The Grand Canyon
Even though the focal point of our short Arizona road trip was Sedona, we couldn’t leave the state without at least spending one day at a de facto natural wonder of the world: the Grand Canyon. Under normal circumstances, we would have done a more strenuous canyon hike but we were running short on time so we opted to drive along the south rim and take in the views mostly from above. I had hiked down to the river and back in one day a few years ago (not recommended) and knew better than to attempt it again.
We entered Grand Canyon National Park from the east via route 64 and made our first stop at Desert View Watchtower. This was our first real glimpse of the Canyon and the views were unbelievable.
From there we continued west to Grand Canyon Village, where we walked along the rim trail, weaving our way through a never-ending sea of selfie-sticks, and eventually made it to the Bright Angel trail head. We did hike about a mile down Bright Angel Trail, but that was the extent of our efforts on this trip. This at least gave us a good perspective of the inside of the canyon.
Later in the afternoon we took a shuttle bus out to Yaki Point, which is one of the best places to see the sunset over the Canyon. Right around sunset, the elk and deer started to emerge from the woods so we spotted several right off the side of the road. They are so accustomed to tourists at this point that they wander right into the village with little regard for people or cars. This is great for photo opportunities, but still definitely best to keep your distance. We ended up driving back to Sedona that night, and driving on the stretch of road between the Grand Canyon and Oak Creek Canyon was a little nerve racking since we knew there were likely elk walking just off the highway and out of sight.