5 Reasons To Avoid The Grand Canyon’s Overcrowded South Rim
The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular National Parks, with over 5.7 million visitors per year. This big hole in the ground attracts people from all corners of the globe.
For some reason, travelers scurry to sneak up to its edge, then ogle at what lies below. What they find is an amazing labyrinth of twists and turns, where the Colorado River has cut through rocks as old as the beginning of time.
Discovered here are ancient histories, rugged terrain, challenging outdoor adventures and dynamic scenery that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
It’s no wonder that the Grand Canyon is tops on every traveler’s “Must See” list!
About the Grand Canyon
As the world’s #1 tourist attraction, the Grand Canyon displays two wildly diverse atmospheres.
The North Rim is the canyon’s quieter, more introverted destination. This rim features forested approaches at an altitude of 8,300 feet above sea level.
It doesn’t host the crowds of its more outlandish sibling, the South Rim. This is most likely because the tourist season here is much shorter. Snowfall closes access to the North Rim during the winter months.
The North Rim lacks in population and crowds… but abounds in stunning landscapes, peace and quiet, and incredible hiking trails.
The South Rim has a more “in your face” attitude. There are many viewpoints, showing off the grandeur of the canyon. The South Rim has numerous buildings and even a village!
This rim of the Grand Canyon attracts carloads of gawkers to its rim to brag about this worldly wonder. In fact, it has even enticed a train to transport more tourists in to view the chasms below.
With all the tourists and tourist attractions, you might want to avoid the South Rim on your Grand Canyon vacation. Here are 5 reasons why:
5 Reasons to Avoid the Grand Canyon South Rim
There are several vantage points from which to catch a glimpse of the canyon’s depths. But, with so many people angling for the same sights at the same time, it is difficult to enjoy the view. Also, because this is a geological wonder, there’s no place for expansion of the viewpoints. The wall ends at the canyon and it’s a long trip down if you get too close to the edge!
These days it’s virtually impossible to get a reservation for the campgrounds that allow them on the South Rim. You might get lucky and drive into the National Park as a cancellation occurs to grab that spot, but don’t count on it.
There are a few campgrounds that are considered first come, first serve, but the battle to secure a campsite there is usually epic!
Heavy Traffic Congestion
With so many tourists in vehicles and on foot, it has become increasingly difficult to navigate the park. You may spend the bulk of your time traveling from viewpoint to viewpoint in traffic jams, or vying for a seat on a shuttle bus, rather than enjoying the canyon itself.
Because it is situated more than 1,300 feet lower than the North Rim and in a desert biosphere, the summer temperatures on the South Rim can easily reach 120 degrees.
If you are planning on hiking to the bottom of the canyon, or anywhere on the south side, for that matter, you should be prepared for the heat and possibly complete your hikes before the hottest portion of the day.
It is likely, too, that you will also be competing with all the other tourists for shade on the rim, as this is a venue that is best enjoyed from the out-of-doors!
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon sits at a higher elevation, so summer temperatures don’t get as high.
If you are hoping to “be at one with Mother Nature” on this vacation, you may be sorely disappointed on the South Rim. The Grand Canyon is absolutely jam-packed with tourists from all corners of the globe, even on the off-season.
You will jockeying for position at viewpoints and in lines at restaurants and museums, too. Think twice before you consider choosing the south side of the canyon as your vacation destination. If you want a more natural and secluded experience, you may want to try the North Rim instead.
Is the Grand Canyon South Rim Worth It?
Your visit to this gem in the National Park lineup should be based on the reason you are coming.
Do you wish to see the hustle and bustle of life in Grand Canyon Village? Would you like to experience the historical aspect of life on the rim before it became commercialized, as visualized in the Kolb Brothers Photography studio? Or are you looking for the quintessential mule ride to the bottom of the canyon? Then the South Rim may be for you.
But if you are making the trek to the canyon to take in the vast vistas and tranquil settings, and to get a taste of what this natural wonder was like in the quiet years of creation, the North Rim can be more suitable. Its peaceful location may be just elixir you need to wind down and relax, overlooking one of the most extraordinary destinations in the world.
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