The Grand Canyon

After our HelpX stay in Gila National Forest, we swung through Tucson to visit a friend, then headed up to Flagstaff. The plan was to spend our one free day in Flagstaff at the Grand Canyon and do a short day hike below the rim. Unfortunately, we drove into Flagstaff during a blizzard.

A blizzard which was dumping 3 inches of snow per hour at points, leaving about 100 feet of visibility and reducing the Interstate to a single lane running at about 30mph or less. Needless to say, the next day, we scrapped the trip to the Grand Canyon and just hung around the house.

But we ended up with a few hours to kill on our drive from Flagstaff, AZ to Mancos, CO, so we decided to head a little out of our way and at least get a cursory glance at this giant crack in the ground.

The Little Colorado Canyon

The first stop on our west-bound drive to the Grand Canyon along AZ-64 (from US-160) was an overlook for the Little Colorado Canyon. The first few pictures, up to the one that says “Kaibab National Forest,” are from this first stop. This was the first look at the canyon for all of us. Nothing special, but a cool stop on the way in.

The Grand Canyon In Winter

Apparently our short little trip here gave us the chance to see something few visitors see: the Grand Canyon with snow on it. While we haven’t seen the Grand Canyon without snow, compared to the pictures we’ve seen, the snow adds a lot of texture to the view and really creates an awesome contrast to the oranges, reds, and purples in the rocks of the canyon.

Since we only had a short time to spare, we just went to the first viewing area that we came to, The Desert View Watchtower. This was a cool tower with a staircase that wound up 3 or 4 stories inside, with several outdoor observation areas. From the different levels of this tower, you can see the Painted Desert (east), the Colorado River winding through the Grand Canyon, and the San Francisco Mountains (south).

The Future Hike

Unfortunately, we didn’t really get to see or do much at the Grand Canyon this visit. It was cool to see it with snow on it, but we want more. We’re planning to do a rim-to-rim hike later this year when we make it back, going from the South Rim to the North Rim. Whether we’ll hike the 23.5 miles each way or take the Trans-Canyon Shuttle to the North Rim and just go one way is yet to be decided.

Pictures

While it was a short trip, you know we took pictures! Here you go, the Little Colorado Canyon and the Grand Canyon with snow on it.