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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Cornell University, Upstate NY
    Posts
    41

    Default Grand Canyon from Palm Springs

    Hi everyone,

    I've just decided on the spur of the moment to take a few days and drive up to the Grand Canyon from Palm Springs. I will leave tomorrow, spend 2 nights at the Grand Canyon (have a reservation at the El Tovar) and then slowly make my way back into California. I was just wondering, since I have never done the drive before, what the quickest (and/or most scenic) route would be, and how long it would take factoring in traffic etc.

    I was also thinking of driving up to Bryce Canyon from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for a night, and then driving back home the next day. How long would that drive take up to Bryce Canyon? I'm not in a rush, but would like to be back by Friday evening, so would be prepared to drive all day Friday on the way home.

    Thanks a lot for the help!
    Nicholas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,326

    Default Go for it

    Spur of the moment trips can be some of the best, as long as you don't overextend yourself. I don't think that's a problem with this trip. The quickest and most scenic route from Palm Springs to the Grand Canyon is I-10 to Blythe, then taking US-95 north to I-40, finishing with AZ-64 and US-180 into the park.If you find yourself a bit ahead of schedule, you can take the old section of US-66 between Kingman and Seligman, AZ.

    The drive from the Grand Canyon to Bryce around the east side of the canyon is a little under 300 miles by numbered highways, so you should be able to do it comfortably in 6-7 hours. The drive back to Palm Springs, although longer than your starting drive to the Grand Canyon, will take less time since it is a straight shot down I-15 into the LA basin before turning for home

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,053

    Default An alternative routing

    Quote Originally Posted by NH87
    I've just decided on the spur of the moment to take a few days and drive up to the Grand Canyon from Palm Springs.
    Nicholas, nice to hear from you again. I know you need to make tracks, but... here is another route idea (although AZBuck's is a good one).

    Take CA-62 up the hill, through the Morongo Valley and Yucca Valley and then hence to the east to Earp (and checking out the Rock Art) along the way. At Earp, if you have time you can cross the Colorado River and take AZ-95 north to I-40 (very scenic views from Arizona of the Colorado river area -and you can get a photo of the London Bridge) and then on to the Grand or if you are pressed for time when you reach US-95 at Vidal Junction, zoom north to the I-40 and then east. If you really have some time -- take the detour (of sorts) to Oatman on old route 66 on the way to Kingman and I-40.
    I was also thinking of driving up to Bryce Canyon from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for a night, and then driving back home the next day. How long would that drive take up to Bryce Canyon?
    I did a similar trip in one day from the north rim -- here is that report.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Cornell University, Upstate NY
    Posts
    41

    Default

    Thanks for all the help Mark and AZBuck! I took some ideas from both of you and have to say the drive could not have gone better. I attach below a report of the trip:

    Starting out from Palm Springs, my Dad and I (visiting from Switzerland) drove all the way to the Grand Canyon South Rim through some spectacular scenery and stopped several times along the way, being in no hurry to arrive at the park before dark. I-10 to Blythe, followed by Route 95 up to Needles brought us to the beginning of historic route 66 which we followed all the way to Seligman before rejoining the I-40. Along the way we stopped in the town of Oatman, a wonderful old western mining town which felt like we had just travelled back 100 years in time!

    At the Grand Canyon, we spent two nights at the El Tovar (were very lucky to get reservations) and during the day hiked down the Bright Angel Trail to Plateau pt and back up to the rim. Hiking down 3000 ft with a roundtrip distance of 12 miles was a full-day excursion but well worth it! From plateau pt we had fantastic views of the canyon from below as well as terrific views of the Colorado river.

    On day 3 we drove out East along Route 64 stopping at at least a dozen viewpoints scattered along the south rim and then made our way up north along Route 89 stopping in Page for lunch and then arriving at Ruby's Inn at Bryce Canyon at sunset.

    We woke up early the following day and drove down into the park (unfortunately couldn't drive all the way down since the road below Bryce Pt. was closed due to recent heavy snowfall) and visited all the view pts that were open. It had snowed heavily the night before and the sun just happened to come out in the morning before covering up again, so we were very lucky to have some fantastic views of the canyon with the fresh snow. We then took a walk down along one of the trails which was also fantastic! It's absolutely amazing walking down below the rim and being able to look up at the massive red-rock hoodoos which look so much smaller when standing on the rim. It was a challenging walk in the snow, but worth it for the views it gave us and the for the very few other people who shared the trail.

    After lunch at the Inn, we drove down south and through Zion NP along the Mount Carmel Highway which was also spectacular, although the weather had unfortunately worsened which limited the views we were offered from the road. We stopped at a couple places for pictures, and then continued the drive into Las Vegas where we stopped at the Bellagio for a wonderful meal, before hitting the road again. It was getting very late, but we wanted to get home the same night, so it was around 22:30 when we finally left Las Vegas and around 2:30 when we got home after driving through every type of weather imaginable!

    1300 miles on the road and every stretch was worth it! Below is a link to some of the photos taken during the trip. Enjoy!

    http://community.webshots.com/user/nhippenmeyer
    Last edited by NH87; 03-15-2006 at 09:06 PM.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,053

    Default 1300 miles on the road and every stretch was worth it!

    Hiking down 3000 ft with a roundtrip distance of 12 miles was a full-day excursion but well worth it! From plateau pt we had fantastic views of the canyon from below as well terrific views of the Colorado river.
    Great field report -- thanks for the link to the photos! You captured some truly awesome shots! Gorgeous! I can't believe you did that hike as a day hike. You and your Dad must be in very good shape!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 03-15-2006 at 08:52 PM. Reason: added comment

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Cornell University, Upstate NY
    Posts
    41

    Default

    We were originally planning on hiking all the way down to the river (a 16 mile round-trip), but the NPS strongly discourages that so we left a bit later and decided just to do the Plateau pt (which was more than enough walking for both of us!)

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