With the Grand Canyon a metaphorical stone’s throw from Las Vegas, Nevada (well, in the ‘grand’ scheme of things), it would have been rude for us not to take a day trip from Sin City. Despite a 5am wake-up call after a night of boozing and gambling, we hopped on the bus at the Excalibur Hotel. Onboard, we were greeted by our super friendly tour guide who pointed out some highlights en route to our first stop, the Hoover Dam.
Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon
Instead of opting for the more glamorous (and far quicker) method of transport via helicopter, we booked ourselves onto a coach trip so that we could explore the canyon up close and personal. We booked our tour online via Viator. This tour enabled us to see the Grand Canyon West Rim, Hoover Dam, and a few other stops on the way from Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, on arrival, our view of the Hoover Dam itself wasn’t too spectacular as we were driving past. We had to park at a spot further from the iconic Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge that looks down onto the Hoover Dam. This enabled us to get a much better view. Afterwards, we were joined by some more exotic sights. Imagine my horror at finding myself in a Portaloo being greeted with shrieks and screams of ‘they can jump three times their own height!’
With little warning, I opened the door to my friend Jo warning me of a rattlesnake behind the toilet. There was a chair meticulously placed over the snake for pest control to find the creature, and my friend Jamie was filming the whole thing on his phone! Super scary. We were then given some history and insight into the Hoover Dam by our tour guide, Grant. He told us all about the drought in the area and the fast diminishing water supply to Las Vegas and beyond. It’s pretty scary.
Our next stop was Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States. It serves water to Nevada, Arizona, and California. It’s surprising to see such a large body of water in the midst of the dry desert.
It’s a pretty oasis across the dry land. We sat and enjoyed the view for a while, a welcome breeze from the desert heat. Lake Mead forms a part of America’s first national recreation area. There’s so much to explore and do, with amazing landscapes, mountains, canyons, valleys, and lakes.
After a quick pitstop, it was time for a very exciting drive – a short stint along America’s famous Route 66. Introducing Seligman, Arizona. Initially a railroad town, Seligman is now most famous for being a Route 66 stopover.
You’ll also find some Americana in Seligman, with some true nostalgia like classic cars and neon signs. The town also served as inspiration for Pixar’s animated movie, Cars, in case it looks familiar to you!
We stopped off at an iconic Seligman cafe to stock up on our lunchboxes for the trip. Having recently been filmed in an episode of Diners, Drive Ins & Dives with Guy Fieri, Westside Lilo’s boasts a whole host of merchandise, and the lunch box wasn’t bad either.
Across the road was some Western-themed scenery, so we hopped over Route 66 to get a taste of the Wild Wild West.
Here, you’ll find a bunch of old-school Western buildings – the ideal photo opportunity! We even landed ourselves in some hot water in Arizona Territorial Jail.
After getting some shots, we hopped back onto the coach for the next leg of our trip onto the Grand Canyon.
It took some time and a couple of movies on the coach, but we finally reached our destination – one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
The Grand Canyon
We arrived to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, getting our first glimpse of the view at Mather Point. There’s a long stretch of viewing area here, with vistas all around. We simply sat for a while and took in the stunning view. There are so many colours and shades of rock, it’s like nothing you’ve seen before.
We made sure to take plenty of photos before moving on to our next viewpoint of the Grand Canyon on the South Rim. Here, you’re on the south side of the Colorado River, making for even more spectacular views.
One thing that’s surprising is just how trusted you are with the edge of the rockface. There are only a few areas that have railings for protection, so it’s so important to stay safe and not take small children. On the plus side, there’s very little between you as a visitor and the two billion years of geological history.
We took the Bright Angel Trail, passing the deep canyon of Pipe Creek, and towards Cedar Ridge. It was at Bright Angel Lodge that we’d get picked up by the coach for our return.
Eventually, you’ll discover the impressive views of Bright Angel Lodge, some of the best of the entire Grand Canyon. Here, you see across to Bright Angel Creek, which flows between red buttes and ravines. While some people on our tour just visited Mather Point and Bright Angel Lodge, we were grateful for the impressive views of the walk.
After three hours of exploring and jaw-dropping scenery, we hopped back on the coach to Las Vegas. It took two movies on the coach home, a belly full of McDonald’s, and a beautiful sunset across the Arizona desert.
That’s my trip to the Grand Canyon! What did you see on yours?