*Please note this post may contain affiliate links. If you click on one, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commission I make if you decide to buy something. See my Privacy Policy for more information.*

This Grand Canyon 3 Day itinerary is your welcome to majestic Grand Canyon National Park. It will be your canvas where the beauty of nature is displayed. Picture yourself at the canyon’s edge, overwhelmed with emotion as you absorb the sight of this enormous gorge sculpted by the relentless Colorado River. This was my initial encounter with the Grand Canyon. It was nothing short of transformative – a surge of emotions, like reuniting with a long-lost friend.

I recall the tears of wonder and amazement that fell as I intuitively knew the canyon itself was imparting ancient, earthly wisdom.

Although I had no idea at the time, this experience became the catalyst for my journey to use travel to heal myself. Along the way, this blog was born.

Grand Canyon 3 Day Itinerary

This three-day journey through Grand Canyon National Park is geared for the self-aware female solo traveler. As always, it’s a journey for your self-healing through nature. But this itinerary is also to answer your call for adventure! It includes beautiful but challenging hikes, river rafting, and down-time to connect with your soul. So gear up, open your soul, and accompany me on this extraordinary expedition of self-discovery and mindful travel.

Visitor experiencing emotional connection with the Grand Canyon, representing the transformative power of a 3-day itinerary at the park
Love at first sight- tears of joy

Day 1: Bright Angel Trail – South Rim

  • Hike Bright Angel Trail
  • Lunch at Indian Garden
  • Bike Tour
  • Yavapai Point for sunset yoga

Day 2: Colorado Rafting Trip

  • Visit Grand Canyon Village
  • Colorado River for a smooth water rafting trip
Calm waters of the Colorado River, reflecting the serene rafting experience included in the Grand Canyon 3 day itinerary
Calm Colorado River rafting
  • Photography workshop

Day 3: Museum, Ruins, South Kaibab Trail

  • Desert View Watchtower
  • Tusayan Museum and Ruins
  • Hike South Kaibab Trail
  • Yavapai Geology Museum
  • Stargazing Program
Scenic views from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, highlighting key destinations in a 3-day itinerary
Views from South Rim

Know Before You Go

Research and Reserve:

The Grand Canyon is immensely popular. Book accommodations, flights, and any guided tours in advance.

Entrance Fee:

$30 per vehicle, valid for 7 days or $80 for the America the Beautiful Annual National Park Pass.

Travel Insurance:

Consider purchasing travel insurance, especially if you plan on engaging in hiking or other adventurous activities.

Safety First:

Register your travel plans with a friend or family member who knows your itinerary and expected check-in times. For complete health and safety packing list, click here.

Health Preparations:

Ensure you’re in good physical condition for the hikes you plan to undertake. Familiarize yourself with symptoms of dehydration.

Backpack:

A comfortable, well-fitting backpack with enough space for essentials.

Hydration:

Water is crucial. Carry a hydration pack or water bottles AT ALL TIMES.

Clothing:

Dress in layers. The canyon can be cool in the mornings and evenings but very hot during the day. Include a evaporative cooling towel to keep your body temperature regulated.

Evaporative cooling towels, a recommended packing item for a 3-day Grand Canyon itinerary, demonstrating their cooling effect.
The fabric in these special towels absorbs heat off your skin. It uses evaporation to keep you cool, and really works.

Footwear:

Good-quality, broken-in hiking boots.

First Aid Kit:

Include personal medications, band-aids, blister care, and basic first aid supplies.

Pills on file, symbolizing the importance of carrying a first aid kit during the 3-day Grand Canyon itinerary

Sun Protection:

Sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.

Food:

Nutritious, high-energy snacks and meals.

Start early to avoid the heat and crowds. Take regular breaks, and be mindful of your energy and hydration levels. This itinerary includes hikes in the morning or late afternoon. I recommend not hiking in the heat of the day during summer months.

Stay on Designated Trails

For your safety and to protect the environment

Take Photos Safely:

This cannot be emphasized enough. Deaths occur too often by being reckless.

Wildlife:

Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not feed or approach animals.

Mule deer in their natural habitat, a common wildlife sighting during a 3-day Grand Canyon itinerary
You’ll see mule deer all around. Stay safe, give them their space.

Leave No Trace:

Pack out everything you bring in.

Solo Hiker Precautions:

Regularly check-in with someone via text or call.

