The summer holiday season is here again and if a beach break seems boring to you this year, you might want to seek out a holiday that is out of the ordinary and can offer you adventures and experiences that will last a lifetime.
The USA has many spectacular places to see, but the Grand Canyon in the state of Arizona is certainly one of the greatest jewels in America’s crown.
One of the USA’s National Parks, the Grand Canyon is a steep sided chasm carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries. It stands a mile deep, around 18 miles wide and 277 miles long. The enormity of the area covered by the canyon means that there is a great deal to see and do and a wide variety of ways in which to see everything.
There is a range of Grand Canyon Tours on offer which will allow you to see the Canyon and its beautiful surroundings from several different perspectives. A guided bus tour around the South Rim of the Canyon will take you to Desert View or Hermit’s Rest and you can take a special bus tour that will give you the extraordinary experience of seeing the sunrise or sunset over the Canyon. The guide does the driving while you take in the scenery and the fascinating geological history of the site.
A Head for Heights
For more active adventure holidays, there are guided day and overnight hikes and camping trips, organised by several different companies, as well as the Park Rangers. A variety of different topics are covered from geology and archaeology to photography. Park Ranger hikes cover the Rim Trail on either the North or South Rim and there are Nature Walks along the North Rim Trail too. You will need to have quite a head for heights if you want to visit one of the overlook points as the drop is extremely sheer from both sides. The South Rim is a dizzying one thousand feet higher than the North Rim, too.
If you prefer to cycle, there are guided cycling Grand Canyon tours along the quieter rim roads and through the greenways and bicycles can be hired from a private company located in the Visitors Centre. The company also offers a shuttle service which will take you to a road closed to public traffic which will offer you spectacular views over the Canyon, in a peaceful location.
For a tour that will give your adventure holidays a hint of the unusual and quirky, you might try a mule trip. Mule tours are offered on the South Rim all year round and on the North Rim between May and October. You can choose from a 3 hour Mule Trip which will take you through the Ponderosa Forest to the Abyss, an overlook on the Canyon rim, or an overnight Mule Trip with a stay at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Canyon.
Get to the bottom of the Canyon and see more, with river trips along the Colorado River which vary from 1 day smooth water trips, to 18 day white water rafting trips if you fancy something more exhilarating.
If you’re celebrating a very special occasion during your visit, such as a birthday or anniversary, then you can even take a helicopter tour over the Canyon. If the urge to tie the knot is too strong to resist, you can even get married while you’re there. What a stunning backdrop for the wedding photos!
One thing is for certain, the Grand Canyon National Park is a very special place that will leave you with memories that you can share forever.
Carrie Chapman is a travel advisor who specialises in holidays to the USA and Grand Canyon tours. She writes regularly for a range of travel publications, websites and blogs.
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