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  1. Default LA to Vegas via Grand Canyon

    Hi,

    Looking for advice on this road trip. We are a family of 3, myself, my husband and our 15 yo son. We've logged many miles on road trips, so hitting the road isn't new for us, we've done trips such as NH to the Keys, NH to Ontario and NH to the 4 Corners.

    This July we are looking at a shorter trip, starting in Los Angeles and ending in Las Vegas. Starting and ending points are fixed as are the dates. Here is the itinerary I have so far:

    Friday AM - Leave LA, drive to Sedona, AZ. Overnight in Sedona
    Saturday - Tour Sedona in the AM, drive to GCNP, South Rim. Overnight @ El Tovar
    Sunday - Sunrise @ South Rim then drive to North Rim. Overnight @ Grand Canyon Lodge
    Monday - Sunrise @ North Rim then drive to Las Vegas.

    I need to be in Las Vegas ~ 3pm to setup for a tradeshow.

    I've also considered going from South Rim to Bryce Canyon and overnight there on Sunday. It would be closer to Vegas but I like the idea of experiencing both sides of the canyon and I was fortunate enough to get reservations at both rims just this week. We've also never been to Grand Canyon.

    Is the itinerary ok? Any suggestions on the route from North Rim to Vegas?

    Thanks,
    Julie

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,969

    Default You may get more from less.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    It would work but in my opinion, your attempt to see the canyon from both sides would ultimately end with you seeing less of the Grand canyon. Personally speaking I think you would get more from just spending the time at the South rim and enjoy it at a relaxed pace, possibly visiting Monument valley and entering by the east kiosk. It's going to be 5 hours drive between rims and to be inside and ready for the show set up you will need to allow 6 hours to get to LV. If you want to loop round and get an easier drive into Vegas then Zion NP fits best as it's the closest to Vegas, saves time and miles overall and is an amazing National park !

  3. Default

    Thanks for the advice!

    We have done Monument park, we did it on the 4 Corners roadtrip (that was tied into a tradeshow I had to work in Denver, CO !).

    I could only get the one night at El Tovar or I'd have probably done the 2 nights there. So the biggest question I have on the itinerary is to keep the North Rim reservation or skip it and do Bryce or Zion instead.

    Thanks,
    Julie

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,969

    Default

    Well Bryce is adding miles and doesn't get you a lot closer to Vegas. Zion is the most direct and gives you more Leeway in getting back to Vegas on time. Of course you could look for alternative accommodation just outside the south rim in Flagstaff, Cameron or Williams. It would give you a little more time to check out the Sedona area as well. All great options so go with the one that appeals to you the most.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    200

    Default The North Rim is really pretty Grand!

    Hello!

    Not meaning to be contrary, but your original plan is actually a pretty good one. The North Rim is quite different from the South Rim. The Grand Canyon National Park as a whole gets more than six million visitors in a year; 90% of them go to the South Rim, so it gets outrageously crowded. Many would argue that the best views are at the South Rim, but the North Rim has a different character, and the relative lack of crowds provides a far more intimate experience. Since your time is limited, you could certainly do worse than to make the canyon your main focus. Not everyone sees the North Rim--so you'd get bragging rights! The drive south from Jacob Lake is beautiful, lined with Aspen trees. Cape Royal Overlook, is a 46 mile round trip from the lodge; it's so remote, you might actually have it to yourself, and it offers a 270 degree view of the canyon, the widest view from ANY overlook, at either rim!

    On the drive between the two rims, you'll cross the Colorado at Lee's Ferry, so you'd have an up close view of the river that created all that grandeur; yet another viewpoint.

    Something to consider!

    Rick

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    7,036

    Default You won't miss anything by skipping the South Rim.

    Like Rick, I far prefer the North Rim with its higher altitude and feeling of remoteness due to fewer cars and travellers. It's also much easier to park. The ranger activities and visitor centre are like the South Rim, just that there are smaller crowds at each.

    Sunset at the North Rim was spectacular, and so easy to get a good spot to take photos. The view from the Lodge is spectacular as is the drive from US-89 to the NP.

    Lifey

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    South of England.
    Posts
    10,969

    Default You'd miss plenty !

