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  1. Default San Diego to Grand Canyon (South RIM)-Best Route

    Hello All,

    I am planning a road trip with my parents from San Diego to Grand Canyon (South RIM) coming long weekend. I am planning to leave SD at around 4:00 AM (early morning) on Saturday 24th May so that I can reach GC by sunset.

    I would like to which is the best route to GC from SD, in terms of scenic drives, rest areas (since my parents are not young, frequent stops for nature calls) and accessibility to services. From what I see I have 2 major option, I40 and the I8 route. I would like to know which is best for me.

    Since I have my parents (late 50s) with me, I would like to take very safe route (in terms of enough rest areas or gas stations) over a scenic one.

    Appreciate your response.

    Thank you,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default That's a long day -- no matter what age you are!

    Quote Originally Posted by mihir View Post
    ...(since my parents are not young,
    Mihir, welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum. Since I am older than either of your parents and I still consider myself to be young -- I would bet they do too. Both I-40 and I-8 have gas stations and rest areas along the routes.

    But I-8 doesn't make much sense -- the fastest route from San Diego is I-15 to I-40 to Williams and north on AZ-64. It's about 547 miles and if you drive at the speed limit and stop a couple of times for food and fuel it will take about 9.5 hours. Which is a long day by anyone's standard.

    Using I-8, would add about 2-3 hours travel time.

    Are you staying at the South Rim or what is your final destination for the day? (And I see you figured out how to use the forum before I had a chance to reply to your e-mail).


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default A busy weekend.

    Granted, the roads will be busy over the long weekend. But leaving at 4am you will have more than enough time to make frequent stops and still get to the South Rim long before sunset. I would follow the route above. In the past I have found that to be an enjoyable route to travel, through the desert.

    You could take a slight detour between Seligman and Kingman, and experience a little of what is left of historic Route 66.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Mark, taking I-8 adds an hour at most, it's a very viable alternate. This assumes you take AZ-85/I-10/Loop-101 to I-17 to get around/through Phoenix and also lets you go into the park through the eastern entrance.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    On the occasions that I've had to go from San Diego to Flagstaff, I have tried BOTH I-8 to I-17 and I-15 to I-40. If you don't run into any traffic snags in the LA area, you're fine. But I have bad memories of being stuck in a jam at the top of Cajon Pass for 4 hours in a bus filled with 40+ HS'ers. We would have been better off going over I-8 to AZ-85 to Loop 101 to I-17. Then you can go into the Grand Canyon from the eastern entrance.


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