If you ever get the opportunity to spend time at the Grand Canyon, it will be an experience you will never forget. I’m not talking about a few days, or a week, or even a couple of weeks. A visit to this magnificent wonder of the world is great, but to really experience it you need to spend an extended period of time there.
I have spent 10 months at the South Rim on two different occasions and 2 1/2 years for my third working vacation. I’ve spent all four seasons there. Each season has its own beauty. Even though Grand Canyon is in Arizona, do not expect those periods of high heat you read about. That happens in Phoenix. Grand Canyon is in northern Arizona at around the 7,000 foot elevation. It rains, it snows, there’s lightning and thunder, there’s four very distinct seasons, each with its own beauty.
Grand Canyon South Rim is the only National Park that has a K-12 public school within the boundaries of the park. Other parks have schools, but a child at Grand Canyon can begin and end their public school enrollment without ever changing schools. With all the people employed by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Delaware North, the National Park Service, Paul Revere Transportation, the school system, Chase Bank, etc., you can see that the village on the South Rim is a small town, to say the least. All these people need a place to live and those places are within the park’s boundaries. There is a bank, grocery store, recreation center (to include weight room), library, housing of all types, and all the amenities of any small town across the United States.
By living and working at Grand Canyon you have the opportunity to see the park in all its splendor anytime. The majority of the approximately five million visitors see the park during the spring/summer/fall months and are limited by the time they have to see all they can. They’ve given themselves a couple of days during their vacation and they are in a rush to experience it all in that short amount of time. If the weather does not cooperate (the summer rains have ruined a good many vacations) these visitors are left with a less than rewarding experience. You, on the other hand, can pick and choose your days. If the weather is bad one day, just do your thing the next.
Due to the number of people that live there you will find many more and different opportunities than you will find at a seasonal park like Bryce Canyon or even Crater Lake. There is daily transportation to and from Flagstaff (85 miles away) so the need for your own vehicle is less pressing than with other parks. The employers offer many types of activities for their employees and the number of jobs is impressive.
If you choose Grand Canyon as a destination, keep in mind that not only will you have a job, but you will have housing (type and cost depends on the employer and your position), a places that serves food for the employees only, and numerous recreational opportunities. You may not get the job you want initially, but with the number of positions available you will have the opportunity to transfer to your desired job once there is an opening. Those openings are frequent and many (especially during the spring and summer).
If you are a hiker, you will find hundreds of miles of trails calling your name. These trails are on the rim of the canyon, into the depths of the canyon, and outside the park boundaries. If you ever get to the bottom of the canyon, you will never be the same. Life takes on a completely different meaning after that adventure. It’s not for everyone, but those that manage it will tell you that there is nothing like it.
I have met several people who vacationed at Grand Canyon years ago and decided to get a job for awhile so they could extend their vacation. Before they knew it 10 years or more had gone by. Time is a beast of a different color at Grand Canyon. Once you get on “Canyon Time” you may never want to leave. I think that is why I returned as many times as I have.
Working for a few months at Grand Canyon is a great way to truly experience one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.