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  1. Default Grand Canyon North Rim-Cape Royal Drive-Suitable in an RV?

    Hi All
    We are a family of 6 from the UK planning a 4 week trip to the US this summer including a 10 day RV roadtrip visiting Mount Zion NP, Grand Canyon North Rim, Monument Valley and Bryce Canyon. I have read that the Cape Royal Drive at the North Rim is very scenic but have seen a post suggesting it isn't suitable for RVs, is this really the case?
    Thanks in advance for any help!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default As Always: It Depends

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Cape Royal Drive itself is one of the great scenic drives in America, and ends at one of the best viewpoints of all for the Grand Canyon. BUT it is twisty with hair-pin turns, and has steep grades in spots. A good indication of how easy it is to drive is that even though it is only 13 miles long, most people take about 45 minutes to drive its complete length, for an average speed of only about 17 mph. Whether or not you should drive it in your RV is a matter of both your RV's dimensions and your own familiarity with the vehicle. If you were driving your own Class B rig, I'd say "By all means: Do it!" But if you're driving a Class A rental, this is probably going to be way too much of a challenge.

    A couple of other things to note: Cape Royal Drive is going to be closed entirely from time to time this summer for repairs. The dates are listed on the NPS web site and you should check that out. Most people try to get to Cape Royal to catch the spectacular sunrises or sunsets. This makes the drive even more challenging for the oversized vehicle and you may need to factor the time-of-day into your decision on whether to attempt the drive or not.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    An RV suitable for 6 people may be too large to take that road safely. I would consult with a ranger before attempting it.

  4. Default

    Thanks for the replies. Our rental RV is going to be 30 feet. I'll take your advice and ask the rangers at the North Rim. I'm hoping it's going to be possible as it would be a real shame to miss out on the drive and the various associated trails.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Don't Count On It

    Thirty feet is the length of two full-sized cars placed end-to-end. But your RV won't be articulated in the middle. And it will be wider. And heavier. Even if you could manage to negotiate the road, I suspect you would only be able to do so by taking both lanes on some of the sharper curves meaning that you'd be a significant traffic hazard to everyone else on the road. There are trade-offs to every choice we make in RoadTripping, as in life, and in this case the trade-off is carrying all the comforts of home with you in/as your vehicle and not being able to move that vehicle/house down every road that you would like.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Those trade-offs.

    I agree with Buck... there are trade-offs. I would hate to meet a 30' vehicle on that road. Many less experienced drivers might freak out.


  7. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mikejay View Post
    Our rental RV is going to be 30 feet.
    You're right on the limit!

    "Vehicles longer than 30 feet (9 m) are not recommended on the roads to Cape Royal and Point Imperial"

  8. Default

    Thanks for the link thats really helpful. As you say we will be right on the limit, I'll see what the local rangers say.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default The operators discretion

    It's as much about the width with a class 'C' RV, normally in the region 8ft 4inches width. Two other potential problems with a class 'C' [the most popular rental] is that first of all everything behind the cab is wider than your driving position looking forward. The mirrors are a good guide when going through a gap that has sides, but not so good for judging the centre line of the road or the edge. You have to use the mirrors for that. The other thing you will need to be aware of is that on tight turns there is a lot of overhang behind the back wheels on a 30ft RV causing more 'swing out' than a shorter one, imagine turning yourself around with a small plank of wood on your shoulder, your going to hit anything that is too close. This is worth remembering with everday driving, especially when pulling away from petrol pumps and parked cars etc.

    I have actually driven a 30ft RV where 'recommended' [not legally required] limits have been 22ft, but this has been out of peak season with a lot less traffic about and pretty sure a Ranger would not recommend it, but that would be an opinion. Much will depend on how you have adjusted and how confident you feel about getting out of a tight situation if the need arises. I have had to do so and I have witnessed the aftermath of a sports car hitting the side of an RV on the overhang behind the cab while travelling in the opposite direction on a mountain road. The impact looked to be right on the centre line of the road and impossible to say who was to blame, but at the end of the day, it probably spoiled both their vacations. None of this is meant to either encourage or discourage you, just some food for thought to make an informed decision. I should also mention that I have had a lot of experience with 40ft plus commercial vehicle units before driving an RV.

    By the way, when driving an RV on 2 lane roads it is always best to use a safe pull out where possible to let any traffic held up behind you go past. Not only will you get a toot of the horn and a friendly wave [better than the International 2 finger salute ;-) ] it will take the pressure off of you.

    One more thing. If you head out of Zion on the Mt Carmel highway [a beautiful drive] you will need to pay an extra fee to get through the tunnel and queue for a little while so they can stop traffic entering the other end. This is to allow you to drive down the centre and avoid taking the roof off on the sides of the arch. I hope you have booked your RV sites as the NP's are very popular with only a limited number of sites. [I know that's two things !] lol

  10. Default

    Thanks for the info Dave it will be my first time in such a long vehicle so the tips are really helpful. Hopefully I can also find some useful online info/you-tube clips on RV driving.
    I'll keep in mind your suggestion for easing traffic build up behind us.

    We were hoping to go to the canyon overlook trail in Zion which I gather means taking a drive thru the tunnel but I e-mailed the rangers who suggested it was best avoided in an RV. I might check again when we get there.

    We have booked all our RV sites, we only managed to get 2 of our 3 night north rim stay within the NP, the other night we'll be staying a few miles outside of the entrance to the park.

    I'd also welcome any comments on whether driving up the moki dugway on the way from Monument Valley to Bryce is out of the question in such a large RV-it looks a bit hairy from what I've seen. BTW it's not that I'm seeking out the trickiest roads!!

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