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Grand Canyon National Park Photos

Updated on April 29, 2016

Have a Look at My Grand Canyon Photo Album

Looking down on the Bright Angel Trail and Indian Gardens from the South Rim

I've created this page as a collection of some of my favorite photographs (taken by me, that is) from Grand Canyon National Park, where I hike fairly often since I live just ninety miles away. I've included brief descriptions of the photos and links to more information about some of what's pictured here.

Some of these Grand Canyon images are available as prints, cards and other products from my Zazzle store, Ramkitten's Adventure Emporium.

Please use the Contact Me link in my profile if you'd like to use any of these Grand Canyon photos, along with a link to the website where the image would be re-used.

Bighorn on Bright Angel
Bighorn on Bright Angel

Peek-a-Boo: A Bighorn on the Bright Angel Trail

That's my niece, Emily, on her first hike in the Grand Canyon. We ran into this friendly desert bighorn sheep on the way down to Indian Gardens.

I've seen a bighorn along the Bright Angel Trail several times, each time somewhere in the vicinity of the One-and-a-Half-Mile Rest House and the two-mile point, but whether it's the same one or not, I have no idea.

Desert bighorn sheep are often hard to spot in Grand Canyon, even in the open because they blend in quite well. They can scramble up a cliff face at 15mph, disappearing into terrain inaccessible to humans, so it's always a treat to catch sight of these beauties. The one pictured here is obviously quite accustomed to people. He stayed very close to trail for at least twenty minutes.

Grand Canyon cactus flower
Grand Canyon cactus flower

Grand Canyon Cactus Flowers

Single plants with two ver different personalities

I love how such sharp, unforgiving plants produce beautiful, delicate flowers and the contrast between the blooms and the spines. I think that contrast makes for interesting photos.

This image is available as a mouse pad or a card on Zazzle.

Cactus flowers come in all colors of the rainbow in Grand Canyon

Cactus flowers come in all colors of the rainbow in Grand Canyon
Cactus flowers come in all colors of the rainbow in Grand Canyon

Prickly Pear Cactus flowers along the Bright Angel Trail

Prickly Pear Cactus flowers along the Bright Angel Trail
Prickly Pear Cactus flowers along the Bright Angel Trail

Here's a similar Grand Canyon cactus flower photo I took, available on Zazzle as a postcard....

Century Plant in Grand Canyon
Century Plant in Grand Canyon

A Blooming Century Plant

A real treat to see and photograph

A "Century Plant" is actually an agave cactus. The myth about the bloom is that it happens only once every 100 years, hence the popular but misleading name.

In reality, this agave lives between ten and thirty years, sending up a flower stalk as much as 26 feet high just once at the end of its life. The plant then dies but produces shoots from its base, which continue to grow.

This type of agave was important to the Native Americans who once made the Grand Canyon their home, providing a source of soap, food, fiber, medicine and even weapons.

Century plants bloom in late spring and early summer. I took this photo in May on a hike down the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens.

A Century Plant flower close-up

A Century Plant flower close-up
A Century Plant flower close-up

Century plants with the Bright Angel Trail and Indian Gardens in the background

Century plants with the Bright Angel Trail and Indian Gardens in the background
Century plants with the Bright Angel Trail and Indian Gardens in the background
Grand Canyon wildflowers
Grand Canyon wildflowers

Delicate Flowers in Grand Canyon

In such an amazing setting on a grand scale, it's nice to stop and look at the little things....

I don't know what most of the desert wildflowers are called that I see in Grand Canyon, but I enjoy them nonetheless.

Such beautiful things live in a such a harsh environment, with very little water and extremely hot temperatures during the summer months. I've been in the canyon when the thermometer at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Canyon read 130 degrees Fahrenheit!

Grand Canyon rock art
Grand Canyon rock art

Pictographs in Grand Canyon

The difference between pictographs and petroglyphs

The pictographs in this photo are located along the upper portion of the Bright Angel Trail, between the South Rim and Indian Gardens. If you know just when to look up from the trail, they're not difficult to spot, but most hikers don't realize they're there and pass right by.

So, what's the difference between pictographs and petroglyphs, then?

Pictographs are painted onto stone with some sort of mineral or plant substance and combined with a binder like fat or blood.

Petroglyphs, on the other hand, are carved, abraded or chipped into stone, and the outer surface of the stone is removed to expose the usually lighter color underneath.

Pictographs are much more fragile than petroglyphs, so they're usually found in protected places like beneath rock overhangs or caves.

Growing shadows in Grand Canyon
Growing shadows in Grand Canyon

Growing Shadows in Grand Canyon

This photograph was taken at about 7:30am on October 1st, at Cedar Ridge along the South Kaibab Trail. The colors in the Canyon were so vibrant at the time, and the chill of the morning was quickly wearing off.

