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Routes to and from Grand Canyon

Phila Pa
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Routes to and from Grand Canyon

Going to the GC from Scottsdale. Sounds like there

are different ways to get there and back. I understand it's about a 4 hour drive. If we are driving 4 hours each way, we would like to catch some different sites along the way and have some decent places to stop along the way too. Any advise on which are the best routes, or any unique places to stop along the way?

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1. Re: Routes to and from Grand Canyon

Are you doing a day trip or overnight? If a day trip, your only objective should be to get to the park and stay as long as you can. Side sights are not a consideration, as 8 hours of your day will already be taken up and there is enough to see at the Canyon to fill 2 days. If doing an overnight stay, let us know and we can give you some ideas.

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2. Re: Routes to and from Grand Canyon

If a one day trip, just get there; anything else will distract from your time. Loop 101 to I-17 N to I-40 W at Flagstaff to Hwy 64 at Williams to park entrance. If this is in the summer, and on a weekend, expect lots of company on the road. Leave early and stay as long as you can.

If an overnight, still get to the canyon before anything else and a early as possible. Where would you be staying? If in the park, there are things to see out the east entrance. Rather than a complete alternate route back to Scottsdale, which would take minimally 2 additional hours, drive down Hwy 89A from Flagstaff through Oak Creek Canyon and Sedona, then back to I-17. If it's not hot, stop and see Montezuma Castle and Well north of Camp Verde.

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Phila Pa
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3. Re: Routes to and from Grand Canyon

We are doing it in one day. We have a package for the week in Scottsdale and don't really want to pay for an additional night somewhere else. We are planning on heading out at around 6 am, stopping for breakfast and to stretch. Figured we could be there by 11am. If we stay for several hours, we could still be back in Scottsdale at a semi decent time. We know it's a long day and don't really want to sight see along the way, but if we stop & get out for a few minutes, we were hoping we would have options. Would you say there are a few places along the way to just take a quick break if needed? Also,

we were thinking about going on a Monday. Would a Tuesday or any other day be better?

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4. Re: Routes to and from Grand Canyon

Stop for breakfast in Flagstaff after driving up I-17. Then head over the San Francisco Peaks via 180 to 64 and South entrance, no need to stop and break this leg of the trip up. Exit the park by way of the East entrance on 64 to 89South. This will be Cameron--visit the trading post. Down 89 to Flagstaff and I-17 again. I don't know if a Monday or Tues is going to make that much of a difference, as long as it is not the weekend.

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5. Re: Routes to and from Grand Canyon

I agree with the posters who say don't stop for anything. There is nothing along the way that is worth stopping for at the expense of your time at the Grand Canyon NP.

If you must stop, make it as fast as possible for bathrooms or a quick bite to eat. The only stop or detour worth doing for a scenic option would be the loop through Sedona via 89A and 179. Driving it instead of I-17 between those two exits will add about 20 minutes to your travel time without stops. But then, you will want to stop, if for nothing more than to snap a couple of photos. Just don't pull off on the side of the road to take that picture. Use the proper turn out areas and park your car. Otherwise you might see some single digits from passing drivers in your camera viewfinder.

If you were to opt to spend the extra money for an overnight stay at the GCNP it would be the best investment you could make with your vacation dollars.

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Phila Pa
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6. Re: Routes to and from Grand Canyon

Confused about North & South Rim. We did map quest from Scottsdale and we think it is directing us to the North Rim entrance. How far apart are North and South Rim entrances? Which is the best entrance for us, coming from Scottsdale? As you get closer to the GCNP, are their a lot of signs directing you to the various rims? When we get to the park,I remember their being shuttle buses that took you from place to place. It's been so many years, not sure where we picked that up. Any and all info is appreciated.

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7. Re: Routes to and from Grand Canyon

The North Rim is a full day's drive from Scottsdale. You're not going there. The shuttle takes over 4 hours one way.

There are 2 entrances to the GCNP SR, both are on AZ 64 as that road runs through the park. The main entrance is near the town of Tusayan (north of Williams) and the east gate is closer to Cameron on 89.

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Phila Pa
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8. Re: Routes to and from Grand Canyon

Okay, the directions do show that we would be entering by way of 64, so I guess that is the South Rim. It shows 229 miles and 3 hrs 41 min. That has to be the South Rim. Do you suggest that we take the same route back to Scottsdale, thru the South entrance or should we exit thru the East. I will want the most direct route back for sure.

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9. Re: Routes to and from Grand Canyon

The time and distance back to Scottsdale is virtually the same from either gate. You will maximize your enjoyment of the GCNP by driving the loop and exiting at the opposite gate from where you enter. I enjoy the views of the Painted Desert by exiting the east gate at Desert View late in the day.

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10. Re: Routes to and from Grand Canyon

I like to go into the park at the south entrance (go through Williams on your way up) then travel to the east and exit there taking 64 to 89 south back to I-40 in Flagstaff, then I-17. It'll give you some different scenery in the afternoon. Be sure to check az511.com for traffic conditions before you head out.

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Williams
Williams
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Flagstaff
Flagstaff
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