In December of 2019, my cousin Alex came from France to visit me in Los Angeles. One of the things he wanted to visit was the Grand Canyon. When I started planning for our road trip, I realized that the Canyon was 7 hours away from Los Angeles. So I made sure to create a packing list for all of our essentials for the trip and off we went. Well before that we made sure that we had everything we needed for the hike.
Here’s what you need to know the day before:
Always check the destination weather before you go hiking. Knowing the weather will help you pack more efficiently. Is it going to be in the 80’s (fahrenheit) then bust out them shorts and light airy clothes. Is it going to be in the 50’s (fahrenheit) then throw on some knitted sweaters and windbreaker. Chance of rain? Pack a Foldable Raincoat or a collapsible umbrella.
Does the trail you are going to hike have an entry fee? Most national parks do. The fee can vary depending on if you are driving in, walking in, or the kind of vehicle you are driving. There are some trails that are free to hike but if you want to park near the entrance there can be a parking fee. Research this so you won’t get caught off guard.
Find out more about what you need to know for your next hike by clicking over to the Hiking Essentials.
Now that we have gone over what you need to know here is what you should pack.
- Pack food because there is no town or eatery for miles
- Bring a good mix of healthy foods like baby carrots, apples, nuts, fruits, dark chocolate, and almonds.
- Don’t get stuck driving at night you’ll miss the beautiful scenery plus there are minimal lights along the highway
- Don’t book cheap Airbnb because you will get poor customer service. We were locked out of our Airbnb and couldn’t get a hold of our host for an hour. The temperature was 30 degrees (fahrenheit) and we were at an elevation of 6000ft. When we finally were given the correct code the Airbnb hadn’t been cleaned
- Depending on what time of year you go pick rim to visit
My Packing List for a 3 day road trip:
- Small Shoulder Bag
- Travel Backpack
- Long Sleeved Shirt
- 1 Undershirt
- 1 pair of jeans
- Sweat pants
- Knit hat
- Thermal Shirt
- Wool Socks
- Pen + Journal
- Phone cord
- Kindle + Cord
- 2 Wall plugin
- Apple Headphones
Things I should have also packed:
(Being from Florida I thought cowls were stupid looking and pointless but this trip taught me how necessary they are.)
Here’s what you need to know when visiting the Grand Canyon:
- Basic information
- Ticket costs
- Know what conditions the park is in
- Know what to expect during Different seasons;
- We went during the winter so we wore thick jackets and all the layers
- Find out more information using this guide here
On Friday we headed to Phoenix towards a town north of Flagstaff. Spend the night at our airbnb and headed towards the Canyon’s entrance the following day.
We got in and parked at the Visitor Center and got the 411 from one of the workers. Since hiking in Mt Zion I knew what I needed to ask for. Which was maps, shuttle bus routes, and a beginner hiking trail. Armed with knowledge, we thanked our guide, and set off. We started hiking along the South Rim and took a path that led to Mather’s Point to get the first view of the canyon.
The view was incredible.
From there we walked along the South Rim towards the Village. We stopped by the Yavapai Point museum along the way and saw the Colorado river that runs in the canyon.
After the museum was The Trail of Time.
Some more cool scenery and we got iconic shots.
and then we got to that we got to the Village and ate at the Bright Angel Lodge at a restaurant called Fred Harvey Burger.
After that, we hopped on the bus back to the Visitor Center and headed to the car to charge our phones. Because someone didn’t bring a power bank. (spoiler alert, it was me.)
After charging up, we caught a bus to Yaki Point. But we missed our stop so we got off a the next stop and ended up hiking back to the trail.
Once we got to the South Kaibab Trail, we started heading down the Canyon. What they don’t tell you about the trail is that it’s the same trail that the mules and horses take, so there’s poop everywhere. Also since we were hiking in winter some parts of the trail were frozen over.
We weren’t even halfway down when it started to snow. I chose to stop and rest and Alex went on to see how far he could go before the weather got worse. I found a nice little nook area in a rock and started to ponder the day.
The Canyon was formed because of rivers running through it and wearing the rock away. It made me think of Niagara Falls. The way the waterfall was rapidly wearing away and receding because 168,000 m3 (six million cubic feet) of water goes over the crest of the falls every minute. The cliff has receded 7 miles from when it was first discovered.
It made me think, “God you knew how hard and rough and unmoving rock is. But you made water flexible, free flowing, and calm. You made water capable of wearing down rock to create something beautiful and new. Out of these rocks came life and beauty.”
‘They did not thirst when he led them through the deserts; he made water flow for them from the rock; he split the rock and water gushed out.’Isaiah 48:21
While in the midst of my thoughts it started to snow. Now I’ve never been present while it was snowing so I was surprised that I was getting pelted by frozen pieces of ice. It was definitely interesting and not at all how the television portrayed it.
While hanging out in my little nook area I noticed someone I knew from back home. It was one of my customer’s from when I used to work retail back in Florida. What are the odds that we were there at the same time?!
Apparently he is an avid hiker and takes trips around the USA for the purpose of hiking. I asked him for a few tips and I figured they were good since he hiked from the North Rim of the Canyon to the South Rim. He went down the North rim, hiked across the canyon, and back up the South rim which is about a 9 to 10 hour hike. He said the secret to a great hike was having Hiking Sticks – to help balance out your weight and a good pair of Hiking Shoes.
Alex and I hopped back on the bus and headed towards the visitors center parking lot and called it a day. On the road back to the main entrance we got caught in a traffic jam because there was a herd of deers crossing the road.
We got back to our airbnb and and left the following day. All the way back to Los Angeles.
Alex’s words were, “This is the reason I came to the USA. The visit to the Grand Canyon was the best part of the trip.”