My Bucket List experience was to see the Grand Canyon. I had previously visited via helicopter in 2003. This was from Las Vegas and was to the North Rim. I wasn’t as impressed as I had hoped, to be honest I was disappointed and not overwhelmed. So when our last rip meant we could visit the South Rim I jumped on the opportunity.
We were unsure of the exact dates we would be arriving to the Canyon and didn’t want to be restricted by pre-booking. We were from arriving Arizona through Winslow. This was the first place I was able to get internet on the phone. I used Booking.com to look for places in Flagstaff as this seemed the gateway town to the South Rim. I had called a few places in Tusayan as this is the closest to the Park Entrance for the Canyon. They all came back with the same response “we book out at least a year in advance”. This wasn’t looking promising.
All the accommodation was looking expensive over $300 for a room with 2 queen beds. I then began the search in Williams. This is an Old Western style town on the Old Route 66. What a find! There was a room available for $99. The reviews were reasonable. I took a chance and booked it. The town was very quaint and had a good feeling about it. There was a few places for dinner all quite homely, a horse and cart trotting up the main road and lots of signage for Route 66.
When we pulled up at the place I booked it had a big sign stating “Closed for the Winter”. OMG!! We headed to the next place which was well over $300, we had little choice. While checking in to the new hotel I was on the phone to Booking.com. They were amazing and frustrated as I was at the situation. They committed to covering the difference between hotel 1 and hotel 2. It took a month to get the refund and a few emails showing evidence of the closed sign and photos of the new bookings cost. They were very professional and I have used them again and again for last minute bookings.
We needed to get up early the next morning as I wanted to be at the Grand Canyon Park Entrance as early as possible. There were some thoughts of an icy road early in the morning but we experienced no trouble. The drive from Williams to the Canyon entrance was an hour. There is also an option of taking a train to the South Rim. Find out more here.
The park entrance fee is $25US which was a small price to pay for the privilege of visiting this beauty. We waited in a small to pay for our car, when we were leaving at around noon there were approximately 200 cars in the line to get in. TIP- go as early as possible.
There are many different viewpoints for the Canyon. We started with the main viewpoint and parked in the huge car park. There were toilets, information area and a café here. The walk to the rim was a short, flat distance. The view breath taking, simply amazing and better than I had ever imagined. We drove to different view points along the rim, all within the park.
The kids didn’t understand the awe they were part of and it was extremely cold due to the wind chill factor. One day they will look back and appreciate it (I hope).
Overall we spent about 2 hours within the park. This was plenty of time and I saw all I wanted to. WOW is my response to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.