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Grand Canyon Christmas
Not committed to a holiday dinner with Uncle Ned? Now's the time to hit some of the most popular places in the National Park system-without the crowds. Our staff has backpacked in the Grand Canyon twice on Christmas. Both times, we camped at Bright Angel Campground and there was space left for last-minute backcountry revelers. (On December 20, the Backcountry Office told us there were 9 sites still open for Christmas Eve this year.) Our recommendation: Bring tinsel, a treat to share with other holiday campers, and cash to buy a beer at Phantom Ranch. Permit info: http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm
Backpacker editor Dennis Lewon enjoys shorts-weather on Christmas Eve at the Grand Canyon's Bright Angel Campground.