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Can I just visit and see the rim of the Grand Canyon?


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I'm driving west and my next stop is in Winslow AZ for 1 night, then Needles CA for 3 nights. 

At Winslow, I'm just 2.5 hrs from the Grand Canyon. Of course I tried looking for a spot but everything is booked. So I was thinking of just driving there, spending an hour¬†looking at it ūüėȬ†and then driving down to Needles, which is another 6 hrs away so I'd have to find a spot to spend the night along the way.

Possible to do ? I've never been there, can I just pull up in my 30' motorhome and park in a parking lot? (I have a little doggo with me, can I bring him or leave him in the RV?)

Thanks!

AM

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12 hours ago, amarie1 said:

Possible to do ?

Well, most anything is possible but you sure won't see much of the canyon. Probably a little bit better than just buying a picture postcard but not much. The Grand Canyon is more than 277 miles long so even if you see the entire NP you won't see anywhere near all of it.  The park is more than 1,218,375 acres. There are more than 50 viewpoints in the main park. 

south-rim-viewpoints-map.gif

Edited by Kirk W
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When we were there some years back we spent 6 days touring the rim and two days driving into the canyon and back with an overnight tent camping stop. There were still a number of places we would have liked to explore if we had more time...

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As far as I am concerned if you have never seen it even an hour or maybe even 15 minutes would be worth it to me.  The big issue as you mentioned is find parking for your rig within walking distance. I know in normal times there are even shuttle buses to see parts.  Ideally the first time should be at the south rim. You might want to call and ask advice about parking for your rig. Who knows they might even let you boondock in some parking area.  You will want to ask about your dog. I don't recall if you can take your dog on a leash to some areas or leave your dog in your rig.

Once many years ago I went out of my way to see it for just a couple of hours. I was not camping but traveling in my car. The weather was misty and cool.  I forget the name of the trail but it is in the developed area at the top and I believe my have been  a sidewalk.  Whey I got up to it the clouds were so thick you could not see even one foot down.  It was spectacular.  Like a giant bowl of snow cream overflowing.  I need to at least stretch my legs for the the next leg of my trip so I walked that easy trail I think a mile or less out then back. By the time I got back to the starting point I could see all the way to the bottom albeit still cloudy.   i would not take for that experience and view even if I had not been able to see into the canyon.  That is my experience one time and maybe it will help you judge if it would be worth it for you. The last time I saw the canyon I took the day train trip out of Williams, AZ. I believe the time at the rim was about 3-4 hours before the train went back.

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Check the official website for access and parking information.  Some national parks have gone to a reservation/timed entry system for day use.  I have no idea if they’ve done that with the Grand Canyon.

Do you have an extra day?  In your shoes I think I’d go from Winslow to Williams and stay there for an extra night (there’s a number of campgrounds around).  That would give you more time at the Grand Canyon.

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OK we just left the South Rim we boondocked 7 days outside the park in the forest. we were about 8 minutes from the south gate, we had no problems getting in the gate, longest delay maybe 6 or 7 minutes.

There are several RV parking lots around the visitor center, which is closed. You can walk to Mather point from the parking lot in about 5 minutes. People have dogs on the walk way.

It is over and hour drive from Williams to the south gate. Do not buy gas in Williams it is cheaper in Tusayan outside the gate.

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Here's a map for RV parking.  I'd recommend heading directly to Parking lot 'D'.  It's a little ways from the bad congested areas so you may have more luck finding a spot. 

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/rv.htm

Look at the top of the site in the black banner, under 'Basic Information' and you can read about pets.  Yes, they're allowed on above the rim.  If you can walk from the parking to the Rim Trail which runs all along the Rim, it's a nice flat walk and dogs are allowed on the Rim Trail.

I hope you have to the time to stop, if only for a short time.  It would be a shame to pass it by completely.

I don't know why you're spending 3 nights at Needles. Nothing much there.  Perhaps taking off one of them and stay in Williams and drive to the Canyon.

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If there is a consensus, it would seem to be that most anything is better than not stopping at all, but that you will probably wish you had more time there with a brief stop. Do take note of the limitations on parking for an RV and plan to get there early. One advantage to an early arrival is that it could allow you time to take the shuttle and thus see more than just a quick look. 

Be sure that you visit the Grand Canyon National Park Public Health Update page both in advance and as you arrive in the area as it is updated every day and will have the latest information needed to visit the park. 

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One DD (dear daughters) and 2 friends are going to be  in Las Vegas for about 5 days next week starting on the 5th of May.  They are thinking of taking the bus tour to the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon. It is supposed to be about 2 1/2 hours each way with.  I have never been there. Any thoughts I can impart about this to make myself look wise. They are not planning on renting a car just doing tours. I know another day one stop is Hoover Dam.

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11 hours ago, agesilaus said:

OK we just left the South Rim we boondocked 7 days outside the park in the forest. we were about 8 minutes from the south gate, we had no problems getting in the gate, longest delay maybe 6 or 7 minutes.

There are several RV parking lots around the visitor center, which is closed. You can walk to Mather point from the parking lot in about 5 minutes. People have dogs on the walk way.

It is over and hour drive from Williams to the south gate. Do not buy gas in Williams it is cheaper in Tusayan outside the gate.

