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Itinerary planning

Mexico
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Itinerary planning

We are a family of 2 adults and 3 children ages 15, 11 and 7. We will be flying from LAX to LAS in mid October (Wed), arriving at 11:45 am. We are planning to rent a Minivan and drive to the Grand Canyon, before staying in LV for 4 days. I figure we could be on our way by 1:00 pm, so we may be arriving to GC around 6:00 pm. So, can we count on watching sunset that day? If so, where are we more likely to find some parking space by that time? If we will be arriving too late, should we stay in Williams instead?

About lodging, I'm finding a room at Maswik for Wed night and at Yavapai for Wed and Thu, but I can't decide if we should stay for 1 or 2 nights. If we are not into hiking, is 1 night enough for taking in the views or should we stay for a second night and return to Vegas on Friday morning? If 1 night is enough, then I have a choice between Maswik and Yavapai. Which one is better?

One last question, if we won't be making it for sunset on Wed, is it as good to watch sunrise on Thu or should we stay and watch sunset on Thu, and in this case should we stay for a second night or is it fine to leave after it gets dark?

Thanks for your help.

tucson az
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1. Re: Itinerary planning

Maswik and Yavapai are very similar, depending on which part of each lodge. Both have 2 queen rooms.

Arriving at night, 2 nights would be better. It gives you more time to get around in the park, and check out programs for your kids.

6 PM would be too late to get out on the rim for sunset .... need to be out there half hour to hour before actual sunset.

The road between Williams AZ and GCNP often has wildlife crossing at night, and it will be very dark. So, it's better to wait until the next day to leave. You can spend more time in the park the second morning.

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Itinerary planning

I also think 2 nights will be better. The day of arrival you already have to stretch it to arrive GC that day. Also, on the return to Las Vegas there are several places worth a stop like in Seligman (R66 town) and at Hoover Dam. So 2 nights in the NP is recommended.

Here's site for sunset etc.

www.sunrisesunset.com/usa/NationalParks/

Tet

Mexico
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3. Re: Itinerary planning

Does it make sense to stay in Williams for the first night? I just don't know if there's anything we will be able to do at night when we arrive.

Mexico
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4. Re: Itinerary planning

Forgot to ask on my previous post. Is it as nice to watch the sunrise as to watch the sunset? I've read more about watching the sunset, so I don't know if it's better or just more convenient because you don't have to wake up early.

tucson az
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5. Re: Itinerary planning

Seeing a sunrise and/or a sunset is a nice experience but not an absolute necessity to enjoy visiting GCNP. Since you would arrive at dark, yes, it would make sense to stay in Williams the first night, and then leave early the next day and stay overnight the next night. You would be able to see both a sunset and sunrise if you chose to do so.

The most important part of this equation is your lodging. Plan your dates, and book the lodging in the park. If nothing is available, call for cancellations. If rooms are available, take what you can get. Maswik North and Yavapai East have larger rooms than Maswik South and Yavapai West, but all the rooms are large enough, clean, comfortable and well-maintained.

You may get replies to try to get rooms in El Tovar or Bright Angel, but book what you can get if those are not available. Then you could try later to change to other lodges.

Halifax, Canada
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6. Re: Itinerary planning

Maswik is closer to the rim (5-10 minute walk). Yavapai is closer to Market Place.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
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7. Re: Itinerary planning

I think you have a very good chance of seeing the Canyon if you can get on the road by 1:00 PM!

We had a very similar schedule two years ago for a mid-October visit. We picked up a friend at McCarran around 12:30 PM (he'd missed an earlier flight) and drove straight to the park with a short stop to grab a fastfood lunch. I think we arrived at the park right around 5:30. It was already dusk by then, so we drove straight to the rim and pulled into the first parking space we saw and jumped out of the car to enjoy the rest of the sunset.

Here is a shot taken at 5:45 PM on October 10th:

…photobucket.com/albums/…IMG_0013a_1.jpg

Now, that October visit was before the Hoover Dam bypass bridge opened. I've driven to the Canyon from Las Vegas twice since then and the drive has been about 30 minutes shorter. If you leave Las Vegas at 1PM, I think you can get to the park at 5:30.

Note that another picture taken at 6:20 PM shows that it was almost totally dark by then, so you have maybe a 45 min window.

tucson az
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8. Re: Itinerary planning

Since you have the opportunity to see a sunset the following night, I don't see the need to stress your trip from LV to Williams in order to get to the rim to see a sunset on arrival.

Halifax, Canada
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9. Re: Itinerary planning

I wouldn't stay just to see sunset because sunset isn't always that good even at the Grand Canyon. I was longing to see a fabulous sunset while at the GC and Sedona but the sunsets I saw there were just OK (Well, the first day we arrived in Sedona, it was raining in the evening so of course the sunset was a bust!) It was funny to see all the people at the airport mesa holding umbrellas (including me) and waiting for a spectacular sunset which never appeared.)

Anyway, my 2 best sunsets came at times when I wasn't expecting them - once at a nondescript place called Gallup in New Mexico, when we just happened to look out our window and saw a beautiful sunset in blazing colour. The second was on the plane home when we saw an amazing sunset which extended for several minutes. Go figure!

I did catch 2 great rainbows on film, though while at the Grand Canyon. You never know what you will find while you're outdoors, and you never know when.

We also got pictures of deer, which was unexpected. I was actually looking for a javelina but never saw one. However we did see a roadrunner twice in New Mexico.

Now I'm off topic. I'm sure you'll have a great time in the Grand Canyon and none of my pictures convey its vastness.

tucson az
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10. Re: Itinerary planning

The sunset at the Grand Canyon is not so much about the sky and clouds but more about the changing light in the canyon, and the changing colors of the canyon walls. So, if you're looking at the sky, you'll be disappointed unless there is some cloud cover.