Spend a Day at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim to See a Natural Wonder of the World

You’d be surprised to know what you can see in just one day at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. One of seven natural wonders of the world, it’s quite a site to behold. My boyfriend had never seen it (!), so we stopped in while on our way to the Phoenix area to spend time with family for Thanksgiving. With mouth agape, he couldn’t have fathomed the ineffable beauty and immensity that is the Grand Canyon. Here are some tips on how you, too, can knock this natural wonder off your bucket list!

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon: the one sight which every American should see.

The Grand Canyon. Do nothing to mar its grandeur…. Keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you. As the one great sight which every American should see.” –Theodore Roosevelt

What to Do at the Grand Canyon:

Take a hike at the Grand Canyon's South Rim
Take a hike into the Grand Canyon for the most intimate connection to this natural wonder. Limited by time, we opted to take a short three-mile (1120 ft.) hike on the scenic South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge, which is a gorgeous landing for panoramic views, selfie sessions, and/or a picnic. It even has a bathroom!

The South Kaibab Trail is really steep and, well, exposed. If someone in your party has a fear of heights, this might not be the activity for him/her–Maybe biking the Greenway Trail along the top of the rim is a better idea!

Also, make sure you have shoes with a good tread, as the trail has pebbly dirt that can be slippery. There may also be snow and ice depending on the season. If you’re there in Winter, bring some warm wear like a puffy, hat, and gloves. The altitude at top of the Canyon is about 7000 ft. so it can be super cold. It gets warmer as you go down, so, as usual, dress in layers!

A free shuttle will get you to the trailhead and bring you back. The driver will usually give you some history of the Canyon. Try to make it back to the shuttle hub well before sunset if you want to get to one of the most popular points to take pics. The shuttles fill up and take a while to get to the best photo op spots such as Yaki, Hopi, and Yavapai Point.

Grand Canyon Hike to Cedar Ridge via South Kaibab

Contemplating the beauty of the Grand Canyon at Cedar Ridge via the South Kaibab trail

Where to Eat at the Grand Canyon:

After a day of hiking the South Kaibab trail or the Bright Angel trail, the last thing you want to see is more Bright Angel–unless it’s the restaurant named after the famous trail! Check out the All Natural Smoked Buffalo Bratwurst with sauerkraut and fries. Or, build your own 1/3 pound burger piled high with toppings. You earned it!

If you’re a fancy pants and want to dine where famous people like Albert Einstein, Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney, and even Teddy Roosevelt have replenished themselves in the past, head over to the historic El Tovar dining room. Note: They frown upon shorts and flip flops, so hit the car and change into something less comfortable!

Grand Canyon Hiking the South Rim

Jeff Kloppenburg takes in the ineffable beauty of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim for the first time!

Where to Stay at the Grand Canyon:

We stayed in Sedona, Ariz., which is about 2.5 hours (each way) from the South Rim, so that really cut into our Grand Chasm enjoyment. Plan ahead and camp for about $15 or stay in one of the seven National Park Service lodges, which range from $94-$464. You’ll have more time to explore and see sunrise and sunsets!

There’s also a small town about four miles south of the Visitors Center called Tusayan, Ariz. that has seven hotels like a Best Western, Holiday Inn, etc. if you prefer these types of accommodations.

Whatever you do, whatever you eat, and wherever you stay, just go to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. It’s worth the trip even if you only have a day!

Grand Canyon's South Rim at Sunset

Stay at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim for sunset. Take a shuttle to Hopi Point!