Las Vegas - Grand Canyon Side Trip?

Jul 23rd, 2008, 08:43 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 95
Las Vegas - Grand Canyon Side Trip?

I've searched this site, but as always, the 'real-time' info from y'all is always most helpful!

My SO and I will be staying in Vegas for a week (complimentary private home) late Sept.

Never thought of a major side trip, but many have suggested a tie-in to Grand Canyon. A major drive, we're up for an afternoon and overnight stay - but wondering which part of the Canyon to focus on.

From prior posts, sounds like South Rim is preferred. Does this make most sense from Vegas? Also looking for hotel recommendations. South rim posts seem to favor Bright Angel (cabin or en-suite room - we definitely want our own bath!)

Also, as a photographer and artist, we're most interested in views -though moderate hiking recommendations would also be welcome.

Thanks in advance for your feedback!

We appreciate your feedback - from prior experience, y'all never fail me!!
Luvs2travel is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2008, 10:27 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 695
Driving from Vegas to South Rim and back for a one night stay? Skip it. Save the Grand Canyon for another time.

If you fly, then maybe.
Supercilious is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 01:07 AM
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you can take a day trip to the Grand Canyon by helicopter! It's only a couple hundred bucks per person and they even serve lunch. Search for a tour online. It's worth the price and the views are way better from a helicopter. Oh, and they do land in a secluded area with no other tourists, actually it would be impossible to get their without a helicopter. The tours pick you up at any hotel on the strip.
Jul 24th, 2008, 05:03 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 560
Making a trip to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas makes a lot more sense than making that trip from New York city. It will take you about 6 hours to drive it. If you get a real early start, you can be at the south rim in time for lunch. This will give you the afternoon to get to know your way around and decide where to be for the sunset photos you will likely want as the setting sunlight coming through the dust kicked up during the day will be filtered more reddish, bringing out the colors of the canyon wall. Spend the night in any of the park lodging and you will next be ready to see the sunrise light up the canyon and illuminate the other side of the inner canyon walls for the other photos that people want to see. Use the cooler time of day to hike sown a bit into the canyon for a different perspective and the photo shots that just can't be taken from the rim. Have a nice lunch and drive back by way of the east entrance, stopping at the viewpoints along the way. It will be a very long day to make the drive all the way back to Las Vegas so you may want to consider another night along the way.
rm_mn is offline  
Jul 24th, 2008, 05:44 AM
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 30

We did this same trip last summer and found it do-able and enjoyable. We drove from Vegas to the South Rim, and stopped halfway for an hour at the Hoover Dam. It broke up the trip and the Hoover tour and view were great. Stayed at the El Tovar, which sits on the edge of the Canyon, allowing you to enjoy the sunset. Hiked the canyon the next day and drove back around 4:00, stopping halfway for dinner. It's a shame to be so close and not see the Canyon. It was also a nice contrast to Vegas!
Amie11 is offline  
Jul 28th, 2008, 08:09 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 95
Sorry for not responding to your ideas sooner - I was without computer for a few days. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Heli trip sounds interesting, but we really want to view the canyon in all light conditions. So we're forging ahead with long drive and overnighter - though somewhat far, too close to LV for us NJ folks to pass up!

That said, we're discovering how difficult it is to get overnight accommodations at GC with everything booked a year in advance! We can get a room at Holiday Inn nearby, but nothing in the park area. How difficult or likely is it to score on a cancellation at El Tovar (from what I've read, the favored place.) Any suggestions on best way to find a cancellation - email, phone direct, etc?

Thanks again for your input!

Luvs2travel is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 03:12 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,376
There are a lot of tour operators who book blocks of rooms at the bigger in-park hotels like Yavapai and then cancel what they don't need with 3-5days notice. There are even cancellations at the rim lodges. When I was there in late June both Bright Angel and Yavapai had rooms open for walk ins.

You can call the Xanterra # or check the website from time to time ( This is the # for same day reservations 928-638-2631, or 888-297-2757 for advance res.

J62 is online now  
Jul 29th, 2008, 07:25 AM
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 122
<That said, we're discovering how difficult it is to get overnight accommodations at GC with everything booked a year in advance!>

Be flexible. Since you have a week in Vegas presumably you can go to GC any time during that week. Mid-week is usually a lot easier to find lodging at GC. Keep checking every day - book the Holiday Inn for now and cancel when you find something better. I wouldn't restrict yourself to El Tovar - it is the most upscale lodging on the S. Rim but honestly, how much time are you planning on sitting around in your room when you could be outside looking at the canyon?
BibE1 is offline  
Jul 29th, 2008, 06:48 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 95
J62, thanks for the insight into tour operator room blocking and cancellations - and contact info on checking for these!

BibE1, we're in LV for a week but friends will join us from Tues-Sat with no desire to do GC. So we're restricted to Mon into Tues for this excursion. Do you think this may increase our chances of finding cancellations? We're not dead set on El Tovar - agree that we'll be in our room only to crash! We'd also be happy with Bright Angel Lodge or Yavapai. Are there others we should be on the lookout for?
Luvs2travel is offline  
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