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  1. #1

    Default Las Vegas, NV to Grand Canyon - April 2013


    I'm looking for some advice regarding a trip to Vegas I'll be taking in April 2013 and hoping just to get some insight while I'm planning. I'll be flying into Las Vegas on Sunday (04/14) and I'll be there through Thursday (04/18). My birthday is that Monday (04/15), so I don't plan to do any travelling outside of Las Vegas before Tuesday the 16th.

    My initial idea is to rent a car Tuesday - Wednesday and head to go see the Grand Canyon. From everything I've read, I expect that trip to be between 4.5-6 hours one-way. I'd try to get on the road (relatively) early on Tuesday morning and head towards the GC aiming to be there sometime early to mid afternoon. I'm looking into getting a hotel for the night and leaving to return to Las Vegas on Wednesday morning.

    I'm wondering if anyone would have suggestions for 1) where best to view the Canyon from - I've heard the North Rim offers the best views, and 2) what other stop-worthy sights/attractions could I try to incorporate into this side-trip? I don't necessarily want to feel rushed to get back in the car at any of these stops. On the flipside, I also don't really plan on spending 8 hours at a single attraction - meaning I'll probably pass on the donkey ride into the Canyon, I'm not really a hiker, etc.

    I'm also wondering what would be a good stopping point for Tuesday night (keeping in mind it would just be for sleeping, so I'd lean towards the 'cheaper' accomodations)? And is there a route that I should look to take that would make the drive more of an experience? I'm currently thinking I'd take Rt. 66 on the way to the Grand Canyon.

    I guess I would consider this a "day trip" with the possibility of an overnight stay before returning.

    I'm sorry for the novel, but just trying to give you an idea of what timelines I'll be working with. Any input is greatly appreciated! Thanks!
    Last edited by benjaminm13; 01-28-2013 at 05:59 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Traveling in April means the South Rim will be your only option for visiting the Grand Canyon. The north rim closes for the winter, and doesn't reopen until mid-may.

    If you're looking for a budget hotel, then looking in Williams or Flagstaff will be your best bet (about an hour drive from the Canyon).

    Even if you don't plan on hiking, it is easy to underestimate just how big the Canyon is. There are miles of viewpoints, and all of them offer something different. You also are required to take a shuttle bus to many of the viewpoints.

    What you might do is something like this: Get up early and drive directly to the Canyon on Tuesday. Spend as much time there as you can, leaving out the east gate, which includes many more viewpoints that you can drive to, and spend the night in Flagstaff. Spend the morning there, checking out places like Walnut Canyon, Sunset Crater, or Sedona, and then make your way back to Vegas, detouring onto old Route 66 and perhaps making a stop at the Hoover Dam.

    I think Zion or any place in Utah would really be too much for the time you've got available.

  3. #3


    All excellent points, thank you!

    Good to know about the North Rim, I hadn't considered seasonal closings. I also had a feeling that I would be stretching it trying to cram Zion into the trip. I think my other concern that I forgot to consider would be appearing to be M.I.A. for 2 days during the vacation, since I'd be in Las Vegas as part of a larger group of family. I could swing a day and a night away to go see the GC without offending anyone too badly.

    I think that trying to incorporate a stop in Sedona is going to be much more feasible with the timeframe I'm looking at. Thank you so much!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Mandatory Overnight

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    If you really want to see the Grand Canyon, another sight or two, and drive old Route 66, then this simply can't be a day trip from Las Vegas. You'll have to spend a night (at a minimum) somewhere on the road. I'd almost say that for sure, even if you just were just going to the Canyon. Also, the only way to do what you want is to go to the South Rim, which is actually where the vast majority of the images of the Canyon you've seen were shot. The South Rim also has the advantage that there is a road along a roughly 25 mile section of the Canyon, whereas the road into the North Rim goes only to a single location.

    The longest remaining section of old US-66 is now marked as AZ-66 between Kingman and Seligman going through Peach Springs. Note that once you start down this road you are pretty much committed to going all the way, there are no easy ways back to I-40. Other attractions that you should consider, depending on your tastes, are the Navajo Trading Post at Cameron, Wupatki, Sunset Crater, and Walnut Canyon National Monuments, and Lowell Observatory and the Museum of Northern Arizona (anthropology) in Flagstaff.


  5. #5


    I completely agree with you about needing to spend a night on the road somewhere. Could I do the 6 hours and then turn and burn back to Vegas in one day? Probably? But I know I wouldn't want to. Even with a second driver, I'd rather not spend 12+ hours of a day in the car. I did have some interest in either Wupatki, Sedona, or possibly Sunset Crater, but that was just based on a few of the other threads I've found here. I would guess that whoever will be joining me on the trip is probably also going to have their own preference, so there will definitely be some discussion to figure out a secondary stop.

    As far as the route is concerned, I'm trying to keep in mind that I'm from the northeast and have never really seen desert-landscape (outside of shows on the Discovery Channel), so I'm not 100% certain what kind of drive I'd be getting myself into. Google maps helps a little bit. To me, it looks like I'd have the option of taking 66 from/to 93 in Kingman, or sticking straight to I-40 from/to 93.

    I guess I could always take 40 on the way there and 66 on the way back (or vice versa)? As far as the drive is concerned, I wonder which option would be more enjoyable?
    Last edited by AZBuck; 01-28-2013 at 08:34 PM. Reason: Removed quote of entire p;revious post

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Understood

    As long as you're going to be taking two days for this out-and-back from Las Vegas, you might as well enjoy your first taste of the true Southwest. To that end I'll suggest two specific routes. The one you've already discussed is AZ-66 between Kingman and Seligman, either east or west bound. While this is two-lane road, the speed limit will approach that found on I-40 and you won't lose too much time by using it. What you will gain is a sense of what driving in the west was like before the Interstates. The other route is AZ-89A south from Flagstaff to Sedona. This will give you an entirely different feel for the southwest as you wind through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Taking AZ-66 from Kingman to Seligman adds 1 hour to the trip over taking I-40 if you don't make any significant stops.

    The most convenient place to spend the night would be in Tusayan, but expect to pay around $150 to $200 for a room. The Cameron Trading Post has a lodge which would cost around $80. Any cheaper than that would require you go to Williams or Flagstaff. If you make reservations NOW, you may be able to get accommodations inside the park for less than $100. Go to, then search for Grand Canyon and find the lodging link.

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