Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page >

Need advice for a Grand Canyon father/son long weekend trip

Need advice for a Grand Canyon father/son long weekend trip

Old Aug 30th, 2020, 12:34 PM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 736
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Need advice for a Grand Canyon father/son long weekend trip

When my boys turn 16 I've committed to taking them on a father/son long weekend trip to spend some quality time together. We try to go somewhere new, cool and spectacular. My older son chose Denver and a drive through the Rocky Mountains. My younger son said "Let's go to Vegas!", which I thought was funny. His intent was to see the city briefly (maybe hop on skyscraper top roller coaster) and then head around the grand canyon. We'll be arriving Wednesday evening and heading out on a red-eye flight Sunday at 11pm. He thinks it's funny that Monday he'll sleepily tell his friends...."Yeah, i'm a bit tired...just came in on a red-eye from Vegas".

Once again, the intent is to spend quality time together, talking a lot. In the Rocky Mountains we did a lot of driving, which I don't mind. You see beautiful country and have lots of time to talk. So please keep in mind that I realize we aren't spending quality time out in nature, although we'll try and do some of that. As I've talked to several friends who have spent time around the Grand Canyon I've come up with two loose itineraries. I'd love you to give me your thoughts on each one, pros and cons, and ways to improve the best one. They're both rather similar but one has time around Hoover Dam and Sedona while the other focuses a bit more time north of the Grand Canyon.

Somewhere in here we'd like to rent quads and do a bit of trail riding.

I realize that Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park can both take up days, and I'm only giving them portions of a day or two. For this trip that would involve driving through each park and possibly choosing a more popular hike to see the area. I'm not even trying to think we'll see all of what either has to offer.

This will be early October of this year.

Itinerary 1 (time at Hoover Dam and around Sedona)
Wednesday - Oct 7
7pm Fly to Vegas
10pm Get to hotel

Thursday - Oct 8
8am Building top roller coaster
12pm Rent car
1pm Hoover Dam
6pm Hampton Inn in Kingman (1.25 hrs from Hoover Dam)

Friday - Oct 9
8am Drive to Sedona along Rt 66 and Rt 89 (4 hrs)
1pm Hike to Devil’s Bridge (3 hrs)
5pm Dinner in Flagstaff
6pm Drive to Grand Canyon Village (1.5 hrs)
8pm Hotel at Grand Canyon Village

Saturday - Oct 10
7am Morning at the south canyon rim
10am Drive to north canyon rim (4 hrs)
4pm Evening at the north canyon rim
7pm Drive to Kanab
9pm Dinner/Kanab Hampton Inn

Sunday - Oct 11
7am Johnson Canyon Road
9am Bryce Canyon or Zion National Park
6pm Drive to Las Vegas
11pm Fly home


Itinerary 2 (bit more time at Bryce and Zion)
Wednesday - Oct 7
7pm Fly to Vegas
10pm Get to hotel

Thursday - Oct 8
8am Building top roller coaster
12pm Rent car
1pm Drive to Grand Canyon Village (5 hrs)
6pm Hotel at Grand Canyon Village
6pm Evening at south canyon rim

Friday - Oct 9
7am Morning at the south canyon rim
10am Drive to north canyon rim (4 hrs, 1 hr for lunch)
3pm Afternoon/evening at the north canyon rim
7pm Drive to Kanab
9pm Dinner/Kanab Hampton Inn

Saturday - Oct 10
8am Johnson Canyon Road
10am Bryce Canyon
?pm Dinner/Kanab Hampton Inn

Sunday - Oct 11
8am Zion National Park
6pm Drive to Las Vegas
11pm Fly home


***I'm now realizing that I should have also tagged Utah and Nevada as well.

Last edited by Wekiva; Aug 30th, 2020 at 01:12 PM. Reason: Failed to tag Utah and Nevada
Wekiva is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2020, 04:11 PM
  #2  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 736
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well alrighty...that should be father/son TRIP.
Wekiva is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2020, 05:24 PM
  #3  
Forum Moderator
 
