What could be more Wild West than staying on a ranch by the Grand Canyon?
The canyon is so vast, that only part of it (1.2 million acres) is operated by the government’s National Park. Grand Canyon West is managed by the native Indian Hualapai nation (pronounced Wollop-eye) and offers various accommodation options nearby. It is closer to Las Vegas (a two hour drive), so if you’re short on time, Grand Canyon Ranch, which is owned and run by an Englishman (ex helicopter pilot) is ideally placed, just 14kms from the canyon’s West Rim. You can do a tour there on a coach from Vegas or fly with HeliUSA, but we preferred having our own car there as it meant be could drive ourselves from the ranch to the rim itself (where the Skywalk is) 14kms up the road. (Note - the ranch and the Hualapai are not linked in any way, and the ranch do not take you up to the rim).
Stay in a tipi as the sun sets over the Music Mountains
Staying on a working ranch with resident cowboys is a fun way to experience ‘The Wild West’ and you can stay in wooden cabins or opt for a tipi. Don't be terrified if in the night you hear bulls outside rampaging around. It's alarming, especially when there's nothing but the tipi between you and them, but they are apparently steers and harmless!! :-)
Or you may prefer a wooden cabin at the ranch?
Their overnight camp out on horseback is a must. You saddle up at the ranch and ride off out into the sunset, with your cowboy leading you along the old Mormon Trail. The time you ride for depends on your experience in the saddle (absolute beginners are welcome) and as darkness falls, you make camp for the night. Your tent is already there and your steak is cooked to perfection over the campfire by your cowboy, who then serenades you into the night with some good old campfire songs under the stars. (Ask for John Fox - and tell him Hels and Anne say hi!)
The Skywalk gives you an extraordinary view of the canyon
The Hualapai operate the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West, a horseshoe-shaped glass walkway that extends almost 70 feet out over the Grand Canyon, 4000 ft up. And whether you wish to stand on the glass shelf or not, the other view points you can visit from the Skywalk park are impressive and less visited than the National Park.