1 Unforgettable Day in Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park is the perfect location to spend one unforgettable day outdoors, marveling at the spectacular natural beauty of this unique place. The best way to start your day in Grand Canyon National Park is by watching the sunrise from one of the many viewpoints. Mather Point is the most popular location for viewing sunrise, but Yaki Point is our recommendation as it has less crowds and the views are just as epic.

Yaki Point in Grand Canyon National Park.
Yaki Point in Grand Canyon National Park.
Watching the sunrise at Yaki Point in Grand Canyon National Park.
Watching the sunrise at Yaki Point in Grand Canyon National Park.

The Grand Canyon really comes alive during golden hour, with deep shadows, spectacular colors, and a beautifully quiet stillness. Take it all in as you watch the sun rise and bring warmth and light to all areas of the canyon. When you watch the sunrise at Yaki Point, you’re conveniently close to the South Kaibab Trailhead.

Unforgettable South Kaibab Trail Day Hike

The South Kaibab Trail is the perfect day hike as it is one of the fastest ways to experience being within the walls of the canyon. Despite this being a relatively short day hike, it’s important to be prepared. Pack plenty of snacks and water, and wear hiking shoes with good grip. You start off on this hike by descending the twisting switchbacks, and you immediately have a breathtaking view of the canyon. Keep following the well-defined trail downhill until you reach the aptly named Ooh-Aah Point. When you arrive, you’ll be presented with a spectacular view out into the canyon.

You also have the option of hiking further into the canyon to Cedar Ridge, but keep in mind that the hike back up to the canyon rim will take much longer than your hike down.

The great thing about the South Kaibab Trail hike is that you can decide how far down into the canyon you want to hike. Since it is an out and back hike, you can turn back any time and explore other parts of the Grand Canyon for the rest of the day.

If you’re lucky you might get to catch the mule pack on the South Kaibab Trail. The mules bring supplies down to the bottom of the canyon, and carry trash out on the trip back out. Mules have kept the Grand Canyon National Park running for well over 100 years.

Grand Canyon mules hiking up the South Kaibab trail.
Grand Canyon mules hiking up the South Kaibab trail.
Enjoying the scenic view from Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail.
Enjoying the scenic view from Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail.

Grab a Late Lunch or Afternoon Snack at Yavapai Tavern

After your South Kaibab hike, you are likely going to be hungry and ready to grab a late lunch or afternoon snack. We recommend stopping by the Yavapai Tavern. As you drive to the tavern, stop by the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and Park Store to learn more about the park, and pick up some souvenirs to remember this day by.

The Yavapai Tavern has a variety of great food options and we recommend trying some of their delicious starters or sandwiches. Our favorite is The Melted Elk sandwich which is a delicious Elk burger combined with incredible tomato bacon jam served between fresh toasted sourdough. Make sure you also save room for dessert as the Yavapai Tavern is known for their warm skillet cookie with ice cream.

Catch the Sunset at Yavapai Point

After your afternoon break, it’s time to sit down and relax and take in the sunset. Keep an eye on the time though as Grand Canyon sunsets are what dreams are made of, and you don’t want to miss this one! The setting sun dramatically changes the look and feel of the canyon, and it marks the perfect way to end your one unforgettable day at Grand Canyon National Park.

Yavapai Point is one of the best places to take in the sunset at the Grand Canyon. Here you can easily find a place to sit down by yourself and enjoy the incredible view. Don’t forget that the most dramatic skies can happen just after sunset, as the now set sun turns the sky beautiful hues of pink and orange.

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Bettina and Kyle are the faces behind the travel blog The Next Trip. It is their goal to share their favorite places in the world with you and inspire you to explore the great outdoors.

Originally from Switzerland and Canada, Bettina and Kyle met when studying abroad in Finland and after having been in a long distance relationship for 2 years, they both moved to Chicago where they lived for 5 years and pursued their careers in finance. In 2019, they decided to quit their jobs to explore the world in their truck and camper. They have been to all 50 U.S. states and 63 countries and counting.

You can follow Bettina and Kyle’s adventures on Instagram, TikTok, and read their travel tips, tricks, and destination guides on their blog The Next Trip.

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