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Old 01-20-2016, 07:49 PM   #1
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Grand Canyon Trip

We are starting the planning for a May trip from Northeastern Oregon down thru Salt Lake to the Grand Canyon. Considering continuing the loop on down to Joshua Tree, then over and up to Yosemite, and then wandering back to NE Oregon. I would be interested to hear from those who have done something similar and who might have recommendations for other attractions along the way that we shouldn't miss.

Also for campground recommendations in or near those 3 parks. I'm currently looking at maybe a couple of nights in the Trailer Village RV park and a couple of nights in the North Rim campground for the Grand Canyon segment, but haven't figured out campgrounds for the other two parks yet.

I should note that while we enjoy full hookups we also really enjoy more primitive campgrounds as they are often more spacious and have better scenery. We have solar panels (and a generator) so we are in pretty good shape for replenishing electrical loads. I find that I like to do a few nights in a non-hookup park followed by a couple of nights in a park with hookups so that I can dump and refill the tanks.

Anyway, any thoughts or pointers will be appreciated. We are new retirees so finally have time to do some of these nice trips. This will be our second since retirement, so we're still figuring out how to do proper planning.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:31 PM   #2
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We stayed five days in the Grand Canyon Trailer Village, after a week
dry camping at the balloon fest in Albuquerque.By than we were ready
for full hook up.The camp was nice,and good location to see, and do all
in the Canyon.Hope this helps.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:44 PM   #3
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I'm a full time RV'er and I've made similar trips many times. Try staying in Williams. Take the train up to the canyon. There is a primitive RV park up at the canyon I believe, but I've not stayed there. I would NOT go to the canyon if I couldn't go in March, April, or May. There are millions that go every year, mostly in the summer.

Here's my blog story about the last trip I made...featuring the train ride: Grand Canyon RR.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:44 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purrin along View Post
We stayed five days in the Grand Canyon Trailer Village, after a week
dry camping at the balloon fest in Albuquerque.By than we were ready
for full hook up.The camp was nice,and good location to see, and do all
in the Canyon.Hope this helps.
Thanks for the response and validation of Trailer Village as a good option.
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Old 01-20-2016, 08:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim_HiTek View Post
I'm a full time RV'er and I've made similar trips many times. Try staying in Williams. Take the train up to the canyon. There is a primitive RV park up at the canyon I believe, but I've not stayed there. I would NOT go to the canyon if I couldn't go in March, April, or May. There are millions that go every year, mostly in the summer.

Here's my blog story about the last trip I made...featuring the train ride: Grand Canyon RR.
Respectfully disagree with staying in Williams and taking the train. Too much time on the train and not enough time at the canyon. Stay in Trailer Village withing the National Park. 1/4 mile from the rim of the canyon with shuttle buses that pick you up from the RV park and drop you off anywhere along the rim. Can't beat it.

Have fun.

Don
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:16 PM   #6
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Interesting comments pro and con regarding staying in Williams. I had also looked at that option but worried about the length of the train ride. Although I do like riding trains... Maybe I need a couple nights in Williams, a couple nights in Trailer Village, and a couple nights at North Rim...

Which leads to another question: Assuming that we're not going to be hiking or riding a mule to the bottom of the canyon (and I don't think we are), how long can one really spend at Grand Canyon? Is it just a matter of looking over the edge and saying "ok, we've seen that" and heading on?
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Old 01-20-2016, 09:33 PM   #7
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A hike down to the Colorado River and up the North side and back would give you 3-4 days and some mighty sore feet. Another day biking the rim and your good to go.The Moab area south of Salt Lake City would be a must for me along the way Arches National Park is very picturesque.I believe there is rafting in both areas if your into that but may require some advanced planing. Cant remember any campgrounds we stayed at but we look for state parks.We did both areas in mid May (different years). They were busy enough but got an overflow spot in Grand Canyon and regular spot next night.
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Old 01-21-2016, 12:32 AM   #8
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I'd highly recommend you stay IN Grand Canyon Nat'l Park for the best overall experience. Trailer Village is the place if you want hookups. The dry campgrounds are Mather or in a little more quieter area is Desert View campground.

You would be right there for sunrises and sunsets when it's least crowded. To get the real feeling of the canyon, hike down the Bright Angel Trail if only for 1/4 mile or even shorter. The perspective is quite different than standing on the Rim. Remember to carry lots of water and remember, too, that it's hard coming back up so judge your distance carefully. Do not try for a day trip to the bottom and back up!

