Santa Fe, NM (PressExposure) February 28, 2012 -- Some of the most popular campgrounds USA campers and RVers have grown to love have gotten an upgrade. Thanks to some new improvements just being unveiled, camping at the Grand Canyon just got better than ever.
The Grand Canyon was the destination for 4.3 million visitors last year, many of whom enjoyed stays at the RV parks and campgrounds on both the North and South Slopes for extended tours of one of the most spectacular locations on Earth. Even so, that number represents a drop of 3.7% in tourist numbers from the previous year. These improvements may attract an even greater number of visitors this year:
Water stations - Six water bottle refilling stations were added near major trail heads along the South Rim to provide free water to thirsty hikers and encourage the reuse of disposable water bottles.
Bike trails - May 15 is the target date for the opening of a new bicycle rental and tour operation on the South Rim near Mather Point. Also, a new eight-mile multi-use trail has been completed that connects the South Rim visitor center with Tusayan, the 'gateway' to the canyon.
Lodging - One might not expect luxury hotels in so rustic a setting but a night in the Red Horse Cabin a few feet away from the canyon's South Rim is sure to be a night to remember. The cabin, built in 1890, has been used in recent years as a storage facility for the Bright Angel Lodge but was returned to its original site and refurbished for a night of sleeping on the edge. Cost is $340 per night.
Mule tours - Now available all year long, the canyon's mule tours remain a very popular feature of the Grand Canyon. Overnight mule tours bunk visitors at the Phantom Ranch, built at the bottom of the canyon in 1922. Reserve your room early as the lodge is often fully booked as long as a year in advance.
Skywalk - Opened five years ago, the Grand Canyon Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped walkway that extends straight out from canyon walls over a rocky gorge 4,000 feet high. The walkway floors are made of glass for a view of the canyon that will never be forgotten. Operated by the Hualapai Tribe, skywalk prices start at $87.81 for a package that includes taxes, fees, and a meal but add-ons such as a river rafting trip, helicopter ride, and Old West Town to entertain the kids are also available.