Grand Canyon Visit

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FreddieG
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Grand Canyon Visit

Post by FreddieG » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:10 am

I am driving from Colorado to Las Vegas, and LA, with a foreign visitor, and I have allocated a couple of days at the Grand Canyon (South Rim). I have booked a room (affordable for me) in Williams, AZ, about an hour from the GC.

Once I get to the GC, are there any specific activities I should do, such as tours, hikes, etc? I don't just want to hangout in the visitors center. Do I need to reserve anything ahead of time?

Would appreciate some advice from anyone with experience. Thanks.

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JMacDonald
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by JMacDonald » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:28 am

First, is it still possible for you to get a room in the GC?: http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com
if nothing is available in the GC, how about Tusayan just outside the GC: https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g313 ... otels.html
This will allow you spend more time at the GC rather than driving each day.

Here is a link to the GC with a list of things to do: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/things2do.htm
You can hike down one of the two main trails to the GC. Just remember it will take you twice as long to come back up as your hike down.

The Trail of Time is an easy hike along the canyon rim: http://tot.unm.edu

If you do have to drive in, here is where you can park: https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/parking_sr.htm
Arrive early each day as the line to get in can get very long and parking is easier.
Best Wishes, | Joe

letsgobobby
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Jun 04, 2016 9:50 am

Reserve dinner at the Arizona room. Not too expensive, great views, decent food.

Take the shuttle west on the rim (red shuttle ) and hike the Hermits rest trail a bit. You'll get great views and a fraction of the crowds in the Bright Angel corridor.

If you have the wneegy, hike one day to Indian Garden. Busy, but it is the heart of the south rim. If you're very strong you can do Panorama Point but that's a long hot slog in the summer.

Drive from Williams as early as possible, like 6 in the morning. The south rim is both very crowded and quite hot in the summer. You do not want to be hiking at 2 in the afternoon.

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JMacDonald
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by JMacDonald » Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:42 am

letsgobobby wrote:If you have the wneegy, hike one day to Indian Garden. Busy, but it is the heart of the south rim. If you're very strong you can do Panorama Point but that's a long hot slog in the summer.
If you want to really see the canyon, take the South Kaibab Trail down to the Tonto Trail over to the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Gardens. This would be about 3000 foot lost and 3000 foot gain. You need to be carrying enough water for that hike. The only water is at Indian Gardens. Check with the visitor center about this hike before you try it.
https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/ ... bTrail.pdf
Best Wishes, | Joe

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Epsilon Delta
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by Epsilon Delta » Sat Jun 04, 2016 10:59 am

If you're not strong, getting even a few hundred feet inside the canyon is still spectacular and worth doing. It will probably be busy, you don't get solitude unless you work for it. The light is better morning and evenings rather than mid-day. No matter how short a hike it's twice as hard to get out as get in, and you should have water and decent shoes.

The Wizard
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by The Wizard » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:11 am

It's getting hot in the Canyon now.
I normally enjoy a hike down to the river and back but my last two visits were in December and February when it's way cooler and less deadly...
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prudent
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by prudent » Sat Jun 04, 2016 11:49 am

Epsilon Delta wrote:If you're not strong, getting even a few hundred feet inside the canyon is still spectacular and worth doing. It will probably be busy, you don't get solitude unless you work for it. The light is better morning and evenings rather than mid-day. No matter how short a hike it's twice as hard to get out as get in, and you should have water and decent shoes.
Remember being at the South Rim and saw a three young adults start down the Bright Angel trail with backpacks, water bottles hanging off them, and wearing flip-flops. Not 5 minutes later they were back. Smart decision.

dore
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by dore » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:04 pm


Youngblood
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by Youngblood » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:22 pm

FreddieG wrote:I am driving from Colorado to Las Vegas, and LA, with a foreign visitor, and I have allocated a couple of days at the Grand Canyon (South Rim). I have booked a room (affordable for me) in Williams, AZ, about an hour from the GC.

Once I get to the GC, are there any specific activities I should do, such as tours, hikes, etc? I don't just want to hangout in the visitors center. Do I need to reserve anything ahead of time?

Would appreciate some advice from anyone with experience. Thanks.
Are you in good physical condition? Do you like to hike? Do you like very hot but dry weather?

