Grand Canyon National Park

Naomi Smith, the fourth child of six Smith kids, shares her knowledge, experience and photography of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona. Her mom, Sheri, ends the article with tips to keep the trip safe and enjoyable for all. 

Author: Naomi Smith


The Grand Canyon is just as it sounds; it’s a huge and grand canyon!
This canyon stretches 277 miles through the Colorado Plateau. The Canyon is 18 miles in diameter, in the widest places, and 1 mile vertical.

Going through the middle of the canyon is the Colorado River. The Colorado River may appear small from the top of the Canyon, but actually the river's smallest part, in the Grand Canyon, is 76 feet across! Its biggest part is 300 feet across! This river is extremely dangerous in some parts of it. Only the bravest boaters go on it.

There are several options on seeing the canyon. You could take a white water raft ride, soar  over it in a helicopter, drive your own car, take a mule into the canyon on a tour, ride a bike, or even take a bus. There are many cool things to do there.  There is a junior ranger program available for kids. 

Helicopter over the Grand Canyon
When my family and I went to the Grand Canyon, we drove in on the South Rim, from the east side. On the drive into the canyon there are several view points. When you get into the canyon and step out on to the first Grand Canyon view point you will be close, or on the canyon’s rim! It is pretty cool! The color is awesome, providing some great pictures. 

One of my favorite locations in the canyon is the Desert View point. The Desert View is located pretty close to the start of the entrance on the east side of the canyon.  It got its name for the great view of the desert. It is very beautiful. There is also a tower there that is modeled off of an Indian watch tower, which is 70 feet tall.  It was designed in the 1920's,by 
Desert View Watchtower
 a lady named Mary Jane Colter.  Inside of the tower there is a gift shop.  My favorite part of it was getting to climb the tower.  There are 4 or 5 levels in it. At each level there are several windows to get a really great view.  The top level is really, really high up. On the tower there is a porch that you can go look around on. There is an old looking table on the porch. There is also several mirror things that you can look into that makes the canyon look upside down! It’s pretty neat! 

There is another place that is cool to go see, the Tusayan Ruins.  There are some real Native American ruins that you can go walk around by on a trail. There is also a visitor center there. The ruins are very close to the visitor center. 

In the Grand Canyon there are 50 different species of reptiles.  Some animals you might see are lizards, Grand Canyon pink rattlesnake, and rock squirrels, just to name a few. Every trip to the Grand Canyon you will probably notice something new.
It's truly a Grand Canyon!

Grand Canyon Tips from Sheri Smith(Smith family Mom)-

High winds come up from the canyon bottom often.  We kept our children far back from the edges.  Fences are in some locations, but we still kept a hold of them.  

The east side of the park is much quieter than the west.  Fewer people are at the view points and it made our exploring more enjoyable.

We had a wonderful time bringing sketch pads and chalk drawing pencils to draw the views.  The kids remembered that activity more than the others.

The campground on the east of the park was a great place for us to stay.  It was inexpensive and close for exploring.

Everyone says the north rim is prettier than the south rim.  I wouldn’t know because I have never been there.  Almost every time we have visited the Grand Canyon the north rim closes because of winter.  It is around 8000’ so winter lasts a long time. 

The kids enjoyed the Junior Ranger program.

My oldest son loved reading the Death at the Grand Canyon book and sharing all of the scary stories for us.  He told us many people die while taking pictures and young men peeing off the side.  Interesting.

There are so many amazing things to see and do there that it is hard to spend just one day there.  Try to have a few to explore.

 It can get cold there, even in summer.  Be sure to pack a light hat and gloves just in case.

Bring extra water.  It is higher elevation than most of us are used to.  I got elevation sickness when I went there during my 5th pregnancy.  Take is slow, drink water, and watch the kids.  They can get dehydrated quickly.

The sun is strong up there.  Wear some kind of hat and long sleeve shirt.  We try not to use sun block too much and instead keep our face and arms protected with light clothing and hats.  We do use it when necessary, though.

The bottom of the canyon can get extremely hot.  Research before planning a trip.

There are many dangerous creatures there including rattlesnakes and mountain lions.  Keep kids close and on the trails.  While we were at Custer State Park in SD, a mountain lion was found on the most popular trail, right next to the road.  The trail was paved and well used and was also the handicapped trail.  So, having people around and often does not make it safe from predators.
There are elk there and they can also attack so be careful if you stop to take a picture.  Also, the big horn sheep can get a little crazy if provoked.

Basically, have fun but be smart. 
It is not a playground.
Being responsible will add to your experience and not to statistics

10 Things About the Grand Canyon

1. The Grand Canyon Village was built in 1905.    
Desert View Watchtower 

2.  The California condor has a 9 and a ½ foot wingspan making them North America’s largest bird.  They can be seen in The Grand Canyon.

3.  The California condor is seen along the rim of the canyon in-between Trailview Overlook and Grand Canyon Village.

4.  Powell Point is a really good place to the watch the sunset.

5.  The Abyss in the canyon has 3,000 feet of sheer cliffs.

6.  Two of the biggest rapids, in the canyon, are visible from Pima Point.

7.   The Colorado River is 1,450 miles long. 

8.  The rafts you see from Desert View have been in the Colorado River for 3- 7 days. 

9.  The more secluded areas at the Rim to the west, most, require a 4- wheel drive vehicle.

10.  In the Grand Canyon most of the peaks are covered with Coconino sandstone.

Pictures above from Desert View watchtower

All photography is by Naomi Smith.