Share your Grand Canyon experience, I'm going soon!
Will probably be taking the whole family, me the wife and my 15 year old son there in a few weeks. The Weather will be really nippy at night but hopefully will be warming up to 70 degrees or so during the day.
I've never been to the canyon before, so any advice on where to stay, special areas to see etc would be cool. I'm not really a hiker, but could do some easy to moderate walking as could the wife and son; also I'm not prepared to spend a ton of money, so any way to do this on the cheap might be the way to go.
My wife and I went about 15 years ago. I don't remember where we stayed (in Flagstaff, I think), but we did the helicopter tour. Not cheap, but see if you can find some kind of deal before you go. It was amazing. October, late afternoon. Neither of us had been in one before, so that with the beautiful canyon was amazing. Bring your video camera. I'm glad we did. I'll never forget that ride!
We also did one of the visitor centers, and did the Clark Griswold-esque picture standing next to the rim of the canyon. A fun trip for sure.
Have a nice trip.
I'm curious about visiting it too. I'd like to defy common sense and find the least crowded and touristy way to visit the biggest tourist attraction in the US.
There are 3 towns close to the south rim to stay in:
Tusayan - closest but most expensive (tourist town)
Flagstaff - furthest but cheapest ( city - walmart, etc...)
Williams - a decent compromise between the two.
Pack a lunch, there are plenty of places to picnic
wear good shoes!
take a jacket, the weather can change quick.
The ElTovar hotel (clark griswold) is nice and right on the rim, go in and check it out (my woman used to work there)
Follow the road (rim drive)(hwy.64) through the park, Don't stop at the McDonalds at the east gate, I believe that it is the most expensive one in the country.
We used to live in Flagstaff and went to the canyon regularly, it was about 70 miles away. Shuttle busses haul people to the west points in the park, but you can drive yourself between Tusayan and Cameron, that's the way I'd always go.
Any specific questions, just ask.
There are reasons that the north rim is less crowded.
only 1 viewpoint from the lodge, a long drive in and out of the park, no amenities (hotels, etc.) close by.
For a first (and maybe 1 time ) visitor, the south rim is the best option by far.
I might be a bit atypical: if it's not primitive camping, it's not camping in my book and if it's right off a main highway, it's not an beautiful drive.
there ya go then, have a good time!
Been to the Grand Canyon a couple times. The first time I went I kinda had the mindset of "wow, a big hole in the ground. Big friggin deal" on our way there. Once we got there though, that all changed. It truly is amazing to see with your own eyes, simply beautiful. Enjoy yourself.
I need to do this, The helicopter tour sounds awesome!
Thanks, great advice so far.. Keep it coming!
My wife and I hiked rim-to-rim a couple of years ago. The south rim is more popular, but I really love the north rim. The elevation is higher, it's much less busy, and really nice. Be prepared to hike into the canyon. The view is great from the rim, but you can't really experience it without hiking down a ways and looking back up. Don't leave food unattended, the squirrels will chew right through your bags to get to it. There are a few places in the canyon to fill up water, but be sure to carry a bottle for each person.
We stayed at the Kaibab Lodge on the north side. The cabin we had was great, but the restaurant was not. On the south rim we just stayed at a Best Western, IIRC. It was pretty normal.
(Not the greatest pictures, it was the first trip while I was learning to use my brand new camera.)
How long will you be there? Do you exercise, now? Do you have decent endurance? At the top, the air is thinner and your endurance won't be the same as lower areas. The air is dry and you won't think you're becoming dehydrated, so make sure you drink water before you head out and as you walk. 1/2 to 1 liter per hour isn't a bad average.
Go to the Grand Canyon website for camping info. If you want to stay in one of the hotels nearby (El Tovar is one of the hotels that's at the South Rim), make sure they have vacancies- they fill up early in the year.
If you like desert settings, the South Rim is like that and all of the most common photos of the Canyon that are out there were shot from that side but if you like more alpine settings, the North Rim is the place to go. Some of the trails meet at the bottom and if you really want a workout, you could hike from one rim to the other.
The group I rafted with is getting pretty twitchy because it has been 11 years since the last trip and it's time to go again. I got some great photos and some great scenery can be found.
Page, AZ is near the Glen Canyon Dam, which is what created Lake Powell and that area has some nice scenery, too. If you're a boater, you might be able to rent a boat for the day and tool around the lake.
Their are two choices for spending the night at the North Rim that won't cost too much.
Jacob Lake has a campground and across the street are cabins you can stay in if you don't like "roughing it".
A nice cafe for breakfast/lunch/dinner is at Jacob Lake.
It is the entrance to the North Rim.
The North Rim has cabins but I suspect they might be pricey. You can spend a lot of your day hanging out at the lodge over-looking the canyon.
Watch out for the buffalo and I am not kidding.
Their are a couple small herds that graze the pastures as you drive from Jacob Lake to the canyon. About 20 miles if I remember correctly.
I made the trip twice. Once on a motorcycle, staying in the campground and again with my wife and dog, staying in the cabins. You are going to love it.
Page AZ. is 160 miles from the north rim and 190 miles from the south rim.
not exactly "in the vicinity".
TIP: hwy. 89 is closed from Cameron to Page. A landslide took out the road.
You Gotta take a detour on 98 from just outside of Kayenta.
The cabins at Jacob Lake are not cheap!
and the campground is OK, just a campground.
A couple shots of the north rim:
The hole in the rock is call the Angels window. (You can walk out over the top of it.)
North rim secluded? not so much!
Like I said earlier, We lived in the area for 12 years, and my woman worked at the Grand Canyon (bartender).
I've made many lumber deliveries into the Park over the years and re-roofed 3 cabins
in the bottom of the canyon at a place called Phantom Ranch.
For a first time visitor, I still recommend the South rim.
I've been three times. The west end of the canyon is particularly impressive - it gets narrower there and you really get an impression of the depth/height. Definitely get an aerial view if you can with the helicopter or airplane options.
Baking heat on my first two visits, third time there was rain for a lot of the day. Be prepared.
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