July 20-23, 2009Road Trip Report

Destination: Grand Canyon Arizona
Distance: 1,409 Miles
Attendees: Peter, Charlie

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The Grand Canyon was the first major destination on our Colorado Road Trip.  We arrived at the North Rim late Monday night July 20th and stopped at Jacob’s Inn for dinner.  Jacob’s Inn is located at the junction of US 89A and SR 67, the gateway to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon (45 minutes away).  Be sure to order the “Grand Bull Sandwich” it is touted as the best hamburger west of the Mississippi.  Jacob’s Inn offers: lodging, restaurant, bakery and gift shop.  www.jacoblake.com

We were under the impression that the North Rim was remote with less tourists; that assumption proved incorrect.  Nearly every campground was full and the majority were reservation only.  We stopped at the Kaibab Lodge located 5 miles from entrance to the Grand Canyon and asked about camping.  www.Kaibablodge.com This guy came up to us and gave us directions to free camping.

Campsite directions from the lodge: drive 3/4 mile past the Kaibab Lodge towards the Grand Canyon, Left FSR 611, Right FSR 610, Left FSR 568, Right to dead end.

Grand Canyon North Rim Camping

Grand Canyon North Rim Camping

Tuesday July 21st we cooked up some breakfast and drove to the North Rim of the canyon.  There is a $25 vehicle entrance fee which allows access to the North and South Rim for 7 days.  Visit here for more details:  www.nps.gov

The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is at over 8,000 ft and receives more rain and snow than the South Rim.  Road closures are common during the winter months.  Be prepared for cooler temperatures and heavy rains “monsoons”.  We drove through a monsoon coming into the Grand Canyon; thankfully the weather was mild during the remainder of our stay (mid 70s).

We explored the various view points and relaxed in the North Lodge built in 1922.  www.foreverlodging.com Our next destination was hiking the North Kaibab Trail;  this trail winds along the North Rim with numerous viewpoints.  This trail is located a couple miles before the North Lodge just off the main road (watch for signs).

North Kaibab Trail

North Kaibab Trail

We spent a second night at our free campsite and the next morning we packed up and began the 240 mile drive towards to South Rim.  We stopped for showers at a small laundry mat by the Marble Canyon bridge; that’s a great place to stop for remote campers like us.

We arrived at the South Rim that afternoon and stopped at numerous view points and tourists stops including the Desert View Point.  The South Rim is a HUGE tourist trap; there are shops everywhere and tons of people.  Pushing through crowds and waiting to take photos at the view points isn’t much fun.  Although, there are some amazing views and exceptional hikes depending on time constraints and physical conditioning.  I liked the view of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim better whereas Charlie preferred the North Rim.

Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim

We found a great campground just outside of the South Rim entrance called “Ten-Xcampground.  There were plenty of sites available and only $10/night.  TenX CampgroundOther Camping

The campground host gave us recommendations for hikes and suggested that we view the Omni Theater Grand Canyon TourOmni Theater The Omni Grand Canyon tour was incredible; it’s definitely worth watching.  We also had the opportunity to watch the sunset over the canyon.  Take a look at the sunset schedule.

We departed from the Grand Canyon on July 23rd for Colorado.

Check out the:  Colorado Road Trip

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3 Comments on Road Trip Report: Grand Canyon 2009
North Rim & South Rim Exploration

  1. Gramps & Grandma says:

    Sure looked like fun. But the off-road trips were more exciting to watch and read. We did love your description of your trip to the Grand Canyon. Could have used more pictures. The pictures of the bike ride were very limited. Obviously you were the only one taking pictures. We couldn’t recognize you in any of the pictures. Glad you had a great time on your trip and Mt. bike rides. It sounded like the Florida trip didn’t provide the excitment that your Oregon trips did.

  2. CLAUDIA TULL says:

    Enjoyed your opinions on north and south rims. We were at the north rim last aug, camped at Mather’s. We live on east coast, so it was the first time either of us had actually seen the milky way. beautiful!! Planning another trip this aug. want to spend more time at gc. If you only had one choice would it be north or south? we didn’t like all the tourists. Thanks, Claudia

  3. Ah Yeah says:

    That’s a tough question. My favorite views were from the South Rim; it’s a completely different perspective of the canyon. You’ll definitely appreciate this if you enjoy photography. Make time to visit the OMSI OMNIMAX showing of the canyon. I would definitely go to the South Rim if you haven’t had the opportunity. Just be prepared for lots of people. -Peter