Vegas/Grand Canyon trip

Discussion in 'Community Board' started by sk!mom, Jan 13, 2018.

  1. sk!mom

    sk!mom DIS Veteran

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    We’ve been to Vegas many times so don’t need tips there.

    We’re thinking though that this trip (next summer) we should actually finally venture out of the city.

    So...where to stay at the Grand Canyon?

    Welcome all tips.
     
  2. design_mom

    design_mom probably more like my dad than I care to admit

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    We did that trip two summers ago (and also Bryce Canyon and Zion national parks). It was a great time. Have fun.

    There is a South Rim and a North Rim to the National Park. The South Rim is the more often visited area. That's where we visited and what my answers pertain to.

    There are a number of hotels right in Grand Canyon National Park (El Tovar, Bright Angel Inn, etc.) They are historic and some of them are right along the edge of the Canyon. I'm sure they would be amazing, but we did not stay there because 1) they book up far in advance and we were too late with our plans to get a reservation. You might have the same trouble. 2) My husband is *not* a good traveler. The whole trip was totally out of his comfort zone, so I knew he would be more comfortable with a chain hotel -- something he was "used to."

    Just outside the park is a little town called Tusayan. It's small and walkable. There are a number of both chain and independent hotels in Tusayan. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and it was fine. It was what you'd expect for a Holiday Inn Express (room and service wise). The location was walkable to restaurants and attractions, and Holiday Inn Express offers free breakfast. And there is a shuttle that runs from the town into the park if you don't want to drive into the park.

    I would stay there again, but I might try to get an in-the-park reservation if I could.

    (By the way, if you end up in Tusayan, RP's Stage Stop had really good sandwiches for both breakfast and lunch, but they're not open for dinner.)
     
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  4. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    There's also the North Rim, which is now contracted out to Forever Resorts (used to be Xanterra):

    http://www.grandcanyonforever.com

    [​IMG]


    Of course the South Rim is the more popular spot. The main concessionaire is Xanterra. They operate Maswik Lodge, Thunderbird Lodge, Kachina Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge (and cabins), and the El Tovar Hotel.

    http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/lodging/

    The El Tovar is the nicest accommodations and dates back to when it was under US Forest Service jurisdiction. The exterior was used in National Lampoon's Vacation. It's a prime example of the "national park rustic" style.

    [​IMG]

    Maswik is more basic accommodations with a lodge building and separate buildings for the rooms. When I stayed there they still had budget quad cabins - but since removed. I paid $80 a night for three people about a decade ago. They weren't fancy by any means, but each room had a fan, a TV, and a phone.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Thunderbird and Kachina are kind of odd. They're designed them in a modern 60s style that looks kind of out place in a national park. They were part of the Mission 66 plan to build new NPS facilities in a more modern style rather than the "national park rustic" style that is favored today. Nothing wrong with staying there, but they look kind of odd in a national park. But if "chain hotel" is fine, they frankly feel like that - kind of like Las Vegas or Palm Springs looked like in the 50s/60s.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Bright Angel Lodge has these cute little cabins. Many of them are within maybe 50 feet from the rim.

    [​IMG]

    Delaware North now operates Yavapai Lodge and the Trailer Village. I believe that includes the market. Yavapai Lodge is more basic motel style accommodations.

    https://www.visitgrandcanyon.com

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. AuntieMe3

    AuntieMe3 Mouseketeer

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    We love the Grand Canyon...I've been many times and still can't wait to go again.
    South Rim....Yavapai lodge rooms are very nice. We've stayed in them twice now(the buildings pictured above...they have motel style buildings, with the doors on the outside, we haven't stayed in.) I've had better luck getting rooms not so far in advance as the other park lodging.

    North Rim is incredible. We went for the first time last year. I got a fluke cabin opening just days before we went, Memorial weekend. There is more limited inside the park on this side and almost no close lodging outside the park.
     
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  6. low-key

    low-key DIS Veteran

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    just say no to the Grand Canyon, Chevy summed up the trip

     
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  7. longboard55

    longboard55 DIS Veteran

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    park rooms are very hard to get, you can stay just outside the park
     
  8. jdb in AZ

    jdb in AZ It could end up curdled

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    If you're at the South Rim you can easily stay in Flagstaff with several hotels and restaurants to choose from. You can also include a side trip to Sedona.

    The North Rim is at a higher elevation so there's more pine trees and very scenic. I stayed in a tent there, after hiking the canyon, many (many) years ago.
     
  9. The Mystery Machine

    The Mystery Machine Sunrise at my house. :+)

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    Really? We went to South Rim, 2yrs ago. (Did the Sedona-Grand Canyon trip).

    Vegas is on my list, so sounds like you are saying that a trip to the North Rim would be worth it. Thanks
     
  10. mom2rtk

    mom2rtk Bring Back MARIE!

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    It has a completely different feel to it. It's much more intimate, far less busy, maybe cooler because of the elevation? We loved it. But the view can be slightly different from the classic view because of the vegetation.

    We stayed there overnight in a cabin (very close to the rim) so were there for sunset and sunrise. Absolutely amazing.
     
