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Grand Canyon Trip-Questions for those familiar with the area

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Well trained mind forums are where I always come for help in planning trips to parts of the country I am unfamiliar with.  You all are a wealth of information!  So we are planning on staying near the park from Sunday-Wednesday one week in June, essentially giving us only 2 full days (Mon and Tues) in the area.  Of course we can do things on our way in on I-40 on our way to Phoenix on Wednesday.  My main question is what we should plan on doing those two days.  Both days on the South Rim of the Canyon?  This is the first trip to Arizona for about half of our family and our youngest child is 5, so we will be limited to half day hikes at the most.  This much I have come up with based on the little I know, so I am open to other ideas as well.  

Thanks so much in advance!



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I highly recommend taking a flight (1st choice -helicopter; 2nd choice-plane) if possible.


Otherwise, be sure to see the IMAX movie in Tusayan, just outside the park entrance.  Many times the hotel/campground you are staying in will have coupons to give out for the IMAX.


The south rim encompasses the east and west rim.  West is busier with more shuttle stops closer together and usually more people.  East rim has fewer lookouts farther apart with smaller crowds. Both east and west rims have paved trail connecting their lookout points.  You can walk from point to point or take the shuttle.  You can walk along the rim (east or west) on the paved trail, or you can hike down into the canyon on the Bright Angel Trail (west rim) or the Kaibab Trail (east rim).


It doesn't sound like you'll have time to get to the north rim.


What kinds of things do you like to do?   hiking?  rock climbing?  mountain biking?  do you want a guided tour?  do you want to check out waterfalls in the area?  see Indian ruins?  volcanoes?  museums?  Meteor Crater is also in the area, depending on which direction you're coming from.  There's a ton to do in the area!  It's one of our favorite places to be.


If you are comfortable sharing which city you'll be staying in, I could probably give you more specific ideas about things to do.


In June, the park will be BUSY!  Arrive as early as possible.



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Buy a guide book fromA Falcon's Guide - available for about $15 in Amazon - and read about all the hiking opportunities and decide which ones you want to do. We found an amazing hiking trail at The Grand Canyon that we would have never known about if not for this guide book. I bought the guides for both the The Grand Canyon and Zion and we found them incredibly helpful in planning our our trips. They have advice organized like - if you have 1/2 day to spend, to this; if you have two days, do these things. It helped us prioritize our hikes.

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If you don't have your hotel reservations already, do it ASAP. Many of them get booked up way earlier than you'd expect, often a year in advance. June is prime time!


Also, be wary of being overly ambitious on the hiking, esp. for kids or older adults. The change in altitude between the rim and the Canyon floor is harder to manage than you'd expect unless you're an experienced hiker. Going down is (relatively) easy, but coming back up is very tough. Steep and precarious footing on many trails. Plus summertime temps on the Canyon floor can get quite high. Not to be a debbie downer but just want to forewarn you in case you aren't aware. Hope you have fun no matter what you decide to do.

Edited by TarynB
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Here's an old thread. You can google site search to find others. Type your search terms plus site:welltrainedmind.com


Please help me plan a family trip to the Grand Canyon - The Chat Board - The Well-Trained Mind Community


I think in this thread I suggest an RV for Arizona. We have friends who did this and they loved it. I agree with the others to question your hiking plans. Now y'all could be amazing hikers. I'm just saying a 5 yo, cliffs, heat, not so much fun. Too young for the donkeys or rafting. There's TONS of amazing stuff to do in Arizona, and most of it is not at the Grand Canyon. Drive and do other things as well. 


Montezuma's Castle

Verde Canyon train ride

Canyon de Chelly

4 Corners



Edited by OhElizabeth
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