Grand Canyon Trip: What else to do near there?

I am thinking of going to the Grand Canyon in the fall. Since I am not really a Vegas kind of guy, what else can I do near there?

I figure if I’m out there, I want to maximize my experience and do some other sight-seeing.

Hope you like driving! Lots to see, but all not exactly in close, easy proximity.

Wupatki National Monument is closest “non-Grand Canyon” site.

Also worth seeing is Monument Valley (don’t miss one of the most famous stretches of American road, U.S. 163, 13 miles north of the Arizona border), Petrified Forest National Park, and Meteor Crater.

South Rim or North Rim? Flying or driving? And what’s the plan while you’re there; hiking, rafting, anything like that?

Were it me I would do the North Rim, take in Zion and other ‘‘red rock’’ monuments.

This is a good suggestion. The South Utah parks are fantastic.

I did a wonderful Arizona / Utah road trip a few years back, and got some good advice on this board. Here is the thread: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=532495. I think that offers good advice and coverage of the region around the Grand Canyon.

I have not yet made plans and welcome tips. If North Rim is better, than that is where I’ll go.

I live in PA, I will have to fly out there.

I will rent a car while there.

Of course the Family Circus has been to the Grand Canyon and they have covered it extensively

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Good advice in this thread from last year: [thread=568968]“Plan our vacation in southern UT / northern AZ”[/thread]. Yes, there was a lot of driving, but that was part of the fun. It was very interesting seeing the different densities of plant life in areas that were drier or less dry (few places we saw were what you’d call wet). Driving north from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon South Rim you go through four distinct biomes. :cool:

We enjoyed the Lee’s Ferry/Navaho Bridge area. There is a very nice state park and easy access to the river there. When we went, the apricot trees were fruiting and the park ranger has us eat as many as we could. The whole plain around the cabin was littered with pottery shards. We were practically the only people there.

Yeah…I lived in those parts. My husband and I met and married on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I worked every summer for the park or the concessioner for 8 years before we got preggers and had to leave.

Remember that the North and South Rims are only 19 miles apart as the crow flies, but its a 5 hr drive from one rim to the other. Fall is a beautiful time to go if you go after Labor day, but before the middle of Oct; far fewer people to contend with, but the weather is still wonderful.

In Nevada try:
Lake Mead and Hoover Dam
Valley of Fire (State Park)

In Utah, if your trying the North Rim:
Zion Canyon NP
Bryce Canyon NP
Cedar Breaks NM
Say HEY to my mom in St. George
North Rim, Grand Canyon NP (AZ)
Lake Powell (AZ) House boat rentals! Water skiing!
Lee’s Ferry (AZ)

If you go to the South Rim in Az:
Painted Dessert
Flagstaff Az.

Now a bunch of stuff can be done, but one needs to know what kind of time your looking to spend and what kind of budget you have. River rafting is a must if you have the time and the funds. You won’t regret it. I went with Sobek and I still orgasm thinking about Crystal Rapid. Hiking is always good, but you have to be honest with yourself about your physical abilities and stamina. This is one of my favorite all time trails, but its for serious hikers. However, other trails in this area are a bit more user friendly and worth it.

Feel free to PM me if you need more info. Damn, now I feel homesick.

OOOOHHH!

And the North Rim has a ghost near the campground thats supposed to be particularly active around the fall! I swear! I saw her! She scared me stupid for at least a week!

This.

Agrees with everyone, see the North Rim. If you can, rent a jeep and drive from Moab. I spent the best 2 weeks ever doing that drive. Oh be sure to pick up fallen wood for camp fires during the drive, because all of the sites will be picked clean.

I’d also suggest that you look at the meter crater if you are driving. Its a wow moment.

And an even longer walk.

Thanks for all the input guys.

I have an old college buddy that I meet once a year to shoot the breeze and renew old friendships. We usually take a drive. He is newly divorced. Maybe I can talk him into going out there with me and taking drive.

I loved the botanical garden in Phoenix (cactii , yeah!) and the area around the town of Sedona. Incredible beautiful, with a lush forest with red rocks above it. Also, lots of Hopi Indians selling the most beautiful inexpensive ethnic jewellery by the road. Take wish lists from all your female aqaintances.

As an outsider (I’m in New Zealand) you might find my perspective useful. I’ve been to the Grand Canyon twice (South Rim) and walked the Kaibab Trail down and up. Snow at the rim, 75 degrees at the bottom, a hard walk but worth it.

The American West is vast and you could spend years exploring it. However in my limited experience the Nevada/Utah/Arizona/Colorado area around the Canyon is outstanding and you cannot fail to be struck with awe whereever you go.

The distances are large and I think many people try to fit too many sights in. If I returned I’d spend more time walking and camping a few nights just to capture the smells and sensation of the region. Just standing looking at Monument Valley is breathtaking.

I echo the above advice to follow US163 through Monument Valley. Just north of Mexican Hat the road climbs onto a high mesa which is vivid in my memory 20 years on. Carry on north to Natural Bridges and into the southern Utah canyonlands. Magic.

'Course that means you miss Four Corners, Ship Rock, and Mesa Verde National Park. :wink: Decisions decisions…

Drive out to Kayenta and see Monument Valley… for me it was better than the Grand Canyon.

Not really, if you happen to be one of my wakko friends.

IMO my trip will be much richer because you guys are giving me enough information to start shaping it. Had I done in alone I wouldn’t have begun to know the different options to research.

I thank you all and hope that you continue to give me input.