Whew! Now that that’s out of the way, we can get into the details of our itinerary…

Day 1

Deep Dive into Nature

Set out early for a hike down the Bright Angel Trail, an out and back elevation trail. Starting near the Grand Canyon Village, this well-maintained path descends 4.6 miles to Havasupai Garden, with rest houses available at 1.5 and 3-mile intervals.

Hiker enjoying the Bright Angel Trail, a key hike in the Grand Canyon 3 day itinerary.
View from Bright Angel Trail

If you love canyon hikes, you’re going to truly enjoy Bright Angel. The trail offers stunning views of the inner canyon and the Colorado River, making it a rewarding challenge. The total distance is 7.8 miles, and if you’re up for it, you can have your lunch at Havasupai Garden. If not, and you’d wish to hike shorter, return to the South Rim and have lunch at Harvey House Café.

If hiking the 7.8 miles, Havasupai Garden offers a well-deserved break and a picnic lunch. The café here offers a selection of healthy, energizing foods, with options for those with dietary restrictions. Expect to spend around $10-$15 for a menu of sandwiches and salads.

If hiking shorter than 7.8 miles eat at Harvey House Café, situated in Bright Angel Lodge. A family-friendly eatery offering healthy, diner-style food, its décor includes stout log columns for a nostalgic atmosphere. They have gluten free and vegetarian options at moderate prices.

Biking in Grand Canyon National Park provides a unique perspective of the park’s stunning landscapes. The park offers lots of bike-friendly trails suitable for various skill levels, such as Hermit Road Greenway Trail, which is relatively easy and closed to most private vehicles.

Seeking a more challenging experience? The 13-mile East Rim Drive presents a mix of terrains and offers expansive views of the canyon. Bike rentals and guided tours are available within the park. Reserve a bike, tour, or both.

As evening approaches and the sun starts its descent, make your way to Yavapai Point for a truly unique experience – a sunset yoga session. Located about a mile from the Visitor Center, Yavapai Point offers an expansive view of the canyon. The combination of the peaceful environment and the spectacular sunset provides a perfect backdrop for a rejuvenating yoga practice. As the canyon shifts through a spectrum of colors, lean into a moment of introspection and connection with the natural world. Don’t forget your journal to capture the magical moments.

Day 2

Cultural Exploration and River Experience

Start your morning with a visit to Grand Canyon Village, a place teeming with historical significance.

Historical architecture in Grand Canyon Village, part of the cultural exploration on a 3-day itinerary.

As you walk through the village, be sure to visit notable buildings like the El Tovar Hotel, a National Historic Landmark known for its elegant architecture dating back to 1905.

Another must-see is the Hopi House, an impressive structure built in 1904. Designed to resemble a traditional Hopi pueblo, it showcases exquisite Native American arts and crafts.

Hopi House at Grand Canyon, showcasing Puebloan culture, a significant stop in a 3-day itinerary.
Hopi House – museum of the Pueblo People

While exploring these historic sites, hold mindful space for the indigenous Havasupai people. Practice land acknowledgement for the generations who have lived in the Grand Canyon region for over 800 years. Today, their pride shines through as they continue to maintain a deep connection with this sacred land.

South West Indian hoop dancing, aligning with the cultural aspects of a Grand Canyon 3-day visit
Traditional Hoop Dance performed before the Hopi House

In the afternoon, immerse yourself in the tranquility of the Colorado River with a smooth water rafting trip. Technically, it goes through Glen Canyon on a stretch of the Colorado River just before Grand Canyon National Park begins. It is the only smooth water raft trip on the Colorado River just before Grand Canyon.

Scenes of smooth water rafting on the Colorado River, an essential experience in a 3-day Grand Canyon itinerary

This gentle journey is not only a way to see the canyon from a unique perspective but also serves as a meditative experience conducive to trauma healing.

Scenes of smooth water rafting on the Colorado River, an essential experience in a 3-day Grand Canyon itinerary."

Before embarking on this adventure, remember to wear comfortable, quick-drying clothing, bring sunscreen, a hat, and stay hydrated. For a memorable rafting experience, consider booking through reputable companies available on Viator.

aerial view of Colorado River
For a comprehensive list of all rafting trips in one place, check out this list of commercial concessioners: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/river-concessioners.htm

Conclude your day by joining a photography workshop. These workshops are often available through local tour companies or sometimes even through the National Park Service. Prices can vary, generally ranging from $50 to $150, depending on the duration and expertise level of the workshop.

