Grand Canyon trips with 3 teens

Jan 2nd, 2012, 06:06 PM
  #1  
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Grand Canyon trips with 3 teens

I am planning a trip to the Grand Canyon in June with my three daughters, ages 12, 15 and 16' and my husband. I have already made reservations for 2 nights at the south rim in the park, and 2 nights at the north rim for two nights. That's about as far as I've gotten I would like to start or end in Vegas to stay a couple of nights (husband's request). I can't figure out how to do this trip to include Zion, Bryce, Canyonlands, etc. I want to do as much as possible, but I'm afraid of completely wearing out my daughters. I want them to enjoy the trip, without completely boring them ( keep in mind they're teenagers). This trip is one I,ve wanted to do for many years, but the family is only so-so on wanting to go, so I feel a bit of pressure to get it riight ! Thoughts? Advice?. Total nights for trip is 7-10
workingonthebucket is offline  
Jan 2nd, 2012, 07:26 PM
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If you can get a flight into Vegas that lands early enough to leave for GC in time to be there before sunset (should be late in June), spend the two nights there take a hike along the rim and down into the canyon a way or do a mule ride, then do a loop up to Page, spend the night at a motel with a pool, take a half day smooth water raft trip from there, then head for Bryce, then head for north rim and then to Zion for a couple of days then back to Vegas for a couple of days of glitz. Maybe a show and/or spa when you get to Vegas.

This is a beautiful part of the world and hopefully the girls will appreciate that. If they are into hiking at all it will be fantastic.

Pick up a cooler and stock it up with snacks and drinks at the start. If you can get them to put the electronics away, and really look at the wonders of the west, that would make for a great trip, but probably isn't realistic.

Best of luck to you!
emalloy is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 02:52 AM
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Canyonlands (and Arches) are not in the same loop although if the trip is 10 nights do a lot.

Be prepared to drive as Arches/Canyonlands is a drive from Bryce/Zion.

Depending upon how your path takes you be aware that you may drive right by Page, AZ and the famous Antelope Canyon and also Horseshoe Bend.
Myer is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 03:17 AM
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I would just do 1 night at the north and south rims each. Unless you are hiking a lot you will get bored fast. GC is awesome awesome sight, but can be done in a day. Zion and Bryce have far more to do.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 06:50 AM
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I think with siblings that age it's important to try to do active things together to keep them from getting bored.

Skipping "Canyonlands, etc" for a moment and looking at the south rim, north rim, Bryce, Zion loop I would try to work in some/all of the following, depending on how active your family is and how much $$ you can spend.

At the south rim, from more active to less, 1) hike down Kaibab trail to Cedar Ridge at sunrise (or as early as you can get up). This is about 3 miles round trip and will likely be one of the two highlights of your trip.

And/or 2) take a mule ride down to Indian Gardens, also something you won't likely forget for a long time. And/or 3) hike the easier walkways on the rim (getting into the canyon is MUCH better but there are places on the rim you can still find solitude). This is a big step down from # 1 and 2 though. And/or 4) do a flightseeing trip via chopper or plane. This will be expensive.

Then drive to Page and spend a night there. Lot of easy things to do in this area (upper Antelope Canyon hike, tour of the giant dam, couple of other hikes) but I'd suggest doing the flat water boat trip thru the canyon just below the dam, which ends just about where the Grand Canyon starts. Beautiful canyon area, safe. There are also tours on Lake Powell if you have time but the river trip is the one I'd suggest.

From Page drive to north rim of GC. If you've done the mule ride and the Kaibab hike on the south rim you can get by with one night at the north rim, if pressed for time. Otherwise, there are easier mule trips here that just stay on the rim (also ones that go into the canyon but it's not as scenic as the south rim mule ride to Indian Gardens).

At Bryce you can hike (much easier here than into the GC) and also there are trail rides (not sure if they use mules or horses) but the scale of hiking and riding is much less than in the GC.

At Zion there are some good family hikes and great scenery.

Now, assuming you have an extra few days to swing out to Moab (Arches and Canyonlands NPs), in addition to the "scenics" in those parks an active family could also do some mountain biking from Moab (one of the most famous biking areas in the world), or you could do a full-day or half-day white-water rafting trip from Moab, or take one of the more rugged guided jeep tours, or rent a jeep yourself and do an easier jeep road/trail, for example, part of the White Rim Road or one of the many other great 4 WD drives in the area (the rental guys can help you set this up).

Anyway, I think there are a lot of things for an active family to do (I don't think girls this age are too young). Likely highlights would be a trip into the GC below the rim (whether on mule or foot) and one of the short river trips (either flat water below the dam at Page or the mild white water above Moab).
Bill_H is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 12:21 PM
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Bill_H
I did the 1/2 day Mule/Horse Ride at Bryce this past summer. It was supposed to have been 4 hours, but wound up being just right at 3 hours. Anyway, I was the only one on a horse everyone else had a mule. We were probably a group of 12 to 15. I had hiked Navajo Loop/Queens Garden so decided to try the ride for Peekaboo. I think it probably included portions of other trails as well. I did enjoy it, but thought it was going to last longer than it did. I think the 2 hour ride would be about the same.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 06:39 PM
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Thanks so much for the information!!

