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Grand Canyon South Rim Job: Or How I Drove 11 Hours to Visit a Hole

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Kid and I tired of being cooped up. Kid decided that Grand Canyon would be a fun trip. I have never been and would like some advice on where to stay and then any must-dos if you have any. Looking to go July 13-18 and probably spend two full days there. And yes, I know to bring a jacket that time of year

Thanks in advance

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I've only been once and stayed in Williams. Tons of Route 66 stuff there. There's also the Grand Canyon Railroad which is kinda cool, but I don't recommend it. You only have 4 hours to check out the park before it heads back to Williams.

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Jesus, its only the biggest God damned hole in the world.

Sent from my SM-G988U using Tapatalk

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10 minutes ago, DCA_HORN said:

Jesus, its only the biggest God damned hole in the world.
 

South Austin's mom begs to differ.

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South Austin's mom begs to differ.
Make that the second biggest.

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6 minutes ago, DCA_HORN said:

Make that the second biggest.

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She's a lot closer too

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do you camp?  that would be your best bet, to camp in the park.  make a fire, sleep in a tent, your boy will never forget it.  but if you wanna wuss out, flagstaff or Williams might be your best bet for hotels.  probably no chance at a lodge.

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Cabins on the South Rim don't suck.  Have a scotch by the fireplace in El Tovar but don't let your kid wander out towards the edge.  It's amazing how many people have died falling off what should be a glaringly obvious edge of a giant hole in the ground.

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5 minutes ago, jimmyjazz said:

Cabins on the South Rim don't suck.  Have a scotch by the fireplace in El Tovar but don't let your kid wander out towards the edge.  It's amazing how many people have died falling off what should be a glaringly obvious edge of a giant hole in the ground.

Just take his phone away so he doesn’t try to take Instagram photos from the edge.

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1 hour ago, jimmyjazz said:

Cabins on the South Rim don't suck.  Have a scotch by the fireplace in El Tovar but don't let your kid wander out towards the edge.  It's amazing how many people have died falling off what should be a glaringly obvious edge of a giant hole in the ground.

Yeah, take your kid to the Grand Canyon and get drunk on some good Scotch. 

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7 hours ago, DCA_HORN said:

Make that the second biggest.

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Well played 

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At every scenic overlook there are a multitude of signs that say "don't throw rocks." Sooner or later you will not be able to resist the urge to throw one tiny pebble in. One day humankind will fill in that hole. It is our destiny. 

But seriously, the GC is sort of meh. Its amazing, but its hot as balls in the summer and all you really do is kinda look at it. Hit up Zion and Bryce and do the North Rim. 

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1 minute ago, CleverNickname said:

At every scenic overlook there are a multitude of signs that say "don't throw rocks." Sooner or later you will not be able to resist the urge to throw one tiny pebble in. One day humankind will fill in that hole. It is our destiny. 

But seriously, the GC is sort of meh. Its amazing, but its hot as balls in the summer and all you really do is kinda look at it. Hit up Zion and Bryce and do the North Rim. 

The rim areas are not hot as balls.  South rim is 7,000 feet.  It's nice actually.  

Start down the hole and it's a different story though.

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We stayed at Under Canvas about a half hour south of the rim. Uber cool glamping experience.  They have several similar sites around the country at other national park locations.

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I've hiked the Bright Angel trail twice.  The first time was with my family when I was 13.  We camped at the Ghost Ranch, or whatever the fuck it's called down in the bottom of the canyon, and then hiked out the next day.  I survived.  If your kid is in that age range, and you have the inclination, it's a pretty incredible experience.

The second time I was 18.  I had gotten drunk the night before, and me and a buddy hiked down to the Colorado River, turned around, and hiked out the same day.  It was late June.  105 degrees.  I was so dehydrated that my legs started convulsing and I literally crawled the last couple hundred of yards.  In full view of all the overlooks.  People were audibly laughing their asses off.   I drank an entire gallon of Gatorade and ate a whole large bag of salt and vinegar chips when I was done, and by the time we were an hour down the road, began suffering the worst Charlie Horse of my entire life.  I remember having to pull over, and lay down on the shoulder of some AZ desert highway trying to stretch my leg out while screaming a stuck hog.

The Grand Canyon is an incredible place.  

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There are 2 Grand Canyons:
1) The one you look at
2) The one you hike

For 1), it's a must to take a copter or light plane trip over the Canyon.  Not even arguable.  South Rim has the great views, and be sure to get the sunset on top.
For 2), it's two different worlds, especially in July.  Top is cool and nice, bottom is almost Death Valley hot.  Hiking is more strenuous than you'd think, take lots of water.  Mules are fun but I'd rather walk it.

As far as hotels, GC is obviously in a large park, not a lot of great hotel stays, lots of camping.  Tusayan is overpriced and not all that enjoyable (if you can even get a place).  Flagstaff is 90 mins. away and lots of good places to stay.  This is my rec with kids unless you all like camping.

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11 hours ago, Hornius Emeritus said:

North rim is far better. About 1/10th as crowded. Much more of a "real" experience.

Very much this.  It's more difficult to make last minute reservations here, but the smaller crowds are worth it.  The views are just as good, and there's plenty of hiking if you want to stretch your legs. 