The Grand Canyon Field Institute is one excellent option, known for offering photography workshops that guide you in capturing the majestic beauty of the canyon. These workshops not only improve your photography skills but also provide a therapeutic and empowering experience, allowing you to see the canyon through a creative and mindful lens. As a solo traveler, this is a perfect opportunity to meet fellow enthusiasts and share your experiences.

Day 3

Watchtower, Tusayan Museum & South Kaibab Trail

Start your morning early by witnessing a breathtaking sunrise from the Desert View Watchtower. Located 25 miles to the east of Grand Canyon Village, this area provides a different perspective of the canyon. The Watchtower, an impressive stone structure offering panoramic views, is a great spot to welcome the day.

Sunrise view from Desert View Watchtower, offering panoramic perspectives for visitors on a 3-day Grand Canyon itinerary.
After sunrise, explore the historic tower, beautifully decorated with Native American art.

After grabbing a late breakfast / early lunch near Desert’s Watchtower, head to the nearby Tusayan Museum and Ruins, just a short drive from the Desert View area. This small museum offers insights into the lives of the ancestral Puebloan people who once inhabited the region. The adjacent ruins, dating back 800 years, allow for a contemplative walk through history.

Tusayan Museum and Ruins, providing historical insights into the 3-day Grand Canyon itinerary

Hike in the late afternoon to avoid the heat of the day. Head back to the South Rim to tackle the South Kaibab Trail, a challenging hike with rewarding views. You can choose how far you wish to go – Ooh Aah Point is a popular turnaround spot at about 1.8 miles round trip. This trail provides stunning panoramic views and is less crowded than the Bright Angel Trail. Unlike cold climate National Parks like Yellowstone, the South Kaibab Trail has no water sources, so carry sufficient water and stay hydrated.

Stunning panoramic views from South Kaibab Trail, an integral part of the Grand Canyon 3 day itinerary.
View from South Kaibab Trail

After your hike, relax and cool down at the Yavapai Geology Museum. Located near the Visitor Center, the museum offers educational displays about the canyon’s geology and large windows for viewing the canyon in a comfortable setting.

Yavapai Geology Museum, offering educational insights during a 3-day Grand Canyon visit

Conclude your day with a star-gazing program. The Grand Canyon is known for its dark skies and offers some of the best star-gazing opportunities. Check with the Visitor Center for any organized evening programs. This is a chance to unwind and reflect on the day’s experiences under a blanket of stars. If you feel inspired, log onto a virtual therapy session and process even deeper.

Stargazing activity under the dark night sky, a serene conclusion to each day in a 3-day Grand Canyon itinerary.
Be prepared to be amazed by the dark night sky

Where To Stay

Grand Canyon National Park offers a variety of accommodation options ranging from luxury to budget, as well as diverse camping experiences:

Hotels

Luxury

El Tovar Hotel – This historic hotel, located on the South Rim, is the epitome of luxury in the Grand Canyon. With stunning views and elegant dining, El Tovar provides an upscale experience. Prices typically start at around $200 per night.

Mid-Range

Yavapai Lodge – Situated inside the park near the South Rim, Yavapai Lodge offers modern and comfortable rooms in a beautiful natural setting. Room rates usually range from $120 to $180 per night.

Budget

Bright Angel Lodge – My first choice when I lodged here, this rustic but charming lodge is located directly on the South Rim. It offers a range of accommodations including lodge rooms and historic cabins. Prices are more affordable, often starting around $100 per night, and the lodge’s central location provides excellent access to many of the park’s trails and viewpoints.

Accommodation options at the Grand Canyon, showcasing the range of stays available for a 3-day itinerary

Camping and RVs

Mather Campground

Nestled in a pine forest on the South Rim, this campground provides amenities like restrooms and drinking water. It’s open year-round with a nightly fee of about $18.

The Canyon Motel and RV Park

Located in Williams, about an hour’s drive from the South Rim, this option combines the charm of historic motel rooms with the convenience of an RV park. It offers amenities such as an indoor pool, WiFi, and laundry facilities. Motel room rates start at around $100 per night, while RV sites with full hookups are available for approximately $40 per night.