This.  We stayed there about five years ago - very close and convenient - good to know that the spot is still available.   The forest boondock location is on the left side of the road as one approaches the park entrance. 

The only thing was that the road is dirt and was extremely dusty.
Best of experiences on your journey.

 

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1 hour ago, bigjim said:

One DD (dear daughters) and 2 friends are going to be  in Las Vegas for about 5 days next week starting on the 5th of May.  They are thinking of taking the bus tour to the Skywalk at the Grand Canyon. It is supposed to be about 2 1/2 hours each way with.  I have never been there. Any thoughts I can impart about this to make myself look wise. They are not planning on renting a car just doing tours. I know another day one stop is Hoover Dam.

OK from what a neighboring camper said, the skywalk is not worth the trip or the money, She said you cannot even see the canyon floor just a lot of construction activity. And the 'meal deal' was a dried up 7-11 style sandwich for $40. And they ban photography, make you leave your cell phone behind. To prevent you from showing what a bad deal it is I suppose.

 

This episode of RVerTV shows the area, I haven't looked at, been to busy:

West Rim

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thanks everyone! I've been doing a lot of research on the Grand Canyon site and my plan is to leave Winslow (where I am right now) early in the a.m. so I arrive at the South gate (the one that's open) by 9am latest; hoping to be able to park in a lot over there. I'll take the doggo and my backpack and walk around for awhile. I agree it's a must-see.

I have to be in Needles for family/business reasons is all. I will be coming back to the Grand Canyon for a longer real stay, with reservations. ūüėČ

AM

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The really nice way to see the canyon is to park your RV at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park, get on the train in the morning to the canyon, several hours to take it all in and have lunch, then the train ride back, and then hook up and head out the next day.  We've done this several times and with kids and grandkids makes it even better.  https://www.thetrain.com/

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One important thing is that the east entrance/exit to the park goes through an Indian reservation and has been closed for almost a year.  I am not sure if it is open yet or not, but check the park service.  So, you will likely have to go out and in via the south entrance, and if you leave early enough in the morning, you will have several hours to visit.  You might want to switch one of your three nights in Needles to one night in Williams, which is closer to the park, but will likely have commercial campgrounds available. Williams is where the Railway RV and several other campgrounds are located.

Edited by Solo18
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11 hours ago, Solo18 said:

One important thing is that the east entrance/exit to the park goes through an Indian reservation and has been closed for almost a year.  I am not sure if it is open yet or not, but check the park service.  

Yes, the east entrance is open and that's a good drive-thru option and exit at the south entrance.  You'd see a lot of the Canyon that way. It runs all along the Canyon rim.

https://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/conditions.htm

Edited by 2gypsies
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East entrance is definitely open and well worth the drive which is much more scenic since it passes next to the Little Colorado canyons. Most of the Indian sheds along the way were closed. As was the Navajo Tribal Park.

Lots of great viewpoints on the way to Desert View inside the park on that road. The crowds thin out quite a bit too.

We drove that way on our way to Wupitaki NM and to scout out the road before leaving that way pulling our TT. No problems towing.

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When you go back to Grand Canyon, there's a commercial RV park just outside the main gate in the town of Tusayan, which is mainly hotels and restaurants serving Grand Canyon.   You can catch the shuttle bus into the park at the hotels or at the visitor center across the street.  If you want to drive into the park the entry pass is good for a week and after you purchase it you can use the re-entry lane to bypass the lines at the gates.

There's also a couple of Forest Service campgrounds nearby that don't show up on any of the reservation sites. 

https://www.google.com/search?q=tusayan%2C+az+campgrounds

 

Edited by Lou Schneider
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  • 5 weeks later...

thank you all for your help. I did drive up from Winslow that morning and when I arrived there was barely a line ... it was 9a.m. Plenty of parking for my RV. I spent a couple hours walking the rim with the doggo and taking pix, then headed to Needles, arrived like at 4p. It worked out perfectly. And was definitely worth it!

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46 minutes ago, amarie1 said:

thank you all for your help. I did drive up from Winslow that morning and when I arrived there was barely a line ... it was 9a.m. Plenty of parking for my RV. I spent a couple hours walking the rim with the doggo and taking pix, then headed to Needles, arrived like at 4p. It worked out perfectly. And was definitely worth it!

Glad to hear it went well for you. Thanks for coming back and telling us.

Linda

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18 hours ago, amarie1 said:

thank you all for your help. I did drive up from Winslow that morning and when I arrived there was barely a line ... it was 9a.m. Plenty of parking for my RV. I spent a couple hours walking the rim with the doggo and taking pix, then headed to Needles, arrived like at 4p. It worked out perfectly. And was definitely worth it!

Wow.  I went through Needles yesterday going south to north.  The heat was brutal in the morning, I can imagine what it was like at 4 PM!

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16 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

Wow.  I went through Needles yesterday going south to north.  The heat was brutal in the morning, I can imagine what it was like at 4 PM!

I spent one night in Needles at 115 degrees and my 2 a/c's barely made it livable. Never again....also filled up with diesel because it was an easy in/easy out station.......back then $5.35 gallon, stupid mistake...crossed the border a mile away and it was $1.50 gallon cheaper.

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