The Grand Canyon is one of those places that you cannot describe in words. We made a 3 hour drive from Scottsdale, Arizona to spend the day at the Grand Canyon and the drive was well worth it!
The Accessible Canyon
I remember feeling anxious with excitement as we entered the National Park Service gate. The parking area is huge and there are plenty of accessible parking spaces as well as an accessible shuttle bus. Even though we arrived early in the day, most of the parking spaces were already filled. After we parked, we took an accessible pathway to the edge of the South Rim to a spot that wasn’t crowded and silently looked over the handrail across and down into the Canyon. It was emotional as it kind of takes your breath away.
You read about the Grand Canyon. Maybe you see the Grand Canyon online or in a television show. But nothing can prepare you for the moment when you are there and at the top of the rim – taking it all in. It’s magnificent. It’s beautiful. It’s peaceful. And, it’s overwhelming. All at once! We walked along the accessible paved pathway on the South Rim and completely loved the views and sites of the Canyon. I was also shocked by the number of people who literally disobeyed signs and took their life into their hands by crawling out onto the edge of cliffs and jagged rocks just to capture “the selfie” with no regard for anyone.
Nonetheless, the Grand Canyon is part of the US National Park Service and is more accessible than I imagined – along the rims and in lodges and shops. For visitors with a mobility impairment, you can get a Scenic Drive Accessibility Permit from the visitor’s center or entrances to drive their personal vehicles on Hermit Road and Yaki Point Road. The Canyon is not accessible trekking down into the Canyon, and there are rim trails that are also not fully accessible.
But, you will be amazed and captivated by what IS accessible. I can’t wait to get back to the Grand Canyon and enjoy the incredible beauty and tranquility of this natural wonder. Here are my recommendations for an accessible and fun trip to the Grand Canyon.
South Rim Scenic Drive and Overlooks
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon offers stunning panoramic views of the canyon’s enormous landscape. The scenic drive along Hermit Road and Desert View Drive provides accessible overlooks, parking spaces, and viewpoints. Accessible shuttle buses are also available for manual wheelchairs. Visitors can enjoy the accessible trails and viewpoints. Some of the trails are not accessible for wheelchair users.
Visitor Centers and Museums
The Grand Canyon National Park Visitor Center and Yavapai Geology Museum are accessible facilities that offer valuable information and exhibits about the geology, wildlife, and history of the canyon. Both locations provide accessible entrances, exhibits, and restrooms. Visitors can learn about the canyon’s formation, browse interpretive exhibits Staff are available to answer questions..
The Rim Trail is a scenic pathway that follows the edge of the South Rim, offering breathtaking views of the canyon. Portions of the trail are accessible, featuring paved surfaces and gentle gradients. Accessible shuttle buses for manual wheelchair users provide transportation along the rim. The Rim Trail provides an accessible and easy way to appreciate the stunning beauty of the Grand Canyon. Portions of the trail are not accessible for wheelchair users.
Verkamp’s Visitor Center
Verkamp’s Visitor Center, located near the Bright Angel Lodge, provides an accessible historic experience. The center has accessible entrances, exhibits, and restrooms. Visitors can learn about the pioneering Verkamp family and their role in shaping the canyon’s development. Accessible seating areas and interpretive displays provide an engaging and inclusive environment for all visitors.
Grand Canyon Village
Grand Canyon Village is the center of activity and services within the park. It offers accessible amenities, including accessible lodging options, dining facilities, and shops. Visitors can explore the village, visit the historic El Tovar Hotel, and enjoy accessible dining experiences. Accessible parking spaces and pathways are also available.
The Grand Canyon is an amazing place to visit. Whether you stay in one of the accessible lodges at the north or south rim, or you decide to stay elsewhere and drive to the Canyon, it will be a breathtaking experience! Here’s a guide for accessibility from the National Park Service. So, contact a reliable and knowledgeable travel agent such as Travel for All, plan an unforgettable itinerary, and pack your bags for this amazing adventure!