My friends and I were hiking rim to rim that day, so we saw the canyon from before dawn till after dark. Our shadows became shorter and the temperature warmer as the day and those 21 miles went on.

Hiking the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon
Hiking the South Kaibab Trail in Grand Canyon

Descending the South Kaibab Trail

A hike from rim to river

The South Kaibab Trail is one of the main "corridor" trails from the South Rim to the Colorado River. It's just over 7 miles long and is a ridge trail, so there's little shade along the way and no water. But it's a spectacular and very popular trail.

This photo was taken on a rim-to-rim hike last October.

Dropping below the rim....

Dropping below the rim....
Dropping below the rim....

Further down the South Kaibab Trail

Further down the South Kaibab Trail
Further down the South Kaibab Trail
Riding mules in Grand Canyon
Riding mules in Grand Canyon

Riding Mules in Grand Canyon

A part of Grand Canyon's history still seen and used today

Well, personally I prefer to walk.

But mules are a fixture in Grand Canyon and have been since the 1800s, when they were first used to aid in mining and later, in the 1880s, used commercially to transport tourists. They've carried millions of visitors from the Rim to the Colorado River and points in between. Mules have also carried supplies to hikers and work crews, including members of the Civilian Conservation Corps that did so much work on trails, rest houses, bridges, and other buildings and fixtures in Grand Canyon back in the days following the Great Depression.

Today, you see mule trains along the South Rim, on the Bright Angel Trail, and the South and North Kaibab Trails.

Read more about the history of mules in Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon wranger
Grand Canyon wranger
A man on a mule in Grand Canyon
A man on a mule in Grand Canyon
Black Bridge across the Colorado River
Black Bridge across the Colorado River

The Black Suspension Bridge Across the Colorado River

There are two bridges that take hikers and mules across the Colorado River at the bottom of Grand Canyon. One is the silver suspension bridge at the bottom of the Bright Angel Trail. The other is the older, black suspension bridge about half a mile away at the bottom of the South Kaibab Trail. The two bridges are connected on the south side of the river by the River Trail.

The black bridge was completed in 1928. Before this bridge was built, the only way for mules and people to get across the river was to ride in a large metal cage on a cable, constructed by David Rust. The cage was just large enough for one mule or several people at a time. That mule or those people would have to climb into this open bar cage and move across the river while the cables were swinging.

Read more about the history and construction of the black suspension bridge.

A Mule Train Ascends the South Kaibab Trail - See the Black Suspension Bridge below

Mules coming up the South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon
Mules coming up the South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon

Looking down on the black bridge from the the South Kaibab Trail

Looking down on the black bridge from the the South Kaibab Trail
Looking down on the black bridge from the the South Kaibab Trail
Bright Angel Fault in Grand Canyon
Bright Angel Fault in Grand Canyon

The Bright Angel Fault

An amazing, very old but still active geological feature seen from the South Rim

From Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim, looking about ten miles as the crow flies across to its counterpart on the north side, you can see the massive Bright Angel Fault. It's along the bottom of this fault, accompanied by Bright Angel Creek, that hikers can cover the 24 trail miles from the top of the Bright Angel Trail to the top of the North Kaibab Trail. (If you take the South Kaibab Trail to the river instead of the Bright Angel Trail, a rim to rim hike is 21 miles.)

Bright Angel Fault is still active, producing small earthquakes you can sometimes feel if you're in the Canyon.

Fall colors on the North Rim
Fall colors on the North Rim

Fall Colors on the North Rim

No photo editing necessary....

Each year around the end of September or beginning of October, our outdoors club does a rim-to-rim Grand Canyon hike. This past year, as I was leaving the North Rim, heading back to Flagstaff after completing my own rim-to-rim trek, I took this photo of stunning Fall colors on the Kaibab Plateau.

The yellow, orange and light green trees are aspen. The darker trees in the back are evergreen Ponderosa pine.

The South Bass Trail
The South Bass Trail

The South Bass Trail Descends Through the Redwall

A remote hike from South Rim to Colorado River

The South Bass Trail is one of Grand Canyon's more remote rim to river hikes, requiring a long drive on dirt roads, part of which cross Hualapai Indian Reservation land, to reach the trailhead.

The South Bass Trail leads hikers 7.8 waterless miles and more than 4,400 vertical feet from the South Rim to the Colorado River, where you can camp on the beach near the Ross Wheeler boat, abandoned where it lies in 1915.

I hiked this trail over three days time (one down and two back up, with a night on the beach and a night on the Esplanade) with my Ranger friend, who took me to see some archeological sites along the way.

You can read more about backpacking off Grand Canyon's Beaten Path and see photos from the trip in my South Bass Trail trip report.

