The Grand Canyon is one of North Americas natural marvels. It's hardly surprising that so many people enjoy heading there as part of a motorcycle tour. No matter how many times you visit this natural beauty you will always find something new to admire.
In fact, nearly 6 million people visited the Grand Canyon in 2016 for its natural rock formations and stunning views. The canyon is 1 mile deep and 277 river miles long. In places, it is 18 miles wide.
It's not the deepest canyon in the world but it's the most spectacular. It also provides a geological record of North America. Scientists argue over the age of the canyon, which could be anywhere between 5 to 70 million years old.
The Pueblo people made pilgrimages to the Grand Canyon. They believed it to be a holy site. Yet the first Europeans didn't see it until 1540. Explorers and mountain men chartered the canyon in the 19th century and it received its name in 1871.
It's also served as a formidable backdrop for Hollywood productions. Among others, National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Thelma and Louise (1991), Transformers (2007), Maverick (1994), and Fools Rush In (1997) were all filmed in the Grand Canyon.
It offers plenty of photo opportunities, hiking, camping, and historical landmarks. Read on to discover what you need to see at the Grand Canyon.
Watch the Sun Rise at Bright Angel Point
The North Rim is around 10-degrees cooler than the more popular South Rim. That's mostly because it's 1,000-feet higher.
But it's also quieter. That means you can commune with nature, enjoy the views, and soak up the atmosphere in peace.
Bright Angel Point is a great place along the North Rim to watch the sun rise. It's also the most accessible to visitors.
Follow the 0.4-mile path from the Grand Canyon Lodge to the viewing area. A white limestone knoll at the end of the path offers the best viewing spot.
The path also intersects with the Transept Trail, which offers mostly level hiking through mixed pine and aspen woodland. The Trail follows the canyon rim, giving plenty of opportunities to enjoy the scenery.
Even if you don't make it to the point, the views from the parking area at the Lodge into Roaring Springs Canyon are worth the trip.
Enjoy the View from Grand Canyon Desert View Watchtower
Located on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Desert View Watchtower offers superb views. Architect Mary Colter based her design on ancient Pueblo watchtowers. A roof structure inside supports an observation deck.
It looks like an ancient landmark but the watchtower was built in 1932. Concrete and steel comprise the internal skeleton of the tower. The native stone is only an outer veneer.
Murals by Fred Kabotie decorate the inside of the tower. You can also enjoy a more abstract experience of the tower using its black mirrors. Artists used similar reflectoscopes when painting landscapes to achieve interesting viewpoints.
There are plenty of picnic spots around the watchtower. But it offers shelter should it start to rain.
See Where Four States Meet at Four Corners Monument
Only one place in the United States boasts being the meeting place of four states. You'll find the circular plaque that marks the spot some six miles north of Teec Nos Pos, Arizona.
At this point, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Colorado bump borders. It also marks the boundary between the Navajo Nation and the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe reservation.
The state boundaries date back to the American Civil War. The Four Corners Monument has been replaced on several occasions since 1899 and was last rebuilt in 2010.
The Navajo Nation operates a photo opportunity at the site. It's the perfect spot for a unique selfie on your motorcycle tour. You can also buy traditional Native American art from the local vendors.
Cross the Historic Navajo Bridge to Watch the Condors
Opened in 1929, the Navajo Bridge was the only road bridge to span the Grand Canyon. In 1995, a second bridge opened to take on the traffic burden. The original bridge now only carries pedestrians.
Crossing the bridge gives you unparalleled views of the Marble Canyon, often considered the 'start' of the Grand Canyon. At this point of the canyon, it is only 400 feet wide.
Walk across the Historic Navajo Bridge and watch the Colorado River rushing by 470 feet below you. You might also spot the California condors that live in the area. Their 9-foot wing span gives them away.
If you're in the area on a motorcycle tour, follow the trail to the famous Horseshoe Bend.
Here, the Colorado River follows the narrow hairpin around the Marble Canyon mesa. The water rushes by some 1,000-feet below the cliff.
Photographers will want a wide-angle lens to preserve the drama of the view.
Follow the Grand Staircase from Canyon to Canyon
You can't take a motorcycle tour to the Grand Canyon without stopping at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. This rocky wonder is an ancient geological marvel stretched across northern Arizona and southern Utah.
Bill Clinton designated the Grand Staircase as a national monument in 1996.
The oldest layers of rock lie in the Grand Canyon's north rim. The newest layer forms Bryce Canyon to the north. When we say 'newest', the white cliffs are still around 150 million years old!
The steps change colour according to their age, shifting from chocolate, vermillion, white, and gray, to pink. The Kaiparowits Plateau, 9000 ft up, is a rich source of fossils from the Late Cretaceous period.
Hiking, fishing, camping, and horseback riding are all available at the Grand Staircase if you want a pit stop.
Visit a Living Ghost Town in Oatman, Arizona
Originally a thriving gold mining town with a population of 10,000 people, only 100 people now call Oatman home.
A mountain man and prospector founded the site in 1863. Its fortunes waxed and waned over the years, until its gold mining success in 1915 and 1917, during the early 20th-century gold rush.
Despite their success, the mines closed during the Second World War. Route 66 diverted away from the town in 1953, starting Oatman's decline towards ghost town status.
Tourism now replaces mining as its main industry. It's well worth a visit for a peek into the Wild West history of this great state. Clark Gable stayed here on his honeymoon in 1939.
Historic buildings line the streets, while costumed locals parade as gunfighters in the streets. The Oatman Hotel, originally built in 1902, hosts a museum, as well as a bar and restaurant.
Want to see the Grand Canyon ? Book one of the following Arizona- California - Nevada, Wild West or Route 66 motorcycle tours.