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Grand Canyon Trip

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Grand Canyon Trip

Postby Patrick B » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:03 am

My family and I were hoping to plan a trip to the Grand Canyon this summer, and, never having been there before, was wondering if anyone had any advice? We have no idea which end we'd like to focus on, or which side either, so advice on any portion of the canyon would be great. I was hoping to get in some canyoneering/hiking, rafting/kayaking , mountain biking, swimming (DWS, maybe?), and sightseeing in. It's a lot to cover, so info on any is appreciated. I'm the only one in the family with experience in any of these, so nothing TOO intense, although we still want to do way more than a typical tourist-style vacation. If there is anything that I didn't mention but you recommend let me know.

Also, I've done a fair amount of guided climbing and can follow around the 5.9 range, so if there is any good guides or climbing around let me know! Thanks, pmb
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Re: Grand Canyon Trip

Postby surgent » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:15 am

North Rim is always far less crowded, but farther drive from most anywhere.

Day hikes do not require permit, nor does hiking below the rim as long as you exit that day. Overnights require permit. Mountain biking below the rim is not allowed.

Be aware that it can be very pleasant up on the rims, but extremely hot down below. Temps above 110 on the river itself are common. Generally, if you want to know how hot it is at the bottom, read the forecast for Phoenix. Bring lots of water, and be conservative especially if you have children or family members not used to this kind of terrain or scale.

If this is your first time and you have a family along (and possibly kids), I'd suggest to do a series of dayhikes and explorations. Despite the crowds on the S Rim, there is still plenty of places to see in your own vehicle along state route AZ-64. Just pull into a parking lot and start walking.

The upshot is no matter what hikes you do, even if you just "show up", you won't be disappointed. Don't trust the photos you've seen. Imagine the prettiest GC photo you've ever seen, then multiply that by a million, and that's what you'll feel when you see it in person.

The far-off places in the GC, like Toroweap, require longer drives over remote dirt roads and can be hot. The N Rim may offer a better chance at some single-day canyoneering routes.

Do basic prep: have maps and some general idea of the layouts and restrictions that may apply. Have supplies, and just piece your itinerary day by day. You'll then get a better idea of a multi-day return trip down below. Trust me, you'll be back.
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Re: Grand Canyon Trip

Postby sierraguy » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:01 am

surgent wrote:North Rim is always far less crowded, but farther drive from most anywhere.

Day hikes do not require permit, nor does hiking below the rim as long as you exit that day. Overnights require permit. Mountain biking below the rim is not allowed.

Be aware that it can be very pleasant up on the rims, but extremely hot down below. Temps above 110 on the river itself are common. Generally, if you want to know how hot it is at the bottom, read the forecast for Phoenix. Bring lots of water, and be conservative especially if you have children or family members not used to this kind of terrain or scale.

If this is your first time and you have a family along (and possibly kids), I'd suggest to do a series of dayhikes and explorations. Despite the crowds on the S Rim, there is still plenty of places to see in your own vehicle along state route AZ-64. Just pull into a parking lot and start walking.

The upshot is no matter what hikes you do, even if you just "show up", you won't be disappointed. Don't trust the photos you've seen. Imagine the prettiest GC photo you've ever seen, then multiply that by a million, and that's what you'll feel when you see it in person.

The far-off places in the GC, like Toroweap, require longer drives over remote dirt roads and can be hot. The N Rim may offer a better chance at some single-day canyoneering routes.

Do basic prep: have maps and some general idea of the layouts and restrictions that may apply. Have supplies, and just piece your itinerary day by day. You'll then get a better idea of a multi-day return trip down below. Trust me, you'll be back.

