When Americans create a bucket list, the usual suspects climb to the top: the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, New York City, and a favorite sports stadium like Fenway Park or AT&T Stadium. But these places have reasons to stay away rather than experience their glory.
Although it might be difficult to imagine, there are reasons you should avoid visiting Grand Canyon National Park. Yes, it’s magnificent, but it might be worth reconsidering whether it should remain on your bucket list. Let’s dive in!
Where is Grand Canyon National Park?
Sitting off Highway 64, Grand Canyon National Park sprawls across 1,904 square miles in northwestern Arizona. The average rim-to-rim distance is ten miles, and the average depth is about a mile.
The Colorado River meanders through 278 miles of the park. The North Rim sits at 8,000 feet in elevation, while the South Rim is 7,000 feet. With these incredible numbers, the park’s vastness is hard to comprehend.
While visiting the Grand Canyon Don’t Visit These Arizona Boondocking Spots.
About Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park was first a “forest reserve” and then a National Monument before the government designated it a National Park in 1919. One hundred years later, it became an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association.
The National Park Service protects igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks here that are millions of years old. Endangered and threatened species living in Grand Canyon National Park include the California condor, humpback chub, razorback sucker, Mexican spotted owl, yellow-billed cuckoo, and desert tortoise.
Not only does the park preserve scientific and geologic history, but it also preserves human history. There are over 3,300 ancestral sites within the park, with the oldest human artifacts at over 12,000 years old. Today, tribal governments and communities work with the National Park Service to preserve their heritage and educate others about their cultural history.
How Many People Visit the Grand Canyon Every Year?
In 2021, the park welcomed over 4.5 million visitors. This was almost double the visitation in 2020. However, before the pandemic, Grand Canyon National Park saw over six million guests in 2017 and 2018.
Since 1992, except for 2020, more than four million people have driven through the entrance gate yearly, making Grand Canyon National Park one of the top five most-visited National Parks in the country
5 Reasons to Avoid Grand Canyon National Park
Even though millions of people visit this natural wonder every year, it might be a place you want to avoid if you hate crowds and refuse to spend more money than necessary. The inherent dangers of the canyon and the weather are also reasons you might want to reconsider a visit.
1. The Crowds
Because so many people visit the Grand Canyon during peak season, the lines for shuttles, photo opportunities, and the entrance gate can be lengthy. These lines can ruin the experience because it takes time away from enjoying the majestic sights.
There are many places to take photos, but most photographic locations usually have many people trying to grab the perfect shot. This includes sunrises and sunsets.
2. The Dangers
When you think about the dangers of the Grand Canyon, it’s easy to understand why getting too close to the edge can be hazardous. But year after year, people try to capture the perfect selfie or venture too close to the rim and fall to their deaths.
In addition to the vastness and depth of the canyon, Arizona’s weather poses a risk. Flash flooding is typical and highly hazardous to hikers traveling to the canyon’s bottom. Heat exhaustion and dehydration are common health concerns in the summer when temperatures can rise to over 100 degrees.
3. The Weather
Summers at Grand Canyon National Park can get extremely hot. However, the opposite happens in winter. The higher elevation of the North Rim makes it a much less visited area, which is excellent for crowds but terrible for the weather. The North Rim Visitor Center isn’t even open in winter. At other times of the year, it can be very windy at the Grand Canyon.
4. The Expenses
The entrance fee isn’t the only expense when visiting Grand Canyon National Park. Even if you’re not staying on-site in a lodge or campground, gas, and food are costly. Since you’re miles away from the nearest city, you have no choice but to spend money to fuel up or grab lunch there.
5. The Campgrounds
If you need full hookups, Trailer Village is the only campground option at Grand Canyon National Park. You’ll pay well over the average cost for a nightly stay, which some may argue is worth it for the convenience. However, the campground offers no views and has tightly stacked sites. For the price you pay, you’d expect more.
Spend the night at one of these 7 Best National Park Campgrounds.
Is a Visit to the Grand Canyon Worth It?
Even though there are five reasons to avoid visiting Grand Canyon National Park, it should still be on your bucket list. No photo can capture the grandeur of this natural wonder. Every American should see it once in their lifetime. Just know there will be some headaches during your visit.
Have you ever visited the Grand Canyon? Would you add any other reasons to our list?
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