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Old 01-01-2014, 10:51 PM   #1
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Default Grand Canyon

Hi All. I'm thinking about a trip to the Grand Canyon before the heat hits. I will be driving my 94 Falcon from Little Rock, AR. Any suggestions as to best time and places to see for first time visitor? Thanks. Don
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Old 01-03-2014, 12:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: Grand Canyon

Good info here about any issues with the park, roads, and camping. North Rim will be closed now. South Rim will be cold (sub freezing) overnight and pretty cool during the day. You'll have to decide when the weather will allow you to go?
http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
Also there's a NOAA weather radio feed that gives real time conditions in audio format.
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/fgz/WebRadio/Gr ... ZFPZ06.mp3
I would buy an America the Beautiful Annual NPS Pass for $80. If you like the NPS/BLM/ACE type places, it will pay for itself after 8 entries to them. You can get them at most NPS park entrances.
There are lots of lookouts/pullouts along the east/west road into GC Village from Cameron, AZ. There's less to see along the southern access road in from Williams. Except some old aircraft at an airfield just south of the park, if you like old planes. Assuming you're coming along I-40, I would head north along US 89 from Flagstaff towards Cameron, and then take SR 64 west to the Village. Better scenery along that route.
Mather Campground is $18/night last time we were there. It has coin operated laundry and showers, and a free dump station, and free potable and non-potable water. The sites are unserviced, except for maybe a picnic table and a fire pit. There are bathroom buildings located throughout the camping area.
There is a serviced (more expensive) campground as well, but we've never used it.
Stock up on everything you might need in Flagstaff or Page Arizona before you go into the park. Tusayan, which is the little town just south of the park, is very expensive. For everything. The stores inside the park are also pretty pricey, as you might expect.
US89 is under repairs after a landslide south of Page AZ. I believe there was a detour route established shortly after the original problem last February.
http://www.azdot.gov/projects/north-cen ... e/overview
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Old 01-04-2014, 09:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Grand Canyon

Thanks for the input.

The one time I visited GC was maybe 29 years ago in mid Feb as I recall. My brother and I camped in the back of his pickup or SUV. I remember snow in places, but it wasn't too cold as I remember. I was a lot younger, and had just spent three weeks at my brother's place NE of Durango (8000+ altitude and 4 foot snow base), so maybe I was accustomed to cold. My main intent is to go well before the heat sets in.

I have good memories of Flagstaff; always thought it would be neat to live there. Now that I'm retired, maybe I can.

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Old 01-04-2014, 11:57 PM   #4
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Default Re: Grand Canyon

I hear you on the cold and snow. We would go west to Grand Canyon South Rim and Bryce Canyon NP in March a few years back, and encountered mixed weather during the day, sometimes cool but nice (we like cooler, too) and almost always below freezing overnight. We've spent the night at both places with snow on the ground around the campsites. It's always been manageable, though. No major problems, except some stuff might be closed, like the public showers, and campground free standing faucets, and some of the other facilities, like the dump stations, and shuttle buses are either shut down or running limited routes and schedules. Bryce Canyon's park wide shuttle service is seasonal, afaik. GCNP buses seem to go all year round.

If you want to check the weather trends before you head out, this website is handy.
http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/zoa/mwmap3.php?map=usa
Once the webpage resolves in your browser, hover over a + or colored dot in the area of the map that you want to examine, and it will tell you the real time conditions at wherever you are hovering. Then click the + or little colored dot, and it will open a popup (enable popups in your browser) page, with an NWS Forecast tab, that you can click, and it will give you a 4-5 day/night forecast with any warnings and other significant info.
Have fun. Good luck.
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Old 01-08-2014, 08:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Grand Canyon

We spent a week at the South Rim Last June 2013. We went from there to the North Rim. In the first part of June we found the weather to be beautiful. The North rim opened for the season a few day before we got there. It was definately cooler than the South Rim but manageable.
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Old 01-08-2014, 09:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Grand Canyon

We were at the south rim April 13, 2011 and there was still snow remnants on the ground and the temperature got down to 20 F one night. The north rim was still closed on that date. That time of year can be unpredictable.
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Old 01-09-2014, 06:25 PM   #7
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Default Re: Grand Canyon

Thanks again for the replies. Right now, it looks like late March or early April would be best for us. We're saving summer for our dream trip to Alaska.

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Old 01-09-2014, 07:06 PM   #8
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Default Re: Grand Canyon

We did Alaska in 2012. Left for Alaska June 28 and got back about Labor Day. Two solid months but that also took in a good amount of time in Jasper/Banff and Glacier NP.
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Old 01-10-2014, 06:06 PM   #9
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Davydd,

That's similar to our thoughts, though I would prefer longer. But, DW doesn't want too long. Our old Falcon gets about 12.7 mpg and I'm not looking forward to the gas expense. I've been seeing a lot of $10k minimum for the trip. Ouch!
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Old 01-10-2014, 09:58 PM   #10
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Default Re: Grand Canyon

I never added up the cost but I roughly estimate that I maybe spent about $2,500 on diesel fuel over 10,500 miles. I didn't do it but it is legal to overnight in rest stops in Alaska. Costs are a bit higher in Canada and Alaska than the lower 48. There is not a lot to spend your money on if you are just content to experience the country and scenery. You have to eat whether you stay home or go.
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