Virtuoso Traveler 2018 April Best Family Trips: The Grand Canyon

Best Family Trips: The Grand Canyon

The Srnka family explores the Grand Canyon. 
The Srnka family explores the Grand Canyon. 
Photo by Elaine Srnka.
Below the rim, a Grand Canyon trek delves deeper.
Wide-open spaces at the canyon’s edge.
Wide-open spaces at the canyon’s edge.
Photo by Matteo Colombo/Getty Images.

My first thought upon viewing the Grand Canyon: “Wow.” No matter how many pictures you might have seen, you just can’t prepare for the magnitude of the place. My second thought: “I can’t believe there aren’t more guardrails.” As a twenty-first-century mother accustomed to governmental rules and regulations to protect us from ourselves, I don’t know what I expected – railings around the entire 277- mile rim and down the trails to the base a vertical mile below? I nervously watched my teenaged kids snap selfies atop rocks jutting out over the ledge, praying that my lanky son wouldn’t trip or that my preening daughter wouldn’t veer too close to the edge trying to find the perfect shot.

 

We were embarking on a four-hour guided excursion below the South Rim, part of an itinerary arranged by Virtuoso’s on-site connection Revealed America. Most of the park’s nearly 6 million annual visitors only take in the vantage from above, but the ten percent who venture below immerse themselves in a billion years of history. As we trekked the moderately challenging South Kaibab Trail, our guide engaged the kids with an educational “Who can find it first?” scavenger hunt, dropping fascinating archaeological and geological clues along the way that stirred memories from my high-school earth science class.
 
About a mile down the trail, we stopped at Ooh Aah Point to take in the expansive views (“Don’t climb too far out on that rock, kids!”), then continued along the well-maintained path as it changed from switchbacks to straight descent. A mile later, we took one last look at the Colorado River far below and reluctantly turned around.
 
After our climb back to the top, we headed to a historic National Park lodge right on the rim for a surprisingly gourmet lunch (salmon with green chile pesto; salad with goat cheese, berries, and pine nuts; addictive cheddar corn muffins), relaxing our tired legs and recalling the hike’s highlights. My family will forever remember our day exploring this natural wonder – and I’m glad fences didn’t block the view.

Enchantment Resort’s pool.
Enchantment Resort’s pool.
Photo by Enchantment Resort.
 

See

Your travel advisor can work with Revealed America to customize a private Grand Canyon trip tailored to your family’s interests and abilities (I requested a young guide who would engage my kids). Highlights of a four-day itinerary include a mule ride along the East Rim and a helicopter flightseeing tour. Departures: Any day through December 31, 2018.

Stay

Though there are no Virtuoso hotels immediately near the Grand Canyon, Sedona’s 218-room Enchantment Resort is an easy two-and-a-half-hour drive south. Surrounded by Boynton Canyon’s dramatic red rocks, the resort’s stunning location calls families out of their casitas to hike, bike, and play croquet, tennis, or bocce. Parents will want to check out the Mii amo spa and Seven Canyons golf course, while kids learn to protect the earth through the Canyon Conservationists program.

Enchantment Resort’s casitas.
Enchantment Resort’s casitas.
Photo by Enchantment Resort.

Popular Articles