Tips for a Car-Free Grand Canyon Vacation
While the vast majority of the more than four million visitors this year will arrive at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon by automobile and then take self-guided tours, others will park their cars or even arrive without them. Xanterra South Rim, a resort at Grand Canyon National Park, believes visitors who have the best experiences are those who use two-legged, four-legged or multi-wheeled modes of transportation to get around.
To minimize impact on the environment, Xanterra also advocates visitors use mass transportation or walk whenever possible to reduce air pollution as well as congestion on the roads.
“You can see the canyon from every angle without ever getting back into your car,” said Gordon Taylor, general manager of Xanterra South Rim, L.L.C. “There are plenty of ways to get around. You can walk the village, hike the inner canyon or take a mule ride, motor coach tour, free shuttle or historic train.”
In order to get out of the car, visitors can park in the village and satellite parking lots or they can arrive by train. The Grand Canyon Railway makes daily round-trip excursions – twice daily during busy times – from Williams, AZ, some 60 miles south to the Grand Canyon Depot in the heart of the village. Vacationers can enjoy overnight visits or just a few hours at the canyon or in the park. Parking is free at the historic Grand Canyon Railway Depot in Williams. In keeping with an environmental focus, traveling via the Railway relieves the Grand Canyon of some 50,000 cars annually.
One-day mule trips to Plateau Point offer a dramatic descent into the canyon. The seven-hour trip includes lunch at Indian Garden. Brief stops are made along the way for interpretive talks by the trail guides, water breaks and photography. Two-day rides that proceed all the way to the bottom of the canyon include an overnight stay in a cabin at Phantom Ranch – the lodging facility on the floor of the canyon – breakfast, lunch and dinner.
One of the most popular ways to view and learn about the canyon is a motor coach tour. Drivers are well-trained and entertaining. For most tours there is no charge for motor coach passengers under the age of 16 when accompanied by a paying adult.
There are also a variety of tours and activities in Grand Canyon Village. For example, visitors to the Grand Canyon can take a self-guided walking tour of the historic district of Grand Canyon Village. Pamphlets providing interesting information about each of the stops are available at no charge from the front desk of each lodging facility. Interesting and historic sites within walking distance of Grand Canyon Village are the famed El Tovar Hotel, the Bright Angel History Room, Hopi House, Kolb Studio and Lookout Studio.
For more information visit Grand Canyon Lodges. To learn more about the national park visit Grand Canyon National Park.
If You Go…
Grand Canyon Lodges
Central Reservations Office
6312 South Fiddlers Green Circle, Suite 600N
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Phone: 1.888.297.2757 or 928.638.2631
Grand Canyon Railway
Flagstaff, Arizona Office
1201 West Route 66, Suite 200
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Phone 1-800-843-8724 or (928) 773-1976
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
Phone: (928) 638-7888
Source: Grand Canyon Lodges