While much of the rim and the lookouts are sealed off with fences to keep the unwary traveller from toppling off the side to experience a rather precipitous drop, there is still much of it that is wide open leaving only common sense between you and the bottom of the canyon. If you take the kiddies to the canyon, make sure you hold their hands!
On arriving at the canyon on Sunday night, we made a brief stop to watch the remains of the sunset. It had been snowing and raining that day and it was now comfortably below freezing. The parking lot and the foot paths were all coated in a thin, shiny, very slippery coat of ice. Over the next day or two, we saw more than one person being carried out on stretchers after they’d slipped and cracked their heads. While the rangers did take care to sand the roads, no one seemed to think to sand the paths! That was especially alarming considering that precipitous drop I mentioned above.
Braving the slippery trails, we made our way carefully to the lookout at Yavapai to take in the view. We were making our way down the very icy stairs when I belatedly noticed that the railing (protecting us from that drop) topped out about three steps down. That is, right at the side of the first couple of steps was a 100 meter drop straight down! I held my kids hands all the tighter as I imagined how easy it would be to slip right off the side.