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Parents with children

El Paso, Texas
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Parents with children

I have a 4, 9, 9 and 11 year old all boys. What trails or attractions would be recommended for the the south? Would the north be better?

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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1. Re: Parents with children

If you have never been to GCNP, the South Rim area has more amenities. You don't say when you are coming, but the likelihood of finding lodging at or near the South Rim is much better than the North. Getting around the South Rim area is also better, and overviews are closer.

Get on the park website and get familiar.

nps.gov/grca

As for trails, it's not at all necessary to hike to enjoy the GC. I would suggest a brief walk down Bright Angel Trail near the rim lodges for perhaps a mile to get an idea of what it's like below the rim. Then head back. This will take an hour.

On arrival check out Junior Ranger programs (for all ages) for the kids. There is an interesting geology museum at Yavapai Point. Desert View has a watch tower where you can climb to the top. Along the east road there is a prehistoric ruin and museum.

If you're coming on a busy weekend, find the non-busy areas. For example, if the shuttle to Hermits Rest is crowded, walk to the first overview Trails Rest where people are likely to get off the shuttle. I like to go all the way out to Hermits Rest on the shuttle and work my way back. The central GC Village area is most busy between about 10 AM and 3 PM. The Hermits Rest shuttle usually starts getting busy about 10 AM. The east rim area is usually less busy most of the day.

Equip yourselves with reusable water bottles as no plastic bottles are sold at GCNP, and the park does not want them in the trash. Plastic is OK for reusable. Everybody should have a small day pack for water, snacks, etc., and they'll like that in any case.

Lodging. Try for lodging in the park. Your are technically too many for one room (max 5) but likely can get away with it. If park lodging is full, make a backup reservation and call the park lodging frequently to check for cancellations as they often don't make it back on the website.

grandcanyonlodges.com

tusayanhotels.com

Edited: 08 June 2012, 02:48
Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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2. Re: Parents with children

Bob has given you a wealth of advice for your rather open ended question. Follow the links that he has posted. And take some time to read the Top Questions o the right hand side of this page. These are the FAQs and multiple responses about virtually everything at the GCNP.

Then tell us more about you. When do you plan to do this trip? That matters probably more than anything else. How much time do you have for the entire vacation? There are lots of other attractions in northern AZ, but we need to know more from you first. As Bob noted, a great GCNP experience doesn't have to include a lot of hiking.

Arizona
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for Scottsdale
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3. Re: Parents with children

The Jr. Ranger program is super, your boys are perfect for it. Also, any ranger talks or hikes, they will be listed in the newspaper handed to you when you enter the park. Buy postcards of some of the landmarks and wildlife in the park, then keep track of when you see them. After dark, if you are lucky you will see the deer grazing on the grass outside the rim lodges...then take a moment to look up to the night sky and do some star gazing. Most importantly, unplug all electric games/phones/ipads etc. so they will look up and see one of the most amazing sights in their lives :o).

El Paso, Texas
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4. Re: Parents with children

Thank you all for your post specially Bob. I was second guessing if it would be a good experience for my boys and you have restored my confidence that it will be a great one!

I planned to make it to Flagstaff in the evening by July 7th. I know it will be incredibly hot... Sunday the 8th, early morning head out to south GC. I would like to spend Sunday and Monday possibly even Tuesday depending on activities and how interested my boys feel on the Grand Canyon.

Trails with boulders and rocks my boys are really into it; long flat trails not so much. They have endured 4 to 5 hours trails before. So I feel confident they can do that if it's an exciting trail for them.

Once again, thank you so much for the info. If you have any recommendation on lodging please let me know. I have not planned much yet so I'm pretty flexible what to do and where to stay.

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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5. Re: Parents with children

Flagstaff will not be hot. At 7000 feet it rarely gets above 80 there. Same for the GCNP on the rim. It can get warmer below the rim, inside the canyon, but if you're following Bob's wise advice you won't be going too deep. Expect the trails to be serpentine as they descend the canyon wall. Not a lot of scrambling and climbing over boulders. Those would be off the trail and getting off the trail is a really bad idea. Dangers are there for both humans and the environment.

It sounds like your boys might enjoy many of the hiking trails around Sedona. Make a point of at least driving through the area. You'll probably wish that you had planned time there too. Hopefully you'll be inspired to come back.

Do you have your accommodations reserved yet?

Santa Fe, New Mexico
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for Santa Fe, Mesa Verde National Park, Boulder, New Mexico
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6. Re: Parents with children

You also may want to spend some time at Wupatki and Sunset Crater Nat Mon just north of Flagstaff. More junior ranger programs there as well. I'm thinking that 2 full days inside GC park may be enough. There are some wonderful trails in the Coconino National Forest around the area as well as in Flagstaff.

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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7. Re: Parents with children

There's some things that make hiking a bit different at GCNP. The altitude and the lack of humidity. It will not be as hot as El Paso. As RedRox explained there's no boulders and rocks to scramble over at GCNP, but the trails going down into the canyon are not flat. A general rule is that however long you hike down, it takes twice as much time to hike back up. So it's very wise to stop and turn back before anyone gets tired. It's like climbing a mountain in reverse. Wait until you get there to make decisions about hiking. The trails are explained on the website and in the materials you receive on entry to the park.

July is also usually monsoon season, so there can be brief and heavy rains.

El Paso, Texas
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8. Re: Parents with children

I don't have accommodations yet. I was planning on doing it this weekend RedRox. My boys love breakfast so if you all know of a good big breakfast local restaurant please let me know.

Wow, I appreciate tremendously you all's input. The weather, the rain, the different trails, trail times and the different attractions I almost feel prepared. I have read the "Top Questions" and plan to have an exciting safe trip.

tucson az
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for Tucson, Arizona, Northern Mexico
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16,276 posts
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9. Re: Parents with children

How much time do you have for the trip? When is the trip?

For breakfast, there are several choices in the park. El Tovar serves a great breakfast, but it might be a bit expensive. Maswik and Yavapai lodges both have cafeterias. Their breakfasts are OK and lots of choices. There's also a cafe at the Bright Angel Lodge. I've never eaten in Tusayan, the small town outside the south entrance, so cannot comment on food there. If you stay in the park, other choices in Williams and Flagstaff aren't relevant.

10. Re: Parents with children

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