It is intimidating arriving at the Grand Canyon. Where to go? What to do? How to see everything? The printed Guide was like a big security blanket in your hand to help navigate through the crowded park.
What replaced the Grand Canyon Guide Newspaper?
Every vehicle entering the park still receives the familiar glossy black-bordered National Park pocket map. At the majority of the park service’s 400+ properties that is plenty good enough. And it will suffice at the Grand Canyon as well although the small font size used to pack in the essential information will challenge the eyesight of anyone on the unhappy side of 40.
There is clearly not enough space on the pocket map to include many of the best features of the old newspaper – friendly introduction articles, updates on park alerts for construction and closures, schedules of ranger programs, big maps and other great features. The park service has shuttled all that information online and introduced even more brochures and guides which look fantastic on your computer screen and if you have a chance ahead of time print them out before you reach the Grand Canyon. The downloads are quick to retrieve on your mobile devices but internet service is spotty inside the park so download them before you get there. And the digital Trip Planners are available in seven different languages.
What to grab at the visitor center
With the Guide in hand it was possible to sidestep the tourist crunch at the visitor centers. Now critical information on shuttle bus schedules and ranger programs must be picked up inside the park at a center before you can sketch out your activities at the canyon. The schedules are updated four times a year and the winter times are set on December 1. You can also grab these valuable cards from hotels and concessioners and campground operators. These are, of course, available for download as well.
One of paper handouts still available inside the Grand Canyon is the Accessibility Guide, including the large type version. If it is not obvious that one is needed at the entrance gate, be sure to ask for the leaflet. It can also be picked up at any visitor center or attraction inside the park.
A word about digital access
Clearly the technology-savvy park visitor is at an advantage in accessing all the information the park service has to offer on the Grand Canyon. Those files are delivered in PDF form so be certain that the browser on your phone or tablet displays portable document files properly before reaching the park.
If you are doing research on the Grand Canyon beforehand be aware that the National Park Service’s website is nps.gov. Not nationalparks.org. Not grandcanyon.org. Not grandcanyonnews.com (that is actually a local newspaper aimed at residents, not tourists).
So RIP Grand Canyon Guide Newspaper. But it has not disappeared completely. The park service keeps some archived issues online for both the South Rim and the North Rim.