Cozy cottage in Williams, Arizona, representing off-park accommodation options for a Grand Canyon 3-day trip
I feel in love with the cozy cottage

Trailer Village RV Park

This RV park near Mather Campground on the South Rim provides full hookups for vehicles up to 50 feet in length. Open all year, nightly rates start at around $36.

Desert View Campground

Situated 25 miles east of Grand Canyon Village, this campground offers a more rugged experience with basic amenities. It operates on a first-come, first-served basis, with fees around $12 per night.

Each of these options offers a unique way to experience the Grand Canyon, catering to different preferences and budgets. Remember to book in advance, especially during the peak tourist seasons, to secure your ideal accommodation or camping spot. If you are a camper but have chronic illness to consider, I’ve invented a form of hybrid camping to marry the best of both worlds.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit Grand Canyon National Park varies depending on your interests and the activities you plan to enjoy. Here’s a seasonal guide:

Weather: The temperatures are mild, with daytime highs usually ranging from the 50s to the 70s Fahrenheit.

Scenery: The canyon is alive with blooming wildflowers and a fresh, vibrant look after winter.

Activities: This season is ideal for hiking and exploring the canyon’s trails without the intense heat of summer.

Weather: Unlike traveling to cold climates with lupus, autoimmune disease has special needs to for dealing with heat. In the summer, it’s warm to hot with temperatures often climbing from the 80s to above 100 Fahrenheit, especially in the inner canyon. Traveling to hot climates can be challenging but it’s doable.

Scenery: Long, sunny days illuminate the canyon walls, showcasing their stunning colors and formations.

Activities: Summer is perfect for various outdoor activities. River rafting on the Colorado River is particularly popular. However, be prepared for high temperatures and strong sun, especially if hiking.

Weather: The weather is pleasant with temperatures ranging from the high 50s to the 70s Fahrenheit.

Scenery: Autumn brings a change in the foliage at the higher elevations of the North Rim, adding beautiful hues to the landscape.

Activities: This is a great time for hiking and enjoying the outdoors, with fewer crowds and comfortable temperatures. The North Rim closes after the first snowfall, usually by mid-October, so plan accordingly.

Each season offers a unique experience at Grand Canyon National Park, making it a year-round destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Reaching Grand Canyon National Park is possible through various modes of transportation, depending on your starting location.

How To Get There

By Air

Nearest Airports: The closest major airports are Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG), about 90 miles from the South Rim, and McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas (LAS), about 280 miles from the South Rim.

Transport from Airport: You can rent a car at these airports for the drive to Grand Canyon. Shuttle services are also available from Las Vegas and Phoenix to the South Rim.

By Car

Driving Directions: Grand Canyon is accessible via major highways. From Las Vegas, take US-93 South to I-40 East towards Flagstaff, and then Highway 64 North to the South Rim. From Phoenix, take I-17 North to I-40 West to Williams, and then Highway 64 North to the South Rim.

Rental Cars: Renting a car provides flexibility for exploring the park and its surroundings.

By Public Transport

Bus or Shuttle: There are shuttle services from major cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon. Greyhound buses serve Flagstaff, where you can connect to shuttles for the final leg to the park.

Train

The Grand Canyon Railway offers a unique travel experience from Williams, AZ, to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Group Tours

Many tour companies offer guided tours to the Grand Canyon from nearby cities, including Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Sedona.

Is Three Days Enough For Grand Canyon National Park?

Determining whether three days is enough for a visit to Grand Canyon National Park depends on your interests and the activities you plan to do. In three days, you can explore several key viewpoints, hike some of the popular trails, and possibly engage in other activities like river rafting or taking a helicopter tour.

However, the Grand Canyon is vast and diverse, so if you’re interested in more in-depth exploration, longer hikes, or visiting both the North and South Rims, you might find three days limiting. For a well-rounded experience with a mix of self-healing hiking, sightseeing, and mindful relaxation, three days can be sufficient.

Final Thoughts On Grand Canyon National Park

This three-day Grand Canyon adventure is tailored for you, self-aware solo female traveler! You’ll combine self-healing with thrilling experiences. The challenging hikes, river rafting, and moments for the soul will satisfy your desire for self-healing, beauty in nature, and connection to art, culture, and physical empowerment. Enjoy!

Related Reading:

Share