If so, one of the best hikes I have ever taken was down to the Phantom Ranch (for lemonade) and back on the same day during mid to late July. My BIL and I did the Kaibab trail and had the best time. We took a gallon of water each, food, salty snacks etc.
We also left very in the morning but on our return it was 120° (I had a small thermometer on my daypack). You probably won't have much of a crowd at this time of the year once you go a couple of miles down.

I really want to do this hike again even at 68.
The Grand Canyon is an amazing place.

Youngblood
"I made my money by selling too soon." | Bernard M. Baruch

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midareff
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by midareff » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:25 pm

letsgobobby wrote:Reserve dinner at the Arizona room. Not too expensive, great views, decent food.

Take the shuttle west on the rim (red shuttle ) and hike the Hermits rest trail a bit. You'll get great views and a fraction of the crowds in the Bright Angel corridor.

If you have the wneegy, hike one day to Indian Garden. Busy, but it is the heart of the south rim. If you're very strong you can do Panorama Point but that's a long hot slog in the summer.

Drive from Williams as early as possible, like 6 in the morning. The south rim is both very crowded and quite hot in the summer. You do not want to be hiking at 2 in the afternoon.
Excellent advise.. last time I was there the Arizona Room was walk in only, no reservations. Food was very decent and prices quite acceptable. I was able to stay (twice) inside the GC Park and found the lodging much less expensive than I thought it would be. I understand the National Parks agency that controls bookings put cancels up on their site ten days in advance of arrival. I'd check and see if something comes up in your budget range. Weather can be surprising.... I've experienced strong hail at the end of May and blazing hot two days later.

The Tusayan Ruins on the eat end are worth seeing and you will have to drive to that area of the South Rim to see them. I think I would divide the South Rim up as long as you have a few days.. Perhaps Yavapal Point Overlook to Maswik Lodge area as a walk. As I recall Maswik Lodge has a small cafeteria too, nothing special. Definitely take the shuttle to Hermit's Rest... I hiked back to El Tovar and would not do that again with a 10 lb. backpack. Don't forget the camera.. sights are amazing.

heyyou
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by heyyou » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:30 pm

The South Rim of the GC is at 7000 feet elevation, similar in elevation to Flagstaff Arizona on I-40. Depending on where you are from, that is some thin, cool air for strenuous activity after sitting in a car for numerous days. Hike down into the Canyon for only 15 minutes on the first day, then turn around, and hike out to help determine what suits your abilities.

This hiking trail is along the rim, mostly level but there are small hills. The shuttle buses are on a road parallel with your route, with numerous bus stops shown on the visitor guide newspaper that you will receive upon entering the park. Ask for a second guide, so your guest will have one too, or pick up a second one at the visitor center in the giant parking lot (easy to misplace your car there).
Rim Trail
The Rim Trail extends from the village area to Hermits Rest. Begin from any viewpoint in the Village or along Hermit Road. The Rim Trail offers excellent walking for quiet views of the inner canyon and for visitors who desire an easy hike. No water west of Bright Angel Lodge. By using the shuttle buses, you can customize your hike to meet your needs. Part of the trail is paved and accessible.
Use the buses to start your walk in whichever direction puts the sun on your back during the day, except for sunrise and sunset.

Your paid admission is good for a week, and it covers all of the occupants of your car. As mentioned, try to get a room in the park or in Tusayan, just outside of the gate, so it is quick for sunrise and sunset views. Bring a jacket, the desert air cools quickly. You will probably wake up at your normal time, but your friend will be numerous time zones away from home. Do attend the ranger lectures that match your interests.

The IMAX movie at the National Geographic visitor center in Tusayan is shown every hour, starting on the half hour. It covers a lot, quickly, and might be very good for your foreign friend. To save waiting in the first line, consider buying tickets online.

There is fast food in Tusayan. Inside of the park, there is deli food in the grocery/gift/hiking gear store. Restaurants are located in all of the developed areas, with at least one near every lodging place.

letsgobobby
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:36 pm

Youngblood wrote:
FreddieG wrote:I am driving from Colorado to Las Vegas, and LA, with a foreign visitor, and I have allocated a couple of days at the Grand Canyon (South Rim). I have booked a room (affordable for me) in Williams, AZ, about an hour from the GC.

