«The Insider’s Guide to the Grand Canyon: Fall 2006 Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Grand Canyon Vacation Thank you for choosing Grand ...»
The Insider’s Guide to the Grand Canyon: Fall 2006
Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Grand Canyon Vacation
Thank you for choosing Grand Canyon.com as your Southwestern vacation
specialist! You’ve not only chosen an extraordinary place for your vacation, but
you’ve also picked what we believe to be the best time of year to visit. Having
lived and worked in the Grand Canyon area for over 20 years, our staff has
made a few observations and picked up a few “insider tips” that can help save you time, money and hassle - sometimes all three at once!
If you’ve gotten most of your Grand Canyon vacation planned by now - booked your flights, reserved your rental car, secured hotel rooms, mapped your itinerary, etc. – then take your left hand, put it on your right shoulder, and pat yourself on the back! You get to skip to Travel Tip #8.
For those who‘ve just now decided on the Grand Canyon for your fall vacation, we hope you’ll find this guide helpful in putting together a trip you’ll be smiling about for years to come!
Before you dig in, we recommend that you have a few minutes of quiet time, a map or road atlas, a pen and/or a highlighter, maybe a beverage, and your “Grand Canyon Top Tours Brochure.” Let’s get started and get YOU to the Grand Canyon!
Travel Tip 1 – Where Is the Grand Canyon?
Grand Canyon National Park is in Northern Arizona.
Travel Tip 2 – What Side Can I See it From?
Grand Canyon South Rim and West Rim (a.k.a. “Grand Canyon West”) are open yearround. Grand Canyon North Rim is open from mid-May through mid-October.
Insider tip: Autumn is typically prime time for a visit to the North Rim. In late September, the aspen, oak and birch trees put on a radiant display of fall foliage, and with the Grand Canyon as its backdrop, the photo opportunities are absolutely amazing! However, the North Rim is in recovery from a major forest fire, which may impact this year’s foliage output.
Travel Tip 3 – How Do I Find it on a Map?
Your Grand Canyon Top Tours Brochure has one. You can also find several excellent maps on our website. To find the Grand Canyon’s location on MapQuest or Yahoo!, use Zip code “86023” or “Grand Canyon, Arizona” for Grand Canyon South Rim. You can also use Airport Locator Code “GCN.” In our experience, mapping Grand Canyon North Rim is a bit tricky. We’ve found it best to use Jacob Lake, Arizona as your reference point, and from there, the park is 50 miles South. For Grand Canyon West (a.k.a. the “West Rim,”) Meadview, Arizona seems to be the closest mappable location. Insider tip: Be sure to do a “reality check” on all roads you plan to travel. Some mapping sites may inadvertently route you through unpaved roads, which can be impassable in inclement weather or to vehicles without 4-Wheel drive. When in doubt, check it out. Inquire at your hotel front desk, or check road conditions online. For Arizona, use www.az511.com; for Utah, visit www.dot.state.ut.us Note that most rental car insurance policies WILL NOT cover damage sustained by taking vehicles off-road!
Commuter flights are also offered into several municipal airports closer to the park:
Flagstaff, Arizona (FLG), served by America West/Mesa Airlines out of Phoenix, 85 miles from the South Rim, average drive time 1.5 hours; 230 miles from the North Rim, average drive time 5 hours.
Page, Arizona (PGA), served by United Express/Great Lakes Airlines out of Phoenix or Denver. 150 miles from the South OR North Rim, average drive time 2.5 hours.
St. George, Utah (SGU), served by Delta/Skywest Airlines out of Salt Lake City, 165 miles from the North Rim, average drive time 3 hours Car rentals are available at all the above airports. For availability and pricing of flights and car rentals, call (800) 916-8530.
Grand Canyon National Park Airport [South Rim] (GCN) is primarily used as a sightseeing airport. Limited scheduled flights are available through Scenic Airlines out of Las Vegas.
Charter service is offered from other cities. Located in Tusayan, 1 mile South of the park entrance, drive time to South Rim 10 minutes. No car rentals offered, but taxi service is available an on-call basis.
DRIVING TO THE SOUTH RIM:From Las Vegas, Nevada - take Highway 93/95 Southeast to Kingman, Arizona; in Kingman, take Interstate 40 East to Williams, Arizona; from Williams take exit #165 (Highway 64) North to Grand Canyon National Park. Average drive time: 5 hours. Insider tip: Leaving Las Vegas? Get an early start to avoid construction delays at Hoover Dam.
