The Grand Canyon by Sunrise
Happy May! I hope everyone is enjoying some Spring temperatures. Wisconsin is slowly inking its way there, but we had snowfall not too long ago when Ricky and I flew back in from our almost weeklong Southwest USA National Parks adventure, the pièce de résistance being the Grand Canyon. I've always dreamed of seeing this Wonder of the World, and when we finally booked our trip I knew we had to see it by sunrise.
Over 5 million people visit the Grand Canyon each year which means it can get a little (a lot) crowded very quickly, and since watching a sunset doesn't require one to wake up in the middle of the night, we figured that sunrise was our best chance to not only check off a bucket-list item, but to experience it in as much solitude as possible.
After much blog and social media research, I decided that the best vantage point for views would be at Yaki Point, located near the South Kaibab trailhead on the South Rim. There are other highly suggested viewpoints like Mather's Point (located right next to the Visitors Center), Grandview, and Yavapai-- but since they were mentioned in many tourist brochures and recommended by our hotel we knew they were likely to be the most crowded. If you don't mind crowds then go wherever you like because there is not one bad seat in the house!
With sunrise projected for 5.45am the next morning, we set an alarm for 4am...
Remember how I said I was worried about the crowds...
An angel was definitely on our side! Once we arrived at the Visitor's Center we hopped on the Kaibab Rum (Orange Route) shuttle towards Yaki Point. The GC offers a free shuttle to many different areas of the park starting at various times throughout the year, and we caught the second one at 4.45am.
**Pro Tip: Do your research on parking at the different viewpoints if you don't want to take the shuttle. Yaki Point was only reachable by shuttle bus, but some points have a parking lot for personal vehicles.
We shared the quiet, rumbling bus with a handful of other visitors who all exited at the SK trailhead... leaving Yaki Point to only the two of us.
I hope you watched that one all the way to the end. Lol
Our viewpoint was literally 10 feet from the bus stop. Within a half hour the sun started to slowly peak over the rim...
For the next 45 minutes we enjoyed this beauty in complete solitude. Closer to peak sunrise there were a handful of other people who showed up to Yaki Point, but they eventually moved further down (some of them with a little encouragement from Ricky and myself). I think they moved for a better place to set up their cameras, but I don't know how it could get any better than our spot. I'm contradicting myself, but... I'm pretty sure we had the best seats in the house. The views were breathtaking, the moment priceless, and the experience unforgettable. 10/10 would One Million Percent recommend.