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Grand Canyon - Trip Planning
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Colin Matthews
(litebrite) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
Grand Canyon - Trip Planning on 02/06/2011 21:17:05 MST Print View

Hey Folks,

I'm Planning a trip to the GC in mid-May to run R2R2R. I had a couple general questions:
-Flights into Phoenix seem to be cheaper than Flagstaff; is one airport significantly easier than the other to drive to the GC South Rim from?
-Camping or cheap lodging in the South Rim area; Any recommendations or resources that might give me some ideas?

Thanks in advance!

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Grand Canyon - Trip Planning on 02/06/2011 21:20:58 MST Print View

From Phoenix, you drive through Flagstaff on your way to the GC. Look at the national park website for info on campgrounds.

Scott S
(sschloss1) - F

Locale: New England
GC Info on 02/06/2011 21:24:18 MST Print View

Flagstaff is about 90 minutes drive south the Grand Canyon. Phoenix is about 2.25 hours south of Flagstaff. So, Flag is a lot closer, but even when I lived in Flagstaff I almost always flew in and out of Phoenix because of the cost.

I've never stayed in a hotel on the South Rim, but the campgrounds on the rim are fine. And if you can live without luxuries like electricity, bathrooms, or running water, there are plenty of places to camp (for free!) in the Kaibab NF a few miles south of the park entrance.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
GC info on 02/07/2011 08:47:12 MST Print View

The 2 hour drive from Phx to Flag is entirely on the highway, and the scenery isn't bad. Probably the better option.

As mentioned, loads of free camping on NF around Tusayan. Just look at a map that shows secondary roads, drive a few miles out into the Junipers, and you're good. This was almost always my favorite option.

Hotels in Tusayan (~5 miles from the rim) are likely a bit cheaper than in the park. However, when I payed money to sleep at the canyon, I always reserved one of the small, cheaper rooms in the El Tovar. It's the oldest hotel and is right by the rim, and the smaller rooms are often cheaper than rooms in the other (generic) hotels. Tip: there are 2 tables in the cocktail lounge with excellent canyon views. Snag one early, order a beverage and their excellent nachos, and enjoy the sunset.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: GC info on 02/07/2011 09:35:17 MST Print View

You might also consider flying into Las Vegas as the flights and rental cars are usually much cheaper. The drive is about an hour longer than from Phoenix but you could save quite a few $.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Grand Canyon - Trip Planning on 02/07/2011 10:40:08 MST Print View

Lodging: There are a wide variety of lodging options in the Grand Canyon/Flagstaff area. The South Rim has car campsites and just depends whether some amenities for a little $ (the National Park) or no amenities for no $ (the National Forest). You will find hotels, restaurants/cafeteria, a grocery store, and even a little bit of gear for sale inside the NP.

We would always sleep in the National Park the night before backpacking into the canyon for a week and save the hotel $ for a recovery night in Flagstaff, an awesome little college town (IMO). When I return, I will redo this basic plan. Be aware that temps inside the canyon itself are higher than temps on either Rim or in Flagstaff if camping on the Rim.

Flights: When rushed for time, I always found flying into Phoenix and driving a rental to Flagstaff was the best option when my sister lived there. Did a Las Vegas flight for another reason and it takes a little more time. Maybe if the price differential was large enough, just depends.

Edited by hknewman on 02/07/2011 10:54:19 MST.

Scott Truong

Locale: Vancouver, BC
RE: Vegas on 02/08/2011 18:23:33 MST Print View

If you get a really cheap flight into Vegas, as someone else suggested, it may be worth it. I think it took me about 5 hours to drive to Flagstaff from Vegas. Not sure how much shorter it would be to drive straight to GC. Real easy drive though.

Renting a car couldn't be easier or cheaper in Vegas. $20 a day, unlimited mileage. No hassle rental setup at the airport. You may want to check out Sedona, AZ too while you're in the neighborhood. I love that area.

Colin Matthews
(litebrite) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
re:comments on 02/08/2011 18:43:54 MST Print View

Thanks for the great advice everybody! The advice to fly into Phoenix was great, I found a cheaper flight option that going straight to Flagstaff would have been.
Also, very cool to know that there are some off-site camping options near the south rim. Dave, your advice about the hotel was great as well. Thanks!