We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

Kendal, United...
Level Contributor
245 posts
29 reviews
Save Topic
Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

We are a couple planning a road trip in mid September 2014. After Yosemite and DVNP we will have 1 night in LV before travelling to the GCNP for 3 nights. From there we will continue to LA, possibly after stopping in Sedona. Our main aim is to see beautiful natural scenery and maybe have one or two short hikes along the way.

Our original plan was to have 2 nights at the El Tovar, which we have already booked, followed by 1 night in Page after doing the half day raft float.

We are now considering it may be better driving straight to Page from LV, giving us a chance to stop for views from the north rim on the way, then spending 2 nights in Page, followed by 1 night at the El Tovar, or 2 if we miss out Sedona. This would mean we would not be retracing part of our route on the way to LA.

In your expert opinion would there be time to stop at the North Rim viewpoints on the way to Page and would the route be more scenic? We are used to driving long distances so time spent on the road is not too much of an issue, or would the time be better spent at the South Rim so we would not be quite as rushed there, and the first night and morning would be more memorable? As it is our first trip to the GC I think it would be great if the first real view we have will be one we will never forget, weather permitting!

Thank you in advance for any replies, advice on Tripadvisor forums has already helped us so much planning this vacation.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
58,350 posts
231 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

The north rim is a huge detour and viewpoints are limited and distant. It is not a drive by destination. It needs an over night or more and can't compare to what you'll find at the south rim.

Three nights at the GCNP is probably one or two more than you'll need. If seeing great scenery is your goal, I'd suggest working in a night or two at Sedona rather than having it as a maybe item in your plan.

http://vimeo.com/57884666

Kendal, United...
Level Contributor
245 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

Thanks Redrox, I will scrap the north rim plan, the time lapse of Sedona does look really beautiful, maybe Page will be the 'maybe' instead!

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
58,350 posts
231 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

I'm not knocking Page. The raft trip there at Glen Canyon is really cool. Sedona is superior IMO. And I also think you'll find that you have more time than you need at the GCNP.

Kendal, United...
Level Contributor
245 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

My husband says he would really like to do the raft float. I am thinking now 1 night El Torvar, 1 night Page, 2 nights Sedona?

Google gives the drive time as just over 4 hours from LV to the South Rim. We will be travelling on a Monday morning, is this about right? That would give us most of the afternoon and evening there, then see sunrise and drive up to Page for the raft float, stay the night, then down to Sedona.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
58,350 posts
231 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

Now you have a plan that matches my advice.

Nevada
Level Contributor
1,975 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

Mr RedRox, Well now that's an interesting comment about the North Rim having limited and distant views of the grand canyon. Are we thinking of the same North Rim?

I am thinking of the North Rim that is about 40 miles south of Jacob Lake. It had never occured to me that the views there were limited and distant. Heck, when I am eating in the Dining Room, or out on the observation deck at the lodge, or along other parts at the rim edge, the canyon seems pretty darn much right in my face! In fact, I prefer not to sit near the windows in the Dining Room because I feel as though there is n-o-t-h-i-n-g holding up the lodge's foundation and that the lodge will tip over at any moment and everyone will go tumbling down into the canyon!

Anyway, it's nice that you advise folks to go to the South Rim and to skip the North Rim. Makes for less people on the North Rim. We went to the South Rim -- once. Maybe the canyon is steeper and closer on the south side whereas maybe it is more gradual on the north side. I shall take a closer look next July when we are at the north side - if I dare! (Where are the grab bars with you need em!)

Edited: 09 September 2013, 20:20
Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
58,350 posts
231 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

My point is that compared to the south rim the number of view points available is much fewer, limited. And the distance between those fewer view points is greater, distant. Bottom line is that it takes a lot of time to detour just to get to the park at the north rim. But more importantly it takes a lot more time to see even 2-3 of the view points. So for posters who inquire about stopping by the north rim as a day trip on their way to some other (very distant) destination, I say don't do it. The north rim needs and deserves more time than that.

Copper, don't worry, it's not because of my advice that fewer people go to the north rim. It's because there are fewer facilities there to accommodate visitors. Fewer rooms and cabins. Fewer dining options. Fewer roads to get you there. The park attracts and accommodates as many visitors as it can handle. Those who do go there must be in a more relaxed and less rushed travel mode. It's not a place you can just stop by to see a view and then move on.

Nevada
Level Contributor
1,975 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

Mr RedRox,

Whew! Thank you for clearing up that point. Saves me from getting close to the edge at the north rim next summer. My post above should have been, Where are the grab bars WHEN you need them!

Yes it's true, the north rim is not a drive-by. It is a destination point. We are road warriors to get there -- we drive 10 hours one day and 4 on the arrival day, and then once there, we stay at least 3 nights to savor everything. We have the routine down -- make dining reservations at least 6 months in advance, bring flashlights for the nightly 9 PM ranger guided rim walk, and make sure to stay there on a full moon for those amazing spectacular night views of the canyon.

Kendal, United...
Level Contributor
245 posts
29 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

I think you are both right, we do have a very rushed itinerary unfortunately. Our hope is to get an overview of the entire area and, as you suggest , come back and explore some areas in greater depth on other vacations.

Nevada
Level Contributor
1,975 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Route help please, north or south LV to GCNP.

Our friends who live in Prescott, AZ arrived today for a visit. They have visited only the South Rim since living in Arizona -- for maybe 10 years. Surprising to me, they said to us that they keep hearing that if you visit the North Rim once, that you will never again visit the South Rim. I am not saying that this is a hard-and-fast rule of life -- I am only saying this is what they keep hearing from people in town (Prescott town).

So they asked us, Why? Because the same thing happened to us -- we visited the NR once and now we can never go back to the SR, we would not dream of visiting the SR ever again. But we live close enough -- 12 to 14 drive hours one-way -- that we can do the NR every few years. I would describe the NR as a *slice of heaven.* The SR to us is akin to mass hysteria in a semi-arid climate and I am always looking for shade unless there is snow on the ground.

As RedRox inferred, or said, that in order to visit the North Rim it is not a drive-by. You need to plan at least one overnight.

Preferably two overnights and of course, three is better keeping in mind that the North Rim is open only from mid-May to mid-October, AND that lodging reservations must be made one year in advance. I believe reservations open on May 30 FOR THE NEXT YEAR'S SEASON. So, on May 30, 2013 reservations opened for the 2014 season. Lodging with rim views are gone for the entire season within a couple of hours once the reservations open.

Edited: 11 September 2013, 11:35