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Thinking about visiting the Grand Canyon... Login/Join 
Team Apathy
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My wife is pushing for a last minute road trip to the Grand Canyon. In order to work we’d have to leave bright and early this Sunday morning. It’s a 10 hour drive from here, so with 3 youngsters that will easily be a full day travel. I assume same to get home, and I have to work Thursday. So, Sunday and Wednesday are travel days.

First question: is it worth 2 days travel to have only 2 days to check out the park?

Second question: if we assume 2 days in the park, what should we do? 2 adults, 3 kids (8, 5, 3)

Third question: to help defray costs I’d probably use Hilton points for a hotel... but apparently that means staying in Flagstaff. Too far to be worth the drive?
 
Posts: 5543 | Location: Modesto, CA | Registered: January 27, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The Grand Canyon is a super place, but I would not drive two days with kids for two days at the park. Five days at the park is more like it, for two days driving.

There are other places closer that are also interesting. Kings Canyon and Sequoia N. Parks are more accessible, and very beautiful.


-c1steve
 
Posts: 3290 | Location: West coast | Registered: March 31, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of mjlennon
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Flagstaff is a hike to comfortably drive to park. We stayed in one of those old Route 66 motels in Williams. Fun town, think the kids would like it too.

I agree with c1steve though. You'd be better off visiting Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon. Check though, after year of virus, they may be crazy busy and last minute lodging in Yosemite is almost impossible. You can score some same day walk ins at Curry Village.
 
Posts: 1570 | Location: Georgia | Registered: December 08, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Legalize the Constitution
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I think it would work if you can save the Hilton points for some other time. Drive to Williams. Stay in Williams Sunday night. Next morning, board the Grand Canyon railway. Stay in one of the South Rim hotels (this may be a problem, not much time to make a reservation). Take the free shuttle bus to either the Kaibab Rim or to Hermit Road. Walk the rim from either of those departure points. Return for supper, stay overnight and the next morning take the bus to the other trail (say, Hermit Road). Have a nice walk, go back for lunch, and be ready to take the train back to Williams that afternoon. Leave for home Wednesday morning from Williams. FWIW

I lived in this area for 7 or 8 years.


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If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on.
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Posts: 10489 | Location: Wyoming | Registered: January 10, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've only done the south rim visitor center north of Williams on my way to Phoenix.

If you're not into hiking, I'm not sure what else there is to do besides look at some very cool vistas. Check out the NPS website for activities or suggestions on what to see.

As for Yosemite, I think you can find some last minute deals to stay just outside the park. I think YNP has dropped the reservation/daily permit to visit the valley floor. Lot's a little hikes based out of the valley, suitable for young kids. You may find some horseback options too ($$$). And you can roundtrip back to Modesto in two hours or so from the valley floor. One night of hotel vs gas to Grand Canyon.

Unless of course you're already over YNP.


P229
 
Posts: 3218 | Location: Sacramento, CA | Registered: November 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
In the yahd, not too
fah from the cah
Picture of ryan81986
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I'm on board with Russ. The Grand Canyon is amazing. But unless you're hiking or doing something similar, after a couple hours it's just a big hole in the ground. I'd recommend staying in Sedona or Flagstaff and making the trip to the Grand Canyon a half day trip and doing some other stuff in that area as well. Young kids will likely get bored super easily at the Grand Canyon.




 
Posts: 5957 | Location: Just outside of Boston | Registered: March 28, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had a great time at the Grand Canyon in 2019, you can hike into the Canyon or you can ride horses into the Canyon or you can just walk the rim and drive to different lookouts to see the Canyon from different perspectives. You'd be able to see more and do more if you could stay more than 2 days but I'd say it's certainly worth the drive just for 2 days.
 
Posts: 1296 | Location: USA | Registered: December 11, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Irksome Whirling Dervish
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Having done the GC from SoCal three times in the last 5 years, my opinion is to avoid the South Rim since it's a tourist hot spot and the North Rim is the much more beautiful place.

You can do the South Rim just because it's on the GC bucket list and the views are famous but the North Rim is 9,300 feet up, the wildlife driving there is incredible and unlike things on the South.

The wild buffalo, condors, lots of deer and all kinds of things, including this rare squirrel that looks like a cross between a squirrel and skunk.

The North Rim gets about 10% of the traffic and it's good that way. The views are incredible and you can see mountain ranges all over the place, including one at Flagstaff that's a long way away.

There are no tourist places to stay outside of the lodge at the North Rim so you'll need to start your trip early and plan on driving out that same day. Well worth the effort.
 
Posts: 3457 | Location: "You can't just go to Walmart with a gift card and get a new brother." Janice Serrano | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Legalize the Constitution
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quote:
Having done the GC from SoCal three times in the last 5 years, my opinion is to avoid the South Rim since it's a tourist hot spot and the North Rim is the much more beautiful place.

Still closed for the winter


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If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on.
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Posts: 10489 | Location: Wyoming | Registered: January 10, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Irksome Whirling Dervish
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Yes, until mid May. Worth the wait, IMO. Wifey will appreciate the waiting too once she makes the drive.

From Williams to the South Rim isn't all that memorable but it's along drive from North Rim (Now Entering the GC) to the entrance station and then another 12 or so miles to the rim.

The difference to me is like staring at a swimming pool v. a tropical beach.
 
Posts: 3457 | Location: "You can't just go to Walmart with a gift card and get a new brother." Janice Serrano | Registered: May 03, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes to the questions, it’s worth it, 2 full days is plenty. With 3/5 yr old kids, no need to think about any serious hiking.

Yes, go to the rim(South?) walk the rim trail, watch the kids. See if you can get a room right in town.

If you have the window off, go for it. I don’t like putting chit off unless necessary, stuff happens to gum things up.
 
