon two elk who didn’t pay us any attention. They just continued grazing. We walked about 4 miles to where the trail runs past a section called the Village. The Village is a busy place with lodges, gift shops, the bus transfer, and a train station that drops off hundreds of people from Williams, AZ. It’s also the beginning of a popular trail called Bright Angel which you can walk or ride donkeys. This trail is 8 miles long descends downhill 4,380 feet. And you know what happens when you walk down – yep – you have to walk back up. We decided not to venture on this trail. Once we got into this section it started to get crowded. There are buses that run all through the park and stop at every popular lookout. Most people take the bus, get off at a lookout, spend a few minutes there and then grab the next bus to the next lookout. Of course, we had to be superheroes and try to walk the entire length. After about six miles and realizing we had another seven miles to go, we decided to hop on a bus and ride it the rest of the way to top end or Hermits Rest. At Hermits Rest, we visited the gift shop and sat down to eat our lunch. After lunch, we walked a mile and a half back to a lookout that we had skipped by taking the bus. At this stop, called Pima Point we hopped on a bus that would take us all the way back to the Village. At the village, we had to transfer to another bus that dropped us off at the entrance to our campground. The rest of the evening is just going to be relaxation time.

Here's a video I took with my iPhone standing on the edge of the south rim.

Tuesday 6/19/2018     Today we drove over 22 miles to a site called the Desert View Watch Tower. It’s dedicated to the Native Americans of this area. A few craftsman were inside the tower selling their wares and a woman was demonstrating how to weave an Indian rug. There were many recreations of Indian drawings on the walls. You are able to walk up four floors up a stone, circular staircase to a great viewing area of the Grand Canyon. We spent over an hour walking around and taking photos. From there we drove to the Tusayan Museum and Ruins. There was only a very small museum that highlighted Indian artifacts. We walked around the outside ruins but all that really remains are stones stacked in a small outline of a living area and a storage area.

That’s about all we did today. The rest of the day was just relaxation.

Wednesday 6/20/2018     We decided to take another bicycle ride today. A couple days ago when we walked the Rim Trail, we started at the trailer park and walked to the Visitor’s Center. At the Visitor’s Center we began walking towards the west end down the trail. We hadn’t walked east yet so that’s where we went for the bike ride. Bikes are permitted on the Rim Trail on the east end but not the west. We started out on the bike path near the trailer park but when we came to an intersection, I thought we should take this trail but it was actually just a clearing for the telephone poles to come through. After riding for awhile on this rocky path I finally listened to Rose that this was the wrong way. We continued on anyway since I didn’t know where the correct path was and luckily we ran into it. From that point on, it was a very nice bike path. It also has a nice name – The Arizona National Scenic Trail. This led us to the South Kaibab Trailhead which is another trail that goes to the bottom of the canyon. There are warnings posted all around about the dangers of this trail and the heat-related illnesses. We only trekked down about 15 minutes and decided to turn around. It’s a 6.3-mile walk down into the canyon that descends 4,860 feet but it does have some switchbacks which make it a little better. The mules also use this trail to bring down tourists and supplies but we didn’t have the pleasure of running into any – we only ran into their manure on the trail.

After this trailhead, we continued on to Yaki Point. This is the furthest viewpoint east that the buses travel. We wandered around and took some pictures before we turned around and headed back to the trailer on the paved Rim Trail. This part of the trail was very scenic and made for an extremely pleasurable ride. After lunch at the trailer, I decided that we should ride our bikes to the train depot. The train has been running for over a hundred years from Williams, Arizona to the south rim of the Grand Canyon.

It was only around 1 pm so we were looking for something else to do. The other day when we walked down the west end of the Rim Trail we noticed a lot of bicycles making the trip up the steep climb. It’s approximately 8 miles up the road until it ends at Hermits Rest. We decided to load our bikes on the front of the bus that goes up to Hermits Rest and then take a thrilling, fast ride back down. It sounded like a good idea. Only the ride down from Hermits Rest is mostly going uphill for a long time and then slightly going down for a short time. We were really struggling but were determined to finish the ride – it had to go downhill at some point. But it didn’t start going downhill quickly until over 6 miles down. Then the fast ride was over in five minutes. We were exhausted so at the bottom of the hill, we loaded our bikes on a bus that took us back to the entrance of the trailer park. We had ridden our bikes about 18 miles today and it felt like 100.

Thursday 6/21/2018     Our time at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is over. Today we are moving to a campground near the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

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