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  • Writer's pictureMick McMurray

4 Amazing Days Exploring Grand Canyon National Park, South Rim

Updated: May 23

The canyon on a sunny day, with the steep cliffs, and a cloudy blue sky
The Grand Canyon

When we visited the Grand Canyon National Park South Rim for the first time it was an awe-inspiring experience that left a lasting impression. The sheer size and grandeur of the canyon was beyond imagination, and no picture or video could do it justice. As we stood at the edge of the rim, we felt small and insignificant in the face of such a natural wonder. The South Rim offered multiple viewpoints that allowed us to take in the beauty of the canyon from different angles and perspectives. Our favorites were Mather Point and Desert View Tower. There are also many hiking trails for all levels, from the easy Rim Trail to the challenging Bright Angel Trail. It's a place where you can spend hours, even days, just taking in the stunning views and marveling at the forces of nature that shaped the canyon over millions of years.

Grand Canyon East Trails Grand Canyon West Trails

We entered Grand Canyon National Park at the East Entrance on Highway 64 and drove the length of Desert View Dr. to the Trailer Village RV Park. We stayed here for 4 days in site 123 on the east side of the campground. We had deer and elk wander into our site on multiple occasions. Our cat Chuck who was harnessed trained wasn’t afraid of the deer and elk at all. He would sit in the trailer doorway and watch them in our campsite.

This was the last destination on this National Park road trip. To see the start of this trip go here. 8 Awesome Days in Rocky Mountain National Park

We spent one afternoon checking out the elk in the wooded areas around the campground.

It's important to remember that elk are wild animals and should be observed from a safe distance. Approaching too closely or attempting to interact with them can be dangerous for both you and the elk. I took these photos with a 150-600mm lens.

For the camera and setup I use for wildlife photos see Photo Equipment

We loved the Desert View area, which is located at the eastern end of the park and offers stunning panoramic views of the canyon. This area also features a historic watchtower that was designed by Mary Colter, one of the most renowned architects of the American Southwest. The tower offers great views of the canyon and the surrounding landscape, and it's also home to a small museum and gift shop. You can see the Colorado River from where it exits the Marble Canyon and enters the start of the Grand Canyon National Park.

Watching the sun rise and set over the Grand Canyon's South Rim was an awe-inspiring experience that left a lasting impression on us. One particularly memorable sunset occurred at the Mather Point Overlook, where the sky seemed to erupt in a riot of colors and hues. For the duration of our trip, Lorna and I made it a point to witness every sunrise and sunset from the canyon rim. Although we had one clear day with unobstructed views, the rest of our stay was characterized by cloudy weather - perfect conditions for landscape photography. As Ansel Adams once remarked, "You can't wait until something happens and then take a picture of it. It's happened so fast that you'll be late" (Conversations with Ansel Adams, pg. 14). I couldn't agree more - capturing the fleeting beauty of the canyon required careful planning, quick reflexes, and a bit of good luck.

For the camera gear used for these photos see Photography Gear Guide

On our way back to San Diego we stopped in Gila Bend overnight and found a really nice RV Park that we like. The Sonoran Desert RV Park,, is a good distance for us as a first or last leg of a drive from San Diego. Pulling the trailer and a stop for lunch it’s a 6-and-a-half-hour drive which is the maximum time we like to spend in the truck however we have gone farther on occasion.

Lorna's Tips and Lessons

Popcorn is a tried-and-true snack for our camping groups, and we've got two ways of making it. One is to use a popcorn popper specifically designed for the campfire, and the other is to pop it in the microwave. But even when we opt for the microwave method, we don't want to sacrifice precious space in the trailer. That's why we love using a collapsible microwave popcorn popper - it's a real space-saver! We even have one for our house and one for the trailer. Not only does it collapse down to a small size for storage, but it pops up to 4 cups of popcorn at once.


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