Do a quick web search for Travel Blogs featuring the Grand Canyon and many blogs talk about 3-4 day trips. What if you don’t have four days but still want to see the Grand Canyon (GC)?What if you only have 3 HOURS? Guess what? We did it in 4 hours and you can do it too! If you want to take long and involved hikes, or hikes in general, this guide is NOT for you. If you want to see the Canyon, take some epic pictures, and write home about it, read on!
This map shows our driving path and the points we stopped at in red. We deliberately chose not to go to the Visitor Center since I (Victoria) had been to the GC before and Terrence didn’t want to waste any more time. If this floats your boat, go ahead and stop. If not, drive in the south entrance on Route 64, make a right onto Desert View Highway, and get ready for your first stop.
Yaki Point was pretty crowded because 1. It is the first stop and 2. It is close to the Visitor Center. That’s okay. When you get in the National Park the first thing you are going to want to do is actually see the GC! There are safe points, behind a railing, or, if you are daring like us, you can venture out where you can get unobstructed pictures.
Pro tip: No matter what, under any circumstances, do not go to the edge of ANY canyon, mountain, ledge etc., ESPECIALLY when it is snowing like it was when we are there. It may look safe, but there could only be a thin layer of snow covering an unstable part of the ground or simply a tree branch and well, we don’t need any death or destruction.
Grandview Point was pretty fun because although this isn’t a hiking itinerary, there are some little walking paths you can take that go down under the viewing rail. These are relatively safe, if you are careful, and we spent a good 30 minutes walking around and exploring.
Even though it was still a bit crowded, crowds make you feel safer when wandering around, just in case something were to happen. We went to the bathroom at this point, and take it from us, the bathrooms were pretty gross. Bring your own hand sanitizer,since most bathrooms were out. You can thank us later.
By the time we got arrived at Moran Point, I was over it. It was a nice 30* and my bare skin had been exposed to the elements for about two hours. Terrence went on a scouting mission to see if this point was any good, and came back in less than 10 seconds with a photo. It was too epic, and we just had to get out.
If you want to trek to the point where we did, it was a bit more dangerous than the past two walks. You actually have to hop over the rock barrier, and climb down a relatively sheer rock face. There is no walking involved, you actually have to climb. If you take the risk, the views will reward you with both northern and western vistas. If you want to be safe, the views are equally as beautiful from the rail.
Lipan Point was nice, but nothing special. We breezed by it pretty fast and didn’t get any photos.
Navajo Point was one of our favorites. There were tons of mini hiking trails around this point as well if you want to explore different views of the Canyon. It was extremely windy, with 50mph gusts coming up from the Canyon. I (Victoria) did some pretty risky climbing, which I wouldn’t recommend to anyone so stick to the mini trails for safety!
Desert View was the last stop of the journey for us and since this is the eastern-most point, you can see beautiful vistas all up and down the Canyon. You can even see the prairies on the north side. The complexity of the Canyon contrasted nicely with the barren prairie. Desert View was BEAUTIFUL at sunset, so if you can time it that way, we suggest it!
Four hours was plenty of time for us to see the GC and do a mini-photoshoot at each location. If you have even less time, you could probably get this 25 mile drive done in under 3 hours, without shooting. More time? The park is at your disposal. Take some time to enjoy the drive out down 89 where you will see some stellar prairie vistas, and maybe even a few buffalo!
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