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Help with Planning What to Do?

Marana, Arizona
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75 posts
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Help with Planning What to Do?

My husband and I are thinking of going to the Grand Canyon this year. We are thinking about Oct 5-11 as it might not be as busy in the GC.

I have been looking at the things to do. We can view it, walk around a bit, go to the interpretive centre but does that take more than the first day? What else would you recommend for things to do?

I am in good shape (love to cycle) but husband is not. I wanted to do the mule trip to the bottom but he will not go on mules. He said he would do one of the rafting/ camping trips but I hate camping and will only agree to maximum three nights. I do like the rafting and being on the river idea. Is the rafting trip worth the inconvenience of camping?

(He also has vacation time in July or August. Many of the rafting trips seem to go in the summer months.)

We could just do a couple of days in GC in October(stay in hotel, no camping) and then go to someplace else in Arizona?? Sedona??

Also what airport do you fly into to get to GC? Las Vegas? Flagstaff? we are in Chicago so flights out of here are easy.

Thanks for your help I am just starting to try and figure this out.

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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1. Re: Help with Planning What to Do?

There are scenic smooth water raft trips above the Grand Canyon 1/2 day in duration which do not require camping. The camping associated with the whitewater rafting trips is rather primitive. Also, on a 3-day raft trip you either have to hike into or out of the Grand Canyon at the South Rim at Phantom Ranch. There is no transportation other than mules to the bottom of the canyon in that area. It doesn't sound like you would really be into that in any case.

5-6 days at GCNP itself would be likely too much. There are many things nearby to see and experience, including the beautiful area of Sedona. You could easily spend several days exploring depending on your interests. Museum of Northern Arizona at Flagstaff is worth half a day. Wupatki (largely intact prehistoric pueblo ruins), Sunset Crater (volcano) and Walnut Canyon (cliff dwellings) NMs are very interesting. If you did the float trip at Page, you might also be able to see the slot canyons at Antelope Canyon there.

Phoenix is the closest airport coming from Chicago. You can also fly into Flagstaff, but it takes as much time as driving with connections and costs more.

The first thing you should do is determine your dates at GCNP and book lodging. It is best to stay in the park, and not more expensive than the hotels just outside the park in general. www.grandcanyonlodges.com

San Jose, California
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263 posts
4 reviews
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2. Re: Help with Planning What to Do?

Hi,

Ok, let's start with the easy ones and work from there. You will fly into either Phoenix or Vegas, rent a car at the airport and drive to the Grand Canyon. Phoenix is slightly closer (4hr drive) than Vegas (5 hr drive) but the Vegas drive includes crossing Hoover Dam, which is an excellent sight if you have never seen it. Vegas car rentals in general tend to be a bit cheaper, but sometimes there are exceptions. Flying to Flagstaff involves a connection that is not worth the trouble.

I don't think the Grand Canyon raft trip is right for you guys. Trips through the GC take longer than 3 days and the shortest ones involve hiking in or out. Other things to do on the rim include attending Ranger presentations (very entertaining and informative) sun rise/set viewing, stargazing, riding the free Hermit's rest shuttle bus to some great viewpoints. FYI, lodging in the part fills up very quickly, book now!

I've never been to Sedona, but everyone else here seems to love it, so that's probably a good idea too! They can fill you in on stuff to see there.

Hope that helps

South Jersey, USA
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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3. Re: Help with Planning What to Do?

Hi,

For things to do you can take the free shuttle out towards Hermits Rest stopping at the view points along the way. The shuttle runs approx every 10-15 minutes so you are able to get on and off at your pace. Take the time to go all the way out back behind the building at Hermits Rest and enjoy the views from there! Catch a sunrise/sunset and enjoy the show! Make a dinner reservation at El Tovar and enjoy the atmosphere of this historic building.

What type of rafting trip are you looking for? There is a shorter rafting trip,but it would require you to either hike in or out. The hike would be guided, but if your husband is not fit this could be a bit much for him. Add trying to do it in the summer months and it has the potential to become dangerous with temps being well over the 100' mark. There is a smooth water float trip out of Page which is only a day if you think you would like to do something like that.

You can either fly into Las Vegas or Phoenix, but Vegas usually has the lowest airfare and car rental.

If you know your dates I would call and reserve your rooms for inside the park now! If something changes you can always cancel the rooms within 48 hours of the day of your trip and receive your money back.

Going in Oct and adding Sedona and/or Page to your itinerary is also a good plan. Both of these locations have lots to offer and are beautiful!

Enjoy

SJG

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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4. Re: Help with Planning What to Do?

Take the advice of the other experts who posted above. Use the park website to become familiar with options at the park.

http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

I suspect that 1-2 days and a single overnight stay at the GCNP will be sufficient for you.

Add a night or two in Page for the one day raft trip

www.raftthecanyon.com

and a tour at Antelope Canyon.

Then add 2-3 more nights at Sedona and you'll have a complete and enjoyable vacation.

www.visitsedona.com

Marana, Arizona
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75 posts
19 reviews
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5. Re: Help with Planning What to Do?

Thank you all for your thoughtful suggestions. Good ideas from all the posters I will definitely follow up with these. I will do some more research and, as always, ask questions if I get stuck.

Mississippi
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77 posts
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6. Re: Help with Planning What to Do?

We have flown into both Vegas and Phoenix to go to GC. I thought driving out of Vegas was much easier and the Hoover Damn side trip was wonderful!!

Perhaps you could loop up through Page, visiting Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell. Then you could go to either Zion or Bryce and then back to Vegas.

As someoen else posted...get your reservations now! Staying in the park is always better to me, so book in the park, if possible. Have a great time!

Mississippi
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77 posts
11 reviews
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7. Re: Help with Planning What to Do?

Oops, I think that should be Dam, not Damn!

8. Re: Help with Planning What to Do?

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