The Journey, Getting There from Here
Although I haven’t taken this Grand Canyon hike yet, I have had to figure out how to get there. I did this quite some time ago to make sure that my reservations were in place. For me, the hike itself was quite an investment and I didn’t want to risk not being there at the right time.
Driving by land is an obvious good choice. My brother and his wife who live about three hours from me, in Wisconsin, are driving and have room in their vehicle for all our equipment. I am flying out and meeting them before the hike and will be traveling light. Since there are many great places to visit between Wisconsin and Arizona, including many national parks, my brother will be taking his time and may do some other shorter hikes on the way.
Flying into the Grand Canyon area usually means going to one of the nearby cities with an airport – Flagstaff, Phoenix or Las Vegas. Although there is a small airport in Grand Canyon Village, service there is limited to private and charter flights. From the cities, car rental is the advisable travel means. My brother’s approach will be from the east which meant that Flagstaff was the most logical choice for me. It is, more or less, on his way to the canyon. We will meet in Flagstaff and drive to Grand Canyon Village the day before our trip starts.
Our first day of the hike requires us to be present at 10 am, so we have arranged lodging in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim within the National Park. It is a small village and has limited year-round lodging. There are a dozen or more hotels including Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar Hotel, Kachina Lodge, Thunderbird Lodge, the Motor Lodge and Yavapai Lodge. These hotels have been hosting visitors since the park became a tourist destination and several of them are quite famous. El Tovar is right on the Rim and built like a European castle! Lodging is also available on the North Rim and at Phantom Ranch inside the canyon, which I will mention in a future post.
My brother was able to get a hotel room, but I was not. Instead, I have reservations at Mather Campground in Grand Canyon Village. I will be tenting the night of our arrival, the first night of the hike before the descent, the two nights at Phantom Ranch, and the night after we return to the South Rim. Hopefully, I can survive five nights of sleeping on the ground.
My airport nearest my home is 240 miles away in Minneapolis so I have transportation complications on that end as well. I will probably travel there the night before the flight and do a park and fly stay at a motel. Living in the wild of northern Wisconsin has its aggravations…
There is so much more that I could say about getting to the various destinations in the Grand Canyon. I didn’t even mention much about the North Rim or the West Rim. It’s a big place.