What To Do
At both the North and South Rim, rangers lead talks about topics including geology, history, astronomy, and California condors—the endangered but recovering birds that soar from the South Rim’s cliffs. In addition, American Indian artists frequently share their culture and creativity at the South Rim visitor center; past artisans have included a Navajo painter and a Hopi silversmith.
To hike into the canyon at the South Rim, set off on Bright Angel Trail, a cliff-hugger famous for stunning scenery, countless switchbacks, and bighorn sheep encounters. You can turn around anytime on the 12-mile round-trip trek, but remember to be kind to your future self: Every step down means a step up on the way back. For family-friendly fun, Bright Angel Bicycles rents cruisers and e-bikes, plus hosts cycling tours along Hermit Road, where you can pedal past prancing deer and breathtaking vistas.
At the North Rim, descend into the gorge on the challenging North Kaibab Trail, where pines poke up from vertiginous, rainbow-colored cliffs. Popular turnaround points are Coconino Overlook or Supai Tunnel, 1.5 miles and 4 miles roundtrip, respectively. Rest your feet and cruise the 46-mile round-trip Cape Royal Road, taking in top-of-the-world panoramas at Point Imperial, picnicking at Vista Encantada, and enjoying peekaboo views of the Colorado River through Angels Window natural arch.
The canyon is an officially designated Dark Sky Park, and for one week every June, both Rims host the Grand Canyon Star Party. Visitors can gaze at galaxies through telescopes and take workshops on night sky photography with amateur astronomers. Every September, the Grand Canyon Music Festival brings string quartets, jazz musicians, and more to the South Rim.