Once I get to the GC, are there any specific activities I should do, such as tours, hikes, etc? I don't just want to hangout in the visitors center. Do I need to reserve anything ahead of time?

Would appreciate some advice from anyone with experience. Thanks.
Are you in good physical condition? Do you like to hike? Do you like very hot but dry weather?

If so, one of the best hikes I have ever taken was down to the Phantom Ranch (for lemonade) and back on the same day during mid to late July. My BIL and I did the Kaibab trail and had the best time. We took a gallon of water each, food, salty snacks etc.
We also left very in the morning but on our return it was 120° (I had a small thermometer on my daypack). You probably won't have much of a crowd at this time of the year once you go a couple of miles down.

I really want to do this hike again even at 68.
The Grand Canyon is an amazing place.

Youngblood
Hiking to the river and back is not recommended and especially during the summer. Phantom is another 1-2 miles beyond the river. Even very fit hikers have gotten heat related illness and the hike is long (about 14 miles S Kaibab trailhead to Phantom), steep (+/- 4500 feet), and often very exposed. People die regularly attempting this hike in summer and the Grand Canyon SAR will/may bill you for firing up their helicopter if they deemed you were reckless or unprepared.

I agree Phantom is one of the most special places in the national park system. But it's best enjoyed as an overnight, by mule, or as part of a longer backpacking trip; or alternatively, from the North Rim, where the hike is considerably shorter (7 miles each way IIRC).

Unfortunately, summer is not the best time to visit the south rim. It's hot and very crowded. It's nice to visit the north rim, otherwise we make our trips in March and October. Even in October, my mom once fainted of dehydration on the Cathedral stairs on Hermit's trail.

re: Arizona room, I believe that is right, in fact it is first come first served. My mistake. I guess we just usually arrive early to avoid waiting. Or maybe they take reservations for larger groups?

heyyou
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by heyyou » Sat Jun 04, 2016 12:40 pm

Also, check for moon rise and moon set times. Those events could also be interesting at the Canyon. Bring flashlights with red lenses to use at night. I would delay the IMAX movie until a time when you are ready to take a break. Most of the Canyon viewing is done standing up.

The Wizard
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by The Wizard » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:04 pm

prudent wrote:Remember being at the South Rim and saw a three young adults start down the Bright Angel trail with backpacks, water bottles hanging off them, and wearing flip-flops. Not 5 minutes later they were back. Smart decision.
Perhaps, depending on the details. Maybe they were planning on camping at the bottom like I did in 1968 but without a reservation, now required.

I will mention that on one of my canyon hikes, I was passed by a young woman hiking barefoot. A local native American perhaps, I'm not sure.
Since the Canyon's sandstone degrades to sand on the footpath, not so hard to believe. Mule/horse droppings are a different issue...
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littlebird
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by littlebird » Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:16 pm

Hiking into the canyon is NOT recommended in the summer. Today it will about 120 degrees on the canyon floor. Consult with the rangers before attempting anything more than 15 min. down and up until at least mid September (or later, depending on the weather).

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TxAg
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by TxAg » Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:39 pm

Bring a reusable water bottle. They have spring fed water and you can drink straight from the spout. Good stuff

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JMacDonald
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by JMacDonald » Sat Jun 04, 2016 2:47 pm

I was told that the Grand Canyon NP has the most EMTs of any park in the system due to hikers trying to go to the river and back on the same day in the summer. Here is an article about hikers mistakes: http://explorethecanyon.com/hiker-mista ... -or-worse/
Best Wishes, | Joe

The Wizard
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by The Wizard » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:07 pm

JMacDonald wrote:I was told that the Grand Canyon NP has the most EMTs of any park in the system due to hikers trying to go to the river and back on the same day in the summer. Here is an article about hikers mistakes: http://explorethecanyon.com/hiker-mista ... -or-worse/
And here is a BOOK about the same topic that I have:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/098478580 ... ref=plSrch
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Youngblood
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by Youngblood » Sat Jun 04, 2016 3:16 pm

The warnings about hiking in GC during summer are of course correct.

YB
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by White Coat Investor » Sat Jun 04, 2016 4:01 pm

It helps if you remember the bottom of the Grand Canyon is about the same elevation as Tucson, and not much further North than Phoenix. Think of it as hiking down from Flagstaff to Phoenix and that'll give you an idea of the elevation drop and change in temperature.

