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What are the best points on the South Rim?

Des Moines, Iowa
4 posts
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What are the best points on the South Rim?

Me, wife, 12 yr old boy & 3 yr old girl will be staying in Williams and plan to drive to South Rim.

Is it easy to drive to the points or do we need to plan on walking a lot?

Me and wife love photography and plan on taking lots of photos, are there better points than others for that?

Thanks,

Trevor

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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7,559 posts
15 reviews
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1. Re: What are the best points on the South Rim?

The South Rim area of the National Park encompasses over 30 miles of viewpoints, all easily accessible from a road that runs along the rim. The road east of the main Village area is called "Desert View Road" and it can be driven in your own vehicle. The road to the west is called "Hermit Road" and is only open to park shuttles (except in winter.)

You can basically walk as much or as little as you want. The rim is only a few steps from the road or parking lot at each of the viewpoints. There's are rim paths that you can walk, if desired.

>> Me and wife love photography and plan on taking lots of photos, are there better points than others for that?

You will not want for photo ops anywhere along the rim. Trust me. What's "better" is really a matter of personal preference. Some of my favorite pictures were taken right in front of the rim lodges, in the main part of the Village. That said, IMO, the time of day will make a bigger difference than the exact location, and that leads me to question why you're planning to stay in Williams instead of in the Park.

Williams is 60 miles away from the Park, which makes it less than ideal when you want to be at the rim at sunrise and sunset. The Canyon is the most dramatic at those time of the day when the sun is low on the horizon. If it's at all possible, consider changing your accommodations to one of the lodges in the Park. There are 6 of them, all within the main Village area. Go to the following website for descriptions and prices and if the online reservation site doesn't show any availability, call them for cancellations:

www.grandcanyonlodges.com

This is the current visitor's guide for the South Rim. It contains lots of useful info about the layout of the Park, ranger programs, restaurant/shop hours, day hikes, etc.:

nps.gov/grca/…SRsummer2014_tabloid.pdf

Des Moines, Iowa
4 posts
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2. Re: What are the best points on the South Rim?

The reason we are staying in Williams is we are renting a cabin that has a kitchen and we plan on cooking all breakfest & dinner meals to save money, it has washer & dryer, & 2 bedrooms. Also, the wife has a friend in Flagstaff that we will visit one day, and we plan on spending a day in Sedona.

Des Moines, Iowa
4 posts
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3. Re: What are the best points on the South Rim?

I just did a reservation check from the website you posted and they have nothing available for our dates.

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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4. Re: What are the best points on the South Rim?

The money you save by staying at Williams you will give back in loss of time and transportation costs commuting to the park, Flag and Sedona.

There are no "best" points at the GC, though many people have favorites. The best IMO are the places where other people aren't. And the best times for sure are around dawn and dusk. The fact that you're staying over an hour away from the park will make it tougher for you to be there at these critical times without driving in darkness, which is strongly discouraged.

Not trying to spoil your plan. Just stating facts and opinions.

Use the park website to become familiar with how to move about the park efficiently. Walking long distances is not a requirement.

Call Xanterra for up to the minute inventory information. 888-297-2757 Rooms do get cancelled but they get quickly rebooked by telephone and never show up on the website. Persistence will usually result in success.

Ann Arbor, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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5. Re: What are the best points on the South Rim?

>> I just did a reservation check from the website you posted and they have nothing available for our dates.

I'm not convinced that their website is working properly. Too many inconsistencies since they redesigned the site a few months ago. If you're really considering staying in the Park, give them a call at (888) 297-2757. Their phone customer service is very good. (Don't call the first of the month; they get innundated with Phantom Ranch reservation calls.)

I can certainly understand the appeal of renting a house but I would encourage you to try to do one early morning drive to the Canyon. Get on the road at dawn. The morning light at the Canyon is gorgeous for a couple of hours after sunrise. Plan to have a nice breakfast at El Tovar afterwards.

Des Moines, Iowa
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6. Re: What are the best points on the South Rim?

Thanks everyone for your tips and suggestions.

7. Re: What are the best points on the South Rim?

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