Grand Canyon National Park and Unesco Heritage Site
The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular national parks in the United States, but did you know that it is also designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site? Established as a world heritage site in 1979, the Grand Canyon is also considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world. This amazing attraction has been the top tourist destination in Arizona and is visited by over five million people annually from all around the world. For travelers coming from around the world wanting to experience the best of the United States, the Grand Canyon is typically at the top of their bucket list and highlight in visiting a US national park.
Here are some highlights to visiting the Grand Canyon National Park
” The Grand Canyon fills me with awe, it is beyond comparison – beyond description, absolutely unparalleled throughout the world. Let this great wonder of nature remain as it is now. Do nothing to mar its grandeur, sublimity and loveliness. You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is to keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one site that all Americans should see. ” – Theodore Roosevelt
Walking the Rim trail
One of the most popular hiking spots is the Rim trail which is about 13 miles from Hermits rest to the South Kaibab trail head, although the most visited tourist route only covers 1.7 miles one way from Monument Creek Vista to Hermits Rest in the Grand Canyon Village. Passing along the rim trail, you can stop at a variety of overlook areas and popular vista points. Walking along the rim trail offers the perfect opportunity to photograph some of the most stunning views of the canyon while you can stroll easily on the mostly flat paved trail.
Tip – there is also a shuttle bus system through the various points along the trail so you can stop or start anywhere you choose depending on how much time you have to explore the rim trail. The trail is mostly flat, paved and wheel chair accessible.
Posing on the edge of the Rim Trail
Close up details along the Rim Trail
Grand Canyon Village
There is a lot to see at Grand Canyon village which is a historic area worth spending some time in. Many of the buildings in the village are considered National Historic Landmarks and is one of the largest planned developments within the National Park system. Popular sites include the Hopi House, Lookout Studio and Bright Angel Lodge, all designed by famous architect Mary E.J. Colter. Other important buildings worth visiting in the village include: El Tovar Hotel, The Red Horse Cabin and the Santa Fe Railway Station.
The Hopi House
The stone Hopi House (below) was created as a reflection of typical adobe Pueblo style buildings used by the local Hopi Indians. Built in 1905 features museum quality Indian fine arts and crafts and the upstairs studio areas have been converted into more gallery spaces for special shows and more art and craft displays.
The Lookout Studio
A gorgeous jagged stone building sitting on the edge of the South Rim, the Lookout studio is one of the historic buildings in the Grand Canyon Historic district. Designed by local architect, Mary Colter in the popular rustic style, the studio is currently being is used as a gift shop and observation area with an outdoor Terrace. Originally constructed by the Santa Fe Railway, the Lookout studio was created to be a photography studio and gallery like the Kolb Studio which is also located on the rim of the canyon.
Tip – make sure you go out to the outdoor patio to get another inspiring view of the canyon to photograph
Views from the Lookout Studio
Trail hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
Further down from the Lookout Studio is the trail head for the hike down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim. This hike is fairly strenuous at points and has a series of switchbacks leading down to the canyon. There is two options of trails which you can do as a loop – the first is the South Kaibab trail which is 6.8 miles and the second is the Bright Angel trail at 9.3 miles. This ends up being a very long hike and the Park system does not recommend doing this hike in one day and alone. If you just want to experience a short part of the hike and to see some of the vistas from the trail, that is relatively easy to do and you can decide how long you want to spend going down and of course trekking all the way back up to the rim of the canyon.
Tip – the national park does not recommend doing this in one day, although you can just do as much as you are comfortable hiking down and back up the canyon trail.
It’s a long hike to the bottom of the Canyon and back
El Tovar Hotel Grand Canyon
A stay at the iconic El Tovar will give you a wonderful experience of grand style created in 1905 and considered one of the fanciest hotels in the National Park system then and to current standards. The intimate hotel features 78 guest rooms, a gift shop, fine dining restaurant, bar, newsstand and lounging areas. For an exceptional stay at this landmark hotel, you can check prices and reviews here for the latest updates and information.
Tip – for an elegant meal for lunch or dinner, make a reservation in the main dining room. There is also outdoor patio seating with magnificent views of the canyon available.
Rustic and comfortable stay at El Tovar
Elegant wooden interior and details
The main dining room at El Tovar
Essentials to get you there
If you are planning on visiting the Grand Canyon National Park, you need to book your flights, hotels, rental car in advance, especially during the peak traveling seasons to this area when everything reserves quickly and prices skyrocket. The affiliate sites below help support to maintain this website so any purchases below is kindly appreciated.
Flying into Flagstaff airport
The closest regional airport is located just outside of the park at Flagstaff airport. You can check out the latest vendor flight information and prices below.
Car rental options in the Flagstaff area
Hotel options in the area and around Grand Canyon village, check out these links below
Prices for hotel/inn accommodations fluctuate quickly based on availability and time of year. It is advisable to book way in advance to secure the best prices for your stay at Grand Teton National park or close by in Jackson or Teton Village.
TripAdvisor reviews and details, check here for prices and availability.
Priceline hotel reviews and details, check here for prices and calendar
Travel Buzz Media Unesco experiences
This post is part of a collaboration with Travel Buzz Media and a round up of editorial content about Unesco sites around the world. You can read more stories about fall travel below from our contributors:
Passing Thru – A visit to Suomenlinna (Helsinki, Finland)
Traveling with MJ – Marlbork castle in Poland
Passrider.com – 71 Unesco World Heritage Sites
Boomeresque – A visit to maritime Greenwich
If you enjoyed this post about the Grand Canyon, please check out my other Arizona posts below
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