From Phoenix, Arizona: Take Interstate 17 North to Flagstaff, Arizona; from Flagstaff, take Highway 180 Northeast to Valle, Arizona; from Valle, take Highway 64 North to the Grand Canyon. Average drive time: 4.5 hours From Williams, Arizona: Take Highway 64 North approximately 60 miles. Average drive time: 1 hour.
From Flagstaff, Arizona: Take Highway 180 Northeast to Valle; From Valle, take Highway 64 North to Grand Canyon Village. OR take Interstate 40 to Williams, Arizona; from Williams, take Highway 64 North to Grand Canyon Village. Average drive time: 1.5 hours.
From Page, Arizona: Take Highway 89 South to Cameron, Arizona; from Cameron, take Highway 64 West to Grand Canyon Village. Average drive time: 2.5 hours.
DRIVING TO THE NORTH
NOTE: The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is in recovery from a major forest fire. The fire occurred about 30 miles from the canyon rim, which should not affect the quality of the views but could result in partial road closures to facilitate clean-up and restoration efforts.
Off-road access may be restricted.
From Las Vegas, Nevada: Take Interstate 15 Northeast to St. George, Utah; from St. George, take UT-9 to Hurricane, Utah; in Hurricane, take UT-9 through Zion National Park to Kanab, Utah; in Kanab, follow Highway 89 to Fredonia, Arizona, where UT-11 becomes Alt-89 (89A). Take 89A to Jacob Lake, Arizona.
From Jacob Lake, Arizona, take Highway 67 South 60 miles into the park. Average drive time: 6 hours.
From Phoenix, Arizona: Take Interstate 17 to Flagstaff, Arizona. In Flagstaff, take US-89 to Bitter Springs, Arizona, then take Alt-89 (89A) to Jacob Lake, Arizona. From Jacob Lake, Arizona, take Highway 67 South to the park. Average drive time: 7.5 hours.
From Salt Lake City, Utah: Take I-15 South. About 10 miles South of Beaver, Utah, take UT-20 East for about 20 miles. Take US89 South to Kanab, Utah. In Kanab, follow the signs to Fredonia, Arizona, where UT-11 becomes Alt-89 (89A). Take 89A to Jacob Lake, Arizona. From Jacob Lake, Arizona, take Highway 67 South 60 miles into the park.
From Page, Arizona: Take US89 South to Bitter Springs, Arizona; from Bitter Springs, take Alternate-89 (89A) to Jacob Lake, Arizona. From Jacob Lake, Arizona, take Highway 67 South into the park.
Need a Las Vegas Grand Canyon tour map, or a door-to-door itinerary of your vacation?
Call GrandCanyon.com at (866) 944-7263 or (928) 645-6845.
Insider tip: Neither the Pullman Coach nor Club cars of the Railway have air-conditioning.
Air conditioning is available in Budd Coach, First Class, Observation Dome or Luxury Parlor Car. Children must be at least 11 to ride in the Dome or Parlor cars; all ages are welcome on the First Class Car. Consult your Grand Canyon Top Tours Brochure, or call Grand Canyon.com for booking information at (866) 944-7263 or (928) 645-6845.
A Grand Canyon Bus Tour from Las Vegas, Phoenix, Sedona or Flagstaff is a great way to see the Grand Canyon when your time and/or money are limited. Scheduled bus service is also available from Phoenix or Flagstaff. For more information on these, contact Grand Canyon.com at (866) 944-7263 or (928) 645-6845.
Travel Tip 5 - Where Do I Stay?
Grand Canyon hotels are typically booked 6 months in advance through early fall, then demand tends to taper off around late October. All hotels inside the park at both the North and South Rim are administered by the concessionaire, Xanterra Parks & Resorts (888/297or 303/297-2757; www.grandcanyonlodges.com). If unable to secure a hotel room inside the park, look to the park’s “gateway communities” (cities and towns located nearby) for your Grand Canyon lodging. Insider Tip: save money by scheduling your trip after November 1st when many area hotels offer reduced rates for the off-season!
South Rim Gateway Communities Tusayan is located an easy 7 miles (10 minutes) from Grand Canyon South Rim. Here is where you’ll find our preferred hotel property, the Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn. This Grand Canyon hotel offers the most for families, like an on-site play center with a 6-lane bowling alley, video arcade, and billiard tables. The Squire offers both fine dining and family style restaurants, as well as a cocktail lounge, gift shop, outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, workout room, salon, gift shop, even a cowboy museum.
