Mom and dad (40s), MIL (70s) and two kiddos (7 &12) visited the park in July 2012. This was my favorite place in the whole park. We have never been to the Grand Canyon, so I can't compare to that, but we just loved it here, especially the views of the amazing canyons and when able to get close to the rushing water of the falls.
We did not do a whole lot of hikes while in the park since we had the kiddos and my MIL with us, but this was the one area where we made the effort to break up and enjoy a little bit of exploring. You can get amazing views without having to do the walks just by driving along the rims and stopping at pull outs, but there were two that we really wanted to try. Take the time to just drive around and explore, as there is a lot to see in this area and the canyons look just a bit different from all areas, but all are worth the stop. Amazing photos from all around the area.
Mom, dad, and 12-year-old walked down "The Brink of the Lower Falls," and we just loved it. (MIL and 7-year-old waited at the top for us.) From start to finish, it took us about 45 minutes with short stops and some time spent at the bottom. It was a very steep hike down and, obviously, coming back up involved some work, but it was so worth it. We seen a lot of people huffing and puffing their way back up, but if you bring water and stop for short breaks along the path, it is not too bad at all. My husband and son did better than I did, and I actually sent them on ahead of me so I could rest a few times. (I have a sedentary job and this was an eye opener for me on how deconditioned I am - LOL). The power of the falls rolling over the edge was amazing and beautiful. The view was breathtaking. You are directly next to the falls and can feel the water splashing up onto you and hear the roar of the water tumbling around and down. We wanted to be here in the morning to see the rainbow but did not make it in time. However, there was still the rainbow here late morning/early afternoon. Yay! You could still see some snow piles down in the canyon and could see the steps to Uncle Tom's trail across the way. There are really no words to describe it. Again, the canyons were my favorite place, and this was my favorite in that area.
The boys (dad and two kiddos) did "Uncle Tom's Trial" right after the "Brink of the Lower Falls." I decided to sit that one out and take a break with MIL. They thought it was great, but hubby said he enjoyed the Brink trail better and would recommend that one if you felt like only doing one kind of strenuous hike here. They did bring back some beautiful pics from here too, but he liked being up close to the falls like he was on the other hike.
The visitor center here was amazing with lots of information on the caldera and earthquake information for not only the area but the whole United States, and some with the whole world. They had amazing films everywhere and demonstrations that the kids loved. This was one of our boys' favorite centers. They asked lots of questions and learned a lot too.
Other great places in this area for views were "Inspiration Point" and "Artist Point," although the whole area was great. We had a bit of a hard time finding a place to picnic, but just look around and you will find something.
We would highly recommend this part of the park and suggest planning at least a full day here, maybe even two. :)