Posts: 4686 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
No ethanol!
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As many have implied, depends on your expectations. I think everyone should see it in person at some point. No picture does the totality justice.

If you want to hike down side for a few hours, remember it takes twice as long to come back up Smile. Exploring more of the park would take longer on a different trip. If this is as close as you get to a family trip, go and enjoy.


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The plural of anecdote is not data. -Frank Kotsonis
 
Posts: 1643 | Location: Berks Co PA | Registered: December 20, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Muzzle flash
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Are the helicopter rides over the Canyon operating? The kids would love that. https://www.viator.com/tours/G...mer-Tour/d815-6337P8 (Of course, there are such tours from Las Vegas, too.)

flashguy




Texan by choice, not accident of birth
 
Posts: 25116 | Location: Dallas, TX | Registered: May 08, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Originally posted by thumperfbc: First question: is it worth 2 days travel to have only 2 days to check out the park?

NO. Much too little time given the distance and the expectations, you'll be exhausted driving to and from; you'll spend just as much time in your vehicle as you would experiencing the destination....what kind of vacation is that? Go to the coast like SLO or, Pismo Beach. Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon are nearby why take an all-day drive to spend such a short amount of time.
The first day you'll be excited to check out things but, you'll be tired by the afternoon and likely irritable. The next day, you'll be fine but you'll likely be agonizing over the fact that you're gonna have to wake up early for a 10-hr drive back. The day you drive back, you'll be all sorts of tired and likely pissed that you did such a short but exhausting trip.
quote:
Second question: if we assume 2 days in the park, what should we do? 2 adults, 3 kids (8, 5, 3)

At those ages, you're not only the driver and planner but, also the entertainer. Hopefully your wife is good with planning as you're going to be cooked and unable to think being the driver of such an operation. You'll be tired and just another kid in this pack. Grab the park newspaper and have them follow the Junior Ranger program. There's plenty of hikes options listed, do them in the morning before the day gets too hot.
quote:
Third question: to help defray costs I’d probably use Hilton points for a hotel... but apparently that means staying in Flagstaff. Too far to be worth the drive?

Flagg is 90-120 minutes to the South Rim Visitor Center...provided traffic cooperates. Hotels in Williams is a bit closer and its the town the cartoon movies Cars was modeled after. The drive length is like people staying in Modesto or, Fresno, to visit Yosemite.
 
Posts: 11245 | Location: Wine Country | Registered: September 20, 2000Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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What do you expect to do at GC? Seems like mostly drive to view points and maybe short walks given young kids in tow.

Are the walk paths open in the South Rim? I can't remember what month I went but it still had (unexpected to me) ice on the ground which made walking hazardous.

Might I suggest Zion/Bryce?
1. Bryce: Sun night + half day Mon
2. Zion: half day Mon + Mon night
3. GC North Rim + Peekaboo Slot Canyon (Kanab): Tues

You can use HH points in Springdale.




"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - B.Franklin
"Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it." L.Tolstoy
 
Posts: 9342 | Location: In the gilded cage | Registered: December 09, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Don't Panic
Picture of joel9507
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Originally posted by c1steve:
I would not drive two days with kids for two days at the park.

Yeah, that's not going to be fun, IMO - two deathmarch-drive days with three youngsters. I'd rather have natural dentistry, myself. Wink

Plus, about half the advice above is not factoring in that the OP is thinking about going in 48 hours, and extolling the beauties of parts of the park apparently still closed for the winter. I've lived in the mild-winter parts of CA and it is very easy to be surprised at the weather being experienced by more continental climes.

- Long car trip with the kids for a short stay at something that, while unique and splendid, has been unchanged for millions of years and will most likely be around later for a more leisurely visit? Nope.

- Driving through/over the mountains before the end of winter up in the high country? Nope nope nope.

Sometimes you need to spend some of that spousal goodwill that builds up over time, and this would seem to be a good use of it. "Honey, how about we go somewhere else for the 5 day break, and save the Canyon for later, when we can do it justice in better weather?"
 
Posts: 13689 | Location: North Carolina | Registered: October 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The next handful of days are sunny & 70 at the south rim, can’t get much better.

Kids like road trips, fun stops, load an IPad if necessary.

I remember driving to NW AR when our kids were young, 12+ hours. We did the Arch on the way, had a dog along too. Take some tips from those Chevy Chase movies.
 
Posts: 4686 | Location: WI | Registered: February 29, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I had it on my bucket list and did it a few years ago.
Wife and I walked the entire south rim trail trail. ~17 miles. (there is a shuttle parallels the trail if you need it) We did about half one day and the other half the next day. It was fantastic. But I would have been petrified with three kids and only two adults to watch them! Almost everywhere you can just walk right off the edge... no railings or anything.

For example
Wife took this photo of me...




The older I get, the more I identify with Red Foreman...
 
Posts: 3347 | Location: Middle Tennessee | Registered: February 07, 2013Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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We were on a road trip, and visited the North Rim for a day while staying in St. George UT. It was well worth it to us. We are planning to re-visit after we get an RV and stay a couple more days. Have not been to South Rim so can't compare.


Tony
 
Posts: 129 | Registered: December 18, 2016Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The best way to see the GC is to do a rafting trip. They have short trips, such as a week, but a longer trip is ideal. When I went down, we had a private party permit, and spent 24 days on the river. 21 in the park, and 3 outside it. We did not see another human being, outside of our group of 7, for the first week.

It was incredible how relaxed you become when in nature for a longer period of time. No, it was not boring. Some YUGE rapids along the way. Fortunately I only flipped the raft once, in the Lava Falls rapid.

This was one of the best outdoor trips I have ever been on, and hope to do it again.


-c1steve
 
Posts: 3290 | Location: West coast | Registered: March 31, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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