How to Spend 1 Day in Grand Canyon National Park
With just one day at the Grand Canyon, it's important to plan ahead to squeeze in as much as possible. Among the priorities: Visit the best lookouts, hike into the canyon, catch a sunrise or sunset, and tackle an outdoor adventure. Here are a few ways to spend your one day in Grand Canyon National Park.
Morning: Sightseeing on the South Rim
Most who have only one day at Grand Canyon National Park visit the South Rim from Flagstaff, Sedona, or Las Vegas. Day tours from these locations are usually include round-trip transportation and multiple canyon experiences. Tours typically offer guided hikes, helicopter tours, or a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway. If visiting independently, start early with a walk along the rim at sunrise. You won’t want to miss the views from Mather Point or a stop at the Visitor’s Center in Grand Canyon Village to get an introduction to the canyon’s history and geology.
Afternoon: Venture Below the Rim
Very few visitors to Grand Canyon National Park venture below the canyon’s edge. Hiking into the canyon gives a unique perspective of the canyon's size and you don’t even have to go very far. Take off down the South Kaibab Trail to be rewarded with views at OoAh Point, only 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometers) round-trip. If you feel more adventurous, hike Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point. For a thrill, opt for a helicopter tour of the canyon, jeep adventure, or skydiving experience.
Night: Sunsets and Stargazing
A full-day tour of Grand Canyon National Park can take 12 hours or more, but if you have free time at night, watch the sunset at Mohave Point. The Grand Canyon is especially peaceful at night, plus the park has some of the darkest skies in the country, making it perfect for stargazing. The park hosts stargazing events in summer, as well as evening ranger programs. Evening is also a nice time to visit Hopi House and Kolb Studio in Grand Canyon Village.