Down to Phantom Ranch and back to the South Rim would be a burly hike any time of year, and brutal in Summer. There are a number of signs like this near the top of various trails in the park:

http://www.npexp.com/wp-content/uploads ... 210525.jpg
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letsgobobby
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by letsgobobby » Sat Jun 04, 2016 5:56 pm

The Wizard wrote:
JMacDonald wrote:I was told that the Grand Canyon NP has the most EMTs of any park in the system due to hikers trying to go to the river and back on the same day in the summer. Here is an article about hikers mistakes: http://explorethecanyon.com/hiker-mista ... -or-worse/
And here is a BOOK about the same topic that I have:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/098478580 ... ref=plSrch
That is a great book. I did not realize how many have died trying to take photos. With the advent of selfies and selfie sticks, I can only imagine the risk is even greater.

vested1
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by vested1 » Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:34 am

My wife and I are staying in Williams currently on vacation and will be taking the Grand Canyon train from Williams to the south rim this morning. I'll let you know how it went. I've been to the canyon several times but my wife has never been there. If you decide to take the train I suggest reserving seats now. You can book bus tours through the same company that sells the train tickets and save some money on a package deal.

Williams is a quaint little town with lots of shopping for touristy type purchases. I would follow the recommendations of Trip Advisor on shopping and dining. Yesterday we drove to Dogtown Lake which is the largest body of water nearby at 80 acres, and about 25 minutes from Williams. There are fishing and paddling opportunities on the lake.

I don't know what area of Colorado you are coming from, but if time isn't an issue I would consider going south and hitting Palo Duro Canyon State Park in Texas "on the way". Palo Duro is steeped in American Indian history and is a like a miniature Grand Canyon, with the difference that the floor of the canyon is accessible by car at only 800' deep, as compared to the GC at 5,000' deep. The abundant wildlife and the ability to hike and walk easily to the canyon walls, which like the GC were carved out by an ancient river provide an unforgettable experience. The lowest level of the exposed geology is estimated to be 250 million years old. I40 runs west from Amarillo (20 miles from Palo Duro Canyon) to Williams, 642 miles.

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JonnyDVM
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by JonnyDVM » Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:52 am

Subscribing to thread, going there in the fall. With be a 1yr old and my 72 year old father. Have already made numerous jokes about my plan to have us all hike to the bottom. :P
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vested1
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by vested1 » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:17 pm

Updating reply. The train ride was fun and entertaining from Williams to the south rim and back. There was live musical entertainment and a buffet in the morning on the way to the GC and in the afternoon on the way back for 1st class. The upgrade to the observation deck is another $31 a ticket and it can get hot up there, so I'm told.

I would not miss Bearizona when visiting Williams. We almost didn't go because it sounded hokey, or geared to young children, but we couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. Admission is $20 per adult and $18 if you 're over 62. The bears and the wolves are amazing on the self-drive through area that is about 3 miles long. They come right up to your car window, which you are instructed to keep closed (no kidding!) There are also bison and goats in that section, as well as deer and elk. I would estimate that the drive through section holds about 25 adult black bears and maybe 9 wolves of various origins. The walking area is great too, which is similar to a zoo although less restrictive. The raptor show is great and free with admission, with the owls and hawks skimming the crowd 2" above your head. The food is very inexpensive. There are bear cub enclosures where the cubs climb high in the trees, foxes, badgers, fresh water otters, beavers, porcupines, and pigs to name a few, as well as a goat petting zoo.

trinc
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by trinc » Tue Jun 07, 2016 3:41 pm

If not hiking down to the bottom a day at the south rim is enough imo.

on our trip down there we based in flagstaff, did Grand Canyon, Antelope Slot Canyon, Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend ( crazy cool ! )
and some time in Sedona.

Tim

Oddlot
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Re: Grand Canyon Visit

Post by Oddlot » Tue Jun 07, 2016 4:50 pm

I understand the OP will be visiting the South Rim, but the North Rim is spectacular also and has fewer visitors. The night sky is incredible as there are fewer lights.

Either way, go on some of the Ranger walks and do most of the canyon viewing early or later in the day, both for comfort and scenery color.

Years ago, we did the Bright Angel to the river and back in one day. I wanted to lay down and die on the last set of switchbacks up. The wife dragged me out. And that's the easy hike.

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