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a VirtualTourist member from Milan

Grand Canyon National Park

Time planning in Grand Canyon

Hi all, I'm about to drive from Las Vegas to G.C. shortly. I'm quite confused trying to plan how much time I will need. My pland is basically this: day 1: leaving LV early in the morning, driving to GC, enjoying the GC 'till sunset, staying overnight day 2: driving around towards Page day 3: visiting Antelope Canyon day 4: driving back to LV and flying out in late afternoon.

Got some questions: - where to spend the first night? GC village or somewhere else? Or could I be able on the same day to drive towards east a bit more or even to Page saving one night? - if I stay the last night in Page, can I leave early in the morning to be in LV on time to catch my flight around 5pm or is it too much?

We're not hiking so we'll spend time slowly driving around stopping all the times we'll like or using the shuttle bus service.

7 Answers

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Paignton

If I remember correctly you have to take the shuttle buses to access most of the park. Private vehicles are only allowed for access to campsites, lodges and etc. otherwise you have to use the carparks.

That said: there's plenty to do and see (and attempt to photograph) in the park to occupy a day until sunset. Personally I would suggest staying somewhere off park if you intend heading on the following day. Williams is a fun little town and has a very quirky Navajo/Irish restaurant (Paddy McGillicuddy's) and a former brothel as one of its more interesting hotels.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Europe

it take five hours from Page to Las Vegas.. it's up to you


where to spend first night? I would avoid GC village, it rather expensive and it's not worth if you think to drive out following morning. I suggest dinner and sleep at Cameron trading post. It's already on the way to Page, you exit from G.C. at East Entrance, few miles and you cannot miss it.. btw here you can also fill the car.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Marina

Your plan looks fine overall.

If you're going soon, then you should book your lodging now. In February and March, you can often rooms relatively last-minute. If there's something open, you can book it. Honestly, I've been several times staying both out of the park and in the park, and nothing compares to staying in the park, being able to step outside your room and be on the rim. Particularly if you're interested in seeing a sunset and/or the equally impressive sunrise the next morning. If you can't get inside the park, look into Tusayan (just outside the park), maybe Cameron Trading Post (one motel, not great) and Williams or Flagstaff, as a last resort. Flagstaff has a much better nightlife, a better hotel selection and much better restaurants (the restaurants in Tusayan, honestly, are pretty bad), but it's a little further away than Williams.

Another concern if you're going soon is the weather. I was looking at the forecast, and there is the chance of snow this coming week. When it snows a lot, the first roads to close tend to be US 180 northwest of Flagstaff and the East Rim Drive, east of the Grand Canyon Village. The snow does not look bad enough this week to actually close these roads, but I don't know your exact dates.

From Page to Las Vegas, it's quicker and shorter to take US 89 toward Zion National Park and I-15. If you have no interest in Zion (you really don't have time), take US 89A south in Kanab to Fredonia and turn right on Highway 389 toward Colorado City. Reason being, the admission to Zion is $25 along State Highway 9, and there's just no reason to pay that if you're just driving through. The route also has less risk of encountering snow because of its lower elevation.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Minneapolis

I'll agree that there's no substitute to staying right at the park: you'll be there for both sunset and sunrise. We've stayed at both the south and north rims and wouldn't have traded either for cheaper accommodations outside of the park.

The drive from the canyon to Page is only 2 and 1/2 hours so you don't really need to stay outside of the park to be closer.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Minneapolis

Sorry: meant to include this in my last post! Here is some good information about the shuttle service:

You mentioned that you were leaving "shortly" but not sure if that means before or after March 1. Do note that on or after 3/1/2013, only shuttles are allowed on Hermit Road to the west of Grand Canyon Village.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Lents

Keep in mind Williams is about 1 hour 15 minutes from South Rim (Grand Canyon village). There isn't that much along this road in terms of places to stay, or even wide spots in the road onto which to pull over. It's just the nature of the southwest: a lot of open space that is truly open. Options are quite limited.

answered by
a VirtualTourist member from Milan

Hi all, thank a lot for your infos. I'm planning to land into Vegas on march 4th and driving to GC the day after, so I guess I'll have to use the shuttle service. Following your tips I'll definitely try to book inside the park as soon as possible! Thanks again!

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