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 2,914
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We fixed your title
Moderator1 is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2020, 05:33 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 67,362
Likes: 0
Received 50 Likes on 7 Posts
Just one very quick comment -- more later -- but I personally would not waste a night in Kingman. Hoover Dam to GCVillage is only about 4 hours so it would still be day light if you left the Dam by 2 or 2:30 PM
janisj is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2020, 06:40 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,369
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You will be pushing it to find dinner in Kanab at 9pm in October. Go to the Rocking V--amazing food!
StantonHyde is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2020, 06:57 PM
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 736
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Moderator1 View Post
We fixed your title
Thank you VERY much...I was all ready to fix it and saw the EDIT button was gone.
Wekiva is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2020, 07:00 PM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 736
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Originally Posted by janisj View Post
Just one very quick comment -- more later -- but I personally would not waste a night in Kingman. Hoover Dam to GCVillage is only about 4 hours so it would still be day light if you left the Dam by 2 or 2:30 PM
Yep....that's part of why I started itinerary #2 which is the way I'm leaning. We could drive over the Hoover dam on the way and just not stop for a tour. I do think we'll try to drive some of Rt 66 which might slow down the drive to the south rim, but we'll have the next morning to enjoy the south rim if we get there past sunset.
Wekiva is offline  
Old Aug 30th, 2020, 07:03 PM
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 736
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I also want to add...it's not that it's critical to get on top of the roller coaster building. My son enjoys skylines and city vibes. So the intent would be to just hang out in Vegas for the morning to see the sights...whether it's just walking around town or climbing the Stratosphere Tower.

Then we head out of town around noon to get back to nature.
Wekiva is offline  
Old Aug 31st, 2020, 04:28 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 140
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Do you already have reservations at Grand Canyon? If not, you need to get them ASAP , if none are available at the south rim, make one that can be cancelled nearby and call the park concessionaires ( there are two) every day in case there are cancellations.

There is no lodging real close to the north rim other than that in the park and that might be closed by your trip, check with them. If. Nothing is available, I would save the north rim for another trip and either spend more time at the south rim,perhaps climb down into the canyon for a couple of hours.

if they have early snow, that will affect the North rim and Bryce, especially the trails.

Or perhaps spend more time in Zion or Bryce. Or if they are doing the half day raft trips onColorado River from the dam in Page to Lees Ferry, you might like the views from river level.
oldemalloy is online now  
Old Aug 31st, 2020, 09:21 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Bryce and Zion

If you only have time for one hike in each park, I’d do:

Bryce - Navajo Loop / Queen’s Garden
Zion - Canyon Overlook

These aren’t very long hikes and they they show off the best features of both parks.
derekwalker6505 is offline  
Old Sep 1st, 2020, 06:07 PM
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 736
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We are going with Itinerary 2 from above, which is:
Wednesday - Oct 7
7pm Fly to Vegas
10pm Get to hotel

Thursday - Oct 8
8am Building top roller coaster
12pm Rent car
1pm Drive to Grand Canyon Village (5 hrs)
6pm Hotel at Grand Canyon Village
6pm Evening at south canyon rim

Friday - Oct 9
7am Morning at the south canyon rim
10am Drive to north canyon rim (4 hrs, 1 hr for lunch)
3pm Afternoon/evening at the north canyon rim
7pm Drive to Kanab
9pm Dinner/Kanab Hampton Inn

Saturday - Oct 10
8am Johnson Canyon Road
10am Bryce Canyon
?pm Dinner/Kanab Hampton Inn

Sunday - Oct 11
8am Zion National Park
6pm Drive to Las Vegas
11pm Fly home

We were able to get a cabin at the Bright Angel Lodge Historic Cabin, which looks quaint. We're then staying the next two nights at the Hampton Inn in Kanab.

I appreciate the hiking suggestions above and will check them out.

I'm shocked at how cheap the hotels are in Vegas on a Wednesday night. I've got plenty of options for around $50/night but I'm sure there are some hidden resort fees I don't know about yet.
Wekiva is offline  
Old Sep 1st, 2020, 07:03 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2020
Posts: 140
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You will find most Vegas hotels hav resort fees as well as parking fees, taxes,etc. The final cost will probably be three times the intro quote.

Your drive times are optimistic, and keep a sharp eye out for large animals on the roads. Even in Grand Canyon village we stopped for mule deer and elk.
oldemalloy is online now  
Old Sep 2nd, 2020, 06:45 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,850
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
Originally Posted by oldemalloy View Post
You will find most Vegas hotels have resort fees as well as parking fees, taxes,etc. The final cost will probably be three times the intro quote.

