Visit to the Grand Canyon – 2024


Pat had never seen the Grand Canyon and we decided now was the time.  We had planned to drive to Sedona, AZ from Green Valley, AZ on Thursday March 14 in order to visit the Grand Canyon the next day.  Fortunately, we decided to leave a day earlier on Wednesday the 13th.

The drive was uneventful until we got close to Sedona.  While there are gentle increases in elevation during the drive, the countryside is generally flat.  As one approaches Sedona, however, the change is startling.   The red rock mountains appear quite suddenly.

It’s very hard to describe the sudden change in geography as one approaches the ‘Red Rock’ country. 

Once you enter Sedona you quickly learn that many of the intersections use traffic circles instead of traffic lights.  There are seven traffic circles before entering downtown Sedona.

We were arriving a day early but we checked with the Arabella Hotel in Sedona and they had a room available but said we would have to change to our assigned room the next day.

We enjoyed a nice meal at the Molẻ Restaurant at the hotel.


We had read that the western entry to the Grand Canyon is very popular and there could be several mile backups at the entry point.  We decided to turn right at Flagstaff, AZ and enter the South Rim road from the East.

The weather had turned colder but we had no idea what we were in for.  As we approached the Eastern entry point, it was snowing and the visibility was down to one half mile.

The first viewing point we came to was VERY discouraging.  Visibility had decreased to where we could hardly see the car in front of us.  These two birds were huddled at the welcome sign trying to block the wind.

This was a Grand Canyon viewing point and as one can see in the background, there was nothing to see but fog and snow.

Fortunately, we were not discouraged and continued on the Grand Canyon Rim drive going from East to West.  By the time we got to the next viewing spot, the snow had stopped the clouds had lifted and the views were spectacular.

We had been concerned that we had driven all this way and would not get to see the canyon.  We were very happy when the clouds lifted.

The Canyon is a World Heritage site. (UNESCO World Heritage Centre – World Heritage List). 

We came to the Mather Point Overlook.  By now most of the clouds had cleared and we had truly amazing views of the Canyon.  There were shuttle busses available to take us to the Visitor Center but we elected to park our car, walk the Canyon Rim to the center and then take the shuttle bus back to our car.

The people in the distance gave an idea of the scale of what one can see.

The Colorado River drops about 5,000 feet as it makes its way across California and through Arizona.  Over millions of years it cut through solid rock to leave us with this canyon and these formations.

We were visiting the south rim of the Canyon.  The north rim at about 8,300 feet elevation is about 1,000 feet higher than the south rim where we were.

It is just hard to imagine the forces of nature that have cut through these layers of rock.

A plaque at the Visitors Center announces a bridge that was built to cross the river.

You have to trust me on this, but there is a barely visible, very small bridge way down at the bottom of the canyon to allow foot and animal crossing of the Colorado River.

The Visitor Center had a large display that showed the many layers of rock that the Colorado River cut through to form the canyon.

There is also a map to show the walking trail and the access roads to enjoy views of the Canyon.

Our timing was such that we were able to attend a lecture from a staff member about the formation of the Canyon and some of its history.

From there we caught a shuttle bus back to our car and drove back to our hotel in Sedona.  We had dinner at Szechuan Restaurant then returned to our hotel for a cocktail before retiring.


When we awoke it was pouring rain.  When we checked the Grand Canyon website we learned that it had snowed all night and the Rim Road, on which we had traveled the day before, was completely closed to traffic FOR THE NEXT TWO DAYS.   As I said earlier, we were SO lucky to have made this trip a day early.

We did a little sightseeing in Sedona then headed south to visit family and friends in and around Phoenix.

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