About Us

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

The next stop on our Grand Canyon Road Trip was the Grand Canyon.  We drove north on Highway 89 out of Flagstaff and turned off at Cameron to approach the Grand Canyon from the east.  We found a campsite on the Kaibab National Forest a few miles outside of the park and set up camp before going into the Grand Canyon.  We could have camped at the Desert View Campground for $12/night, or the campground at Grand Canyon Village for $18/night, but I like to my space when camping and not have lots of other campers nearby.  After setting up camp, we took a drive up to the Desert View area on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon for our first look at the big ditch.  A young bull elk greeted us just past the entrance station, aimlessly munching on roadside vegetation.  We pulled ahead, turned into a parking lot, and a short distance later had our first view of the Grand Canyon. 
We explained to the kids that the Grand Canyon was like a really big hole with mountains in it, and as they stepped toward the edge, they were amazed at the view.  It really is quite a spectacular sight!  We wandered around, watched the crows, and climbed up the Desert Watchtower.  I really wasn't that impressed with the Watchtower.  To me the architect tried too hard to make it something it wasn't.  And it was crowded- if I'm ever back I'll pass on climbing it again. 
A mule train on the South Kaibab Trail
We ended up spending a few hours one day, and one very long day the next day at the Grand Canyon.   The morning of the long day we woke up, and as I was setting up the Coleman stove to cook breakfast, both of the gas cylinders I had wouldn't mesh with the threads in the regulator.  We munched on apples and other munchies as we drove over to the Grand Canyon Village to find the store.  We got there just before it opened at 8:00, and after it opened, wandered inside to find the gas cylinders.  I found what I wanted, paid for it, and left feeling fleeced.  You can find 2-packs of gas at any Walmart for under $6 out the door.  My single cylinder was $7.74, with tax.  That's nearly a 3 times the price you'd pay anywhere else!  They gouge you good, but you really don't have another choice.  It was nice to fire up the stove and have some  hot breakfast burritos.  I contacted Coleman after we got back from the trip for some customer support regarding the gas cylinders not engaging.  (All told I ended up with rotten luck and had 4 cylinders with the flattened threads that wouldn't engage the regulator on the trip.)  I essentially was given the contact information for the company that manufactures them and told to contact them myself as "(the Coleman Gas) is a licensed product. Coleman does not produce, manufacture, or sell this gas. that is why we provided you the information to the manufacture so they can better assist you."  Some customer service that is!   I essentially was told that Coleman doesn't really care about it's customers.  It definitely left me with a less positive outlook on the Coleman Company then I had had before.  So if you have trouble with their propane cylinders- good luck! 
We spend most of the time along the rim of the canyon, but we did take the short hike down the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh-Ahh Point.  I really think that John Wesley Powell had the right idea when he took the boats through on his exploration of the Colorado River.  Experiencing the canyon from the rim was nice, but it left me thinking that to really experience the Grand Canyon you need to go below the rim down into the canyon.  With 3 kids age 4 and younger, it wasn't going to be me on this trip.   
A condor flying over the Grand Canyon
We stopped by a ranger discussion at Moran Point and saw a condor flying down below us.  The kids asked how many caves there are in the Grand Canyon and were told that there are more caves in the Grand Canyon than in all of the other National Parks combined, and that only 6% of them have been surveyed and explored by rangers.  Now that's a lot of caves!  I wish I could remember how many it is!
We took the bus out to Hermit's Rest in the late afternoon.  It's a fun bus ride.  I would recommend getting off at some of the stops along the way.  A new shuttle comes by every 15 minutes, so it's a great way to see more of the South Rim. 
Our final stop was at Grandview Point for the sunset.  We had a great time at the Grand Canyon, but it was harder to do with little kids, not because there's not much to do, but instead because it's hard to go below the rim (and back up) with little ones that get tired quickly. 

If you do go to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon with young kids there are several things that they would enjoy, outlined east to west:
Desert View and the Watchtower
Tusayan Ruin
The Visitor Center
Moran Point ( and looking for condors)
The Geology Museum
The train
The shuttle to Hermits Rest
Renting a bike and trailer (bike rentals are available near the Visitor Center)

Nearest City: Grand Canyon Village, AZ
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: 1+ days
Difficulty: varies
Kid Friendly: varies
Additional Info: Grand Canyon National Park Webpage

No comments:

Post a Comment