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Old 02-02-2015, 10:04 AM   #1
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Grand Canyon without stopping for night

As the title says, looking for advice on day trip through GC. We are planning our great excursion. The DW and I have been to the GC, not with an RV though. We haven't been there since tent camping at the North Rim in 1998.

This will be the kid's (13 DD and 8 DS) first trip west. We are planning hikes into Bryce Canyon, Zion and Antelope Canyon. We will also do some "easy to moderate" off roading in the Moab area. I think they will get the "below the rim experience" but obviously on a less "Grand" scale.

When we leave Monument Valley, we will have limited time in order to attendt a wedding in California.

This leg will be Monument Valley to Grand Canyon to a family member's home in Kingman, AZ for an overnight.

I know, I know, some of you will say, "Sacrilege, who does a drive by of the Grand Canyon?" but it is what it is. Hey, Clark Griswold did it!

So:

While driving SR 64 to Grand Canyon Village, what are the best overlooks with pull-through parking? My guess is we will stop at 1 or 2 view points and maybe check out the visitor's center.

Navigation says 6 hours of driving. It's actually broken up well for a long day, 3 hours to GC and 3 to Kingman. This will be one of our longest days except for the mad dash west and then back home. My kids are great in the MH. They stay busy. We take long meal breaks to stretch or legs. So, most of the sightseeing at the GC will be our breaks from driving.

Really interested in which overlooks to skip and which fit the bill for best views with pull through parking.

Thanks
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:04 AM   #2
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Reminds me of one of my trips to GC, my wife and kids were exploring around a cliff area when a shuttle pulled up. A couple of folks got out, with video cameras at their eyes, took a quick pan of the view, then climbed back on the bus. My son said, "Guess they'll view it when they get home."

Take time to enjoy one of the greatest places on Earth.
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Old 02-02-2015, 02:05 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BFlinn181 View Post
Reminds me of one of my trips to GC, my wife and kids were exploring around a cliff area when a shuttle pulled up. A couple of folks got out, with video cameras at their eyes, took a quick pan of the view, then climbed back on the bus. My son said, "Guess they'll view it when they get home."

Take time to enjoy one of the greatest places on Earth.
Your son sounds like he was a very wise young man, and it sounds like you have had the luxury of multiple trips out west or live close?

That is not the case for us. It takes at least three days to get there and hopefully only two to get home because our last stop will be closer.

Unfortunately, we're still working and have obligations. Maybe, just maybe one day we will have time to meander across this great land of ours' and soak it in more.

More than likely, this will be the only time we take our kids west. I hope to spark an interest in them and motivate them to return to the West someday. They already have a love of the outdoors from their upbringing here with camping, biking, paddling and hiking.

Hopefully, the DW and I make it back during our retirement years.

For right now, we have two to three hours at the Grand Canyon. It stinks, but that's the way it worked out for us. To do a hike down into the Canyon, we would need an overnight, maybe two. We will hike into Bryce Canyon and the kids will have Hoo Doos and such to explore. At Arches, we will hike and have the Arches in addition to an off-road trip to the Gemini Arches and Long Canyon. So, when we had to eliminate one, we chose the GC because we didn't want to eliminate those stops and it is at the end of this leg near family.

We realize that our kids will only be able to say they were there and saw the Grand Canyon. This trip is full of compromises and this is just one of them.

Believe it or not, most Easterners have never been to the Grand Canyon. So even just seeing it will be an experience that our kids' peers never get.

So, which overlook will give the most awe-inspiring view and have pull-through parking?
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Old 02-02-2015, 02:19 PM   #4
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I suggest you take a look at Google Earth.

You can zoom in to your route and see which overlooks have space for an RV and also see a selection of photos taken from that point.

You can decide whether it's worth your time.
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Old 02-02-2015, 02:36 PM   #5
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Your best bet is probably Desert View the last stop east on SR64 (Desert View Dr). It has a visitors center and a large parking lot for RVs. Some other view points have parking, but limited space for RVs and at least one has no parking for private vehicles. You might also consider using the free shuttle bus that will take you to all the viewpoints if you have time. You probably have already seen this, but here's a link to describe the outlooks along the drive.
Desert View Drive - Grand Canyon National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

BTW, I got the same "drive by" viewing of GC when I was 11 while out west with my grandparents in the 1950's. And now, we're planning 4 days there in June. Can't wait.
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Old 02-02-2015, 02:37 PM   #6
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cj23andout, I was born and raised in suburban Philadelphia and lived in Cincinnati 40 years. (An Easterner!!) I've made it a life goal to travel to see and experience things. I used to take teens on adventure trips, camping, biking, canoeing in the Boundary Waters of MN, biking and canoeing in MI, and WI. Also took teens on a 21 day trip to Canadian Rockies backpacking and back through Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, Blackhills, etc. On that trip I realized we had crammed too much into the trip, by the time we got to the Badlands the kids didn't want off the bus.

