Even though Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park were amazing, the highlight of our Grand Circle summer vacation was to see the Grand Canyon.
Our first stop was to the visitor center to get the Junior Ranger booklets and hiking maps. We took a stroll outside and there was a deer. They say to stand at least 75 feet from the wild animals but it was impossible since the deer was right next to the walk way!
And then we walked a little bit further and got our first glimpse of the Grand Canyon. Breathtaking…Nothing prepares you for how amazing this is.
We stayed in at the El Tovar and this was the view from our balcony. I loved this hotel. It was right on the Grand Canyon rim. The hotel is rustic and elegant and the rooms were clean and modern.
I signed up for the Hermit’s Rest guided tour to take us to all of the view points along the west rim. SO many beautiful views of the Grand Canyon. It was great to have a tour guide to tell us history and answer questions.
At the first stop there was a National Park biologist who had setup a telescope view on a condor. It was hard to see through the telescope and the condor was very small because it was so far away. I think I saw it. I could not believe he found the condor with his telescope in the Grand Canyon!
The highlight of the tour was Hermit’s Rest, a house built by one of the first woman architects, Mary J. Colter.
There is a little store and snack shop at Hermit’s Rest. We took a rest and looked through the telescopes.
There are so many amazing view points on the rim. There are rock walls and metal rails to create a boundary before the edge. But much of it is has nothing and it’s a vertical drop down. It can be scary with young children.
The girls really did a good job holding it together through all the National Parks we visited. There was a lot of walking, hiking, restaurant eating. Even though the views were amazing, when you are little, seeing the Grand Canyon one time is enough. What helped keep the girls occupied was the Junior Ranger program. We did the booklet together and the girls got engaged with their surroundings looking for things, animals, colors, smells. It’s a great program!
In order to get your Junior Range badge, you have to finish at least 4 pages of the Junior Ranger booklet and attend a Junior Ranger class. The girls attended Ranger Ronnie’s class on safety and history. Afterwards, they got a badge and took an oath to take care of nature.
The girls also kept themselves busy making up dance routines wherever something looked like a stage.
They continued to take pictures with their iPads during the day and then print the photos in the evening and tape into their scrap books. This was another great activity for them on the trip to keep them engaged and excited.
We caught the last moments of the sunset.
And did an early morning (5:30am) hike to see the sunrise.
It was gorgeous.
These trails were much longer and steeper then Zion and Bryce. It takes at least 4 hours to make it to the bottom. We didn’t have much time because we hiked the day we were leaving so we went as far as we could. To keep the trails not so steep, they zig zag down the canyon.
There is still a steep drop off the trails so I liked to hold the rock while hiking.
Grouchy Husband wanted me to take a photo through this hole in a rock on the trail. Against my better judgement and the scary “Dangerous Outlook” sign, I climbed to take the picture.
I’m not sure the photo was worth it, but it made him happy.
I planned this trip because my dad wanted to see the Grand Canyon. It was on his bucket list and for all the things he’s done for me, it was the least I could do.
We looked up and saw deer on our hike.
We have seen so many beautiful and amazing things in Zion, Bryce, and now the Grand Canyon. Many of them so unbelievable I found myself having to look several times to know this actually exists in the world.
I feel so blessed to be on this trip with my family and my parents. Being together at these places is something we will all remember. This trip was for my parents. Even though they are normally (like many Asian parents) show little emotion and hard to please (especially my mom), they both said multiple times they had a great time.
The Dumpling Mama xo