Arizona, North America, United States

My 48 Hour Grand Canyon Adventure

April 21, 2015
Arizona - The Grand Canyon - Around the World with Justin

I had just returned from backpacking in Central America for three weeks and was out wearing a tribal necklace in L.A. At a party, a guy named Nick asked me about it and we bonded over our shared love for travel. At the end of our hour-long convo, Nick told me he and three of his best friends were going on a Grand Canyon adventure the following weekend and he invited me to join. I took a few moments to think about it – if his invitation happened during one of my international trips I would have said yes immediately – and so I quickly decided to bring my spontaneous travel attitude stateside.

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

From Los Angeles, the easiest way to get to the Grand Canyon is by car or flying. My friends wanted to make an adventure out of the trip so we took an overnight Amtrak train (Southwest Chief) to Flagstaff, Arizona. At Union Station in Los Angeles, I met up with my new travel buddies Nick, Angellina, Maggie and Mo. Meeting the group made me feel like I was on a season of “The Real World” and I was excited for our Grand Canyon adventure.

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Travel Tip – If you take the overnight train, do yourself a favor and rent a bed. We had a rough time falling asleep on the chairs and even spent some of the night “sleeping” on the floor.

When we arrived in Flagstaff early in the morning, my cousin Michael (who lives there) surprised me with Dunkin Donuts! Growing up in Chicago, our grandparents ALWAYS brought over Dunkin Donuts anytime they visited. The taste of home was such a nice surprise. We all ate breakfast in town until the rental car office opened and then hopped in our rental to continue our Grand Canyon adventure.

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Our trip was awesome! We spent our afternoons day hiking in the canyon and our nights bonding over bonfires, board games and booze. There are so many hiking options and the paths you choose really depend on what you’re looking for. We enjoyed the Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail. If you’re unsure, you can get a lot of helpful information at the Visitor and Information Center on site. If you’re looking to prepare beforehand, The National Park Services is also a great resource to help plan your Grand Canyon adventure.

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona Bright Angel Trail South Kaibab Trail aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona Bright Angel Trail South Kaibab Trail aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona Bright Angel Trail South Kaibab Trail aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona Bright Angel Trail South Kaibab Trail aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Nick found us an incredible home for our Grand Canyon adventure! I would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend staying at Hull Cabin. The cabin was adorable and completely secluded. It had four beds (two bunk beds) and a pullout bed. There’s a kitchen, stove, outdoor fire pit and an outhouse. It’s located in the Kaibab National Forest just a short car ride away (15 minutes) from the Grand Canyon. I would ABSOLUTELY stay here again and can’t wait to go back.

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona Hull Cabin aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona Hull Cabin aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Travel Tip – If you want to shower at Hull Cabin, you’ll need to bring a shower bag to hang in the outhouse. We picked one up on the way from Flagstaff when we stopped for grociers. Be prepared for cold showers!

Any Grand Canyon adventure is absolutely breathtaking. Pictures don’t do it justice. Visiting makes me realize I don’t have to travel halfway around the world to see natural beauty. It really made me appreciate how beautiful my own country is and motivated me to take advantage of visiting U.S. National Parks in future trips. I couldn’t be happier that I said “yes” to going on a trip with four strangers because of my “backpacker’s mentality.” Once again, going out of my comfort zone allowed me to make new friends and create incredible memories.

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

Grand Canyon Adventure Arizona sunset aroundtheworldwithjustin.com

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  • Reply Jessica Beck April 27, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    That is so awesome! I also have recently been inspired to travel more around where I’m from and the United States instead of feeling like I have to leave the country! I’m trying to treat my hometown and surrounding areas the same way I treat the places I visit!

    • Reply Justin Walter April 28, 2015 at 11:57 am

      Thanks Jessica and I totally agree! I love traveling internationally, but we shouldn’t take for granted our own backyards! There are so many beautiful places in the U.S. that are worth the trip. Definitely send me your recommendations and best of luck with your travels.

  • Reply Candace April 28, 2015 at 8:35 am

    Very informative post, I’m regular reader of your site.

    • Reply Justin Walter May 11, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      Thanks Candace! Next time you head to the Grand Canyon hope you can use some of my tips. If you go with a group, definitely check out Hull Cabin, we had the best time there.

  • Reply Joey April 30, 2015 at 8:53 am

    What a fun adventure! I did one of those daytrip tours from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and that was just a glimpse. Someday I hope to go to AZ and experience the Grand Canyon. You’re right that there are so much natural beauty here in the USA. I live in the east coast but hope to explore the rectangular states someday and perhaps even go to the last frontier: Alaska!
    BTW, I love watching SURVIVOR too and someday hope to visit the outback (and no Outback Steakhouse doesn’t count!) 😉 I’m not a huge beach person but some of the SURVIVOR locales have been truly amazing. Have you been to Borneo, the location of the first season of SURVIVOR? I heard it’s an actual tourist attraction!

    • Reply Justin Walter May 11, 2015 at 7:20 pm

      A glimpse of the Grand Canyon is better than none at all! Hopefully you’ll get to return and have more time to explore. I lived on the East Coast for 4 years in Boston, which I loved, but have really loved living on the West Coast since then. I can’t wait to keep exploring and definitely have Alaska on my list! Re: Survivor – Awesome you’re a fan! I haven’t been to Borneo yet, but I bought the Lonely Planet guidebook because I know I’ll head there eventually.

  • Reply Sherryl Hayes July 25, 2015 at 9:19 am

    Hello, I really enjoy your content.

    • Reply Justin Walter August 4, 2015 at 2:35 pm

      Awesome! The Grand Canyon is breathtaking! I hope you get a chance to check it out.

  • Reply Brodka August 10, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Usually, I don’t read long posts, but it absolutely was worth the time. Nice article.

    • Reply Justin Walter August 10, 2015 at 3:36 pm

      Thank you for your feedback! I know some of my posts are a little longer, but I approach them thinking “what do I wish I would have known before traveling there” and hope even if someone skims the post, they’ll takeaway helpful travel info or be inspired to go on an adventure.

  • Reply Jean September 18, 2015 at 3:23 am

    You know I love your blog!!!

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