Las Vegas to Grand Canyon and Back

Jun 11th, 2012, 05:34 PM
Original Poster
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Las Vegas to Grand Canyon and Back

We will be flying into Las Vegas and seeing a show and then plan on heading out away from LV to somewhere more nature oriented. I had planned on the Grand Canyon but was kind of surprised (stupid, I know) that it's about 5 hours away. Is the Grand Canyon the best place to go or are there other options closer to LV?

This will only be a 3 or 4 day trip so don't want anything too far away. If we do Grand Canyon, are there must stop places along the way?

About us: Only going to Vegas to see a particular show. Otherwise, we are into hiking and nature.

Thank you in advance!
AustinTraveler is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 05:51 PM
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Grand Canyon is wonderful, but there are plenty of places with natural beauty closer. Red Rock Canyon is about a half hour, Valley of Fire and Hoover Dam are about an hour away, Death Valley is a little over two hours, Zion is about 3 hours. All of these could be day trips, or easily combined, for example you could drive north on 15 to the VoF sign then head east go through VoF and continue on to Lake Mead then go to Hoover Dam and back to Vegas.

Zion has fantastic hiking but would make for a very full day, but if you got up early you could be there by 10 hike until dusk and head back to Vegas for the night.
emalloy is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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Thank you so much emalloy for the advice. We are okay staying overnight somewhere, but you sure have given us some great ideas!
AustinTraveler is offline  
Jun 11th, 2012, 06:00 PM
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So if I'm reading this right, you are flying into Vegas for a 3-4 day trip but only need to be in Vegas for one night for one show, and the rest of the time you are free to go wherever.

What month?

I would recommend the Grand Canyon for sure, even if it is a 5 hour drive. It is good for an overnight trip, and you can certainly find other things to do along the way (Flagstaff, Sedona, Hoover Dam).

I agree the Red Rock Canyon and Valley of Fire are nice but don't compare to the Grand Canyon. But since you have several days you can do either of them on a different day - depending on time of year. VoF would be extremely hot in summer.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 02:03 PM
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Here's 1 idea...
arrive LV - see show
next day drive to Grand Canyon- try to get lodging in the park.
Next day, GC to Sedona red rock country via Flagstaff and Oak Creek Canyon.
Return to LV.
boom_boom is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 02:57 PM
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If you can't get lodging accommodatios at the GC - consider staying in Sedona - which is about two and a half hours away.

If you do that - suggest you leave Vegas at around 6 AM - and arrive GC around 11 AM - spend 4 to 5 hours there - and then by say 4 PM or so - head to Sedona. It's an hour or less to Williams, a half hour to the exit south to Oak Creek Canyon (just before Flagstaff) and then enjoy the 45 minutes to an hour drive down Oak Creek Canyon - arriving Sedona well before sunset. If you want to get good idea of the area - head up to the mesa/airport - overlooking the area for sunset.

The next day - you could explore more around Sedona and then head back to Vegas - making for a shorter drive on the 2nd day.

Red Rock Canyon is also nice - and it's only about 20 minutes from the Strip. Would not be concerned with Valley of Fire this trip.
Tomsd is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 08:21 PM
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If you plan to be in Las Vegas in the summer, the last thing you want to do is go hiking unless you're going to Mount Charleston (about 20 degrees cooler there) which has many great hiking trails and is less than an hour's ride from the Strip. However, it doesn't compare to the Grand Canyon. I Would suggest that rather than drive to the Grand Canyon take a helicopter tour from Las Vegas. It's awesome and will get you there in no time. There are many different packages available that include hikes, picnics in the Canyon etc. You can fly over Hoover Dam which is the best way to see that as well. Two of the most popular Helicopter Tours out of Vegas are and Also check on and to see if there are any discount offers. I use those 2 sites for all kinds of great buys including rooms. If you are looking for other things to do in Las Vegas other than gamble check for 101 Things to Do on the home page. You'll be surprised. Have a great time!
mike61 is offline  
Jun 12th, 2012, 08:28 PM
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Good info 4 sure. To me - there is nothing like spending 4 or 5 hours along the rim of the GC - but a helicopter ride is also a great way to see it. We took one years ago where they could descent below the rim - and it was amazing. They don't do that anymore, 4 safety reasons, etc.

It's all about how much time you want to spend doing whatever you want to do.

You can also take a day long bus/van tour from Vegas to the GC.
Tomsd is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 05:32 PM
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When it comes to natural beauty and majesty, the Grand Canyon cannot be beat. If I am making the trip from Las Vegas, however, I would plan to stay the night there. Can it be done in a day? Of course. But you will enjoy it much more with the extra time an overnight allows you.

On my last visit, I went to Valley of Fire and Hoover Dam in one easy day trip. I loved it! If you are staying in Las Vegas and just want a day trip, I think this is a great option!

Whether you go with plan A (Grand Canyon) or plan B (Valley of Fire + Hoover), you will not be disappointed! Enjoy!
Shandy1977 is offline  
Jun 16th, 2012, 10:18 PM
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Seeing The Grand Canyon is like seeing pyramids of Egypt. It is a must see.
Please take some time at Hoover Dam and the amazing bridge. It too is a world class sight.
logandog is offline  
Jul 6th, 2012, 07:26 AM
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I will be coming into vegas 8/5 taking my family, the girls have never seen vegas, going to see concerts and show, dinner etc. want to do a day trip to canyon and hoover will be in vegas for four days, south rim may be a bit to much of a drive, with a family of five would it be worth driving to south rim or is there a decent day trip, and or should I see canyon on way home to southern california, can you just go to hoover park and pay for a tour??
michaelnovi is offline  
Jul 6th, 2012, 08:05 AM
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michaelnovi: Welcome to Fodors. I'd suggest you start a new thread of your own. You have a different trip/different questions than AustinTraveler and your post may get lost in the shuffle.
janisj is offline  
Jul 6th, 2012, 09:55 AM
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Listen to janisj: start a new thread.
The information everyone needs to know about Hoover Dam tours:
What I was quoted on in the guidebook was the fact that the parking at Hoover Dam is free on the Arizona side. Don't get sucked into the parking structure on the Nevada side.
For lodging near the dam I like the Hacienda Casino. There is/was a helicopter tour operator taking tourists over the dam and Lake Meade. He was flying from the edge of the parking lot at the Hacienda.
tomfuller is offline  
Jul 6th, 2012, 12:23 PM
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Quick answer. I think it's worth driving to the Grand Canyon - but your young ones may not? There is plenty to see/do around Vegas - including the Red Rock Canyon - about 20 minutes away and as mentioned - Hoover Dam.
Tomsd is offline  
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