I also spent over 20 years visiting and working in and around Yellowstone ecosystem. I taught Ohio teachers science using the region as our classroom each summer. My own kids traveled and camped since infancy with us on coast to coast trips, now both enjoy travel, my daughter lives in Australia and runs a dive shop with her husband, we're leaving this week for a 5 week visit and tour of new parts of AU.

I spent my working career as a teacher, trading summers free for low pay.

My concern about your 'fly by' trip to GC is are you aware of the distances involved? From the junction of US 89 and AZ 64, to GC Village, to Kingman is 228 miles, almost 4 hours of driving without stops, traffic, or parking an RV. I'd suggest you park at GC Village, walk the rim in front of the hotels and shops, perhaps ride the free shuttle bus along the rim for a bit to check out other vistas.

This link is to a video explaining a 4 hour visit to the South Rim:

Video: Visiting Grand Canyon with 4 Hours or Less. What Can I Do? [Video] (U.S. National Park Service)
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Old 02-02-2015, 02:40 PM   #7
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Coming in from the East on 64, stop at the Desert Watchtower, then Lipon Point (where the Spanish first saw the GC, then Grandview. Stop at the visitor center as well, if interested. Hiking down the Grandview Trail for a little bit would be a treat.
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Old 02-02-2015, 02:54 PM   #8
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Since you really don't have time, the main Visitor Center is a good place to start. From there you can take the road east or west and pick any overlook that will accommodate your rig. You can't go wrong. It will be hard for you to drive away...
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Old 02-02-2015, 04:53 PM   #9
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I suppose anything is better than nothing. I do agree about Desert View Watchtower, since you will be passing by there anyway. It probably has the best view of the river.


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Old 02-02-2015, 05:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clydekilgore View Post
Coming in from the East on 64, stop at the Desert Watchtower, then Lipon Point (where the Spanish first saw the GC, then Grandview. Stop at the visitor center as well, if interested. Hiking down the Grandview Trail for a little bit would be a treat.
I'd agree, especially coming in from Monument Valley. Good suggestions on where to stop, and then on out to the South towards Williams to pick back up your Western path.

Some viewing of the GC, is better then no viewing of the GC. And as long as you understand the times involved, and don't mind making that a long day with a long break in the middle, I think your plan is sound!

Best of luck,
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Old 02-02-2015, 05:27 PM   #11
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I worked the entrance station at the North Rim in '01 and '05. My favorite question, "I've got two hours, what should I see?" I was there for a total of 12 months and didn't see it all.

A few years before that I took my 85 year old Dad along the rim on the South Rim. After about the third pull out he said "Isn't that the same big rock we saw before?" He wanted to get to the ocean!

Point is, for the kids, it will perk up their interest, or not. All of the pullouts have great views and will draw them back later in life if they are interested.

S. Rim entrance is 100 miles form our front door. We went their three time this winter just to see the snow on the canyon walls. This is along the Hermits Rest road!

Enjoy your trip!
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Old 02-02-2015, 05:47 PM   #12
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Lovely snow scene, hdossett! How great to be 100 mi away.
Specifically to the RV driver, throw the gang on the free tour buses that stop at many viewpoints, the locals will tell you their favorites.....then let the bus driver take over while you rest. Hop off when you all want, then go back. The buses run all day and many of the stops are very near to each other. You could cover more ground that way , busses have priority. It's a great way to maximize your time.
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Old 02-02-2015, 07:50 PM   #13
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I worked the entrance station at the North Rim in '01 and '05. My favorite question, "I've got two hours, what should I see?" I was there for a total of 12 months and didn't see it all.

A few years before that I took my 85 year old Dad along the rim on the South Rim. After about the third pull out he said "Isn't that the same big rock we saw before?" He wanted to get to the ocean!

Point is, for the kids, it will perk up their interest, or not. All of the pullouts have great views and will draw them back later in life if they are interested.

S. Rim entrance is 100 miles form our front door. We went their three time this winter just to see the snow on the canyon walls. This is along the Hermits Rest road!

Enjoy your trip!
H
Simply stunning.
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Old 02-02-2015, 08:00 PM   #14
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On the south rim we found a number of places to stop with our 40' DP. Had lunch parked just looking out the windows at the Grand Canyon. We left Tuba City in the morning, drove along the south rim, stopped at the Visitor's Center, and even spent some time at the airplane museum at the Grand Canyon airport before (and this part was a slog) evnding up in Las Vegas very late that night.

Like you, we don't have the luxury of time and while it might be great to spend more time there... that just wasn't an option. I'm glad we did see what we did, and to be honest, I think it was a majority of the experience anyway. The Grand Canyon, while interesting, isn't the place I'd want to spend much more time, like, say Yellowstone.

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