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Grand Canyon - Grand Canyon Village

Grand Canyon South Rim
Grand Canyon Village is grand central for the Grand Canyon, where kids can walk along the South Rim from Hermits Rest to Yavapai Point, look for fossils on the Bright Angel Trail, ride horses through the high desert, slurp an ice cream at Bright Angel Lodge or picnic and camp amidst the ponderosa pines.
    Information Plaza – From the south entrance to the park, make the Canyon View Information Plaza your first stop. While parents are getting maps of the rim trails and overlooks, and schedule of ranger talks at the visitor center, children can play at the kids’ tables with puzzle books in the bookstore.
      From the Information Plaza, it’s just a short walk to Mather Point, and your first amazing vista of the Grand Canyon.
    Shuttle buses – There are three separate routes for the shuttle buses along the rim. They are free, and stops are marked along the way. The two scenic routes are the Hermits Rest route (goes west, a 75 min. round trip) and the Kaibab Trail route (goes east, 30 min. round trip.) The Village route isn’t scenic, but goes around, from the lodges, past the train station, campground and markets to the visitor center.
      Hike along the Rim Trail as much as the kids feel like, then pick up the shuttle bus, hop on, hop off. The shuttles have big windows and lovely views of the canyon as you ride along.
    Rim Trail – The Rim Trail, a level trail that extends from Hermits Rest (West Rim Trail) to Yavapai Observation Tower (East Rim Trail), is easy for everyone in the family. The trail is wide, paved, lined with stones, and there are benches here and there, where you can sit and rest, and take in breathtaking views. It’s okay for strollers. In the parts of the trail where the fencing isn’t completely meshed in, keep a hold on toddlers.
      Yavapai Observation Tower – This observation tower has stunning views of the canyon. It’s glassed in, so it’s especially good in windy or cold weather. There’s a table with a puzzle of the Grand Canyon sitting out – stop to put in a few puzzle pieces.
      Hopi Point – This view point has beautiful views of the Colorado River to the west, and is a place to come see the sunset.
  Bright Angel Trail – To get the full effect to the amazing Grand Canyon formations, hike down the Bright Angel Trail a short distance. It’s a hike back in time, through layers of sedimentary rock, starting with the grayish Kaibab Limestone at the top. Look for fossils in this limestone, and watch the layers change colors from brown to red as you go down. A good place to stop is the Mile-and-a Half-Resthouse.
    Remember that it’s easy hiking down, but the kids will have to plod back up the switchbacks (when they’re tired). Also, as you descend into the canyon, it gets hotter. In all seasons, be sure to bring lots of water and wear good footwear.
      Teens (and experienced hikers) will want to continue down the trail to Indian Garden with a bubbling stream, shady cottonwood trees and picnic tables. (From the top to Indian Garden and back is about 9 miles).
    Mule rides - There are daily mule rides down the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden and Plateau Point, or overnight rides, staying at Phantom Ranch. However, riders must be at least 4 ft.7 inches tall, and rides must be reserved months ( typically 6 months) in advance. Click here for more information or call 1.888.297.2757.
    Horseback rides – If all the mule rides are booked up, try a one or two hour trail ride around the ponderosa pines to South Rim or a horse drawn carriage ride and campfire. Kids need to be 8 years and up. Call 1-800-408-2052 for more information.
    Go camping – As parents, we remember camping at the South Rim when we were kids, but it was a lot less crowded back in the time of the dinosaurs (that’s us). As campground spaces are limited, click here to make your reservations well in advance.
    Grand Canyon Depot – In 1901, a special railway was built to bring visitors to the Grand Canyon (and kids were on the first train). The charming log-built depot evokes this earlier era of train travel, and you can ride the Grand Canyon Railway today. The train ride originates in Williams, it’s about a 2 hour ride each way. Click here for more information.
   

Fun food

     

On a hot day, an ice cream at the Bright Angel Lodge Fountain is a welcome treat. Or sit out on the veranda of El Tovar, for drinks (hot chocolate is delicious) and snacks.

   

Shopping

     

Market Plaza – Stop in the large market, deli sandwiches, water, hats, suntan lotion, gloves if it’s cold. There’s also a post office to get stamps and mail postcards.

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