The Ross Wheeler Boat, abandoned in 1915, sits on the rocks at the bottom of the South Bass Trail

The Ross Wheeler Boat, abandoned in 1915, sits on the rocks at the bottom of the South Bass Trail
The Ross Wheeler Boat, abandoned in 1915, sits on the rocks at the bottom of the South Bass Trail

More Grand Canyon Photography

Here are some beautiful books of Grand Canyon photography -- incredible vistas, flora and fauna, and the very little things you might otherwise miss -- taken at all times of year and all kinds of light.

These coffeetable books make wonderful gifts and great keepsakes, too.

Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography
Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography

Stunning photos from a variety of photographers, past and present.

 

Views Beyond the Beauty

Photographer Gary Ladd presents twenty North and South Rim overlooks, including Grand Canyon Village, Yavapai Point, Mather Point, Desert View, and Bright Angel Point, with more than 100 photos from rim to river.

This book also includes an interesting and engaging narrative, covering Grand Canyon geology, human history, prehistory, ecology and even the weather.

Path of Beauty

From photographer Christopher Brown comes this beautiful hardcover book filled with everything from broad vistas to intimate details of life along the Colorado River.

Have You Been to the Grand Canyon?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Wow, really amazing pictures!

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Beautiful photography on this lens. Yes, I have been to the Grand Canyon when I was just out of college. I will never forget the jaw-dropping look of my first view of it's majesty. It was like everything I had dreamed the view would be just opened up like a book and blew in my face. Nice piece of God's handiwork!

    • Dusty2 LM profile image

      Dusty2 LM 4 years ago

      It has been many, many years ago. Managed to catch the Canyon one trip in early morning and the next trip in the early evening when the colors were at their peak. I am sure the Canyon has really changed since the last visit. However, I really enjoyed the visit to the Canyon this time through your well done lens and fantastic photos of the Canyon. I appreciate you sharing this Purple Star lens. Thank You! (^_-)

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 4 years ago

      I have been but a long time ago. These photos are delightful - my favorite is the Century plant one and the chaps one is second.

    • mrdata profile image

      mrdata 4 years ago

      Your pictures are beautiful! Your lens is valuable and I would love visiting one Grand Canyon! Thanks!

    • Pat Goltz profile image

      Pat Goltz 4 years ago

      Very enjoyable! Thanks for sharing. I can't imagine hiking 21 miles in one day, with the hardest part of the hike at the end!

    • tonybonura profile image

      Tony Bonura 4 years ago from Tickfaw, Louisiana

      Beautiful pictures. Great lens.

      TonyB

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      It was a overwelming experience

    • Coreena Jolene profile image

      Coreena Jolene 5 years ago

      What a beautiful gallery of Grand Canyon photos along with some great information. My husband and I went there about 2 years ago and enjoyed the helicopter tour. We walked around the rim a bit but no hiking. It was an experience of a lifetime. I love the plant photos you have included too.

    • LisaDH profile image

      LisaDH 5 years ago

      Lovely photos! You're lucky to live so close to this "little ditch." :-) I've only visited the Grand Canyon once, but now that I have kids, it's one of the top places I'd love to take them.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I visited the Grand Canyon over 30 yrs ago and would like to go back. I love your Grand Canyon Photos.

    • profile image

      Terrie_Schultz 5 years ago

      Just once, about 20 years ago. It's an amazing place!

    • Othercatt profile image

      Othercatt 5 years ago

      I've never been, but it's on my list. These are beautiful Grand Canyon photos!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I've been twice but only day trips. I think I need to go back and see more. Your photos are beautiful!

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 5 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I've been twice but only day trips. I think I need to go back and see more. Your photos are beautiful!

    • TeacherSerenia profile image

      TeacherSerenia 5 years ago

      Nope - never been, but I have visited the grand canyon vicariously through your stunning photos, Blessed by a passing angel.

    • APackageAtTheDoor profile image

      APackageAtTheDoor 5 years ago

      Very impressive pictures, thanks for sharing!

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 5 years ago from Iowa

      Simply Stunning! Thanks for the visual vacation. :) Blessed.

    • Mauhro profile image

      Mauhro 5 years ago

      Never been there. I'd love to visit it someday. Thanks a lot for the beautiful pictures.

    • profile image

      Lindrus 5 years ago

      No, I haven't. But I would love to see it from the back of a mule! Thanks for a nice lens with some really great shots!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      There still other stuff that we don't know about the grand canyon like those century plant that they've mentioned. It is really great to know that there are this people trying to discover more that place. http://www.nationalvisas.com.au/student/studentvis...

    • SimilarSam profile image

      Sam 5 years ago from Australia

      An amazing collection of photos.

    • SusannaDuffy profile image

      Susanna Duffy 5 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      I've only seen the Grand Canyon on DVD but your photos bring it to wonderful life just as well. I must say that looking down on the black bridge from the the South Kaibab Trail made me feel, for just a moment, uneasy