After leaving Supai village, our next destination is Grand Canyon National Park, which is famous for its majestic canyon. This is the third part of our trip to American Southwest on July 2015. This part is the continuation of the fourth day after we left Supai village.
Day 4 - Continue
We arrived at Havasupai Hilltop parking lot around 1PM. The Havasu canyon, where we visited Supai village, is between the west side and the South Rim area of Grand Canyon. Our next destination, the South Rim, is the most famous part of Grand Canyon and the most accessible of part of Grand Canyon. It is about 3 hours drive from Havasupai parking lot.
We arrived the South Rim in the late afternoon. We had quite good amount of time to check in at Mather campground and set up our tent. This campground is the closest campground to the South Rim visitor center and can be booked through recreational.gov. There are also a few lodges and hotels inside the park. Getting around Grand Canyon is very convenient as most of the place is reachable using the park shuttle buses, which run frequently. You can check about the bus routes and timetable here.
Our goal of the day was to catch the sunset at Hopi Point. It is said to be the best-all-around viewpoints to watch the sunrise and sunset. The viewpoint is located on Hermit Road, which is closed to private vehicles most of the year (March - November). To get to Hopi Point, we took the Village shuttle bus from the campground and made a transfer to the Hermit Road shuttle bus at the transfer point near Bright Angel Lodge. As July is one of high season months at the Grand Canyon South Rim, make sure that you reserve extra time to wait for the bus if you visit Grand Canyon during this time of the year. When we were waiting for the Hermit Road bus, there was a large group of high school students on their field trip. You can imagine how crazy it would be. Luckily, after a long wait, we arrived at Hopi Point and had enough time to prepare for sunset.
From Hopi Point, you can view many rock formations, also known as ‘temples’ from this viewpoints, such as Shiva Temple, Isis Temple and Zoroaster Temple. Honestly, it was really difficult for us to identify these temples. We did not stay at Hopi Point for too long because it was so crowded. We moved to Powell Point, a viewpoint next to Hopi Point (0.3 mile; 0.5 km to the west). The view was not that much different, but was a lot less crowded. Powell Point does not have fence at the viewpoint like Hopi Point, so please be a little bit more careful.
We only stayed at Powell Point for about half an hour after the sunset. The bus that takes us back to the transfer point only run for an hour after the sunset. It comes every half an hour. We thought that we might have missed the earlier bus and had to wait for the last one. Luckily, the bus was late and we could catch the bus without a long wait. The distance between Powell Point and the transfer point, where we could catch our shuttle back on the campsite, is 3 km (1.87 miles). It is not that far. However, if you stay longer than an hour after the sunset and plan to walk back, please remember to bring a flashlight. It will be really dark since there is no streetlight.
The Village shuttle buses run until late, so you don’t have to worry about staying a little bit later to watch the sunset or grab something to eat before going back to your accommodations. You just have to be at a bus stop by 9:30 PM to catch the last bus.
Next morning, we went to Mather Point for the sunrise. The view point is very close to our campsite, so we didn’t have to wake up too early and can still get spectacular view 🙂 see the evidences below.
We still had half a day left to spend at the South Rim before we had to leave for Page, so we have a short walk on the Rim trail from the visitor center to the Bright Angel Trail head. Along the trail between Yavapai Point and and Verkamp’s visitor center, there is the Trail of Time. It provides information about geological history. Really interesting. It also has nice scenic and several viewpoints along the trail. However, it is nothing too exciting after the Verkamp’s visitor center and our walk felt rather long. The trail is is just 4.2 km (2.6 miles) but , it took us almost 4 hours as we stopped at the viewpoints, visitor centers and museums and something along the way.
This supposed-to-be short walk, but took longer than we thought. Anyway, this is how we end our Grand Canyon South Rim visit. Stayed tuned for our next destination, Page, Arizona. We still within Canyon land, but with a bit different landscape.