Declared a national monument in 1908 by President Theodore Roosevelt, and a national park in 1919, the Grand Canyon National Park is one of the oldest parks in the USA. As a region important in terms of natural preservation the park was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. in 1979. It is the habitat of 2000 animal and plant species, including the Kaibab Squirrel. The Grand Canyon National Park is a destination, where nature is pure, wild animals are really wild and the sky is an endless expanse.
When to visit
On any given day, in peak travel season, anywhere from 10 000 to 20 000 people visit the park. This makes the Grand Canyon National Park the second most visited place in the United States after Niagara Falls.
Try not to plan your visit for June, unless you can stand the unbearable heat. July and August are when it rains the most. Nights and mornings in January are very cold, while the temperature during the summer is unbearable and many days in a row it doesn’t fall below 100F (40C). The South Rim is open all year round, but most of the visitors come mainly during long holidays.
As a designated Federal Recreation Area the Grand Canyon National Park requires an entrance fee for all visitors.
The entrance fee to the park is $25 per private vehicle and if entering by foot, bicycle or motorcycle the fee is $12 per visitor. Admission is for seven days and is valid for the North Rim and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
Annual Recreational Pass
A Grand Canyon National Park Annual Pass could be purchased for $50.00. It is good for 12 months from the date of purchase and it allows unlimited visits to the park. The annual pass admits the purchaser and any accompanying immediate family, or the purchaser and accompanying persons in a non-commercial vehicle. The annual pass cannot be refunded or transferred to another person.
Free Annual Pass for Military
Military personnel and dependents with proper identification (CAC Card or DD Form 1173) can acquire Military Annual Pass. This pass provides free admission not only for the Grand Canyon National Park but also for other Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service sites. It covers the pass owner and three (3) accompanying adults age 16 and older. For more information click here.
There are other passes available to the public:
America the Beautiful – 2012 Annual Pass available to the general public and provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee for a year, beginning from the date of sale. – Cost $80.
America the Beautiful – Senior Pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over. – Cost $10. For more information click here.
America the Beautiful – Access Pass for U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities – Free. For more information click here.
America the Beautiful – 2012 Volunteer Pass for volunteers acquiring 250 service hours on a cumulative basis- Free. For more information click here.
Lodging and Reservations
No reservation is need to enter the Grand Canyon National Park but if you intend to spend a few days at the park you need to book in advance.
Almost everybody who visits the Grand Canyon wants to stay inside the park, and the park has a grand total of about 900 hotel rooms. Not everyone stays overnight, but a good majority is, and 900 rooms cannot accommodate all of them. This means that in-park rooms are usually booked from 6 months to a year in advance.
If your Grand Canyon visit is less then 6 months away, your most realistic option is to look for the Grand Canyon’s gateway communities for your lodging.
The nearest town to Grand Canyon’s South Rim is Tusayan, at the park’s entrance, about 10 minutes away from the canyon rim.
The main information center in the area is the Grand Canyon Village, located on the South Rim at about 6 miles distance, north from the south entrance of the canyon. The Village is equipped with an automatic information system that will give you information on everything you need to know – from the weather forecast to the rafting permission on the Colorado River.