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First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

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8 posts
67 reviews
First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip


I know that there has been discussions already on specific places to go for a two days trip below, however Im not so familiar with these places and this is my first time. Based from what I’ve read West Rim (specifically Skywalk) and South Rim are musts in visiting GCNP. Please advise How we can cover these two places (only mild hiking please) within two days. We will be coming from Las Vegas and Go back there after an overnight at GCNP area. Kindly advise also where is best place to stay overnight. And please advise also if it would be easy driving rented vehicles from Las Vegas considering that we haven’t driven outside our country ever😝

Need advise please. I really want to maximize our trip to Grand Canyon😊

Thank you

13 replies to this topic
Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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67,176 posts
250 reviews
1. Re: First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

Read the relevant Top Questions on the right hand side of this page.

The so called west rim is not a must do. In fact, given your limited time, skip it.

So Cal
Level Contributor
12,124 posts
75 reviews
2. Re: First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

I've been to Grand Canyon West; it's an interesting attraction, but I wouldn't call it a "must". Guess it depends on what you think makes something a "must". It's shorter, narrower and less colorful than the canyon upstream at the South Rim area. With just one night, you'll have to decide if it's worth the detour.

All the driving is easy. It'll all be on paved roads, mostly multi-lane freeway or fast highway.

Edited: 23 March 2018, 04:14
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
8,621 posts
86 reviews
3. Re: First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

Where, will you be approaching the Canyon from? Getting "in depth" at the South Rim, will depend on your physical conditioning and current weather ... Happy trails ... carracar

Ontario, Canada
Level Contributor
1,264 posts
37 reviews
4. Re: First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

"Grand Canyon West" in a side canyon is a tourist attraction that was specifically developed for Las Vegas visitors. It may be interesting enough, but compared to "the real thing" it is a minor attraction. GCW is NOT part of Grand Canyon National Park.

Coming from Las Vegas, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park is about a 5 hour drive, US-93 south to Kingman, then I-40 east to Williams, then AZ-64 north to Tusayan/South Entrance Gates of the Grand Canyon. It is an easy drive along very good roads.

There are six lodges within the park, and it is best to stay at one of those.

https:/… This will allow you to book at El Tovar, Kachina, Thunderbird, Bright Angel Lodge (all right on the rim), and Maswick (about 1/4 mile from the rim).

https:/…yavapai-lodge This links to reservations at Yavapai Lodge, about 1/2 mile from the rim.

The lodges book up to a year in advance and fill up quickly, so booking your accommodation should be your first priority. If you cannot get an in-park lodge, stay in nearby Tusayan where there are about half a dozen lodging options.

https:/…sr-pocket-map.pdf You will be given this pocket map upon your arrival at the park. It gives you basic information and a layout map on the 2nd page.

Park your car near your lodging when you arrive, and make your way to the rim. Walk along the Rim Trail to the various viewpoints and other attractions such as the Yavapai Geology Museum, Hopi House, Lookout Studio, Kolb Studio.

You don't mention when you're visiting, but between March and November you will need to utilize the free red shuttle to visit the viewpoints along Hermit Road as far as Hermit Rest (you may drive your car on that road during the other months). You need your own car to visit viewpoints east of the Village/Hotel Zone area along Desert View Drive as far as Desert View Watchtower.

Enjoy your visit.

Columbia, Maryland
Level Contributor
2,053 posts
18 reviews
5. Re: First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

Since it appears you are coming from out of country, if you want to see the Grand Canyon that you see in pictures, you need to go to the south rim. That is the Grand Canyon National Park. It will cost $25 for a car. The pass is good for a week. Lodging starts to fill up 1 year in advance. If you can't get a place in the park, try Tusayan, just south of the park. You can see plenty of the canyon along the rim view trails. Plenty to see. It is not necessary to hike below the rim to experience the canyon. However, if you want to go below the rim, take a short hike down one of the trails. Make sure you have plenty of water and plan for it to take twice as long to come back up as to go down.

The Grand Canyon West is not the national park. It is on Native American land and was developed as a tourist attraction for Las Vega tourists. It is expensive to visit - about $100 per person and you are very limited in where you can go and what you can do. If you go there expecting to see the varied colors and the expanse of the canyon you see in pictures, you will be disappointed. The big attraction is the sky walk, which while unique, is a bit overblown.

Level Contributor
374 posts
6. Re: First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

If driving is a factor for you the west rim is far better in my opinion for your holiday. I understand the south rim is bigger but more than double the distance from LV. I've been to both several times and both are in the grand canyon. The south rim is the "national park" the west rim is a private native area but both are in the canyon itself. Many prefer the south rim due to the national park status and one fee to get in the park. The lodging inside the park make up for the savings by the way. Go the west rim on this trip and the south for the next. My few cents

P.S. The cost of the legacy package should be $85.00 per person which includes skywalk admission and meal. You can't take pictures on the skywalk but don't let that be reason not to go. Enjoy.

Level Contributor
11,479 posts
1 review
7. Re: First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

Dont bother with the tourist trap at "Grand Canyon West

Stay within Grand Canyon National Park or if those accommodations are booked, stay in Tusayan, just outside the park

New York City, New...
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1,484 posts
8 reviews
8. Re: First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

The entrance fee for the Grand Canyon is $30 per car - not $25.

Agreeing with everyone above that the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park is where you will want to go.

Level Contributor
374 posts
9. Re: First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

Tusayan, AZ is one the biggest tourist traps I've ever experienced in general. That is the town 8 miles from the grand canyon close to the entrance of the park if you not familiar. The south rim is very good to visit but the OP was very clear that driving would be a challenge. With that in mind for the sake of safety I would still recommend the west rim due to the distance driving for the OP. The south rim also I will dare to say is little boring to be honest. This is coming from someone that that hiked down bright angel trail years ago. If you are not hiking down the trial it's 3 hour experience for 98 % visitors there. That is with stopping at mather point, bright angel and watchtower. Bright angel lodge itself has many elements of the tourist trap (the train) as well.

The west rim at least has activities even if they are touristy to some. I think the skywalk is an amazing attraction and I have been on twice. I don't agree with the photo policy but it's clear on the website so it's not an issue. The view from guano point is just as good as any of the viewpoints at the south rim in my opinion. The main thing to remember about the west rim is: no guard rails so be careful. You can't go wrong with either choice but it's a question of driving time for an international visitor in particular.

Santa Fe, New Mexico
Destination Expert
for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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22,310 posts
58 reviews
10. Re: First timer at GCNP and wants in depth two days trip

The view of the canyon from GC West is not the same as the view from South Rim GC Nat. Park. The canyon is not as deep, geology is different and you pay much more for much less. Look at both websites for things to do and other activities.



Edited: 25 March 2018, 00:55
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