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cardbucfan 06-23-2009 07:52 PM

Grand Canyon Help
Haven't even left on the great Alaska adventure (leave 1 week from today-YAY!) but already looking ahead to the next big trip-Grand Canyon!

We are a family of 4 (mom, dad, DS 14 an DS 12), pretty active and our vacation philosophy is "you can sleep when you're dead!". We love to travel and like to get the most out of every trip because there is just too much in this world to see we don't plan on going back to places.

That all said, we are looking for some guidance for a Grand Canyon trip. Can't even imagine going to the GC and not going down into it. Would love some type of rafting trip (but I'm a princess and DO NOT CAMP!) and there's no way on earth I'm getting DH on a mule! We live in Florida so are needing to get the most out of a 2 week trip. Open for all suggestions and ideas!

mary_228 06-25-2009 01:34 PM

We had a great time in the Southwest
We went to the GC last spring break, which is a wonderful time to visit. The bits of snow remaining highlight the terrain in a really neat way. We also saw Zion and Bryce canyons, the Glen Canyon Dam and a bit of Las Vegas and Flagstaff on our 9 day trip. That time of year it was even possible to get lodging in the historic lodges (Bryce Lodge doesn't open till April 1, however).

As far as hiking into the canyon, you can do that on your own. A mule trip must be planned far in advance as does the rafting. There are some raft trips that start in Page and go some distance down the Colorado, but wern't in operation as early a we were there. We used the trip advisor site to get a lot of help with our itinerary.

My kids were 10 and 12 on this trip and were quite bored with the 900 miles of driving but enjoyed the hiking. A stop in Page, AZ provided an opportunity for a boat ride on Lake Powell and a tour of Antelope Canyon which is not to be missed if you are travelling through that area.

The GCNP has shuttle buses that you must ride, but can be quite time consuming. THere are slean energy vehicles, I believe and are intended to reduce congestion on the park roads. Only people staying at the National Park properties are allowed to drive on them certain times of year.

I was quite alarmed at the lack of supervison of children near the rim. In fact, as we hiked one of the trails, a large rock falling (?) from above almost hit us. The high school students above might have been fooling around. The chaperone really looked stressed out trying to keep these kids from killing themselves (and others???).

cardbucfan 06-25-2009 05:03 PM

Did you guys go the RV route or did you rent a car? If you rented a car, where did you stay? Sadly we can't go over spring break next year because our kids will have different breaks.

mary_228 06-26-2009 09:37 AM

Vegas offered the best combination of airfare and car rental prices, so we planned a round trip from there. We stayed at the El Tovar and the Yavapai Lodge for one night each at the GC.
In Page we stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott. At Bryce, the Best Western, and Zion Lodge in Zion National Park.

bookworm82 06-26-2009 11:40 PM

When we went to the Grand Canyon, we took a helicopter ride over the canyon, then it sat down inside the Canyon and we took a pontoon ride down the Colorado River....This was in the Hualipi (sp?) indian reservation....They also provided us with a bbq lunch...It was absolutely one of the most awesome things that I have ever done.

bookworm82 06-26-2009 11:45 PM

The helicopter company was Papillion...They picked us up in Vegas and we rode a tour bus to the airport....The bus ride was really interesting also...Got to see lots of new country and the tour guide was very informative..

cardbucfan 06-27-2009 04:57 PM

That sounds so awesome! What time of year were you there and did you have to book this really far ahead of time?

bookworm82 06-27-2009 11:39 PM

It was mid August...I can't really remember how far in advance we booked it....It was probably a few months.Hope this helps...It was really great!

Rancher Dave 07-19-2009 06:00 PM


Originally Posted by bookworm82 (Post 1005)
The helicopter company was Papillion...They picked us up in Vegas and we rode a tour bus to the airport....The bus ride was really interesting also...Got to see lots of new country and the tour guide was very informative..

We did a similar trip with what is now Las Vegas Helicopters. We did the deal where we flew in a 10 seat plane from just outside of Vegas over to West Rim airport and then a helicopter down into the canyon and pontoon boat ride along with the BBQ Lunch. It was around $325 per person. Book in advance as it fills up, also, if you google tours you will find several operators who fly over and back. It makes for a lot shorter day than going via bus to the West Rim...although it is more expensive.

The flight over gives a nice arieal view of the Hoover Dam was quite a nice flight...

billys9319 07-21-2009 09:10 AM

Great ideas!

We are thinking of flying in to San Diego renting a car and exploring for 10 days including Las Vegas, Grand Canyon and then maybe flying out of Arizona. So I'm looking for places I shouldn't miss and places to stay.

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