Grand Canyon Questions

Old Feb 9th, 2009, 10:23 AM
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Grand Canyon Questions

We are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon later this month and have a couple of questions.

- Do you have any recommendations for a motel in Williams?

- Would you recommend taking the train from Williams to Grand Canyon National Park?

- If you had to make a choice, would you go to Hermitís Rest or Desert View?

Thanks in advance.
tom18 is offline  
Old Feb 9th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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Do not spend the night in Williams. Spend it near the Grand Canyon in actual park. I wouldn't take the train, and most people on here will agree that money would be better spent on something else. I would spend it on a helicopter tour.

There are many great overlooks. I would hike down into the canyon, if only a short way.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 10:40 AM
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If at all possible I would stay at one of the motels in the park. Check on www.nps.gov click on grand canyon. Go to all the great places in the park. Take the shuttle from Bright Angel Lodgeand get off and on where ever you want to have a nice view. I've never taken the train from williams but have seen it in the park. It stops fairly near Bright Angel Lodge.
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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On a recent trip we decided not to start out where everybody else goes first, the big lookout near the village, but we headed for Desert View instead. This was not in winter - you may need to check on road conditions, but it is a very rewarding way of seeing the Canyon.

From Flagstaff you take 89 north then 64 west, a nice drive on a good road, before you know it you're at Desert View where there is not only a lookout with parking and a nice cafe and shop etc., but a three-story observation tower that is very cool.

The vistas are very different from what they are from the village lookout - different shades of minerals etc.

Then you drive west, following the road as it hugs the rim, and there are numerous pull-off locations - from each one the canyon looks different again. Often you pull out here and see a promontory stick out that looks great, then you pull out a bit further and the other side of that same promontory looks very different again. Fascinating.

You do this as often as you like, eventually you get to where everybody else seems to already have crowded in, and you don't mind it so much because your memory bank and camera cards are already full with good impressions.

To do that again (we came from Cottonwood the last time) I would stay in one of the cheap motels on the eastern outskirts of Flagstaff, along 180/89/Route 66..
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Old Feb 9th, 2009, 11:00 AM
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The common wisdom professed here on Fodors is that the Williams train is the 2nd biggest tourist rip-off in northern AZ (the glass bridge being #1).

Stay in the park (xanterra.com is the concessionaire website) and just drive there yourself. Before the day visitors who travel by train arrive the rim area is wonderfully peaceful. Ditto for immediately after they depart too.

You can get to Hermits rest by shuttle bus, and pass by Desert view as you exit the park to the east, so no need to make a either/or choice.

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