History is part of the Grand Canyon’s intrigue. Long before man was walking the Earth, the Canyon was taking shape to be discovered and inhabited. Archaeologists believe Native Americans dwelled within the Canyon as far back as 4,000 years. The Anasazi made the Canyon their home around 500 AD and adobe ruins, or the Pueblos, remain from as early as 1200 AD.

Evidence of the Canyon’s natural history is seen in the beautifully colored layers it is known for. These layers served as a back drop for centuries of exploration starting with the Native Americans, followed by the Spaniards, and other trailblazing Europeans wanting to tame the west.

You may want to try some of the following Grand Canyon attractions and activities while visiting:

FLIGHT Seeing

One of the most breathtaking attractions in the natural world, Papillon offers Grand Canyon helicopter tours that delivers an aerial view of the National Park that has impressed generations of tourists. Cruise directly above the Colorado River and witness the centuries of geologic progress in the layers of the Canyon walls.

Red EC-130 flying over Lake Mead

EDUCATION

With an audience of visitors from around the world, the Grand Canyon National Park provides several educational activities. Available at various times throughout the year, programs include “Ask a Ranger” sessions, ranger led hikes, campfire programs, star viewing, and much more. All sessions can be researched at the Park’s calendar page. Additionally, throughout the Park vacationers will find visitor center and exhibits with a variety of informative displays. These centers are open year-round and many are accessible by shuttle. In the National Geographic Visitors Center guests can take in daily screenings of the 34-minute film about the Grand Canyon on a six-story screen in the air-conditioned IMAX Theater, equipped with sensory six-track Dolby® Surround Sound.

IMAX theater, one of Grand Canyon Attractions

CAMPING

Visitors wishing to camp at the Grand Canyon can stay at one of the four designated campgrounds within the National Park. For campers wanting to stay at Bright Angel Campground or Phantom Ranch in the inner Canyon, a backcountry permit is required. It is recommended you get your permit in advance, as camping at the bottom of the Canyon is a sought after experience.

HIKING/BACKPACKING

One of the most rewarding and challenging vacations is hiking the Grand Canyon. Much of the Canyons 1.2 million acres is inaccessible to vacationers, but thousands of people each year make the trek to the bottom of the Canyon and back up again. If you choose to make this demanding hike, please make sure to review all the safety recommendations before you depart.

RIVER RAFTING

Visitors can ride the rapids of the Colorado River from April to October. Grand Canyon rafting trips begin at Lees Ferry and last anywhere from three days to three weeks. The Canyon River Adventure and the Smooth Water Float Trip offer unforgettable day trips through spectacular Northern Arizona. For information on how to tour the Canyon by river rafting, visit a commercial rafting tour operator.

MULE TRIPS

Make your Grand Canyon experience a memorable one by taking a one or two day mule trip. The mule trip experience is in such high demand that you may need to make a reservation up to 23 months in advance!