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Phoenix to Grand Canyon

Boston
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Phoenix to Grand Canyon

As ever it is a pleasure to go through the wealth of information and advice on this forum. We are a middle aged couple visiting the Grand Canyon for 3 days (2 nights) driving from Phoenix during the first week-end of March (Friday-Sunday). We have booked our accommodation for two nights at the Yavapai lodge inside the Park. I would like some advice on how to break up my time and the driving route to and from the GCP.

On Friday (day-1), starting early morning from Phoenix, I would like to drive via Flagstaff, 89 (visit the Sunset Crater (anything else on the way?) and enter the GCP via the east gate, drive along the rim a bit (any specific sunset points to select?) and reach the lodge by 6 or 7 PM. I would like advice on the sequence of spots to visit on day-2 (we are not great hikers but would like not to miss great scenic spots). On day-3, I want to start (after watching the sunrise) and drive south towards Williams and head towards Sedona, which I believe has some really beautiful sights. I would like to spend time till about 6 PM in Sedona (what are the best drives/tours?) and then plan to reach Phoenix airport by 9 PM for a red eye flight. Any and all advice welcome. Thanks.

Raghu

Harleysville...
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1. Re: Phoenix to Grand Canyon

hello, you have a lot of good options. Less than an hour north of Phoenix, stop at Rock Springs Cafe at exit 242 off of I-17. Have breakfast if you like, but get yourselves a couple pieces of their delicious pies to go. They will give you forks.

At exit 289 is Montezumas Castle, a beautifully preserved ancient dwelling. But since you are interested in Sunset Crater, then after seeing that, continue the loop around to Wupatki Nat'l Monument, beautiful native American ruins. Just outstanding.

When you leave here - about 2 hours to do justice - continue N, on 89 to the east entrance of GCNP. If it's lunchtime then go just past the road to the entrance and stop in Cameron Trading Post and have a Navajo Taco.

From when you enter the park, it is 26 miles to Grand Canyon Village. First stop is Dessert View where the watchtower. Often a favorite of many, myself included. Also stop at Lip pan Point, Moran and Grand view.

Day two there are many options for you. Not being hikers yo can just walk lie surely along the rim trail and take the shuttle to the west rim to Hermits Rest - very beautiful. Stop in a couple of the stores, the visitors center and Kolb Studio.

When you leave on day 3 follow the signs to Sedona via 89A. It takes you down through Oak Creek Canyon and is not to be missed.

Boston
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2. Re: Phoenix to Grand Canyon

A follow up question please. I understand that after entering the Park via the East entrance, it is a good 25+ miles to reach the Grand Canyon Park Village (lodging). Is it necessary to do this full 25+ miles journey before darkness sets in - in other words, can one enter the East entrance late afternoon, enjoy the sunset, etc. near Desert View, Lipan point, etc. and then drive to the Village after sunset? Is driving on that road/route safe at night? Thanks.

Sedona, AZ
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3. Re: Phoenix to Grand Canyon

Better to drive in daylight. Dark is really dark inside the GCNP. Besides, you'll miss all the awesome scenery that you're coming to see. There will be deer and elk on the roads.

Wickenburg, Arizona
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4. Re: Phoenix to Grand Canyon

Since this is one of the most scencic stretches you'll ever be driving anywhere, you should not do it after dark; besides you'd have to be on the lookout for deer very much . Better enjoy the sunset close to the Village /rim lodges. It's beauatiful just anywhere. since you'll get an early start from Phoenix you'll have enough tiome to drive the rim, stop at the lookout - you don't have to do stop at every single one of them if you don't like - get parked and checked in and then walk along the rim pasth away from the crowd and enjoy the sunset this way. Pure driving time from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon is only about 4.5 hours.

You can easily fit in sunset Crater / Wupatki (don't skip that part!), and even Montezuma Castle (and Well) before you reach Flagstaff. Both of these latter won't take long to see and are really worth stopping if you're driving past anyway. Both are really just off I-17.

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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5. Re: Phoenix to Grand Canyon

"You can easily fit in sunset Crater / Wupatki (don't skip that part!), and even Montezuma Castle (and Well) before you reach Flagstaff." Montezuma Castle and Well are off of I-17 on the way north, but Sunset Crater & Wupatki are north of Flagstaff on Hwy 89 on the way to the east entrance of GCNP.

If you leave early from Phoenix (try for 7 AM to miss some traffic), you can easily do all this in a day and reach GC Village before dark.

Evanston, Wyoming
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6. Re: Phoenix to Grand Canyon

Agree that you should do the majority of the drive on the East Rim/Desert View Drive in daylight. Artificial lighting is kept to a minimum in National Parks so when it gets dark, it gets really REALLY dark up here! However, the full moon occurs on the Thursday March 8th, so you may have some help "from above" provided it's not too cloudy during your visit.

A possible compromise to your desire to see sunset from the canyon rim yet not at the Village is Grandview Point. It is located on the East Rim Drive about 5 miles from Grand Canyon Village. It is one of the more underrated spots for sunset IMO; features great views of the Colorado River plus Horseshoe Mesa and other formations. Forward to the 1:05 mark on this video to see what that looks like ->: http://youtu.be/pCHHQVT5BNg Then at least you wouldn't have too far to drive to Yavapai Lodge afterward.

Sunset is at about 6:20 PM during the first week of March. Time your drive so that you are at your chosen viewpoint about 30 minutes prior to the event and maybe hang out about 30 minutes afterward. That's when the light changes most noticeably.

Boston
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7. Re: Phoenix to Grand Canyon

Thanks for all the advice and suggestions. I will file my report upon return from the Canyon!

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8. Re: Phoenix to Grand Canyon

Where's your report, soldier?!

New Lenox...
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9. Re: Phoenix to Grand Canyon

Were doing this June 1st - Thank you all for the comments- Putting together our Itinerary -

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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10. Re: Phoenix to Grand Canyon

Kathy, if you have any questions, I suggest that you start a new thread by clicking the Ask a Question box.