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01-06-2013, 11:28 AM   #1
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3 days to visit Grand Canyon from LV

Hello everyone

I'm getting married in LV in March this year and had booked a 3 day tour from Vegas to the Grand Canyon for 3 days (2 nights) with a tour company unfortunately this has been cancelled (by them as they have decided they don't run the tour in March ).

After this we plan to fly to San Francisco and spend a few days there ....

Anyway, the cancellation means I have a 3 day window in the middle of our vacation that we had planned to spend on our preplanned tour, but I think we could probably do similar by booking a car / hotel and driving over ourselves.

I wanted to know if anyone had anyone had done this themselves or had any recommendations? I guess I'm looking for places to stay, visit and even car rental companies

Thankyou

01-06-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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There are many places to stay within the National Park (village is on the South Rim of the canyon) Here is a link to the National Park Service website:

Lodging - Grand Canyon National Park

Virtually all of the major rental car companies are here in Las Vegas. Link to the McCarran Airport rental car page:

https://www.mccarran.com/Go/RentalCars.aspx

It's about a 4 1/2 to 5 hour to the Grand Canyon Village which is on the South Rim of the canyon. You would drive to the Canyon by going first to Williams, AZ--about 3 1/2 hours, from there the village is a little more than an hour away. You could look into staying in Williams, too, as there are motels/hotels there. Close by to Williams is Flagstaff, AZ, which is a totally charming little town in the midst of a huge ponderosa pine forest. You might consider dividing your time between the 2 places.

In March, Las Vegas weather is very nice, but it can be very different going to the mountains of Arizona, so you might want to check long range weather.

Hope this helps.
01-06-2013, 04:58 PM   #3
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At Williams, AZ, there is the steam train that you can take into the Grand Canyon. You can make reservations in several ways....
At the South Rim of the Canyon is the El Tovar Lodge along with several others.The best times to see the Canyon are at sunrise and sunset.

An hours drive to the south are the Red Rocks of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. It too, is a resort destination. Lots of choices....
01-06-2013, 05:19 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by woodworm Quote
Hello everyone

I'm getting married in LV in March this year and had booked a 3 day tour from Vegas to the Grand Canyon for 3 days (2 nights) with a tour company unfortunately this has been cancelled (by them as they have decided they don't run the tour in March ).

After this we plan to fly to San Francisco and spend a few days there ....

Anyway, the cancellation means I have a 3 day window in the middle of our vacation that we had planned to spend on our preplanned tour, but I think we could probably do similar by booking a car / hotel and driving over ourselves.

I wanted to know if anyone had anyone had done this themselves or had any recommendations? I guess I'm looking for places to stay, visit and even car rental companies

Thankyou
I would try and book at Bright Angel, El Tovar or Thunderbird via the Grand Canyon NPS website (Xanterra is the agent). My experience with using their (Xanterra agency) website is that you have to be persistent, checking back often. I have even booked one night at a time and then rang them (from Australia) and they were only too happy to help and roll the bookings into one room. (NOTE: I say this because cancellations are happening all the time, so if you are checking the website regularly you will see these come up...and go....quickly).

There is nothing wrong with Yavapai or Maswick Lodges either, but they are back a bit from the rim although well serviced by shuttle bus system and whilst Thunderbird may look at bit bland on the outside its location is fantastic and the rooms are nicely done.

Personally....I could not think of anything more romantic than a Bright Angel rim side Cabin for three nights on a honeymoon. Rustic, earthy, but the location will off set any shortcomings.
In my humble opinion, any accommodation in the park is better than being outside the park.

Go warm.....we have been there in March and it snowed, which was magical, but mate!....it was cold!......probably not going to bother a honeymooner too much....but should you venture outside be prepared.

Bright Angel dining room is good, as is the El Tovar dining room, El Tovar is not cheap, but it does have the history. El tovar bar a great place to sit back and relax at the end of a days exploring.

Final tip: find out how to use the park shuttle bus system, it is the best way to get around.

