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Old 01-16-2012, 06:27 PM   #1
eliza61

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Las Vegas to Grand canyon. Couple of questions?

So we are toying with the idea of doing the family vacation/graduation celebration at the Grand Canyon this year. We've never been and I've heard it was gorgeous.
The plan so far is to fly into Vegas, pick up car rental drive to GC. stay at GC for 2 full days drive back to Vegas and then spend 4 days in Vegas.

Anyone ever drive from Vegas to GC?
How long is the drive? I've heard answers from 3 hours to 5 hours..
Where did you stay once at the GC. Are there any local towns that you pass through on your drive? or does everyone try and stay in the park itself?

Thanks a bunch.


ps. I know there is a West forum but it is very slow.
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Old 01-16-2012, 07:27 PM   #2
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It depends on what part of the Canyon you want to go to. It took my wife and I 4 hrs just to go from Vegas to Kingman AZ which is at the extreme west end of the canyon. To get to the most popular area, the South Rim plan on another 2 - 4 hrs after that.
Most people camp in the park. The only hotel I know of is the El Tovar at the South Rim. Worth seeing, but pricey. There are other motels outside the park.
One thing. Because everything, including water, has to be trucked in, prices will be much higher than you would see elsewhere. We stopped at a McDonalds just outside the park entrance and found Big Macs for over $8, and that was in the 90's. Maybe they've come back to earth by now.
The Canyon is still a place worth seeing though and I wish we could go back.
Enjoy.
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Old 01-16-2012, 09:56 PM   #3
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I can't help you with the trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, but I did go to the Grand Canyon with my family a few years ago.

First -- there are 7 hotels/lodges with in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and the prices will vary from under $100 to $350. Part depends on the hotel's decor and some on it's location (right on the rim or a short walk). There is also lodging in Tusayan which is only 7 miles from the park entrance. I would STRONGLY suggest that you stay in the park, if possible. The quiet of the evening and the morning makes it so worthwhile -- you want to be able to experience the Grand Canyon, not visit it. Unless your family is very into hiking I would think two nights would do you. The hotels fill up quickly so if you set a date grab a room ASAP. Below is the website on lodging:

http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/Lod...rview-411.html

Second: The Grand Canyon had wonderful ranger led programs (free) and lots of good info can be found at the National Park website. http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

Third: While Dis people will be helpful, I do my best travel research at Tripadvisor. Below is the link for the Grand Canyon http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowForum...k_Arizona.html They will also have information if you wish to make this a "circle trip" and go back to Las Vegas via the North side of the Grand Canyon and maybe see Glen Canyon, Zion or Bryce National Parks.

Also, be very careful on your reading about what is the Grand Canyon. There is the Indian reservation which has built the glass walkway over the far west end of the Grand Canyon (much closer to Las Vegas) While technically it is the GC, they charge admission and the experience isn't the same as being where the Canyon is "grander". But I am sure it is a nice way to see it if one couldn't go all the way to the National Park.

I am sure you will have a wonderful time - you will get the western bug! The west is such a beautiful part of the country. We are going this summer but will be hitting southern Utah and Colorado for two weeks. Last time we went we did Page/Glen Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Sedona in Arizona.
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Old 01-17-2012, 01:11 AM   #4
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LV to GCNP is close to 300 miles. Most of it high speed roads (except leaving Las Vegas and close to GCNP.

You might want to stay in/near LV the first night . . . long plane ride, long drive.

If at all possible stay in the park for the reasons noted by pp. Don't expect a lot of amenities at most of the-in park lodgings. By the way, it's a slow haul through the park entrance to the day visitor parking area.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza61 View Post
So we are toying with the idea of doing the family vacation/graduation celebration at the Grand Canyon this year. We've never been and I've heard it was gorgeous.
The plan so far is to fly into Vegas, pick up car rental drive to GC. stay at GC for 2 full days drive back to Vegas and then spend 4 days in Vegas.

