The Grand Canyon has been referred to as one of the seven wonders of the world, so I decided that it would be the first wonder that I would visit in my lifetime. During my stay in Las Vegas at the end of November, my girlfriends and I decided to take a day trip out to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Choosing to go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon was a strategic choice. After extensive reading, I found that most people recommend the South over the North Rim, which is often said to be a tourist trap drawing people in solely for the glass Skywalk. You have to pay about $35 extra for the Skywalk, it’s not included in the price of most trips, and there’s an additional fee on top of that to take pictures on the Skywalk because cameras aren’t allowed. The South Rim is an additional hour away, but is supposed to have views that are the “real” Grand Canyon, according to those who have been to both. If you’re already making the trek, one more hour doesn’t seem so bad.
Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon
We took a Paradise Found South Rim Bus Tour at 6:30am for $80. It was very early and you can honestly afford to go an hour or two later, but the plus side is that when you’re in Vegas the night before, you probably won’t have much trouble falling asleep on the bus. First, a bus picked us up from our hotel and drove us to a spot about 10 minutes away where people signed in and got complementary coffee/tea and danishes. Then everyone transferred to another bus, and we began our journey.
The bus driver/guide was excellent- safe driver, very friendly, and very knowledgeable. The information shared about the canyon was stimulating without being over-bearing. Though noteworthy information, no one wants to listen to anyone for 5 hours straight on such an early bus, so the guide gave us movie options on the way there and back. They were modern and relatively good choices.
On the way to and from the Grand Canyon, we drove by the Hoover Dam. If you’re lucky, you will get to take a quick peak and unsatisfying photo. Take it all in instead of focusing on your Instagram skills in the two minutes you have here. Then a quick stop at a souvenir shop was made with time for a bathroom break. If you’re worried about food, stop worrying. The bus made a stop at Grand Depot Cafe, which to my pleasant surprise, was actually a very delicious buffet lunch meal. I had soup, salad, and a Mexican entrée. My friends and I all returned for seconds and thirds.
The Real Kicker to this Trip
After lunch we drove the remainder of the trip to spend the next 3 hours at the Grand Canyon and the Visitor Center for more souvenirs. Our guide told us not to be ashamed if we shed a tear when we got to the edge of the canyon, because it was supposed to be a marvelous site.
And almost shed a tear we all did.
Once a decade, there’s so much fog that someone visiting the canyon can’t see it. Rangers look forward to this mystery. And luckily we had a very, very sarcastic bus filled with both international travelers and U.S. travelers. The jokes made in the next few hours waiting and hoping for the fog to dissipate were some of the better ones I’ve heard in my life. After two hours spent in the gift shop, we went back to the bus. We headed back to Las Vegas quicker than anticipated and stopped by a gas station/mini-mart, which was actually rather big, to get some more food. YES, I’m talking about the gas-station/mini-mart because that experience was more exciting than the views we saw. Then we drove home, tipped our driver, and went on with our lives.
The below are the BEST pictures I got at the Canyon. Maybe I’ll give the Grand Canyon another chance and visit in a decade. Maybe not. Your two cents?