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South Rim's Grand Canyon Village is the hub of activity for canyon visitors. A variety of accommodations, from historical landmarks, quaint cabins, modern facilities or camping and hookups for RVs, are available. Museums, gift shops, restaurants, mule rides, train rides and other activities are clustered here as well. Yet, it is the spectacular canyon views that bring the visitors back each year. The Visitor Center, which was previously located here, is now across from Mather point.
Located along the "Southern Rim" bordering the Grand Canyon gorge, is the village of Grand Canyon. The village is simply stunning and attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world. With breathtaking views, this place is especially known for its colorful landscape and beauty. Apart from sightseeing, the tourists can also enjoy exhilarating outdoor activities like the whitewater rafting, hiking and running etc.
Nestled into the canyon's edge at Bright Angel Lodge, this stone facility blends into the landscape, as it provides panoramic views and endless photo opportunities. Designed by architect Mary Colter, it opened around 1914, and was a place where early visitors could warm themselves by the fireplace, shop for postcards and use a telescope to view the surrounding area. Today it continues to offer visitors a bird's eye view of the majestic landscape and a place to shop for rock and fossil specimens, souvenirs, photography artwork and books.
Adventurous visitors to the Grand Canyon who want to hike down into the spectacular geological wonder head down the Bright Angel Trail. This trek is not a spur of the moment endeavor, but a trip the hiker should carefully plan out. Descending 4,000 feet (1219 meters), this eight-mile trip to the Canyon floor takes approximately five hours going down, and nine hours returning. Although this trail is considered the most popular and easiest of the two maintained trails on the South Rim, hikers have rated it "strenuous."
The second overlook along the West Rim Drive affords sightseers a partial view of Bright Angel Trail. From this point, visitors will find themselves at some 7,050 feet. In 1976, the world's first foot-launched hang gliding flight into the Canyon was executed from this lookout. Access to this point is via the trail system linking the overlooks along West Rim Drive and by shuttle in the summer months.
Geologists concur that it took nearly 60-million years for the Grand Canyon to come into existence as we see it today. However, the oldest rocks into which the mighty Colorado River has cut into are approximately 1.4-billion to 1.8-billion years old. Visitors can take the Trail of Time beginning at the Yavapai Geological Museum and witness the timeline of rocks, from the youngest Kaibab Limestone upon which you walk at 260-million years old to the oldest Vishnu Schist as the basement rock. Along the entire route to Verkamp's Visitors Center, the trail provides spectacular views and plenty of education. It's a definite must-see attraction while you are in the Grand Canyon Village.
The Yavapai Point at Grand Canyon National Park offers unobstructed views of the gorge as it is the north-most and the closest to the Colorado River. The nearby Yavapai Observation Station and Yavapai Geology Museum sell books and display information about the history of the Grand Canyon. You could also buy souvenirs here to take back home. To the north, you will be able to see the river while to the west you can see the Plateau Point followed by the Bright Angel Trail. In the distance, you can see the peaks and points right up to the Desert View and Palisades of the Desert.
Of the eight lookouts along the West Rim Drive, the eight-mile drive that runs west of the Grand Canyon Village to Hermit's Rest, the fourth stop along this sightseeing route is believed to be the best for viewing sunsets. From this vantage point, you will have an excellent view of the Colorado River deep down at the bottom of the chasm and many of the spectacular geological features of the canyon.