Phoenix, AZ

The Grand Canyon: 3 Perfect days

Victoria Nogales

PHOENIX, AZ - Featuring a three-day itinerary filled with activities, adventures, and attractions, this itinerary covers all the must-see places for your first trip to the Grand Canyon.

Note: The Grand Canyon National Park pass allows one re-entry per day.

Day 1
As you walk into Bright Angel Bicycles & Cafe at Mather Point, you'll smell the fragrant aroma of fresh-brewed coffee. The café uses locally roasted beans to make specialty lattes, mochas, and more. Take a bike rental and pedal 3.4 miles along paved trails to the panoramic Yaki Point, where you can watch the morning sunrise.

From the visitors' center, cross the Rim Trail westward, a flat, paved path that is serviced by shuttles. Along with breathtaking views, the trail is home to several attractions: Yavapai Museum of Geology, offering geology-related exhibits; Verkamp's Visitor Center, with interpretive exhibits on the area's history and pioneers; The Hopi House, a gift shop built in the style of a Hopi pueblo, was designed by Mary Colter at the turn of the century. The Kolb Studio showcases fine art, photography, films, and curiosities.

The Grand Hotel at The Grand Canyon is located a mile from Grand Canyon National Park's south entrance, so once the sun goes down, make your way there. Take in some live music and a draft beer at the adjacent saloon after a steak dinner at Canyon Star Steakhouse.

Day 2
The morning and afternoon is perfect for taking a scenic drive along Desert View Drive. There are many overlooks and attractions along this 25-mile stretch to look forward to.

Navajo Point offers an alternate perspective of the Colorado River's "Big Bend" area, such as buttes and ravines, the richly colored Lower Red Canyon, and remnants of an American Indian village at Tusayan Ruin. From the observation deck of the Desert View Watchtower, designed by Mary Colter in 1932 in the style of Ancestral Puebloan towers, you will get 360-degree views of the canyon and Colorado River.

Visit the Desert View Trading Post for lunch where you can eat Indian tacos, hotdogs, and ice cream at a picnic table outdoors.

At dusk, you can enjoy the most picturesque view of the Grand Canyon while someone else does the driving. Take a 1.5-hour ride along the West Rim and enjoy the spectacle as the sky becomes a colorful carpet of color as the sun dips into the earth's shadow.

Day 3
A hike along a scenic trail is perhaps the best way to appreciate the rugged beauty of the Grand Canyon in the morning and afternoon.

Enjoy the family-friendly Bright Angel Trail, which offers numerous turnaround opportunities, restrooms, and water. While hiking downhill into the canyon, take in the stunning views (and remember to keep an eye on your distance, as the hike back will require some uphill walking). For first-timers and late starters, the 1.5-Mile Resthouse is a popular stop, especially if you have small children in tow.

Spend an evening sitting on the ledge of Mather Point overlook, and enjoy a breathtaking sunset as the canyon and sky merge.

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