Anyone ever drive from Vegas to GC?
How long is the drive? I've heard answers from 3 hours to 5 hours..
Where did you stay once at the GC. Are there any local towns that you pass through on your drive? or does everyone try and stay in the park itself?

Thanks a bunch.


ps. I know there is a West forum but it is very slow.
How old are your kids? We did a LV, Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Park trip a few years ago. It was a week long trip (we are from New Jersey too, and went Jersey week)
By far it was our favorite family vacation and we would love to do it again!!
Let me know if that would interest you, Ican dig up an old post that has our route.
PS...tripadvisor is the best place to go for this type of trip..I lived at that forum planning our trip
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:12 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eliza61 View Post
So we are toying with the idea of doing the family vacation/graduation celebration at the Grand Canyon this year. We've never been and I've heard it was gorgeous.
The plan so far is to fly into Vegas, pick up car rental drive to GC. stay at GC for 2 full days drive back to Vegas and then spend 4 days in Vegas.

Anyone ever drive from Vegas to GC?
How long is the drive? I've heard answers from 3 hours to 5 hours..
Where did you stay once at the GC. Are there any local towns that you pass through on your drive? or does everyone try and stay in the park itself?

Thanks a bunch.


ps. I know there is a West forum but it is very slow.
How old are your kids? We did a LV, Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce and Zion National Park trip a few years ago. It was a week long trip (we are from New Jersey too, and went Jersey week)
By far it was our favorite family vacation and we would love to do it again!!
Let me know if that would interest you, Ican dig up an old post that has our route.
PS...tripadvisor is the best place to go for this type of trip..I lived at that forum planning our trip
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Old 01-17-2012, 06:38 AM   #7
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Hope the holidays find you happy and healthy.
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Old 01-17-2012, 02:39 PM   #8
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Although it's a little out of the way, you might want to consider a quick stopover in Oatman, AZ on your way to/from the GC. It is SUCH a cute little "western" town...and the wild burros who roam the city are awesome! So cute and friendly!

We stayed at a really nice hotel in Flagstaff when we visited the GC...it was about a 90 minute drive, but it didn't bother us...the drive went quickly.
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Old 01-17-2012, 05:40 PM   #9
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We did this a couple years ago, and it was great. You have to decide which "Grand Canyon" you want to visit. Yes, of course, it's all the same canyon, but the tourist developments can be broken down into a couple groups:

National Park, South Rim: This is the most popular location, and people often don't realize it's not the only option. It's very touristy: Chain hotels and so forth outside the park. During the summer months you cannot drive your car inside the park -- instead, you must ride their bus; it's that crowded. The park offers five (five?) hotels and lots of restaurants -- you'll be closer to civilization in the South Rim. In addition to hiking, you can ride mules or take part in ranger programs. Do not expect to see wildlife. Unless you plan serious hiking, two full days here is just right. You also have the option of staying in Williams (Williams?) and riding the train into the canyon area.

National Park, North Rim: This is the less visited area, but it's closer to Las Vegas. It's not "built up" at all -- you'd have to drive probably 20 miles to get to a restaurant (the Grand Canyon Lodge does have one nice restaurant one deli/pizza place, and a bar). The views are wonderful, and it's about 10 degrees cooler than the South Rim. The national park rents cabins that look like they're made from Lincoln Logs, while mule-ear deer and chipmunks run around everywhere. Hiking, mules, ranger programs; also The Cookout Experience is worth an evening of your time. Two full days here is just right, and you should bring sandwich makings and lots of water/sodas. This rim is closed in winter.

Realistically, if you don't already have reservations, you're probably not going to get a room/cabin in the national park for this summer. If you can get reservations inside the park, that's where you want to be. Your accomodations will be rustic and a little expensive, but you're paying for the location. You'll be able to spend more time in the canyon and will enjoy it more if you stay right in the action. For the Grand Canyon, outside the park is really a distant second-choice.

The Western Rim is owned by the Havasupai Indian tribe. They have few hotels, etc. for tourists in the area, but they do have the very expensive glass overwalk. If you're in this area, another option is to hike down into the canyon -- all the way to the bottom -- where you can camp or stay in their hotel. There's a waterfall where you can swim. You can either hike out, or -- if your pockets are very deep -- you can helecoptor out.


