Getting Around the Grand Canyon

I had grand plans of hiking with my family to the snack shop at Hermit’s Rest for lunch. The South Rim Trail is a a clearly marked trail and many of the miles are covered with blacktop. The longer we hiked, however, the more I realized that the actual mileage to Hermit’s Rest was longer than it appeared to be in our National Park guide. Ed and I had plenty of snacks and water for all four of us, but no lunch!

Fortunately for us, (and even more lucky for our two little girls who were getting hungry) there is a free shuttle bus along this trail. The stops are frequent and well-marked. The buses are roomy and air-conditioned. During the middle of day, which is when we found ourselves needing public transportation, there was standing room only on the buses. Since the ride between viewpoints was short, standing up was not a problem. In fact, the girls thought it was fun to stand while the bus was moving! At one stop, the shuttle was so crowded we had to wait for the next one. We didn’t have to wait long. During this busy time, the buses come along every 10-15 minutes. Since these buses are totally run by Grand Canyon National Park, the drivers are very friendly and also have a great sense of humor. When someone spotted a large elk in the woods, the bus driver made sure to slow down and let everyone have a chance to see the antlered beast.

At the end of the trail, we were finally able to sit down and eat some sandwiches at Hermit’s Rest. We bought them from the snack bar, which offered prepackaged food–nothing fancy, but just what we needed!

Lunch was not fancy, but it tasted good to us!
Lunch was not fancy, but it tasted good to us!

The next day, we literally needed to get around the Grand Canyon. We were driving from the South Rim to the North Rim, which is a distance of about 10 miles as the raven flies. In a car, however, we needed to drive down into the desert, cross the Colorado River, and drive up to the North Rim, a distance of over 200 miles! The roads are all two lanes highways, but the traffic was very light. Ed and I loved seeing the terrain change. We were driving through the flat desert, over dry washes and rocky ground with hardly any vegetation. Cedar Ridge was a lovely oasis of short green cedar trees. As we drove past Vermillion Cliffs we were indeed driving past stark, lovely pink cliffs that rose straight up out of the flat land. As we drove up to the Kaibab Plateau, the elevation became higher and higher and we were soon surrounded by green meadows and aspen forests.

In less than four hours, we were checking into the lodge and rocking on our front porch at the Grand Canyon North Rim. I think every vacation needs to have a rocking chair!

Rocking chairs on the front porch
Rocking chairs on the front porch

Where have you been rocking lately?


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