Grand Canyon - Advice

Jun 29, 2007
Am I too late to schedule a trip to the GC?

I'm in Atlanta, family of 4, daughters are 18 and 16, thinking this July, fly to Phoenix, first 2 nights in Sedona, then onto the GC. I'm thinking about, I dunno, 3 nights in/around GC, then home.

What do y'all recommend for lodging and stuff to do in Sedona? A friend said the Enchantment and a jeep ride.

Where to stay at the GC? The south rim, right? From what I've been told, look for a place in the park.

Rafting suggestions? Outfitter suggestions? I'm looking for half-day or day trip, not overnight.

Mule ride? Is it really a 3 ft wide trail and a sheer 3,000 foot drop? "Sheer" as in like Half-Dome-in-Yosemite sheer? I jumped out of perfectly good airplanes for 6 years in the Army, but I gotta tell ya - it kinda creeps me out. Can you trust that mule? :biggrin:

Thanks for reading, folks!
Feb 10, 2009
No you are not too late but, it will be crowded that time of year. Im not sure how you will do as far as lodging as some of it is already booked near the Canyon in Tusayan, you might try expedia and see if you can get a rooms. Week days are the best time to book. All of the other rooms are in the 50-60 mile range away.
For rooms in Sedona you might look towards Cottenwood Az as they are by far less expensive and it is still close to Sedona. As far as what to do you can spend the day in Oak Creek Canyon where if you choose to can swim at several areas or hit Slide Rock which is a natural water slide.
Forget rafting it is not a one day affair. As I believe the mule rides are for overnighters, I really dont know because I have always hiked down.
BTW the Canyon is usually ungodly busy in July, well actually from the end of May- Sept. I generally avoid it unless I have a job up there, but we usually start those before the gates get clogged.
Mar 7, 2006
Call Xanterra around 10 AM Monday mornings, the cancellations are in by then and you can get some space. Oak Creek is gorgeous by the way. Make y=sure you smell the juniper balsam forest on the way to GC, its intoxicating.

We've been 7 times so have a pretty good idea how it works. The best spot to stay is El Tovar. real history and a great place. Next is the Bright Angel Cabins, they are a deal and close to the rim.

we also like the Yavapai Lodge its also pretty wonderful, but its not in the GC Village. Still, 10 minute walk and you're on the rim.

Shuttle bus will take you any place except Desert View. Go see Desert View anyway. You can see the North Rim, but it is hours away by car. The raft trips are up around Page and put in at Lee's Ferry. Thats also a long trip from the GC.

The mules are probably booked, you need to do that reservation a year ahead. There are 2 mule rides, one over night to Phantom Ranch and a day trip. Again, check with Xanterra (the New Fred Harvey). Yes, its a long, long ways down. When you head out to Hermits rest (shuttle only), there's a spot called the Abyss, 3000' straight down. Also, a hike to the bottom is an all day thing, but so worth it. Figure 2-3 hours down - 3-4 up, its a mile all up hill.

Desert View

The Desert View Watch Tower

Inside the Bright Angel Lodge Inside the Bright Angel Lodge

Hermits Rest

Old Hermit's Rest Gate

The mules coming down, they stage next to the cabins

Mules on Bright Angel Trail

Inside the El Tovar dining room, try and at least have breakfast there.



Last edited by a moderator:
May 7, 2005
Home: Columbia, MD, USA; Present: Bogota, Colombia
First off you can trust the mule more then your own feet.

When shooting the outdoor scenes in AZ I tend to either use wide angle or zoom. In other words on my D300 it is a Tamron 11-18 or my Nikon 70-200.

Have a good trip. Keep in mind the CG has two sides South Rim(500,000 visitors a year) and North Rim (50,000 visitors a year).
May 19, 2010
If you are going to the Grand Canyon visitors center, make sure you don't publish any images of the canyon from the catwalk. The vendor that built the catwalk has copyrights on the images from this area.
Aug 12, 2005
Broussard, LA, USA
You are missing the train ride from Williams to the park. Great way to get there IMO:

You can't MAKE me walk out on that glass walkway. Not a gun big enough to make me do it. Not enough money either. What good is money when I am dead from a heart attack.

Thank god that when my wife went to schedule a mule ride into the canyon, I am too heavy to ride it!

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