We stopped at Zion National Park on the way to the Grand Canyon. It was also a wonderful place; I would've liked to stay there longer. And after the Grand Canyon we continued on to Page, AZ, where we saw Glenn Dam (2nd largest dam; 1st biggest couldn't have been much more boring) and Antelope Canyon, which was wonderful -- absolutely other-worldly. Then we went on to Cortez, AZ to see Mesa Verde National Park, which I personally enjoyed more than anything else we did in that area.
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Old 02-22-2012, 04:51 PM   #10
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The tips on the 4 parks along the rim, is so helpful, thank you!
Does anyone know if instead of doing a loop, you could start in Arizona, and end in Vegas? Fly out of different airports? I know there is an extra charge for returning the car to a different location, but i might do it in order to save time.
Any thoughts?
Sorry in advance for highjacking thread.....
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Old 02-22-2012, 05:03 PM   #11
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Didn't see this thread the first time around.

First, yes there are different areas of the park. When you talk of "Grand Canyon", most people take that to mean the South Rim. That's where most of the tourist stuff is. The North Rim also makes a spectacular visit, but has much, much fewer services. And "West Rim", actually the Supai reservation, is not as popular nor as spectacular. The canyon is nowhere near as wide nor as deep at that section.

At the South Rim, there's limited lodging within the park itself, and yes, you won't get reservations for any time this year at this point. The official lodging is mostly the El Tovar Lodge and the Bright Angel Lodge.

However, the town of Tusayan AZ has grown up right, I mean right, outside the park boundary. It's only a couple of miles from there to the rim, and there's the usual array of motel chains right there. You'll still have a difficult time getting reservations for any of them during peak season, but it's worth a shot.

You really should check out the NPS pages, particularly
http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/lodging.htm

HTH,
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:29 AM   #12
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For what it's worth, Ive done the same trip that you're proposing at least 3 times. Las Vegas to the town of Williams will run you about 4 hours (give or take 30 mins). From Williams it's roughly an hour (55 mile) to the South Rim entrance.
As for accomodations, Ive stayed at Maswik Lodge more often than not. Book through the National Parks page that Grand Bob recommended in the previous post. If possible STAY INSIDE the park. (It's a bit like staying in Vegas. Try and stay on the strip if you possibly can). Staying in Tusayan is fine, but if you really want to get sunrise over the Canyon then you're doing yourself a disservice by having to drive in. We've also stayed at the Mather campground. For those who either tent or RV it, then it's a great spot.
As to the other parts of the Canyon......save your time and money and dont bother with the Skywalk at the West part of the canyon. And for the extra effort to get to the North Rim, the view is (IMO) not a patch on the view from the South.
Enjoy your trip!!
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Old 02-26-2012, 11:56 AM   #13
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Just curious about the parking at the Grand Canyon. A PP claimed that you could not drive in the park in the summer and had to use the shuttle bus. Is this true?

We went to the Grand Canyon in August of 2007 and this was surely NOT the case then. We drove into the park at 6:00 AM and parked at the many look-outs to take in the view. We also parked in the parking lot at Mather (sp.?) Point with no problems at all. Its true when we drove out of the park in the mid afternoon, parking looked scarce if not improssible. However, there is a BIG differance to parking being scarce to not being allowed to drive your car in the park and having to use a shuttle.

We visited Zion the same summer and at that park we were not able to drive in with our car. We parked at the visitor center and caught the shuttle bus from there.

There was a BIG differance between Zion and the GC as far as being allowed to drive in the park and I wonder if that has really changed, as the poster claimed.

Thanks for any info, we are hoping to get back out there, and I am wondering if we need to chance our touring stratergy,
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Old 03-31-2012, 12:20 PM   #14
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What type of clothes do you pack for a late June Grand Canyon trip? Obviously we'll pack a lot of t-shirts and shorts. However, does it get cool enough in the evenings to need jeans?
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