Congratulations on your marriage.

Regards,
Grant


Last edited by Mallee Boy; 01-06-2013 at 05:23 PM. Reason: see NOTE:
01-06-2013, 07:26 PM   #5
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If actually going into the canyon that is one of those very few times in ones life where on would not want a larger gadget bag.

My typical bag of choice is usually a Lowepro DZ, but would not be the one for most Grand Canyon work. I would size down to at least something as small as a Lowepro Flipside 10L - or any other bag that could hold the camera and one or two extra lens.

Also whether one goes hiking in and around the canyon or some type of riding such as horseback - remember to carry as much water as one can carry - especially if on foot. That it also takes at least twice as long for an experienced hiker to get back out of the Canyon than to do down into it
01-07-2013, 07:17 AM   #6
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I won't get to look all your links until later today but wanted to thank everyone for their replies.

Cheers

Lee
01-07-2013, 02:47 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by woodworm Quote
I won't get to look all your links until later today but wanted to thank everyone for their replies.

Cheers

Lee
You asked about hire cars.....stay with the majors, Hertz, Avis, Alamo, Budget, Thrifty etc. I have used Alamo & Hertz with no issues.
01-09-2013, 09:38 PM   #8
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I second the El Tovar. A special historic hotel right on the rim. Book early.

01-10-2013, 04:33 AM   #9
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Thanks guys - I had already seen El Tovar and that had been my choice previously but it's good to hear it recommended.

I think my plan is to drive from Vegas to Flagstaff, stayover 1 night then on to El Tovar for 2 nights before returning back to Vegas airport (then off to San Fran).

Thank you
01-10-2013, 08:41 PM   #10
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Just pointing out that Flagstaff is a few miles EAST of Williams and you will have to double back to Williams and head north to the canyon. Unless you have a special reason to see Flagstaff, I would suggest staying maybe one night in historic and quaint Williams or go north and stay at the El Tovar directly. Flagstaff is a neat old railroad now university town (UNA). It has a nice Indian museum a bit out of town on the way to the ski areas. I guess you could enter the National Park from the east by driving north from Flagstaff and doubling back. This is an interesting road too but considerably longer. The GC Railroad from Williams to the parking lot next to the El Tovar is sort of a touristy thing. I believe the tracks were laid rather recently. Your car at the El Tovar will give you more flexibility to check out the various viewing sites along the park. Check out a state map. Have a wonderful trip.

PM me and I will send you some state maps.

Last edited by Phil1; 01-10-2013 at 08:55 PM.
01-10-2013, 10:10 PM   #11
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I stayed at Valle, which is about 1/2 hour south of the CG, on the road north from Williams.

I forget the name of the motel, but there is also the Flintstone's Bedrock City and the very nice Planes of Fame museum (and car museum) across the street :-)

I took the 3-Mile House hike down Bright Angel trail to the little hut on the peak near the center. A fair amount of gasping and wheezing on the way back. Took 6-1/2 hours round trip. It is about as far as you can go still get back in a day.
01-10-2013, 11:26 PM   #12
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Three days is not a long time to take in the Grand Canyon depending on what you want to see. I took a week to do a complete circle around the canyon, staying at Zion canyon, Bryce Canyon, then the north rim park, glen canyon, and finally the south rim park. The geography varies quite a bit and it is hard to tell exactly what you should see and do.

You should however either see Bryce or glen canyon, as these are fantastic photo opportunities, in my mind better than the Grand Canyon itself. I saw much more wild life at the north rim than the south rim, but that is a function of the level of development and commercialization, the south rim is much more developed.

What is unique at the south rim is the opportunity to see California condors
01-11-2013, 05:48 AM   #13
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Thanks again to everyone for their suggestions. I think we will need to arrange another trip (or two) after this one to see some the bits we're going to miss.
01-11-2013, 09:44 PM   #14
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I second Lowell's comments. Maps in the mail. Have a great trip and come back again and see more.
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