After we spent a few days at the North Rim, we drove through the South Rim, and it was a damn zoo.  You have to stand in line to get photos from the good spots, the tourists there are not friendly and will bump into you like it's nothing.  I imagine that most of the people that fall into the canyon were either getting a selfie or bumped into someone taking a selfie.

 

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26 minutes ago, Hank_Hill said:

Another rec for North rim. Miles better. Plus, pine trees.

Only been to the south rim. What features make the north rim better ?  Hookers and blow ?

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The north rim is currently closed due to a wildfire.

 

If you hike to the bottom, be prepared for the fact that it’s ~25deg hotter at the bottom than the top. I hiked down once on New Year’s Day on my way back from the Holiday Bowl about 20 years ago. It was a great experience. If you aren’t in the best of shape I would recommend taking 2 days to hike out.

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2 hours ago, Al_4_ISU said:

I've hiked the Bright Angel trail twice.  The first time was with my family when I was 13.  We camped at the Ghost Ranch, or whatever the fuck it's called down in the bottom of the canyon, and then hiked out the next day.  I survived.  If your kid is in that age range, and you have the inclination, it's a pretty incredible experience.

The second time I was 18.  I had gotten drunk the night before, and me and a buddy hiked down to the Colorado River, turned around, and hiked out the same day.  It was late June.  105 degrees.  I was so dehydrated that my legs started convulsing and I literally crawled the last couple hundred of yards.  In full view of all the overlooks.  People were audibly laughing their asses off.   I drank an entire gallon of Gatorade and ate a whole large bag of salt and vinegar chips when I was done, and by the time we were an hour down the road, began suffering the worst Charlie Horse of my entire life.  I remember having to pull over, and lay down on the shoulder of some AZ desert highway trying to stretch my leg out while screaming a stuck hog.

The Grand Canyon is an incredible place.  

Amazing stamina. There's signs posted all over the trail saying be very careful about not climbing down and back up on the same day. I remember there was even a testimonial story sign from some girl that ran the Boston marathon but died trying to do the round trip hike same day.

I went in June many years ago and had a similar experience - hot as fuck, limited shade and brutal trying to make it back up with all the switchbacks. 

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9 minutes ago, 6th Street said:

Amazing stamina. There's signs posted all over the trail saying be very careful about not climbing down and back up on the same day. I remember there was even a testimonial story sign from some girl that ran the Boston marathon but died trying to do the round trip hike same day.

I went in June many years ago and had a similar experience - hot as fuck, limited shade and brutal trying to make it back up with all the switchbacks. 

In the immortal words of Roger Alan Wade, if you're gonna be dumb, you gotta be tough.  I never had an ounce of athletic ability, but I can take a beating.

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They aren't issuing backcountry permits for camping inside the hole right now. To get a spot at Indian Garden or Phantom Ranch you need to apply at least 2 months in advance.

You're looking at day hikes only at this point. Bright Angel trail down to Plateau Point and back up to rim is ~12 miles total and will take most of the day. Plateau Point is fucking awesome. Keep in mind there are no water stations after you leave Indian Garden out to PP. It'll be about 4 miles of trail round trip with no available water until you get back to Indian Garden. Get yourself and your son a 3L camelbak and a pair of trekking poles.

 

DSCN2003a.jpg

plateau-point-grand-canyon-12-of-16.jpg

 

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2 hours ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

Only been to the south rim. What features make the north rim better ?  Hookers and blow ?

Less crowded. Temps. Hikes are similar. And like I said you’re in a legitimate forest. Love sitting on the big stone patio of the lodge at sunset and having a few drinks after a long ass day of hiking.

https://images.app.goo.gl/S1PyxeRjx31XAvuv9

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16 hours ago, Hornius Emeritus said:

North rim is far better. About 1/10th as crowded. Much more of a "real" experience.

Assuming North Rim has fewer tourbuses full of elderly Asians and Honda Odyssey minivans full of 3 generations enterprise software Indians?

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26 minutes ago, 6th Street said:

Assuming North Rim has fewer tourbuses full of elderly Asians and Honda Odyssey minivans full of 3 generations enterprise software Indians?

I read this as torbushes of elderly Asians 

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19 hours ago, CleverNickname said:

At every scenic overlook there are a multitude of signs that say "don't throw rocks." Sooner or later you will not be able to resist the urge to throw one tiny pebble in. One day humankind will fill in that hole. It is our destiny. 

But seriously, the GC is sort of meh. Its amazing, but its hot as balls in the summer and all you really do is kinda look at it. Hit up Zion and Bryce and do the North Rim. 

40fda02ebdbaba7fdab6cb38c67df03e.jpg

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Stayed at Phantom Ranch for a couple of nights a few years back. It was mid-March and we took the South Kaibab trail down. It was in the mid-30s and icy when we started at the rim. By the time we got to the river it was in the mid-90s. I can't even imagine how hot it would be in July. 

Took Bright Angel back to the top and there were so many fucking tourists during the last mile or so it was unreal. Playing guitars, tossing frisbees, taking dogs, etc. I wanted to just start throwing people over the edge.

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