If hotel rooms are not available in Tusayan, your next best options will be:
Williams, Arizona, 60 miles South Cameron, Arizona 60 miles East Flagstaff, Arizona, 85 miles Southeast Page/Lake Powell, Arizona, 150 miles Northeast of the South AND North Rim North Rim Gateway Communities If you’re going to Grand Canyon North Rim, a variety of lodging choices are available in
several neighboring towns:
Jacob Lake, Arizona, 60 miles North of the park Kanab, Utah, 100 miles Northwest of the park Page/Lake Powell, Arizona 150 miles Northeast of the North AND South Rim St. George, Utah or Springdale, Utah, 180 miles Northwest Grand Canyon.com’s preferred hotel for the North Rim is the Best Western Arizona Inn in Page/Lake Powell, Arizona. For more information on Grand Canyon hotels, visit www.GrandCanyon.com or call (800) 916-8530. Remember, visitor facilities at the North rim close on October 15th.
Travel Tip 6 - How About Camping or RV Parks?
Before you commit to camping, remember that nighttime temperatures are starting to dip down into the 30’s and below at this time of year! At the South Rim, trailer and tent sites are offered at Trailer Village, which is administered by the in-park concessionaire, Xanterra Parks & Resorts (www.grandcanyonlodges.com). Xanterra can be reached at 888/297-2757 or 303/297-2757. Tent sites and limited trailer sites (no hook-ups) are also offered at Mather Campground. In-park campgrounds for both North and South Rims are administered by the National Park Reservation Service. Reservations can be made by phone at 800/365-2267 or on-line at http://reservations.nps.gov. The gateway communities of Williams, Flagstaff, Page, and Kanab, Utah also have many fine RV Parks and Campgrounds. For more information, visit www.rvpark.com Advance reservations are recommended for camping.
Travel Tip 9 - Can I Drive My Car in the Park?
Normally, all viewpoints on the North Rim are accessible to private vehicles until Highway 67 closes. This usually occurs in early November or when the first major snowstorm occurs, whichever comes first. Recent forest fires may necessitate partial road closures to facilitate clean-up and restoration efforts. For your safety, obey all road closure signs.
On the South Rim, the West Rim/Hermit’s Rest Road is closed to private vehicles through early November, as is Yaki Point on the East Rim/Desert View Road. Complimentary shuttle service is offered to these viewpoints, as well to the various hotels, restaurants and gift shops in the Grand Canyon Village area. Shuttles pick up the various stops approximately every 10 minutes from sunrise to sunset. Check the information packet that you receive at the park gates for exact schedules, and information about which roads you can and cannot use to tour the park.
The East Rim/Desert View Road is open to private vehicles year-round.
Travel Tip 10 – Can I Bring My Dog?
Dogs are welcome in the park as long as they are leashed at all times and remain ONLY on rimside trails. Dogs are not allowed on ANY inner canyon trails, nor are they allowed in any hotels (unless specified as pet-friendly), restaurants, gift shops or other public places (service dogs for the disabled excepted). The South Rim of the Grand Canyon has are two petfriendly hotels: the Red Feather Rodeway Inn and the Grand Hotel in Tusayan. Pets are not allowed to stay overnight in any of the in-park hotels, but there is a kennel inside the park.
Advance reservations are recommended. Call (928) 638-2631 or (928) 638-0534. Petfriendly hotels and dog boarding facilities are also available in Williams or Flagstaff.
On the North Rim, dogs are permitted only on the bridle path connecting the lodge to the North Kaibab trail. In fact, the National Park Service goes as far as to suggest that dogs are better left at home or boarded if you’re visiting the North Rim. The closest pet-friendly properties to Grand Canyon North Rim will be the Holiday Inn Express in Kanab, Utah (1.5 hours away). Other pet-friendly lodging is also available in Page, Arizona (2.5 hours away).
For availability and pricing of these hotels, call (800) 916-8530. The Page/Lake Powell area also has a couple of dog boarding facilities, where advance reservations are recommended.
Call Anderson’s Feed & Fence at (928) 645-3633, or Thistle Hill Farms (located near Paria Canyon between Kanab and Page) at (928) 691-0224. Most hotels will require a deposit, which varies from hotel to hotel. For more information on traveling with your dog, visit www.dogfriendly.com Travel Tip 11 - How’s the Weather?
Fall weather at the Grand Canyon can be as close to perfect as it gets, with average daytime highs in the 70’s on the South Rim and in the 60’s on the North Rim. Autumn weather is nearly ideal for inner canyon hiking, with average highs ranging from 80 to 90°F – much more bearable than the oppressive heat of summer. Hikers are still advised to schedule the most strenuous part of their walk for early morning or late afternoon. In general, though, fall hiking is far more comfortable and much safer than doing so in the summertime.