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Surprise Trip to GC from LA

California
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Surprise Trip to GC from LA

My mom has always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon so we (Sister and I) are going to make a surprise visit. We told her we were going to Vegas which is not a total lie, we are going to Vegas but will make a overnight stop to GC. Anyway, I wanted to know if it would be better to head to GC before or after LV. I ask because we are planning on leaving Friday the 26th (day after Thansgiving). I am not sure if it would be better to drive to LV first and then to GC on Monday and head back to LA on Tuesday. Anyone know how long it will take to drive from LA to GC straight?

We wont be hiking but are there tours offered either paid or free that we can make reservations for?

Thanks in Advance

South Jersey, USA
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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1. Re: Surprise Trip to GC from LA

Hi,

Looking for overnight accommodations may determine which way you do your trip. Call ASAP at 888-297-2757 to see if they have any in park accommodations for your dates if you haven't already done so. Then you can plan from there!! The drive from LV to GC is approx 4 1/2 - 5 hours.

You won't need to use any "paid" tour companies. The GC is very easy to navigate on your own. Go into www.nps.gov/grca and view a copy of the Visitor's Guide to better help you familiarize yourself with the layout of the park.

I'm not sure on the drive from LA to GC......close to 8 hours I think!!

Enjoy your trip!

SJG

California
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2. Re: Surprise Trip to GC from LA

SJG

There are accommodations available at Yavapai Lodge for Friday night and everything else is available for Monday night except Yavapai Lodge. From the reviews, the lodges seems to be basic accommodations, nothing famcy which is fine with me.

Thanks for the website. It seems we can do a walk/drive tour on our own.

West Yellowstone...
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for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
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3. Re: Surprise Trip to GC from LA

What a nice surprise!

We've driven from Flagstaff (hour and a half south of GCNP) to Anaheim in 6.5 hours, if that helps. Your best bet may be to take a look at the projected weather forecast as you get closer to the dates and be flexible. It's not common, but we have had (lots of) snow in northern Arizona at Thanksgiving, and that can make driving hazardous.

If you aren't able to obtain reservations in the park, try Tusayan. You will find options for hotels in the reviews section here on TripAdvisor.

Southjerseygirl is correct - you will not need a tour to navigate the Grand Canyon park. There is a main road with multiple turn-offs and overlooks. You can't get lost. The rangers at the entrance gate will give you a map and a seasonal "newspaper" publication which will go over any special programs such as interpretive talks and you can plan your day using those materials. You can also use the free shuttle bus system to get to other parts of the park that can't be accessed by car. Details here: nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/shuttle-buses.htm

Enjoy your trip!

South Jersey, USA
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for Grand Canyon National Park
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4. Re: Surprise Trip to GC from LA

If there are accommodations available for your dates BOOK THEM NOW!!! Don't wait or you will loose the opportunity to stay inside the park!

SJG

West Yellowstone...
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for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
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5. Re: Surprise Trip to GC from LA

Good point, SJG. I didn't mean to imply otherwise, but simply to pay attention to weather reports and heed warnings. If it's possible for the OP to book two nights, and cancel one when they determine which they will be using, all the better.

I was still composing my post when dougla01's went up, so I was unaware there was any availability in the park for the dates they plan to visit.

California
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6. Re: Surprise Trip to GC from LA

Thanks for the responses and the websites. I have a booked the Yavapai Lodge for Friday night.

Cottonwood, Arizona
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7. Re: Surprise Trip to GC from LA

I would nonetheless (if you want) try to call on a regular basis to perhaps get the top accommodation which is El Tovar. I know you said that you did not need top luxury but this IS a once in a lifetime deal!

Your mom is lucky!

South Jersey, USA
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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8. Re: Surprise Trip to GC from LA

Just having a room inside the park at this late date is a plus! There is always the possibility that you will be able to book a room at El Tovar if you want by calling everyday. However, it is not a deal breaker if you can't get one!

We say this all the time on TA.....your main focus is the Canyon not your room!!

Enjoy

SJG

Edited: 09 November 2010, 13:24
9. Re: Surprise Trip to GC from LA

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