A revised (tentative)itinerary:

fly into Sedona for 1 night and do pink jeep tours
from sedona to south rim for 2 nights
from south rim to page for 1-2 nights
from page to north rim 1 night
from north rim to Bryce 1 night
bryce to zion for 2 nights
zion to las vegas for 2 nights

My question is am I allowing enough time at Bryce? Should I just skip the north rim to save on time? Is this a doable and enjoyable plan?

Thanks so much for any thoughts. I had also considered going from Sedona to Williams and ride the train into the GC, but then I think we'd be backtracking on the ride back to Williams.
workingonthebucket is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 07:41 PM
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Nix the ride on the train from Williams, you don't get views of the canyon until you actually get there and there are train rides with spectacular views not far from Sedona.

Most people who recommend the north rim do so because it is less crowded and more relaxing, but I prefer the south rim for views and have not found crowds a problem especially if you go mid week and get out along the trails a way. So if you want to cut that I wouldn't fault you.
emalloy is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 10:38 PM
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Would also second skipping the train ride and spending your time on the Rim. For a good intro - go to the IMAX and watch the hour long film. It's by the entrance - coming from the South.

And just taking the bus along the South Rim is a treat - hopping on and off as you like, and if you can get the young ones up in time - seeing a sunrise over the canyon is also a treat.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2012, 10:41 PM
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BTW - I think you itinerary sounds great - but you might see if the girls want to spend more time/another night? - seeing the sights in Vegas - as there are a lot of interesting things there too.
Tomsd is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 12:41 AM
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I'd skip the North Rim and the Train ride too. In Page consider doing either the all day boat tour to Rainbow Bridge National Monument or the 1/2 day float trip on the Colorado River.

Enjoy!

Utahtea
utahtea is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 03:16 AM
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another vote for skipping the train. I haven't seen Rainbow Bridge but it is high on my list. You won't see anything like it anywhere else on your trip. Most see Antelope Canyon there too.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 06:33 AM
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I had also considered going from Sedona to Williams and ride the train into the GC

The train would be very expensive for a family of five and since the tracks are in bad shape the train speed is limited, so you waste hours just riding up and back, with the same scenery you'd see in the car. Generally considered one of the two biggest tourist traps in Arizona.

Plus it gets you to the rim at the worst time for viewing (mid-day) and leaves before the best viewing time (sunset). Skip the train, for sure.

My question is am I allowing enough time at Bryce?

One day/night is enough, be sure to catch a sunrise/sunset and maybe do a hike. It's a very short drive to Zion, so unless you are doing something extracurricular like a long horse/mule ride one night is enough.

Should I just skip the north rim to save on time?

North rim is very different from south rim, I'd leave one night for it but not two.

Is this a doable and enjoyable plan?

Yep.
Bill_H is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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I am a big fan of Arches and Moab. However, it's a drive from Bryce / Zion.

There are some excellent sights not that far east of Bryce:
Grosvenor Arch and Willis Creek slot canyon just south of Cannonville.

Devil's Garden Escalante that I describe as a grown up Goblin Valley. I think the girls would enjoy climbing around the formations.

Lower Calf Creek Falls.
Myer is offline  
Jan 4th, 2012, 06:02 PM
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Is the long boat ride worth the trip to see Rainbow Bridge in Page?
workingonthebucket is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 12:31 AM
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I've done the all day boat tour to Rainbow Bridge twice and I've loved it because you really get to see the beautiful sandstone cliffs and mesa scenery on the lake. That said the two times we did the tour was when the lake was high and you didn't have a 1 1/4 mike hike to Rainbow Bridge. You could see it from the tour boat and it was just a short hike to get to the bridge. Because we didn't have to do the longer hike, the tour boats also did another side canyon.

http://www.lakepowell.com/tours/scenic-boat-tours.aspx

I love this area and I'd do it again even with the hike.

Utahtea
utahtea is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 05:57 AM
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I have done this two times from Vegas. I spent one night in Vegas the first time and the second time we left the same day.
Either was fine if you haven't been to Vegas with the kids I suggest you stay at least one day inVegas pools are great.
You can drive to the Grand Canyon then do the grand circle drive to Bryce, Zion but Badlands or Arches would be a lot.
I woild skip the train it doesn't go through very nice scenery.
I also would do only one rim. Quite a haul.
bgoodwin is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 06:47 AM
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Tossing in my two bits, certainly the Grand Canyon is spectacular but I'm not sure you need north rim in addition to south rim...as you have wondered. Thing is, once you've seen the various views you can move on...unless of course you do the trail ride down. Yes, I'd skip north rim and train ride. But certainly do consider The Arches/Bryce Canyon. And Sedona is something that might appeal to the teens. A trip to Prescott and the Tuzigoot Indiana ruins would be interesting.

Speaking of which I would definitely include the three kids in planning. What do they really want to see and do? And what will keep them amused in the drives? Many years ago our family of three did lots of camping and sightseeing and in those long ago days we played lots of road car games...
looking for license plates, etc. That didn't always prevent boredom and fussing! Hats off for planning a family-of-five trip which may well be remembered for little quirky things.

Bill in Boston
Ozarksbill is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 11:25 AM
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Make sure they wake up for a grand canyon sunrise. Insist on it. Seriously. They will complain. Ignore them and get their butts out of bed.
Birdie is offline  
Jan 5th, 2012, 12:25 PM
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I was on the South Rim watching the sun come up.

I was at Bryce Point in Bryce Canyon watching the sun come up.

Certainly go to GC.

But I'll remember the sunrise at Bryce forever.

No comparison.
Myer is offline  

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