The Grand Canyon Rim and Time

Old Jul 17th, 2011, 03:51 PM
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The Grand Canyon Rim and Time

N vs S vs E vs W RIM which one is the best
when is the BEST time to visit The Grand Canyon
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 05:18 PM
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For first time the south. October or April/May. If you don't hike, raft, or ride the mules then one day and spend the night would probably do you. If you raft I would suggest June. The south receives about 90% of the visitors. The north has more trees and is less crowded. It also has a lot more trees and greenery. It is also a lot harder to get to. If you have time, I would suggest both sides. I have rafted a portion of it and been to the north side 3 times, and west side 1 time(Bar 10 area- which isn't really the west side), but I have yet to make it to the north side and it is high on my list.

Most people well tell you to avoid the glass overlook and to also avoid the train.

Getting down into the canyon puts it into another perspective. If you are a hiker and physically able, it would be nice to go down for a ways. Helicopter there is nice too.
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 05:32 PM
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I agree with spirobulldog and I like to tell first timers to go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The East Rim is really just east of the South Rim Visitor Center at Desert View on a paved road. I'd recommend taking the drive from Grand Canyon Village and stopping at all the view points on the way to Desert View.

The North Rim as spirobulldog mentioned is less crowded but you also have less choices for lodging and eating. The road into the N. Rim is curvy mountain driving. Forest, meadows and curves and if you get stuck behind an RV, there's not a lot of places to pass.

The West Rim is not in the National Park but on Indian lands. I've never been but you have to drive down a dirt road and it's very expensive (approx $75 per person) do do the Skywalk (glass overlook).

If you have the time, I'd say spend two or three nights at the S. Riim and have one or two full days to enjoy the overlooks and walk along the rim. If you plan to hike down into the canyon, then for sure plan 2 full days. If you go to the N. Rim, then two nights and one full day will be plenty unless again you want to hike down into the canyon.

Utahtea
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Old Jul 17th, 2011, 05:45 PM
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N vs S vs E vs W RIM which one is the best

The river flows east to west, so there are only N and S rims, and either (preferrably both, if making a loop trip) are fine. I agree with what Spiro wrote above describing them.

"West Rim" has never existed until the past 20 years and is a marketing term created by Las Vegas big-money interests and a local Indian tribe trying to lure unwitting tourists/suckers from Vegas for day trips (and sadly succeeding a little bit). It's not actually in the Grand Canyon National Park, but rather on the Hualapai Indian reservation, and is lower in elevation and less scenic than the heart of the park near the main north and south visitor centers.

The Skywalk probably best epitomizes the entire "west rim" concept and is usually considered the biggest tourist trap/tourist rip-off in Arizona by those unlucky enough to have done it, according to tourist surveys.

There's an "east rim drive" but it's part of the south rim, you're just driving east towards Desert View and the east entrance of the south rim.

when is the BEST time to visit The Grand Canyon

For best weather and generally moderate crowds, Spiro has it just right ... October for either rim and April/May for the south rim, since north rim is closed until late May due to snow.

Winter can be great at the south rim if you are lotto-lucky enough to arrive just after a big snowstorm, when the canyon looks spectacular with fresh snow, but winter is more risky and not so great if you arrive during a storm and can't access things when roads are closed. And morning temperatures are often in the single digits, though days can warm up to 40's and maybe 50's F.

Summer is not too bad except for the crowds and hot weather. Crowds are at their peak and the surrounding lowlands are usually uncomfortably hot, though it's not too bad as long as the places you visit are at least 4,000 - 5,000 ft elevation.

If you have to go in summer then north rim is probably a better choice since it's cooler and less crowded. If going in April or May then the north rim is still closed due to snow so you'll have to do the south rim. Seems like the north rim is shutting down services earlier in October each year too, so check the closing dates if planning to visit NR in Oct. They leave the road open until the first snows but the lodges, restaurants etc close down early.
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Old Jul 18th, 2011, 12:37 PM
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On the south rim, drive west from Canyon View area. The rim will be on your right and you won't need to cross traffic when pulling out of the view areas.I love the north rim too, but it is more a drive to overlook place, not drive along.Of course there is hiking on both sides. The ride into the north rim is pretty. The south has required shuttle busses during high season. Check dates on their site
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Old Jul 18th, 2011, 12:39 PM
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Of course I meant Desert View. Sorry.
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Old Jul 18th, 2011, 02:03 PM
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While the GC isn't my favorite National Park, it is about the biggest shock and awe moment that a person can have. I remember seeing it when I was about 10 years old again. Then almost like seeing it again for the first time when I was about 25.

Stay in one of the lodges if you can and even have a meal or two there. A picnic somewhere along the rim is nice as well. National Parks also are great places for sunrises, sunsets and for fantastic star-gazing at night.
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Old Jul 18th, 2011, 04:31 PM
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While the GC isn't my favorite National Park

Just curious, which one is your fav?
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Old Jul 18th, 2011, 06:26 PM
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I'll rank the ones i've been to and in order. My daughter and wife like Yellowstone the best. My daughter really likes Arches. Crater Lake is right up there with GC for wow factor. I hope to hike to Phantom(preferably rim to rim) and to Havasu Falls to complete the GC. Don't know that I would raft it again, but I might. Money isn't the big factor, but for me the hardest thing is to get away for more than 5 days at a time. I try to do "the must hikes or things to do" at each place. There are a few other places that aren't national parks that I like to. Like Columbia River Gorge. The Buffalo National River is about 2 hours from me and I go there several times a year. Hundred of good waterfalls there.

Yosemite
Yellowstone
Arches-2 times
Zion- 2 times
Sequoia
Kenai Fjords
Bryce
Grand Canyon and Crater Lake --Tie GC-4 times
Carlsbad Caverns 3 times
Mesa Verde
Redwoods
Lake Clark
Lassen Volcano
Canyonlands 2 times
Capitol Reef
Death Valley
Mammoth Cave
Tetons
The Great Sand Dunes
Big Bend
Guadalupe
Joshua Tree
Petrified Forest 3 times
Hot Springs- many times. easily my least favorite and it is only 1.5 hours from me. I have been through this one several times and it really isn't much at all

I was born in Twenty Nine Palms and have been to Joshua Tree as a Child, but I barely remember it after going back there when I was about age 12 a couple of times. I have been to the Smokys and Rockys, but need to do them again right. I am going to Rocky Mountains 2nd week of August to tent camp.
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Old Jul 18th, 2011, 06:34 PM
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I didn't really discover national parks until doing a wild cave tour in Carlsbad and doing canyoneering in Arches. I did both of those in June 07. I credit doing both of those because I saw them on the travel channel. I thought you just did like we did when I was a kid. Just go look over the GC for and spend 3 or 4 hours there and that was it. I had no idea what they were about. So glad I figured it out. Even the ones that I rank at the bottom were very good trips.
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