Southwestern Lodge Less Than a Mile from the Grand Canyon
Carved by the Colorado River over millennia, the Grand Canyon is 18 miles wide and 1 mile deep. Its immense, multicolored rock walls prompted Theodore Roosevelt to declare it "a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world." One mile from the canyon's South Rim entrance, The Grand Hotel spreads out in the middle of a dense pine forest. A large Southwestern lodge with a flagstone fireplace and exposed wooden timbers in the lobby, the hotel provides a comfortable home base for guests who want to stay as close as possible to the majestic Grand Canyon.
The Canyon Star Restaurant and Saloon, located onsite, is a step back to the Old West. Barbecue and steak dinners headline the menu, and a large pine stage features nightly entertainment such as cowboy banjo players or Native American dancers. At the saloon next door, you can sidle up to the bar and settle onto an antique saddle seat once used by mule runners. Each morning, you'll wake up to a free breakfast. In standard king and double-queen rooms, subtle Southwestern decor, such as pinewood furnishings and earth-toned linens, echo the striated walls of the nearby canyon.
Grand Canyon, Arizona: Geological Wonder with Hiking and Mule Rides
The Grand Canyon—located about 70 miles northwest of Flagstaff and 215 miles north of Phoenix—is one of America's most visited natural sites. Millions arrive every year to hike, climb, or simply stand in awe. Arizona's desert environment and lack of ground cover have contributed to the near-perfect preservation of the brilliant red, orange, and yellow-brown layers visible on the canyon walls. Two billion years of erosion have carved the rocks into unusual shapes, and the views are, of course, unsurpassed—looking out over the gorge is like looking at the Earth in its infancy.
There are plenty of ways to explore the site. From the South Rim entrance of the park (near the hotel), things are especially visitor friendly. You can take one of the guided full-day van tours that leave directly from the front door of The Grand Hotel, or sign up for a guided mule ride that descends into the canyon. Grab a map and head out to hike on paths such as the Bright Angel Trail, which is quite steep but offers wonderful scenery, or the Rim Trail, which is a little easier and offers views of the inner canyon.