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  1. #1
    noraoconnor Guest

    Default Road trip from SF to Grand Canyon

    I'm looking for any input on a last minute road trip to the Grand Canyon from San Francisco (for a week, leaving on 7/3). It's been suggested to stay in Flagstaff - Any other suggestions? Hotel, Motel, campsites?

    I plan to take the drive in two days to the Grand Canyon - no real rush (so stay any suggestions of a mid-way place to stop and stay the night?). Also, I was considering going to Mt. Zion. So, any suggestions about the best travel route, etc.

    Also, I've heard of a website that plans your trip (mileage, travel distance, map, etc.). Can anyone refer me to such a website?

    Thank you.
    Peace,
    - nora

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Web-based planning tools

    Quote Originally Posted by noraoconnor
    Also, I've heard of a website that plans your trip (mileage, travel distance, map, etc.). Can anyone refer me to such a website?
    There are about a dozen main trip planning sites and probably 100 or so that use one or more of those primary site's programs. If you click here, you can read our reviews about the 1 or 2 that we consider to be the best out there. For simple mapping solutions -- we prefer MSN or Google's products, but alot of folks on this site use Mapquest (which we Don't like). The best thing about the Google mapping program is the easy access to satellite imagery!

    Mark

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Are you a speeder?

    Quote Originally Posted by noraoconnor
    I plan to take the drive in two days to the Grand Canyon - no real rush (so stay any suggestions of a mid-way place to stop and stay the night?). Also, I was considering going to Mt. Zion. So, any suggestions about the best travel route, etc.
    Actually it will easily take two full days to reach the Grand Canyon from San Francisco, unless you like to speed alot... "Mt. Zion" is in New York state, I am guessing you intended to mean Zion National Park? If so, I would suggest a stop-over at Kanab or even Las Vegas before making your way down to the Grand Canyon area.

    Mark

  4. #4
    noraoconnor Guest

    Default Road Trip from SF to Grand Canyon

    Thank you for the input (and website referalls). And I'm not a speeder -- if it takes three days, four days ... it's all fine. And yes, I meant Zion National Park. Thank you for the kind correction -- NY would be a bit out of the way for this one week trip !!!

    As I mentioned, a friend said to check out Flagstad as a place to stay ... when I reach the Grand Canyon. Any input about that or where else to stay (hotels, motels, campsites ... ).
    Thank you.
    - Nora

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default

    It's about 800 miles from San Francisco to Grand Canyon. If you make any stops at all to sightsee along the way, it will definitely take you all of 2 days.

    I concur with Mr. Editor. If you've never been there, a stop in Vegas is a must-do. Wow! Unlike any other place in the world.

    And, if you can squeeze it in, don't miss Zion National Park. You will go very close to it if you go to Vegas first. It's a bit like you're driving in Grand Canyon as you look up to amazing red rock formations. Another wow!

    If you can possibly squeeze out the time, I would go to Bryce Canyon NP as well. While it doesn't have the size and grandeur of the Grand Canyon, it has some of the strangest rock formations. In many ways, I found it more stunning. If you go there, stay at Ruby's (www.rubysinn.com). I LOVED that place. It's almost worth a stop in itself without Bryce being right next door as a draw.

    You might consider this route: I-5 South - 46/43 East - 99 South - 58 East - I-15 East to Vegas.

    Then Vegas to Grand Canyon: I-15 East - 9 East - 59 South - 389 South

    Of course, if you veer into Zion and/or Bryce, you will need to alter the route for that a bit, but your'e in the vicinity so that will be easy.

    Kanab is a pretty cool area but I haven't had time to explore it much. I only ate lunch there and visited Frontier Movie Town. If I were you I'd pick Mr. Editor's brain a bit more to find out what gems he knows about there. :-)

  6. Default Flagstaff

    As I mentioned, a friend said to check out Flagstad as a place to stay ... when I reach the Grand Canyon. Any input about that or where else to stay (hotels, motels, campsites ... ).
    There is lodging at the Grand Canyon, both within the park and just outside of it in a little town called Tusayan. Williams or Flagstaff are alternate choices -- Flagstaff in particular has an ABUNDANCE of inexpensive lodging, especially along old Rt66. When nothing is available at the Canyon or at Tusayan, Flagstaff (or Williams) is the place to go.

