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Driving to GC South Rim in Mid Dec from Scottsdale

Vancouver, BC
2 posts
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Driving to GC South Rim in Mid Dec from Scottsdale

We are staying in Scottsdale during 3rd week of Dec and plan to drive to Sedona then to GC South rim, and stay there for 1 night. We have booked a full size vehicle.

My questions are:

1. Will there be snow on our way to Grand Canyon? Should we rent a SUV instead?

2. Which GC lodge is closest to the rim or any other viewpoints? Except El Tovar, which is out of my budget.

Thanks in advance!

Evanston, Wyoming
Destination Expert
for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
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146 reviews
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1. Re: Driving to GC South Rim in Mid Dec from Scottsdale

<Will there be snow on our way to Grand Canyon? Should we rent a SUV instead?> Fair possibility that there might be snow. As to renting an SUV, if you're not used to driving on snow in the first place an SUV won't help you, plus rental outlets forbid the use of chains. If you encounter a blizzard on your way to the park, your best move is to get off the road and wait it out. Start monitoring the weather about 2 weeks ahead of your trip and check www.az511.com before hitting the road. If in doubt, leave it out.

<Which GC lodge is closest to the rim or any other viewpoints? Except El Tovar, which is out of my budget.> Other rimside lodges are Kachina, Thunderbird and Bright Angel, all of whom are run by Xanterra South Rim LLC. Bright Angel is the least expensive of the lot, but I wouldn't be surprised if all the rimside lodges are already booked. Take what you can get inside the park. Off-rim lodges such as Yavapai (which may be closed at that time of year) and Maswik are fairly reasonably priced and sometimes Xanterra runs specials at Maswik South during the off-season. Visit www.grandcanyonlodges.com or call 888-297-2757 or 303-297-2757. If unable to find anything suitable inside the park, look to Tusayan just outside the park. Again, many hotels run off-season specials, so you just might be able to score a good deal. Here is a video describing Tusayan properties ->: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9dzaUY2Ouw

Whatever you decide, don't forget your coat - snow or no snow, it's cold up here that time of year :)

San Jose, California
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262 posts
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2. Re: Driving to GC South Rim in Mid Dec from Scottsdale

Hehe, a Canadian concerned about snow on the road. I understand Vancouver is not like the rest of Canada, but still kinda funny. Anyways, they do a pretty good job of clearing the roads, most likely you will not have trouble unless you happen to have really bad timing and have to travel just when a blizzard hits.

Also, note that the off-rim lodges are not very far off the rim: Maswick is an easy 5-minute walk to the rim; Yavapai is more like 10 minutes. Both have free shuttle bus stops right at the front door.

Have fun!

Edited: 01 November 2010, 20:11
Vancouver, BC
2 posts
1 review
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3. Re: Driving to GC South Rim in Mid Dec from Scottsdale

Thanks both of you, definitely great useful info.

The truth is we won't leave home without snowtires when it snows in Vancouver, that's why I am a little concern. Judging by what Kirk9 said, I think we should be OK with a front wheel vehicle.

Cottonwood, Arizona
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676 posts
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4. Re: Driving to GC South Rim in Mid Dec from Scottsdale

Here's some advice from someone that lived in Whistler for 15 years and is now living near Sedona in Cottonwood...

1- There well could be snow and the Interstate could be closed around Flagstaff; not likely but possible. I have driven in 100's of snowstorms in Canada and Chile, one of the worse storms I have driven through was last year between Cottonwood and Las Vegas, it was in January but it still could happen in December... Be safe and rent either a SUV or an WAD car such as a Forester or Rav 4.

2- This is a once in a lifetime experience, splurge and stay two nights at most at El Tovar! (One night would be plenty and the other lodges would be just fine, but stay IN GCNP as Tusayan really has nothing to offer.)

Anymore questions, just ask; EH!

5. Re: Driving to GC South Rim in Mid Dec from Scottsdale

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