The free shuttle stops at the Trailer Village entrance. You can ride it all day if you want, getting on and off wherever. You can walk the fairly level Rim Trail and when you get tired, pick up the shuttle again.

There are many ranger programs in which to participate.

I'd recommend at least two or three nights there.

For a first-time visitor the South Rim is the place to go and if you do that, there's no need to go to the North Rim during the same trip. It's a long drive. We absolutely love the North Rim for the quietness and less crowds but then, we've been to the South Rim many times. We've also hiked to the bottom of Bright Angel Trail and picked up a raft trip of 9 nights through the canyon - an awesome experience.

If you stay in Williams instead and take the train, you'll have a ride through grasslands with no real scenery. You'll only have about 3 hours at the Canyon before boarding again. It's expensive. Stay IN the park instead.

If you're not really into experiencing our wonderful national parks then yes, you can just look over the edge and say you've seen it and move on. In that case, I wouldn't waste the time to get there.
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Old 01-21-2016, 08:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisher99 View Post
Interesting comments pro and con regarding staying in Williams. I had also looked at that option but worried about the length of the train ride. Although I do like riding trains... Maybe I need a couple nights in Williams, a couple nights in Trailer Village, and a couple nights at North Rim...

Which leads to another question: Assuming that we're not going to be hiking or riding a mule to the bottom of the canyon (and I don't think we are), how long can one really spend at Grand Canyon? Is it just a matter of looking over the edge and saying "ok, we've seen that" and heading on?
There are many vantage points along the South Rim you will want to see. So, to soak it all in, read some history, take plenty of photos, stop at each vantage point, listen to Ranger presentations, watch a sunset/sunrise, buy a t-shirt, plan on two days. You could crowd it into one day but you would miss some stuff.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:21 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fisher99 View Post
Interesting comments pro and con regarding staying in Williams. I had also looked at that option but worried about the length of the train ride. Although I do like riding trains... Maybe I need a couple nights in Williams, a couple nights in Trailer Village, and a couple nights at North Rim...

Which leads to another question: Assuming that we're not going to be hiking or riding a mule to the bottom of the canyon (and I don't think we are), how long can one really spend at Grand Canyon? Is it just a matter of looking over the edge and saying "ok, we've seen that" and heading on?
Depends on weather of course, but the view is spectacular. And if you're interested in geology, then staying at the campgrounds for a couple days could be fun. But it's true, once you've walked the south rim trail, you've pretty much seen it all.

Hiking down into the canyon is strenuous and takes some physical readiness. If you're in good shape, you could spend part of a day seeing how far down you can get, can't make the river though. You can't stay down there without a permit. And it can take a year to get one.

Over the years I've visited 5 times, and once backpacked down to the river to spend the night (3 night trip), really enjoy the memories from that trip. But now would rather just visit for the day, or spend the night on the rim at a hotel or at the RV park.

Day Hiking the Grand Canyon
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:40 AM   #11
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We stayed in a campground in Williams last March. They had railroad cars set up as cabins and lots of pull through rv sites.

We drove our toad in to the park each day and it took less than an hour. We also found that when the train got there each day the shuttles were stuffed with folks to the point that I refused to get on anymore. Claustrophobic. Then the crowds got huge.

With our vehicle we drove out to the south rim tower where the shuttles do not go. Really a nice drive with lots of stops along the way.

After leaving the park there is a small town on the route that has some pretty good BBQ joints.

Williams itself is a wonderful city and we walked the streets in the evening and really enjoyed it.

It do get cold at night up there though.
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Old 01-21-2016, 09:44 AM   #12
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Here is where we stayed. Nice folks and clean. You do need a toad however.

The Canyon Motel & RV Park | Historic Motels Route 66 & Grand Canyon, Williams, AZ | Railway cars, cabooses, tent camping
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Old 01-21-2016, 06:50 PM   #13
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We are booked into Mather CG specifically so we could get the most Grand Canyon experience. It is a short walk to the tram. Hikes, ranger talks, and all the experiences are close at hand.

Will stay previous night at a KOA in Kingman to empty tanks and top-off.

Speaking to the original poster coming down from NE Oregon, we are coming from southern Oregon coast and going down US 395 through Tahoe and Bishop. Should be a beautiful drive, haven't done that route for years.
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Old 01-21-2016, 07:58 PM   #14
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I love Williams. Bearizona is a must see. The train is boring and overpriced. Try Dogtown lake, great camping. Drive to the Grand Canyon and spend the day there. I have lived in AZ for 45 years.
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