The Grand Canyon was always on "the list" but I was  nervous that it just would not live up to its billing as one of the most iconic wonders of the world. I was also concerned that visiting would be marred by the flood of tourists, as with many national parks. The flagship park is celebrating its 100th anniversary and is more popular than ever. Still, I decided it was worth it and headed out to navigate the nooks of the South Rim. 

The good news is that the Grand Canyon is as spectacular as any place I have seen on earth. My concern about tourist saturation, however, was somewhat justified. I was fortunate, however, to be traveling with a night photography group, National Parks at Night. Being in the park at night made all the difference. After sunset, it felt like we were the only people in the park.  

The star trails image above with the Desert View Watchtower is a favorite from the trip. It reminds me how the night sky can bend time and bring vitality to what was a flat scene during the day.

Sunset over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon with a peek of the Colorado River

Of course, I was not immune to the calling of the incredible sunsets where crowds gathered at popular viewing spots. Light and shadow played through the canyon, reflecting off the Colorado River making each night into quite a show.

South Rim Sunset

The best time of sunset was just after the sun went down. The rock walls took on a moody layered feel as the golden sky contrasted with the depth of the canyon.

The Grand Canyon received its "dark sky" designation this year. Toward the end of our visit, the Milky Way became visible, shown here composited with the moonrise of our last night at the park.

View more of my trip photos in my Grand Canyon gallery. I am also working on images from Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend and a Secret Slot canyon we explored. Come back to the Arizona page soon for those!

Matt

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