Your drive times are optimistic, and keep a sharp eye out for large animals on the roads. Even in Grand Canyon village we stopped for mule deer and elk.
If you are arriving in LV at 7 PM, rent the car immediately then have a good meal at one of the great buffets on the "strip". Visit the Fremont Street Experience. Head out of town after seeing the strip at night and stay in Henderson or go to the Hoover Dam Lodge. In Henderson I like the Fiesta. The Hoover Dam Lodge is about 2 miles from the dam. Sometimes they have a helicopter tour that takes off from a little hill next to their parking lot (acres of free parking). Coming back up from the dam, stop at the parking lot for the trail up to the walkway for the big bridge. The walkway is marked with the state line and the apex of the bridge.
While at the south rim, try to visit the Desert View Tower not far from the east entrance.
tomfuller is online now  
Old Sep 2nd, 2020, 06:46 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 736
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Fortunately we won't have a car during our Vegas hotel night, we'll get it as we head out of town. I'll be sure to fully understand the resort fees when making a hotel decision...good point.

Good point on driving times. We're basically doing 3 things on this trip...bit of time in vegas, driving between places and stopping along the way, and getting to places and enjoying the view. Our schedule can be flexible and I fully expect we'll find some neat things, animals, etc along the way that will slow us down.
Wekiva is offline  
Old Sep 2nd, 2020, 07:15 AM
  #15  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 10,653
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Spending 3hr at the south rim, then driving 4-5 hrs to the north rim is a waste of time. You'd be much better off spending all or most of the day at the south rim, then on to your next stop. That will give you time to stop at or walk at many of the magnificient views along the south rim, stop by Horseshoe bend on the way to UT.

J62 is offline  
Old Sep 2nd, 2020, 07:34 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 19,577
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
For a taste of route 66 atmosphere, I'd just jump off the freeway at Seligman for a visit to the Sno Cap which inspired the movie Cars.

I hope you are okay with sharing a Queen bed if you've booked into the Historic Cabins. They are cute, but not sure how your son would feel about being up close and personal with Dad. Some of the Standard Bright Angel Lodge rooms have two beds, I would call them and see if you can get one. Or go with Maswick Lodge, which has two Queens.

Several years ago I stayed at the Comfort Suites in Kanab which was fine. I wouldn't necessarily pay more for a Hampton Inn, especially if they aren't having the buffet breakfast due to COVID-19. Plus, it has an indoors pool, whereas Comfort Suites has an outdoors one (another issue with COVID is pool use policy, if you had planned on a dip). I'm not up to date on how Utah is handling things.

BTW the food is pretty bad in the National Parks, although the pizza at Maswick is at least edible. There is also a McDonalds south of the park in Tusuyan.

I don't know if you are aware of Best Friends/Angel Canyon, but I believe you can now drive through

https://bestfriends.org/covid-19-enh...afety-measures

I also agree I'd probably drop the North Rim and then more time for Bryce and Zion.

Last edited by mlgb; Sep 2nd, 2020 at 08:03 AM.
mlgb is offline  
Old Sep 2nd, 2020, 08:04 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,656
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
I agree with others: drop the North Rim.
MichelleY is online now  
Old Sep 2nd, 2020, 10:02 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 3,877
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I believe the rollercoaster doesn't start up until 10am. Since it's on your 8am itinerary, I just wanted to point that out.

Also, the suggestion of Best Friends is a good one - if you call ahead (or go online, I think), you can make sure you get a spot on one of the tours. North Rim was ok but doesn't really add anything unique to the South Rim; given your time frame, I'd agree that letting it pass is a good idea, if it is running. Also, there is an old free "museum" and collection of movie sets from old Westerns that were filmed in the Kanab area - worth an hour if you have the time.
sludick is online now  
Old Sep 2nd, 2020, 11:53 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 19,577
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would not necessarily do the Best Friends tour unless you are animal lovers (but do it if you are), however it's worthwhile just to detour through Angel Canyon on Kanab Canyon Road with a stop at the Angel's Overlook, or do a loop in the evening from your Hotel.

There is a map on their website.

https://bestfriends.org/sanctuary/ab.../sanctuary-map
mlgb is offline  
Old Sep 2nd, 2020, 03:50 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,850
Likes: 0
Received 17 Likes on 4 Posts
Since someone mentioned the town of Seligman, it is pronounced se-LIG-man. A ways off the highway between Hoover Dam and Kingman, is the ghost town of Chloride. It's worth the side trip if you've never seen one.
Kingman is good for a gas stop but not much else.
If you spend some time in Flagstaff, you can visit the Lowell Observatory on Mars Hill. If you visit Winslow AZ, you can pose for a picture "Standin' on the Corner" with a statue of Glen Frey.
tomfuller is online now  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 08:04 AM.