After our few chilled out days in Las Vegas, we set ourselves the challenge of visiting the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon, and then driving onto our next stopover in Lake Havasu City... all in one day. It was a pretty ambitious task, but when you're road tripping the west coast on a tight budget, you have to squeeze as much as you can into each day! We set off fairly early from our AirBnB in Vegas, driving the short 35 miles to Hoover Dam. After missing the turn off for the Dam twice (it's really not well signposted!) we finally pulled into the car park and made our way down to check it out.
The Hoover Dam straddles the Nevada-Arizona state line, and it used to be part of the main highway through that area. The state line marker (pictured above) is a popular photo op for pretty much every tourist, and it’s incredible to see Lake Mead on one side and then see the HUMONGOUS drop down the concrete wall on the other.
We only stayed at Hoover Dam for about 30 minutes, as we still had a 3 and a half hour drive to the Grand Canyon! Fortunately, the AirBnB owners we stayed with in Las Vegas were Grand Canyon tour guides, and so they gave us some top tips for how to make the most of the Grand Canyon as we would only have a few hours there. We drove into the national park, paying the $25 entrance fee and headed straight to the Bright Angel Lodge (upon Eric's recommendation!). We parked up the car and jumped on one of the free shuttle buses which was running the Hermit Road Route (the red route), and stopped at 9 different overlooks along the south rim. The buses run every 15 minutes throughout the day, and throughout most of the year (but not in December, January or February!)
Seeing as we visited in monsoon season, rain threatened for most of the afternoon (which I'm sure you can tell from the photos...) but we decided to get the shuttle bus out to Hopi Point, and then walk back along the rim to the Bright Angel Lodge where we had left the car. This took us a couple of hours, but that included quite a few stops for unmissable photo opportunities!
I might be small, but I'm mighty!
Definitely didn't hang my camera from a tree to get this shot...
Anyone who knows me will know that I'm very rarely rendered speechless. But I have to say that the Grand Canyon is something that I just cannot put into words. It is one of the most overwhelming experiences I have ever had and none of my photographs can do it justice! It is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and over a mile deep, seemingly going on forever and ever. Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River cut its channels through layer after layer of rock, and the Grand Canyon is known for its visually overwhelming size and its intricate and colorful landscape. The colours and the layers in the rocks are just incredible and leave me wishing I'd paid a little more attention in Geography at school!
OH, and they have cute squirrels!
We left the Grand Canyon at about 4pm to start our 4 and a half hour drive down to Lake Havasu City, although it took a lot longer than 4 and a half hours thanks to a pretty intense traffic jam - not ideal but fortunately the first one we had experienced in the whole trip so far! We grabbed Maccies for dinner (when in America...) and finally arrived at our gorgeous AirBnB in Lake Havasu at around 11pm.
Herb and Charlene were without doubt our most kind, generous and welcoming hosts, staying up to chat with us about our adventure, and even providing breakfast the following morning. It's a shame we had to leave that day, as we would've loved to have stayed a little longer with them and their lovely little doggies... but San Diego calls!
London Bridge in Lake Havasu
Check back soon for the FINAL part in my West Coast Adventures series!