    I agree with Rick that the North rim is outstanding and that there are fewer crowds, but I can't agree that you won't miss anything by skipping the south rim as stated above, it too is an amazing place !! As I mentioned in my first reply, your itinerary will work exactly as you have it, the only reason I mentioned it might work in your favour to change it, is the time you have available may leave you feeling a little rushed between one place and another, and nothing to do with the outstanding beauty of both sides of the canyon.


    Have a great trip !

  8. Default

    Thanks for all the great advice!

    I've been checking daily on in park hotel reservations and was able to get another night at El Tovar. So now I've got a few more choices (just what I didn't need!):

    1. LA-Sedona-South Rim-North Rim-Vegas
    2. LA-South Rim-South Rim-North Rim-Vegas
    3. LA-South Rim-South Rim-Zion-Vegas
    4. LA-Sedona-South Rim-Zion-Vegas

    Basically, I can skip Sedona and do two nights at the South Rim and the other option is to skip North Rim and do Zion, putting us closer to Vegas making it easier to get there and start working by 3:00PM.

    I do love the planning stages but I definitely over-agonize about it sometimes.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,291

    Default

    If it were me, I would certainly do the 2 nights at the south rim over Sedona. Your first night, you might be able to enjoy the sunset, but after the long drive from LA, that's really all you're going to have time for. That will give you a complete, full day at the south rim, the following day to enjoy everything it has to offer.

    (an alternative would be to spend the 2nd night at the Cameron Trading Post, just to the east of the South Rim, so you could explore the sites along East Rim Drive on the evening you leave, and have a head start for the next day.)

    I don't think it would be out of the question to get up early, drive from the South Rim to the North Rim, and explore that area for a while, and make it to Zion that night. If you do head to the North Rim, certainly follow Rick's advice and make the drive out to Cape Royal, as I found the views there, as well as those as Point Imperial (on the road to Cape Royal) to be far superior to those around the North Rim Lodge.

    If you made it up to Zion that night, you could fit a quick tour of some of the sites of Zion, like the grotto and weeping rock, in the morning, and still make it to Vegas by 3. Having said that, I wouldn't fault you for taking your time and just exploring the North Rim and enjoying your time and the chance to stay right at the North Rim Lodge, and get up the next morning and drive straight to Vegas.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    200

    Default 1 vote for choice #1

    Nice thing about this forum is the broad range of informed opinions! Personally? I still think your original plan would be quite enjoyable. Sedona is unique. The town is crowded and expensive, but the surrounding countryside is awesome. The sandstone bluffs have an unusually high concentration of iron oxide; translation: rust, which is why they're so red! Consider one of the Pink Jeep tours if you'd like to get out into the back of beyond. Otherwise, even the short drive along AZ 179 from I-17 to Sedona offers extraordinary views.

    Leaving Sedona, take AZ 89A north through Oak Creek Canyon; that beautiful road returns you to the Interstate just south of Flagstaff; it's well worth the little bit of extra time that it takes. From there, head to Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim. Your GPS will probably send you by way of I-40 to Williams. Ignore that advice: instead, keep going, past the I-40 on-ramps, into the city of Flagstaff, and just after you enter the town, turn left onto US 180 and drive north; it's shorter than the route through Williams, and it's far more scenic, passing by the San Francisco Peaks, Arizona's tallest. The next day, when you're leaving Grand Canyon Village, head east to Cameron along AZ 64 (there are five major viewpoints along that stretch, each with a crowded parking lot). From Cameron (an interesting Trading Post), take US 89 north--all the way to Page if you'd like to see Lake Powell; otherwise, take the shortcut to Lee's Ferry, where you'll cross the Colorado on a bridge. Pull over and stop there for some great views. From Lee's Ferry, follow US 89A west to Jacob Lake This is a spectacular road, with fabulous views of the Vermilion Cliffs. North Rim Lodge and Visitor's Center is south of Jacob Lake along AZ 67. With this itinerary, you'll catch the sunset (and the sunrise, if you can manage it) from both rims! Very cool.

    On that last day, from North Rim to Las Vegas will be about 5 hours of driving.

    Rick
    (Author of "Arizona and New Mexico, 25 Scenic Side Trips")

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