Grand Canyon

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The temples of the North Rim, with red-lit O'Neil Butte (59629 bytes)The Grand Canyon is one of those sights everyone should see sometime during their life.  Being a confirmed traveler, I knew when I returned to Las Vegas for the second time that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to visit this amazing natural wonder. Traveling to Grand Canyon in January meant the crowds were gone, and the weather would be cold.  I was very fortunate to have clear weather for the whole time I was at the Grand Canyon.  The photos I took during this short side trip were (I feel) some of the best I have taken to date.  I hope you agree...

January 10, 2000 - Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

 I left Las Vegas at 10am in the rental car, heading east (and south east) for the Grand Canyon. A casino on the highway at Lake Mead was the first brief rest break. Another quick stop at Hoover Dam, then a 2 hr haul across the Detrital Valley desert to Kingman, Arizona. Set my watch one hour forward.

In Kingman, I stopped for lunch at Celine's. It is just past the junction to I-94 east along Route 66 before you get to Andy Devine Way & the Museum. Reasonable prices, good food and friendly service. One of the patrons was wearing cowboy boots and jingly spurs - nobody even blinked as he walked rather noisily out the door!

When I get to Seligman, there is snow on the banks of the highway. Arriving at the junction to Grand Canyon, I took the exit south to Williams to have a quick drive through. I'm glad I decided against staying there - not the quaint little town that the numerous websites about the place extol!  If you need gas, try stopping in at Malone's gas station and say "hi" to the sleepy old gas station dawg.  Otherwise, a quick look at the rolling stock of the Grand Canyon Railway is about the only sight to see in Williams.

Driving time from Las Vegas, Nevada to Williams, Arizona is 5 hours, including a 30 minute lunch break in Kingman. It takes one hour more to drive north from Williams to Tusayen village (where I'm staying).  Total elapsed time: 6 hours from the Las Vegas Strip to within 1 mile of the South Rim of Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Squire Inn from the air (91209 bytes)As part of a package deal with my Helicopter Tour with Papillon Helicopters, I am staying at the Grand Canyon Squire Inn, an up-scale Best Western. It is probably one of the best hotel properties in Tusayen village (1 mile from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon).  There are other good hotels/motels available in this area. I would recommend staying here, rather than driving for an hour from Williams to get to the Canyon each day. Accommodation at Grand Canyon Village is limited and expensive, and is probably not an option for most travelers to this area.

Quarter moon through the pines at dusk - Tusayen village, Grand CanyonThere are a few inches of snow on the ground, but the air is so dry up here, it doesn't melt - it evaporates. This means the roads are dry, making driving easy.  I would recommend visiting the Grand Canyon in winter.  The roads are well-maintained, the weather is cold and clear, the crowds are not there, and the hotel rates are low.  I can't imagine accomplishing what I did in 2 1/2 days during the summer months.  The Grand Canyon village is very small, and I'm sure the roads and parking lots would be full-to-bursting during high season.

January 11, 2000 - Grand Canyon & Helicopter Tour

I was up early for a full day of experiencing the Grand Canyon.  Browse these links for many photos of this spectacular location:


Sunrise - South Rim


Helicopter Tour - Eastern Half of Canyon


Daytime - South Rim


Sunset - South Rim

A good alternative to an air tour of the Grand Canyon is the Grand Canyon IMAX theatre, located in the National Geographic Visitor Centre.  Low cost, low risk, and you get perfect aerial views 365 days a year.  Perfect for those you who are not fond of flying!

January 12, 2000 - Grand Canyon to Las Vegas

There is lots of time to think, as I drive the 6 hour trip back to Las Vegas.  In Kingman, I again stopped for lunch at Celine's.  Good food, friendly staff, and reasonable prices. The Joshua trees in the Detrital Valley are an interesting contrast to the sagebrush and gravelly sand that is everywhere.  People are living in this desolate area - usually in ramshackle trailers in the middle of nowhere.

Nowhere is descriptive of this area.  There are no major towns or settlements near the freeway, no scenic detail to look at except the Black Mountains when I get near the Hoover Dam area.  Hoover Dam, the Lake Mead Reservoir, and the Colorado River canyon below the dam are all fascinating.  The Arizona-Nevada border runs right through Hoover Dam and the reservoir - Arizona intake towers to the east, Nevada intake towers to the west.

Click for Grand Canyon, Arizona Forecast




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