Grand Canyon road trip

A road trip is always nice, just I had never been on one before and was undecided what to see on my trip. I wanted to see the Grand Canyon or Yosemite National Park ever since I moved here, and couldn’t decided which one I wanted to see first. In the end, I choose the Grand Canyon just because there were a few things I wanted to see along the I-40 on the way back.

So, the road trip would start from West LA on the I-10, then merge onto the I-15 and finally on the I-40 to the Grand Canyon South rim. On the return trip I planned to see the Meteor Crater site near Flagstaff, Lake Havasu City, and finally, Las Vegas, then back to West LA.

I stayed a few nights in Williams, Arizona, only an hour drive from the Grand Canyon, then a few nights in Las Vegas, Nevada. I had to make do with Williams since you really had to book months in advance during summer to stay in the lodgings within the Grand Canyon National Park. As this was a last minute planning, there were no vacancies within the National Park.

It took me just one Sunday afternoon to plan all this, and my journey started on Monday morning at 5am.

Day 1

I set off at 5am on Monday to make the first hour of the drive stress free. I didn’t want to get caught up in the morning rush hour in brute force of LA traffic. I made it to the I-15 in about one hour and the drive was indeed stress free.

It took around 7 hours and 30 mins to get to Williams with plenty of breaks. It was pouring down with rain when I got to the Mountain Ranch Hotel, and I didn’t have too much hope for the weather at the Grand Canyon too as it looked like thunderstorms were present. I checked in and dropped my bags off in my room and started my final drive to the Grand Canyon. There is an admission fee for the Grand Canyon which you can get either at the visitor center in Williams or at the Grand Canyon entrance. I decided to purchase mine at Williams. The entry pass will last 7 days too which was good.

What’s amazing about the Grand Canyon is you never know what to expect as you cannot see it on the way there, not even on route 64 towards the south entrance. The first glimpse of the Grand Canyon you’ll see is only when you get there. The closest lookout point is Mather Point which is just behind the Visitor Center near the entrance.

These are some of the views that greeted me when I arrived. It was mainly overcast that day, but luckily, didn’t rain. I took these photos at various lookout points along the South rim.

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Shuttles are free and it will take you to plenty of lookout points along the south rim. You can even walk along the designated paths between the lookout points too. There are restaurants and plenty of restrooms and drinking fountains too.

Day 2

The weather was kind and hot the following day and I set off around 8am from the hotel. I spent a few hours in the west route starting at Yaki point, then work my way towards the east route towards to Hopi point for sunset. It was so hot that I had to alternate between walking and getting the shuttle between some lookout points just so I could cool down.

I packed 4 bottles of water in my backpack and my camera, and when I ran out of water, I would just refill the bottles at the nearest drinking fountain.

As you can see from the following photos, much better weather.

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Admittedly, the sunset photo below could have been much much better if I had made it at Hopi point earlier. I also accidentally left my tripod on the bus on the way there, so I was tripodless for a while until I claimed it back at lost and found.

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Day 3

I definitely would have stayed another night here, just to trek to the bottom of the canyon, but I couldn’t extend my stay because no vacancies were available at my hotel, and I wasn’t prepared to sleep in the car. Onwards to Las Vegas via the meteor crater site and Lake Havasu City. I set off by 8am.

The meteor crater site is located east of Flagstaff, just over an hour drive from Williams. There was an admission fee. I had breakfast there before setting off back on the I-40.

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Temperatures reached 110 degrees when I arrived at Lake Havasu City. I spent a few hours here walking along the beach and took shelter from the sun at one point just to have lunch before setting off again.

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I arrived in Las Vegas around 7pm. I was so tired from all the driving and walking I had done in the last few days, that I actually just had dinner and went straight to bed, honest.

Day 4, and 5

I drove to Hoover Dam early in the morning and had breakfast there and watched a short video.

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Vegas… need I say more.

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I had to pack my tripod away at the Bellagio, since it was over crowded and I had my tripod kicked a few timed accidentally by people gathering round.

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Day 6

The return home. I set off early around 6am on my final trip back to LA on Saturday and made it in time to return the rental car.

Conclusion

Definitely worth the drive to the Grand Canyon and the best road trip I’ve been on as of yet. Some people might tell you that you can just do a tour in a plane over the Canyon, but I tell you it’s not the same. You really have to feel it, breathe it and actually be there to realise the sheer scale of it, and how spectacular it really is.

I’d go see it again another day, and I would definitely recommend staying up to 3 nights, because your first day will be spent driving there.

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