Yellow Van Travels

Chimani Grand Canyon App Review

When you are a techie you download the app, it’s what you do.

Actually in my case it is often several apps.
I think smartphones and tablets have really made a big difference in how we experience the world, and I have written elsewhere on the positives and negatives associated with that change. But I think when used intelligently, they can greatly enhance an experience, so from time to time I will give you my take on the best tech and apps to use for certain trips and adventures.
For the Grand Canyon I looked through the Apple App Store. If you search for Grand Canyon you will actually get quite a few results. I looked through most of these and ultimately settled on the app Grand Canyon National Park by Chimani. It was a great app experience and I will likely use more Chimani apps in the future because it was so helpful.
Note that shortly after our trip to the Grand Canyon there was a large interface updated to the app, so my experience may not be exactly the same as yours, but from looking the new interface over it actually looks even better than what we had.
Whenever you are heading out somewhere remote and you want to use an app it is important to download it before you leave a reliable wifi location. In our case I did all my downloading and app checking in St. George before we left for the Canyon. Don’t just download the app either, make sure to go in and check it out. This isn’t just to see if it is useful, it is also because an app’s initial download package often does not include all of its data. As you browse around you may see sections downloading. The Grand Canyon has WiFI in only a few locations and LTE/4G coverage is spotty.

The app is full of useful sections detailing everything you can do in the park. It will tell you good places to stop in your car, where to picnic, and the all important water and restroom stops. In the screenshot above you can also see a ranking badge system where it says I am a scout. This is a new system that wasn’t in place while we were at the Canyon so I can’t speak directly to it. The app does many things, but its most useful features may be the section on the Grand Canyon shuttle routes and on the hikes.

The shuttle section will show you every stop on the Canyon’s five shuttle routes and the (approximate) times they will arrive. While the shuttles don’t always arrive on time you will at least know how often they run, so it should give you a good idea of how long you will have to wait. We found this feature to be very valuable to making and adjusting plans while we were visiting.

The hiking trails section is also very helpful in getting details on the trails, their conditions, and length of time. This is information you will want to have and it is extremely convenient to have it in an app on your phone.

There are a ton of other sections in this app that can help you in the park depending on what you are doing. I highly recommend using it both when you are planning your trip and while you are there. Chimani has apps for a bunch of the National Parks and I plan on using some of them in the future.

One other thing to remember is that if you are camping you won’t have outlets to plug your phone in to, so make sure to bring an extra battery pack and a car charger. The app won’t do you much good if your phone is dead 🙂