VISITING THE GRAND CANYON WEST RIM IS AN AWE-SOME ADVENTURE
I woke up before the sunrise in Seligman, Arizona without the intention to drive up to the Grand Canyon West Rim. If you’re not familiar with Seligman, in 1987 Seligman became officially known as the “Birthplace of Historic Route 66”. It is one of the best preserved towns from the Route 66 era that I have visited as of yet. It’s like a living museum, as if you were legitimately going back in time. I quietly left our motel room as my family slept so I could venture out and take some pictures. An hour later, I came back, we packed up and walked across the street to grab some coffee and breakfast.
Unfortunately at this time, this town wasn’t enforcing mask wearing as cases were rising in surrounding areas so we decided to skip the breakfast fuel and ride on. Regardless, this town should be on your road trip bucket list.
At A Crossroads
It was a little challenging to decide whether or not to detour off the Mother Road and trek to the Grand Canyon West Rim. After all, it was at least an hour and a half one way, and with kids, make that at least two. There was also the question of how were they operating with the pandemic? Would it be worth it to go and then find out no one is wearing masks or socially distancing and have to turn around? What about it being on the Hualapai reservation, are they allowing visitors at all because this part of the Grand Canyon was not part of the Grand Canyon National Park?
We were at a crossroads, and decided the journey was just as important as the destination. So we turned up north outside of Kingman, AZ and were on our way.
The landscape driving up to the canyon did not disappoint. The sun beating down, mountains as far as the eye could see, Joshua Trees ascending up towards the heavens. Driving back down from the canyon at sunset, the Joshua Trees looked like silhouettes of people dancing cliffside. I have never seen sunsets so rich and colorful than the sunsets in Arizona.
The Grand Canyon West Rim is approximately 72 miles from Kingman, AZ, and about 130 miles from Las Vegas, NV. Once you get there, you will go through a checkpoint first, beyond the main lot, where they will check your temperature and make sure you have a face mask. The Hualapai Tribe takes safety seriously. At the West Rim you can enjoy a helicopter tour, boat tour, ride a tour bus to Eagle and Guano Points, and walk the stunning skywalk.
At Eagle Point, you can also enjoy a walk around the grounds and learn about different home styles the tribes built. You can read and walk in. To get to Eagle Point from the main lot and gift shop, it takes about five minutes on a bus. The tribe is doing what they can to accommodate guests safely while they visit by encouraging social distancing, enforcing mask wearing, and bringing in extra drivers from out of the state to help with the tours in an effort to space out guests.
The drive from Eagle Point to Guano Point is about eight minutes. This view in my opinion, is the best of the Colorado River. On our trek from Guano Point to the main lot, we were able to stop and see a herd of at least 20 deer hanging out on the side of the road. It was awesome.
There are certainly other activities you can do during your visit. A whole list can be found on their website. We visited for only a short few hours and headed back towards Kingman, AZ. Driving out of the Grand Canyon area during sunset was absolutely breathtaking. And even driving at night time, we had to make a pee stop and nature surely has a beautiful soundtrack in this area at night. As we made our descent into Kingman, the lights of the city twinkled like the moon dances on the ocean. Again, it was awesome. And to top this trip off, we ate at In N Out Burger. We love burgers.
A Few Tips To Keep In Mind When You Plan Your Visit
- Before you go, visit their website for information regarding the pandemic and visitors. They have reopening information and safety guidelines. You also don’t want to be disappointed if you were expecting something to be open or available and once you get there, it’s not.
- Respect the people and respect the land. This is on a reservation so remember, you are a guest in their house.
- Bring at least two face masks.
- Because a facemask is required and you want to do your part to keep others safe.
- People have lost theirs while visiting the canyon and haven’t been allowed back on the tour bus. So if you take yours off to take a picture, make sure you hold on to yours tight.
- If you have AAA, bring your card. You will receive a discount on your tickets.
- If you’re Native American, bring your ID. This will get you a discount on tickets as well as gifts.
- Bring hand sanitizer. You will be riding a bus. They share that they disinfect the bus between guests, but you still have to hop on a bus to go from one point to another so therefore you will be on a bus that hasn’t been disinfected between guests.
- Security takes safety seriously. If at any reason you do not feel comfortable getting on to a bus that may not be socially distancing, they will tell you to stay behind and wait for the next one. Make sure to take the drivers information and share it with security. Security is doing what they can to enforce the rules and unfortunately some individuals do not follow those rules. Security wants to know who those individuals are. This destination is protected by the tribe, and they have been significantly impacted by the pandemic. So it is up to us visitors and those helping out to maintain a safe environment.
- Bring water and a snack. There is a restaurant, but people shared with us while we were there that they had to wait more than two hours to eat. We are in a pandemic, it would be in your best interest anyway to have your own food and water with you.
9. Don’t go too close to the edge. There are plenty of Instagrammable opportunities that don’t require you to get too close. People die here. We’d recommend a leash for your wild toddler or a baby carrier or something. If you have a little that likes to move (which they all do), just keep them extra close. Usually I tell my six year old son, Elijah, six feet from others, six inches from me. He has a better understanding of his surroundings. My toddler, Ezrah, she is fearless and will tell you “I got this”, even if it’s dangerous. Skip the temper tantrum ahead of time and prepare better than we did.
10. Get on the bus back before they close! Once they close at 6pm, if you haven’t caught the bus back to the main lot, expect to be staying overnight. Actually I’m not 100% sure this is true, the guide said that we would have to call our personal pilot to pick us up if we were left behind.
This was an awe-inspiring experience. Our visit was a last minute trek on an already unplanned journey, and now with traveling in the US increasing, I would recommend planning your visit ahead of time.