One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World is just a stone’s throw from Las Vegas and is the perfect getaway for a bit of peace and quiet.
This iconic American landscape was carved millions of years ago by the Colorado River and natural geological processes, and today the Grand Canyon’s stark beauty, rusty desert colours and glorious sunsets attract tourists from around the globe. This national treasure is situated about 365 kilometres from Las Vegas, and is perfect for an overnight trip.
The best place to begin your visit is by heading to the south rim of the canyon. This is where much of the Grand Canyon National Park’s infrastructure is based, including the Canyon View Information Plaza and Grand Canyon Visitor Center. These offer helpful guides, brochures, audio-visual displays and interactive features where you can learn about the area’s fascinating history, geology and wildlife. Temperatures often dip once the sun goes down, but the sunset is an experience not to be missed.
To experience the canyon up close (and get away from the crowds at the viewing platforms), hike down below the rim where more stunning views await, along with the chance to appreciate the prehistoric plant life and corrosive power of the Colorado River, which stripped back layer upon layer of rock over millions of years.
Several companies offer chartered helicopter flights over the south rim and the less accessible north and west rims. Viewing the canyon from the sky will provide a true sense of its phenomenal size, rugged terrain and magnificent colours. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a coyote or California condor.
Many visitors choose to spend the night in order to have two days at the canyon. A variety of accommodation options exist within and around the National Park, from comfortable hotels and rustic lodges to quaint cabins and campsites. For those who prefer not to drive, bus and helicopter tours depart Las Vegas regularly. A free shuttle bus (cost included in the entry fee to the National Park) runs along the south rim which visits the various museums and viewpoints scattered along it.