100 Days of National Parks: Day 26 – Mather Point Sunrise, Grand Canyon

Mather Point Sunrise

Grand Canyon Sunrise
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In many ways, there’s no better place to get up early and watch the sunrise than on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.  There’s something refreshingly peaceful about the feeling of waking up at 5am and heading out into the dark to one of the many points overlooking the black vastness of the canyon below, and settling to watch as morning light slowly warms the eastern horizon.

Sunrises aren’t always as inherently dramatic as sunsets, but there are some times where the sky seems to burn into existence as the sun peeks above the distant skyline, and the light of the day slowly stretches across the dark landscape.  As you sit on the lip of the gaping maw that is the canyon, having it mostly to yourself for those first few hours as the crowds slowly wake up, it’s impossible not to feel invigorated by the experience.  Every time I watch a sunrise from the South Rim, I feel recharged and ready to tackle a day of exploration, either in the park or down the road to whatever awesome destination the day has in store for me.  No matter how little I’ve slept or how cold and uncomfortable the morning may be, those first rays of light always bring me joy and comfort.

There are only really a few hours in the day when the light is perfect in the Grand Canyon, when shadows stretch and showcase the contours and jagged ripples of the canyon floor.  Even if I miss the majority of the day at the canyon, I always make sure to catch those moments, in the morning or evening, to really capture the awe-inspiring beauty of America’s most recognizable Natural Wonder.


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