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suggested hikes and road conditions

Los Angeles...
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suggested hikes and road conditions

Hi,

I am planning to go to the Grand Canyon South Rim next week from Las Vegas. I basically plan to leave Las Vegas early to have some daylight left. I am staying in the "Bright Angel Lodge & Cabins" for one night, so I have a second day there. I do not mind driving in the dark, so I plan to stay in the park until it is dark.

I will be driving in a small rental car. I am in my twenties, reasonably sportive, I have been hiking in National Parks before for maybe 10 days, so not a whole lot of experience. It will be my first time in Grand Canyon (or Arizona for that matter).

My questions:

What are road conditions likely to be? A lot of snow / ice at the moment (or expected)?

Do you have any suggested hikes? I need to be able to reach the start with the rental car, so paved roads only.

Is there anything available (food, gas,...) around my accommodation? Or any suggestions where I should get gas?

Thanks!

tucson az
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1. Re: suggested hikes and road conditions

Sounds like you need to look at the park website and get an idea what is there.

nps.gov/grca

Unless some storm sweeps in, road conditions are fine. Forecasts are for mostly sunny days in the mid 40s.

Everyone thinks it's necessary to hike when you visit GCNP. You can, from mild walking along the rim to taking a trail down for some distance. But only if you want.

You will have access to the entire road system in your car as the shuttles to the west overlooks don;t operate in December, and you are allowed to drive there. And don't miss the east road to Desert View. If you are staying at Bright Angel, the canyon is right there outside your door. Food is available in several venues close by. Gas is available in the park, and there is a grocery store.

If you can afford, get a little larger than a "small rental car." Just for your comfort. You plan to drive at night. It will be very dark, and wildlife crosses the roads in the park and on Hwy 64 between Williams and GCNP. Don't drive the speed limit at night.

It will be freezing morning, late afternoon and evening. Have layers for the daytime, and gloves/mittens, scarf and hat. Warm footwear; extra pair of socks with some "bulk." Bring a water bottle (they no longer sell bottled water in the park) and a flashlight.

Edited: 11 December 2013, 07:43
Uden, The...
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2. Re: suggested hikes and road conditions

Gas in Az is cheaper than in Nevada (and Ca) and fuel along az64 and in GC is more expensive than filling up in the town of Williams. You also can stock up food at the Safeway driving into Williams and refill the tank. On the way back use a Kingman pump again before heading back into Nevada

On your way to GC or back to LV there're parts of R66 and Hoover Dam. You'll lose one hour in the GC direction and gain one hour on the drive back.

Roadconditions in Az at: www.az511.com

South Jersey, USA
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3. Re: suggested hikes and road conditions

Hiking below the rim may be a bit of a challenge in that the trails very likely will be covered in snow and ice! You will need some type of traction device for your boots if you decide to go down just a bit!! The top part of the trails will be the worse for ice and snow! I would advise that you ask either at the Back country office or Transportation desk on the over all conditions of the trail before you start ANY hike! Bright Angel Trail head is right there by the cabins so once you park your car you can walk to it!

All that being said, there is still a lot you can do without hiking on a trail that goes below the rim. Go into www.nps.gov/grca and/or www.hitthetrail.com for loads of info on the park and trails!

SJG

Sedona, AZ
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4. Re: suggested hikes and road conditions

Pay attention to the advice from the experts. You don't need to hike extensively to get the most out of your Grand Canyon experience, it's more about the time you are there to view and take it in, mostly from the rim view points.

Your lack of fear of driving in the darkness is not a good thing. Your eyes and brain aren't accustomed to the total darkness that you'll encounter in the high desert. Furthermore you should expect black ice and wildlife on the roads after sundown. Many of the critters will be larger than your small rental car. If you must drive in the darkness, do it only on the interstate highway. Be off AZ64 at Williams before dark.

Los Angeles...
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5. Re: suggested hikes and road conditions

Thank you very much! As I have never been there before, your comments are very valuable to me.

So Williams is about 60 mi from Bright Angel. The national park service says that sunset is around 5:15.

nps.gov/grca/…sunrise_set_moon.htm

Would leaving at 3:30 be early enough? I am not sure what speed will be safe on AZ64 (I guess I will see on my way there), but sunset 5:15 means that it will be getting darker at that time but not completely dark until 5:45 or so?

Your help is very much appreciated!

Would the Grand Canyon Rim Trail be safe to walk?

Not going down the rim will just give me another reason to come back, so that's fine :-)

@Tet14:

"On your way to GC or back to LV there're parts of R66 and Hoover Dam. You'll lose one hour in the GC direction and gain one hour on the drive back."

To make sure I understand it correctly: I will loose an hour if I visit those places, so the way back is an hour faster than the way there, right? Or is there anything slowing down eastbound traffic?

tucson az
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6. Re: suggested hikes and road conditions

The rim trail should be safe to walk.

Tet's comments about time are about the fact that Las Vegas is on Pacific Standard Time and Arizona is on Mountain Standard Time.

Sedona, AZ
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7. Re: suggested hikes and road conditions

Plan to be inside the park, out of your car and planted somewhere along the rim at least a half hour before sun set.

8. Re: suggested hikes and road conditions

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Edited: 14 February 2014, 19:18
Fortaleza, CE
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9. Re: suggested hikes and road conditions

Road conditions can change quickly. We drove from Laughlin, NV just before New Years about 3 years ago, started seeing a few snowflakes soon after getting on I-40, and by the time we got to Williams, the snow was heavy enough to coat the highway, and a few cars were skidding around, so we pulled off and stayed at a hotel there (glad we stopped early). Kachina Lodge at the South Rim graciously allowed us to cancel that night's reservation without penalty. Snow continued until late at night, and many, many people stopped at the same hotel. Next morning, we drove to the GC without problem. Only issues were some icy parts of the sidewalk in back of the rim-side hotels, and snow reducing the number of parking spaces available in many locations. Still had a good time. Drive out was easy.

Friends who were an hour ahead of us made it to the GC the first day without problem, though they said the storm made it difficult to see into the canyon.

Edited: 12 December 2013, 18:28
Los Angeles...
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10. Re: suggested hikes and road conditions

Thank you for your help!

@ Copper_JackRabbit:

Coming from Europe originally, I am still not quite used to thinking about different time zones while driving a car ;-)