Grand Canyon: How we spent one day on the South Rim

The Grand Canyon has been on my bucket list for awhile. As a kid, we didn’t do much National Park visiting, in fact we did not visit a single national park, so I was excited to experience my first experience in one of the largest. Why not kick off the tour with the most iconic one?!

We had originally planned to camp at Mather Campground 3 nights but with low overnight temps in the teens, we decided to arrive a day later and soak up some sun in Sedona instead. This left us with a limited time frame to see all that this massive park has to offer. Looking back, I think that shortening our trip by one night worked out perfectly!

How we spent one full day at the Grand Canyon

We had one full day to explore and sight see so we decided to break the day into two halves. We had our dogs with us so that limited us from hiking down into the canyon. We were OK with this because they had just gotten a lot of snow. With the melting, the ice had gotten pretty bad and we were not prepared for that type of hike.

  1. Hike the Rim Trail: With the dogs, our only option was the Rim Trail and to be honest, I was kind of disappointed. I thought that since it was completely paved that it would feel like more of a walking tourist trap. I was wrong! We got started around 9am and the trail was fairly quiet. We ended up walking the entire trail and ended at about 12 miles of ground covered. The views are stunning from all the way around and there are plenty of offshoots to sneak a peak into the canyon.
  2. Drive Desert View Drive: It was getting a little cold and we were worried about daylight by the time we were ready for our second hike so we decided to drive Desert View Drive and stop at all of the lookouts. This was a great sunset drive to do! Use the map to see all of the lookouts and determine which ones you want to stop at. We stopped at Grandview & Lipan + a few of the un-marked spots as they were less crowded. I highly suggest making it up to the end of the route for Sunset. We stopped at Lipan to watch the sun go down and it was amazing!

Mather Campground

We prefer to spend little on camping and don’t always need full hookups as we are set up to be off grid for about a week. We decided to go with Mather Campground to save some money and get more of the “camping feel.” With our 30 ft. Class A, we were at the max size to fit into the campground & this was totally correct. We had some tight turns but nothing that we were in risk of getting stuck in.

We were definitely the largest in the campground and probably had only 2-3 other fellow RVers with us, most of the campground is tent camping. Brr!

The campground was quiet, well maintained and we even saw some wildlife. If you are planning on visiting in a larger rig, just be careful as to what site you pick. I picked the WRONG site for a few reasons.

  • The flow of traffic only allowed us to open our door out to the road, not the fire pit. We ended up doing some maneuvering to set up camp how we usually would.
  • We were RIGHT outside one of the bathrooms. I always try to look for pictures of the sites before I book them and I was tricked. I usually use and they have been pretty accurate in the past. Either there was not a bathroom there when the picture was taken or the wrong picture was used!
  • Book early! I had missed our six month mark by 1 single day and I had the choice of 2 campsites that would fit our rig (much easier to get a tent site!)

All in all, I think that the time we spent in the park was perfect for us. If you are in a time crunch, just passing through or wanting to take a day trip from Flagstaff or Sedona, it is definitely doable!

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