Agree with all the info above. As a photographer I have been to the Grand Canyon plenty of times, pictures just can't show the size and depth of the canyon. I would not worry about a guide as once you get there you will be able to "self-tour" the area without need of a guide. The south rim gets mighty crowded but is a must see. The north rim is a bit higher in elevation, much less crowded, and just a pretty as the south rim. The drive to the north rim has plenty of stopping points of interest and I would plan on at least half a day to make the drive from the south rim. Have a safe trip.
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Re: Grand Canyon Trip

Postby Enkidu » Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:54 am

We took a road trip to South Rim last summer with the entire family (me, wife, 4 kids aged 12-17). We camped in the park for 5 days and did day trips from our campsite each day. We took our mountain bikes and used them extensively to get around the park and to ride out to both Hermit's Rest and Desert View. We would then ditch the bikes and set out on foot. We also hiked down the S. Kaibab to Phantom Ranch. As the other people mentioned it is bloody hot down at the river.

The National Park Service has a pretty good website - we used it to pretty much plan our entire trip in advance.

http://www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/index.htm
Bring a compass. It's awkward when you have to eat your friends
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Re: Grand Canyon Trip

Postby Patrick B » Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:18 am

Thanks for the info everyone, my father suggested climbing in the Sedona area and hiring a guide from CenterFocus (we aren't experienced enough to climb on our own, yet :( ). If anyone has any information about either the company or the area, it would be appreciated. Thanks, pmb
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Re: Grand Canyon Trip

Postby lcarreau » Sat Jun 02, 2012 1:56 am

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Re: Grand Canyon Trip

Postby Patrick B » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:44 am

Is there any red tape around Red Rocks, something my dad brought up but he's not sure about and its not listed on the page.
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Re: Grand Canyon Trip

Postby lcarreau » Sat Jun 02, 2012 4:19 am

Oh my God ... finally, some constructive criticism on one of my pages :!: :D

Gonna have add this :

"In May 2006, after 83 years of operation out of the Brewer
Rd. Ranger Station in Sedona, the Red Rock Ranger District relocated to a
new (5,000 sq. ft.) Visitor Contact Center on a site south of the Village of Oak Creek (VOC) along Hwy 179.

$5 (daily) Red Rock Passes and $15 (7-day) Red Rock Passes are currently sold at the Visitor Contact Center and a variety of commercial vendors and
"fee machines" at specific trailhead parking lots."
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Re: Grand Canyon Trip

Postby Patrick B » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:50 pm

haha thanks for all the help I appreciate it
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Re: Grand Canyon Trip

Postby Wisdom » Sun Jun 03, 2012 4:35 am

I'm a backpacker, so finding a post here that I can actually contribute to is a treat for me! So here we go.

The South Rim is at 6000 to 6600 feet, while the North Rim is around 8000 ft. So coming from the New England area, you'll feel the altitude change walking or cycling uphill. Not a big deal for a couple of days, but it will be noticable. Also note that as a rule of thumb, it will take twice as long walking out of the canyon as it took going in. I always have a load on my back when I'm doing it, so that may be a factor in my times! And take good hats for sun protection.

If you decide to go to go to the South Rim and see the Sedona area, you may as well go just east of Flagstaff and see Meteor Crater. It's definately worth seeing at least once. Unfortunately, I can't help with day hikes. I don't go there between June and August - it's too hot inside the canyoun!

If you decide to go to the North Rim area, you can stay in the campgrounds or even in one of the cabins at the rim. You can carry water and take a day hike down the North Kaibab Trail to Roaring Springs, rest and go back up. That will give yu a pretty good sense of the canyon. If you do this, start as early in the day as you can. If you think you're going too slow, you can always turn around before Roaring Springs. Since you're on the North Rim, you can also drive to Zion National Park and hike up to Angels Landing. It starts out as a paved trail with a lot of switchbacks, but its worthwhile to hang with it and get to the top. And then since you're at Zion, there are other National Parks just north of there that would be worthwhile to see too. If you do decide to go to the North Rim, you can also fly into Las Vegas and drive from there. On the way back you can stop at Zion and maybe even go to the Great Basin National Park in northeastern Nevada. At that park there is a nice cavern and if you start early in the day you can climb (hike) to the top of Mt. Wheeler at 13000 feet. And then there's the play time in Vegas...

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