The average Grand Canyon visitor only spends 20 minutes at Grand Canyon. That’s barely enough time to take a couple photos and go to the bathroom before getting back on the bus! The canyon is a big place and you cannot experience it just by bus or car.  You have to take it all in from different angles – above the rim, on the rim and below the rim. Here are 5 things you could do when you visit Grand Canyon National Park.  Plan it right and you may be able to fit in a couple of these adventures during your visit.

1) Take a Hike – There are numerous trails that will take you along the rim and below the rim both from the North and South Rims of Grand Canyon.  Views are plentiful but there really are only 2 levels of difficulty – easy if you hike along the rim such as the Rim Trail on the South Rim or the Transept Trail on the North Rim, or difficult when you descend below the rim.  No matter how you slice it, a hike into the canyon is not an easy task so only hike in as far as you are comfortable hiking out – hiking down is optional, hiking out is mandatory.  And, if you are just not sure what trail is best for you, want to learn more about the canyon or just need some sense of security when hiking, there are some services to assist – Just Roughin’ It (of course) or Grand Canyon Field Institute are two great options.  Or join a ranger led hike along the rim.

2) Ride a Bike – Grand Canyon has recently incorporated cycling into a means to travel around the park and access the park from the town of Tusayan by adding more bike paths and bringing in a bike shop for tours and bike rentals – Bright Angel Bicycles. Or bring your own bike.  There are bicyclist campsites at both the North and South Rims where no cars are allowed and the park shuttles are equipped with bike racks.  Do take precaution as there are no designated bike lanes on the roads and bike do share the road with motorized vehicles. You can find more information about bicycles and Grand Canyon here.

3) Float the Colorado River – Rafting the Colorado River is must do for all canyon adventurers, but most people don’t have days upon weeks to raft the river. But there are day trip opportunities in Page starting near Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam. These trips are flat water and motorized but are a fun way to see the canyon from the river level, learn more about the waterway that carved the world wonder and really just relax while your guides does all the driving! It is a little bit of a drive to get to Page from Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim (2.5 hour drive), but well worth it. Check out Colorado River Discovery for some half day fun!

4) Fly Over – You won’t be going below the rim of the canyon but you will be able to see just how massive and beautiful Grand Canyon is from a bird’s eye view via helicopter. There is some restricted airspace at Grand Canyon so don’t expect to fly over Phantom Ranch or the main trails – North Kaibab, South Kaibab or Bright Angel.  But from where ever you are looking into the canyon, you will be satisfied. For a couple helicopter tour companies, try Maverick Helicopters or Papillon. Trips are short so you will have plenty of time to add a hike or bike ride to your day!

5) Ride a Mule – You can take a mule along the rim of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim or below the rim along the North Kaibab Trail from the Grand Canyon’s North Rim.  The mules have a long tradition at the canyon so a great experience for the visitor looking for a bit of history, or one that just likes big, mild-mannered, 4-legged creatures that can burden a rider and a steep descent.  Reservations are required and the rides do not run year round so be certain to contact Xanterra first for availability and season.  You can also find information on the National Park Service website.