Sunrise at the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

I wanted my first trip to the Grand Canyon to be special and I couldn’t think of a better way to make it special than to see the sunrise. I had no idea of what to expect from the Grand Canyon other than it was a giant hole in the Earth. What I saw was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Sunrise v. Sunset

This is a personal argument for a lot of people but for me I prefer sunrise. There is something about the sun fighting through the darkness and emptiness of the night. I see sunrise as full of hope and opportunity. The gentle rays of light slowly building to the full illumination of the day are like a ball rolling down a hill and growing momentum. The sunrise always fills my body and soul with energy.

Sunset on the other hand has always been more reflective. The tasks of the day coming to end and the sun wanting to get one final look before laying down for the night. The sun always seems tired to me at the end of its workday as it slowly dips below the horizon. They are both beautiful though so whichever you prefer I suggest you experience it at the Grand Canyon.

The Magic of Light

Getting to the Grand Canyon while it was still dark was interesting. I could see a mild outline of the contours of the rocks but with very little detail.

The early stages of the sunrise at the Grand Canyon.  The horizon is yellow with pink and purple clouds above it.  The canyon walls in the foreground and black as the light hasn't hit them yet.

The massive rock and spaces where rock once lived began to take shape with each passing moment. Slowly revealing its shapes like a movie in slow motion. The sky began to glow with warmth and show the yellow’s, pinks and purples like smoke rising above a warm campfire. Yet the canyon still preferred the comfort of the cold, dark shadows.

The next stage of the sunrise at the Grand Canyon.  The canyon walls are starting to take shape and start to show some of their stripes.

With each passing moment the light gave up more and more of the secrets held in the shadows. The walls of the worlds largest hole in the ground began to take shape and it was nothing like I thought. I thought the Grand Canyon would be similar to Horseshoe Bend but instead it’s mass just kept stretching along with the light.

The stage right before the sun has fully broke the surface at the Grand Canyon. More of the canyon is now visible.

Right as the sun started to break the horizon the true breadth of the canyon began to take shape in front of me. The realization of how big it actually is was enough to take my breath away. The slow reveal with the flood of sunlight washing away the curtain of shadow made this view even more astonishing.

House of the Rising Sun

The sun as giant orange ball over the Grand canyon.

When the sun finally made its way above the last barrier into the morning sky, the canyon was bathed in the cool blue light of the morning. It was almost like the rocks themselves were stretching to meet the new found rays of warmth. The canyon floor and walls were a cross between golden painted stone that had been kissed by these morning rays and the dark, velvet shadows of the rocks holding on to the night for one last moment of rest.

Power and Humility

This was one of the most special moments of my life. Watching the true power of all aspects of nature at work. The canyon cut by the persistent stream of water. The tree’s clinging to the sides of the cliffs in a constant challenge to gravity and physics. Seeing the sun rise over something so grand that was completely carved by nature was humbling for me personally. But there were hundreds of people gathered around the observation areas and you could still hear a pin drop and birds chirp. A few small conversations were taking place but most people were just staring, like me, in silent contemplation and appreciation of what yesterday created and the hope of what today might bring.

The sun has risen at the Grand Canyon.  The sky has turned blue with the floor of the canyon light or dark depending on if the sun is hitting an individual rock formation.

More from the Fatman

If you enjoyed this page you may enjoy the posts on my Thoughts page. Some popular classics such as “Screw It, I’m Trying”, “Hiking alone not Lonely Hiking”, and “Bad Days and Bidets: Just wash it off”. You can also follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Feel free to email any questions or comments to fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com. Happy Hiking!

13 thoughts on “Sunrise at the Grand Canyon”

  1. Your pictures are amazing I have only seen flying over. Henry and I need to go and hike there. Thanks for sharing

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  4. Your pictures are great but your written descriptions and how it made you feel were fantastic, really enjoyed:)

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