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jtw999 Jan 5th, 2013 12:05 PM

1.5 day in Grand Canyon mid-March 2013 - help!!
Our family will have a day and a half in the Grand Canyon area. We will leave Phoenix in the morning (likely 8:00 am) and have the rest of that day upon arrival, as well as the next full day. It will be mid-March of 2013.

We are a family of 5: 2 adults, 3 boys (15, 13, 10). We will have one half day and one full day. At this point we are thinking of the half day at the Skyrim area, because it makes more sense for our drive home. We will be off in the Salt Lake City direction next on our way to back to Canada.

1) We are looking for ideas on where to spend our 2 nights. Price is a definite consideration, as well as proximity to sights.

2) I realize it is controversial as to value, but we are really wanting to walk on the Skyrim. How do we go about this? Is it advisable to do a package tour for a half day? This is a must my husband and sons!

3) We would also appreciate any ideas on how to spend our day at the Grand Canyon National Park.

Thank you for any ideas!

jtw999 Jan 5th, 2013 12:20 PM

We just read Tripadvisor reviews of Skywalk and have not thought it might be not worth it... Therefore, we would have 1.5 days at Grand Canyon National Park.

starrs Jan 5th, 2013 01:34 PM

I would skip the SkyRim.

Only the South Rim will be open and things book pretty fast. Book whatever you can get - whatever is still available. Take warm clothes, the first time I was there was in late March one year and it snowed on it. It was lucky snow for us because we didn't realize we needed reservations. We got a room on the rim because folks left early. What to do? Walk around, ooh and ahh, enjoy the park. We went on a mule ride into the canyon on another visit and it was wonderful - but I don't know if they do the mule tours in March.

kansasmom Jan 5th, 2013 04:54 PM

We stayed at Yavapai Lodge and thought it was fine. Yavapai cafeteria is perfectly good as well. We spent three days at the canyon walking around up on the rim, visiting the various museums and lookout points, driving out to the east entrance and stopping at various points along the way, attending two ranger talks, and hiking about 1.5 miles down into the canyon. Enjoy! The views are every bit as great as you can imagine.

Nelson Jan 5th, 2013 04:54 PM

I'm a hiker so my suggestions will tend towards that activity.

Just strolling along the Rim Trail is easy and enjoyable, especially late in the afternoon when the light turns dramatic.

As cool as it is to look down into the Canyon, it's even better as you go into it. <i>Depending upon trail conditions</i>, stroll down the Bright Angel trail as far as you feel like going, remembering that's it's uphill on the return!

Go on a Ranger activity:

The visitor centers are great.

Skip the SkyRim.

Have fun.

spirobulldog Jan 5th, 2013 06:21 PM

South and North Rims are consider the "Real Grand Canyon" The west rim/sky walk is considered by most people on this board to not be the "real Grand Canyon" I'm not totally sure how I feel, I just know what is often said on here. Most consider the sky walk to be a real tourist trap. So much so that you can't even take your own pictures there.

WhereAreWe Jan 6th, 2013 11:59 AM

1.5 days is a lot for the Grand Canyon if you aren't doing significant hiking.

Phoenix is about 4 hours from the Grand Canyon so you'll get there around noon. I think you should at least stop at Montezuma Castle on your way.

Spend the first afternoon at the main viewpoints around the village, walk along the rim and maybe take the shuttle to Hermits Rest. Stay overnight, then get up the next day and hike down the South Kaibab trail to Cedar Ridge. South Kaibab has far better views than Bright Angel, but you'll need to take your own water as there is none along the trail. You also will need to watch the snow/ice on the upper part of the trail.

Oh, and the new moon is mid-March so you should get out and look at the stars if it's a clear night.

After that, check out if you haven't already done so and leave the park via the East entrance, stopping at all those viewpoint and the Watchtower on your way out. You should still have enough time to make a short detour to the south on Hwy 89 and drive through Wupatki National Monument and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. After that, head north to Page and stay overnight there.

The next day you should have time to make a stop at Bryce Canyon on your way to Salt Lake City.

I just think 2 nights at Grand Canyon is too many unless you are doing some major dayhikes, which is doesn't sound like you are. My personal preference would actually be to visit Wupatki and Sunset Crater on that first afternoon and enter the park via the East Entrance as that would eliminate any backtracking to see Wupatki and Sunset Crater. Of course, then you'd want to also exit via the East Entrance to get to Page. There's some backtracking involved no matter what, but I suppose you might rather backtrack along the rim of the Grand Canyon than along Hwy 89. There's really nothing super exciting about the drive into the South Entrance, it's just the shortest route from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon.

If you entered via the East Entrance and made those extra stops (Montezuma, Sunset Crater and Wupatki) you'd just have to keep an eye on the time so you can get to a Grand Canyon viewpoint for sunset.

Ozarksbill Jan 6th, 2013 12:33 PM

Pretty much agree with comments so far. Also stayed Yavapai Lodge which is good for families incl. cafeteria. Grand Canyon is not to be missed but actually a day and a half (including sunrises, sunsets) is sufficient stopping at various overlooks. Could walk part way down a trail from the rim depending on interest. Hard to tell with three boys, i.e., how much energy and enthusiasm! They might just want to poke around in the museums or play board games. Yes, a ranger program also.

Bill in Boston

Nelson Jan 6th, 2013 12:58 PM

WhereWeAre, yes, South Kaibab instead of Bright Angel. My brain was thinking one, and my fingers typed the other. Thanks for the correction.

jtw999 Jan 6th, 2013 01:40 PM

These are great suggestions. Thank you!!
We will definitely stop at Montezuma Castle. We didn't even know it existed. Thank you!

Also, I really appreciate the link to the trail hikes and park ranger activities. That is exactly how we plan to spend our full day! All the suggestions are very helpful.

We will definitely stop at Bryce Canyon, too. I just looked at pictures. Wow!

Any other suggestions to stop at en route from Phoenix --> Grand Canyon --> Salt Lake City --> Missoula, Montana area --> BC would be appreciated. :)

Do you think there will be snow in our travels?

Thank you, thank you!!

WhereAreWe Jan 6th, 2013 05:40 PM

Grand Canyon, Bryce, SLC and Missoula will all almost certainly have snow on the ground. March tends to be one of the snowier months so you may run into a storm somewhere along the way, that's impossible to predict. But if there's been no recent storm the roads should be fine.

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