Welcome back to National Parks with T! If you are seeing this on Twitter or Facebook, please visit the blog to see all of the photos and read the story by clicking the link.
The Grand Canyon is one of the world’s natural wonders and is on pretty much everyone’s bucket list. Because it is just so GRAND, I’ll need more than one post to cover all that we saw while there. This post covers the Bright Angel section of the park. Bright Angel trail is perhaps the most popular trail from the Southern Rim to the canyon floor. You can find lodging in this section of the park at either Bright Angel Lodge or El Tovar. Both are historic lodges.
We had our first glimpse of the canyon as we turned west toward the park. It began to rain as we passed through the entrance, but by the time we got to our lodge, it had stopped.
We checked into our cabin at The Bright Angel Lodge, just steps away from the rim of the canyon and the Bright Angel Trailhead. Since it had just rained, everything was shrouded in fog and we couldn’t actually SEE the canyon, but when the fog started lifting out of the canyon, it was incredible.
We loved our cabin at Bright Angel Lodge. We rented two rooms which comprised the entire cabin. We lucked out and had a connecting door (which they couldn’t guarantee at time of booking.) Amenities included a mini fridge, tv, and dispensers with a heavenly lemongrass scented body wash, shampoo and conditioner. we were a few steps away from the the Grand Canyon and the Bright Angel Trail. Both rooms had a ceiling fan which was plenty…no need for AC while we were there. It got down into the 50s at night.
We had thunderstorms each afternoon that forced us inside for an hour or two so we were grateful for our homey cabin.
I reserved our rooms a year in advance…there are 5 million visitors a year and not many rooms in the park. I see on the website that the lodge will close for renovation this year from September -December 2018.
The rim trail runs behind the Bright Angel Lodge and El Tovar (THE historic lodge in the park) and is level with guardrails so you can’t just fall over the side in the dark. I got up before dawn and walked the path behind our cabin to El Tovar where I watched the sun come up over the ridge with about a dozen other people.
There are some historic buildings in this area. Lookout Studio was constructed by the Santa Fe Railway in 1914 and used as a photography studio. It is now a gift shop with stone terraces from which to view the canyon.
Hopi House, along with Lookout Studio, Bright Angel Lodge and several other buildings in the park, was designed by female architect Mary Colter in 1904. It was built to be a living museum where Native American craftsmen worked and sold souvenirs.
In the afternoon of our second day in the park, we had some time to kill before our reservations at El Tovar so we took a hike on the Rim Trail. It started to rain again and then stopped almost as soon as we’d donned our rain ponchos. As it cleared, rainbows began to appear in the canyon. Amazing!
El Tovar was worth the splurge! It’s the priciest place to eat in the canyon and is a fine dining experience so you can’t walk in with your dirty hikers and shorts (though it’s not THAT dressy…no one was wearing ties or jackets except the waiters…polo and khaki pants are ok)
We were seated by the window for a great view of the setting sun. The lodge and dining room are lovely and full of history. The staff was great…our waiter opened a bottle of wine for us and noticed the cork was bad so he immediately got us another bottle.
Our food was delicious …basic continental fare with some inventive touches. Like my husband’s ny strip steak that had a crumbled feta and some sort of delicious sauce. Everything was very well prepared. Oh and they let my daughter order a half portion from the regular menu instead of making her choose from the standard chicken finger kids menu.
Designation: National Park
Date designation declared: 1/11/1908
Date of my visit: 8/19/2014