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Grand Canyon trip next year


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We've been to the Canyon often. If this is your first visit I'd suggest you go to the South Rim. You can see more of the canyon. Personally, we love the North Rim for the quietness but we've been to the South Rim 4x previously.


So...for the South Rim definitely stay at Trailer Village in the park itself for the best overall experience. It has full hookups and is near the Rim. The free shuttle stops just outside the RV park so it's very convenient. It's the only hookup place in the park.


By taking the free shuttle you can get on and off whenever you want - at designated stops. This is a good way to walk on the Rim Trail which is mostly flat and it all overlooks the vast expanse of the canyon. You could hike and pick up the next shuttle coming by. I see you have dogs and parts of the Rim Trial allows dogs which is unusual for national parks.


Even though you're not able to do extensive hiking do hike down the Bright Angel Trail if only for 1/8 miles or so - just enough to get you below the Rim. It will really give you a feel of the Canyon itself. Just remember - you have to climb uphill on the return so don't over extend yourself and carry water.


There are many good ranger programs to attend including short walks. Drive to the east entrance (or you could enter from there also, depending where you're coming from) and check out the Desert View area - some interesting things that direction.


Some folks say to stay in Williams and take the train to the Canyon. I would disagree. First, the train ride is through open desert and not much to see. Importantly, you would only get about 3 hr at the Canyon before having to board again for the return. This is definitely not enough time.


We've hiked to the bottom of Bright Angel Trail and also rafted 9 nights through the Canyon. We haven't taken a helicopter ride and if you think mules are an easy way to get down - they're not. You are leaning forward down the trail and leaning backward going up - very uncomfortable we've heard from others.


Check out the official national park's web site for detailed information.


On edit I forgot to include the site. http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm


If you can do so, April or Sept/Oct are ideal times to go - before the vacation rush. This is a major destination for foreigners. :)


As long as you're in the area there are many other wonderful parks and places to check out.....Sedona, AZ, Zion, Bryce National Parks and Indian ruins around the Flagstaff area. Have a great trip!

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We haven't done a helicopter at the canyon but we did one at Bryce and it was well worth the money. I'd suggest checking what helicopter you'll be in and how many folks will be in there with you. We picked a small helicopter and waited for a flight window where it would be just us and the pilot.

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I was thinking I need to bring a collapsible chair and a book so I can sit at one of the viewpoints and just breathe in and admire the views. I know if I don't bring a chair we will do a quick look and leave which I don't want to :) I would love to take time to really see it.

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If you only have four days, then the South Rim would be the place to visit since it is quite a bit further to the North Rim. The National Park CG closes facilities (water is about it) over Labor Day. This CG is great as is the one at Lee's Ferry on the Colorado on the way over there. There are several commercial CGs on north side that have very good reviews.

Reed and Elaine

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When you went were you satisfied with just looking from the rim? Or do you think the full experience of a helicopter or plane ride over the canyon is worth it? I checked into the prices and it's expensive so want to make sure that looking over the rim is awe inspiring on it's own or not.

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The helicopter ride looks great, but the view from the south rim is so spectacular I was satisfied with that. There are ranger talks most nights at the amphitheater that are fun and informative. I'll second staying at the trailer village in the park. Nothing fancy but you can catch the shuttle buses and go all over the place. You do need to make reservations far in advance, though. We made reservations one year in February for early June and got the last spot we could have fit into. We were there for a week and saw them turn campers away every day. I did the hike down Bright Angel to the first stop at the restrooms. I recommend taking off at first light before it heats up, because what does down must come back up and it's a killer when it gets hot.

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