    Mather Campground in the park (South Rim) is often full, but you can sometimes find space at Ten-X, a forest service campground a few miles south of Tusayan -- and it is a well-kept secret treasure -- the setting in tall pines is much nicer than Mather -- although the facilities and amenities are "rougher." (And Ten-X has no showers where Mather does).

    Williams is a smaller town, and really puts out a big welcome mat for Grand Canyon travelers, so it is a good choice as well. There are a handful of motels there. It is about roughly 50 miles from the Grand Canyon South Rim to Williams, and about 70 miles from GC to Flagstaff, if I'm remembering correctly.

    Now, none of this applies if you are headed to the NORTH Rim -- about the only options there are the North Rim Lodge and there is a motel at Jacob Lake (and a couple of campgrounds). Rooms are limited and very hard to obtain on short notice in the tourist season -- which is NOW, of course. If this hasn't helped, define your question a little further and I'll try to get it right! Bob

  7. Default

    I live in the SF Bay Area and it's an easy 2 day drive to the Grand Canyon. The fastest way will be down I-5 & Hwy 58 to Barstow. Make sure once you hit Barstow that you feel like driving another 145 miles because there is no lodging or camping between Barstow and Needles. There are private campgrounds in Bakersfield, Tehachapi, Mojave, Barstow and Needles. Because this is a holiday weekend, you might find it hard to get lodging with our reservations.

    If you want a more scenic route I'd take Tioga Pass though Yosemite, then Hwy 6 from Benton to Tonopah. Hwy 95 and 93 down to I-40. This will take about 5 hours longer.

    I checked reservations for Mather Campground at the Grand Canyon. There are sites still available even for the 4th of July! I would make reservations if you plan on camping. http://reservations.nps.gov/parkresu...token=76897736

    What is nice about camping in the park, is you can leave your vehicle at the campsite and ride the free shuttle buses and not have to worry about finding a parking spot.

    It's an easy day drive from the S. Rim to Zion National Park. There are two campgrounds across the Virgin River from each other. South is a first come, first serve campground. You will want to get there early or you can make reservations at Watchman. Watchman has electrical sites if that is something you are interested in. There are also tent sites at Watchman. Zion is one of our favorite parks. I hope you have enought time to spend a couple nights here.

    If you have the time, Bryce Canyon is also close and an excellent park. I'd do it before Zion. There are two campgrounds at Bryce too. One is first come, first serve the other is reservation only.

    If you don't take the scenic route to Grand Canyon, then I'd suggest taking it home from Zion. Take Hwy 9 to I-5 and go north to just before Cedar City. Take Hwy 56 & 319 to Panaca, NV. (GET GAS!) Then take Hwy 93 to Crystal Springs. There is a private campground here. Take Hwy 395 the Extraterrestrial Highway <INSERT music spooky>. Then take Hwy 6 into Tonopah, and Hwy 120 into Yosemite. I love coming home this way. There are national forest campgrounds that never fill up on Hwy 120 on the east side before Yosemite and just up the hill from Lee Vining.

    Utahtea

  8. Default Mather Campground

    Utahtea wrote: I checked reservations for Mather Campground at the Grand Canyon. There are sites still available even for the 4th of July! I would make reservations if you plan on camping. http://reservations.nps.gov/parkres...ftoken=76897736

    What is nice about camping in the park, is you can leave your vehicle at the campsite and ride the free shuttle buses and not have to worry about finding a parking spot.
    If there are still sites available at Mather, then that would be my first choice too (although I DO like Ten-X). But Mather has the excitement and wonder of being IN the National Park -- and close access to all the services nearby, including those showers. I am totally surprised there is anything left there -- it must be a slow summer up there so far! Bob

  9. #9
    noraoconnor Guest

    Default Road Trip from SF to Grand Canyon

    Thanks for all the great input.

    If I were to leave in the morning on July 4th (and not take the scenic route - do that on the way back) - would it be reasonable to say that I would reach MATHER SOUTH RIM campsite by Tuesday (6/5) afternoon/evening, or should I expect to be there Wednesday (6/6). I'm asking because I would like to make reservations at MATHER SOUTH RIM, and wondering if I should do so for July 5th or July 6th? Again, I'm not in a hurry - but definitely want to make the most of my trip!

    I am looking to go to Zion after the Grand Canyon, so your input was very, very helpful.

    Peace,
    - Nora

  10. Default Two days

    Yes, I'd say you could make it to Grand Canyon from San Francisco in two full days of driving. Bob

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