  11. sk!mom

    sk!mom DIS Veteran

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    Funny that you posted that because that's pretty much how DH predicts it will be. He referenced that scene when we were discussing this as a possible summer trip.
     
  12. OrangeBirdGirl

    OrangeBirdGirl DIS Veteran

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    the PP's are right, the in-park lodging books up very far in advance. Reserve now. If you can't get in-park, reserve outside and check often for a cancellation. One trip we couldn't get in-park as too last minute (3 months in advance) so I booked outside and a place opened up inside (this was in Sept) so I changed.

    We did one of our trips where we flew into Phoenix, drove up to GC South Rim and stopped off in Sedona. Then continued onto Vegas and flew home from Vegas.
     
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  13. Domo

    Domo Wotcha

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    if you stay in Vegas, you can take Pink Jeep Tours to the Canyon, Hoover Dam, Death Valley and so on. TONNES to do and all from the comfort of an air conditioned people carrier :)
     
  14. Pooh2

    Pooh2 Dis Veteran

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    We went last year, planning only 6 weeks out. We kept checking the park's lodging website and got two nights at Yavapai Lodge.
    It was nice being in the park for sunrise and sunset.
     
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  15. Simba's Mom

    Simba's Mom <font color=green>everything went to "H*** in a ha

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    We stayed in the Bright Angel Lodge Cabins and really enjoyed it. The only thing is, for some people the fact that there's just one bed can be a problem. Although DS was the one who really wanted to take the trip to the GC, I enjoyed it (despite my fear of heights). We took the bus to Hermit's Rest and that was interesting. The place I enjoyed, and really didn't expect to, was Monument Valley. Stay at the View Hotel-gorgeous!
     
  16. AuntieMe3

    AuntieMe3 Mouseketeer

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    Our first trip was a day trip from Sedona to the South Rim and we didn't have enough time to enjoy it. We've been back twice since and still love it so much its just breathtaking to me.

    We tried to take a day trip to The North Rim during a trip to St George, UT which included a trip to Zion and Bryce Canyon (both highly recommended) but we never made it. LOL The park is pretty far out there but the drive is gorgeous. The North Rim is a completely different experience, like PP mentioned higher elevation so there are more trees and the vegetation. It seems more quiet and laidback, more relaxing. Our cabin was one cabin away from the edge of the canyon, incredible to be so close. The park is only open from May to October, I think I got extremely lucky by getting the reservation I did and I' so happy I did. We stayed three nights in a Frontier cabin, which are very rustic but we were very comfortable and truly enjoyed out stay. It honestly felt like we were there for a week not just three day, we were so relaxed. The only thing I didn't like very much was the casual food options in the park. Lodge dining room was incredible, soo good! Reservations only, but a little more "fancy" than we wanted to eat every day. So anyway sorry for the long answer...lol but yes I highly recommend the North Rim, especially if you can get a reservation...like I said it's a little far out there for a day trip.
     
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  17. bcla

    bcla DIS Veteran

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    Just to clarify, the North Rim is pretty much only open that time, but the other parts of Grand Canyon NP are open year round. And there may be snow in the winter at the South Rim. I remember looking at recommendations for winter hiking, and some of them involved wearing "crampons" if there was ice on the trail.

    There's also a "shoulder season" at the North Rim from October until maybe late November. There are no services though other than the visitor center until the end of Oct. and fuel.

    https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/roadclosures.htm

    The North Rim's "full season" is May 15, through October 15.
    The last day for lodging, restaurants and regularly scheduled ranger-led programs is October 15.

    The North Rim "shoulder season" starts October 16 and may last through November 31.

    The National Park Service continues its operations including the North Rim Visitor Center and Bookstore, as well as the Backcountry Permits Office through October 31.

    During the month of November, the North Rim is open for "dawn to dusk" day use only (no overnight parking) unless snow closes Highway 67 prior to that date. During the month of November pay-at-the-pump gas and diesel are available.​
     
  18. jsmla

    jsmla DIS Veteran

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    We've been to the South Rim twice out of Las Vegas and, for the price, we like the view rooms at Kachina. El Tovar is very atmospheric but the better rooms are beyond what I'm willing to spend. We like to overnight because we really enjoy the evenings and early mornings in GCNP. It's so much nicer after the day guests are gone.

    If you drive a I highly recommend a stop in Seligman, AZ. The town is dedicated to preserving the history of old Route 66 and was the inspiration for the town in Cars.

    Out of Vegas we also enjoy day trips to Zion, Brice and Death Valley.
     
  19. The Mystery Machine

    The Mystery Machine Sunrise at my house. :+)

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    Quoting you. Great tips. Vegas is on the short list for us right now.
     
  20. longboard55

    longboard55 DIS Veteran

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    My mom always insisted on the North Rim. It is very nice and quiet but keep in mind its a very long drive to get there. South Rim works fine for me.
     
  21. jdb in AZ

    jdb in AZ It could end up curdled

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    Or you could try the "Death March" which is running from the South Rim of the Canyon, down and across and up the North Rim, then turning around and running back to the South Rim and up. You have to finish in 24 hours or it doesn't count. It's a total of 46 miles and they wear helmets with lights so they can see at night.
     

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