View Full Version : Grand Canyon

brian reed
9-Jan-2007, 15:48
Hi everyone,

Looking for some info on the Grand Canyon, I've been out west numerous times, but have never been here, I've decided this is the year. I am planning either April or in the fall. First question South rim or North rim? Seems to be no place to stay at the North rim unless I camp, the hotel there is already booked for the year. The South rim seems to be troublesome since you have to take a shuttle everywhere, unless I'm not understanding something. Basically looking for some recommendations on anything.


Aaron van de Sande
9-Jan-2007, 16:01
How long are you staying? There is much more in that area to see than just the Grand Canyon.

Juergen Sattler
9-Jan-2007, 16:02
Well, the North Rim will not be open in April - they typically open in mid May! There is a campground in the park at the North Rim - you just have to make reservations in advance. I prefer the North Rim because it is less crowded and the views there are (more) spectacular, but that's a personal choice.

The South Rim shuttle system is very easy and makes perfect sense. There is only one road along the Rim and you just hop on a bus and get off wherever you want. You can hike from one stop to the next and then jump on the shuttle again. Really no burden at all.

brian reed
9-Jan-2007, 16:23
I would be staying for a week, yes I know there are many areas around the Grand Canyon, I've been all over northern Arizona and southern Utah but never to the Grand Canyon. Ive flown over it probably 100's of times at 35000 feet. I do realize The North Rim is closed until mid may, so if I go in April it will be the South Rim. I just need a little clarification on the shuttle system, but thanks for the response.


9-Jan-2007, 16:38
I was over at Jacob's Lake a week ago before the last storm hit. The road to the North Rim (only one) was burined under about 5 feet of snow. This is going to be one of those years when they may not open until June. Places to stay other than at the North rim itself are: Just outside of the park about 17 miles from the rim, is the Kiabab Lodge. At the junction of the only road and hwy 89 going south to Flagstaff is Jacob's Lake. No lake there, but they do have rooms and cabins. It is about 43 miles from there to the rim. I agree the North rim is the best. Another possiblity most never hear of is Totoweap point. You access via a dirt road. No accomadations at it, but Kanab is the closest town. It is also very close to Pipe Springs National Monument. There are a couple of ghost towns on the way to Toroweap. In fact let me know when you get out this way. Since I live only 90 minute drive from the North Rim, I know all the area around here. I can get you to what ever you want to see.

Eric Leppanen
9-Jan-2007, 16:38


Also, this excellent photo guidebook has an entire chapter (10 pages including photographs) on the South Rim. It was revised last year so it is quite up to date:


Eric Woodbury
9-Jan-2007, 17:00
The shuttle applies only to the western drive of the South Rim. To the east, you drive your car (that's how it was a couple of years ago). The shuttle works quite well, as mentioned, and makes for easy movement. It can plug up a bit at sundown.

April is the time of backpackers, hikers, and spring breakers. Lots of people there. The weather can be warm on the rim and hot in the canyon.

Doug Dolde
9-Jan-2007, 21:23
I was there at Christmas. Got lucky with some overcast and sun breaking through. The Grand Canyon can be hard to catch at a photogenic moment. A lot of the time it's bland blue hazy sky.

I recommend starting at the east entrance and working your way west. The west end is ususally more crowded.

If you get lucky with the wearher the Grand Canyon has no peer for amazing sights.

Robert Oliver
9-Jan-2007, 22:34
I was there last April. No snow. Shuttles work good, except for the shuttle back from Hopi point after sunset. Waited out there for more than an hour before the last sweeper shuttle heading back towards the village picked us up. The posted schedules were not accurate. The rest of the shuttle system was perfect. I mostly worked on the roads away from the village. North Rim was not open.

We camped and had great weather. Snowed one night, but didn't stick.

Jim Rhoades
10-Jan-2007, 08:02
The north rim should be closed. I've found that April can be awful windy. To much so for a L/F camera. Take along a M/F just in case.

brian reed
11-Jan-2007, 18:14
thanks for the input everyone, I have decided to go in fall probabably the end of September. Thanks for the offer Aggie I'll let you know the details if you like.
Wonderful image Doug, I could only hope to get something like yours.

15-Jan-2007, 03:35
I worked a summer there, many moons ago and have returned several times -- usually during the last two weeks of April. The flowers are out down in the Canyon -- quite a garden!

I was walking along the rim thru snow to get to work in May of '77, but it must have been an unusual year -- the Aprils I have returned there since then have been without snow, but with some rare rain.

July and August is the time if thunderstorms. very dramatic.

I have taken a few 11-day backpack trips down in the canyon with my 4x5. Can't say I have had much luck, photographically speaking. It has been a tough place for me to capture -- the landscape is on a grand scale...and I tend to focus in a little more with my photos rather than on the larger landscape.

April or September, I wish you a great trip!


Juergen Sattler
15-Jan-2007, 06:24
The north rim should be closed. I've found that April can be awful windy. To much so for a L/F camera. Take along a M/F just in case.

Very good advice - I have been to both the North and South Rim numerous times when it was completely unfeasable to mount a LF camera onto the tripod. The wind at the Rim can be brutal. I used my Mamiya instead and everything was fine. Jim is right - do not rely on your LF gear alone.

C. D. Keth
15-Jan-2007, 09:25
That's a great catch you posted above Doug. Nice work. It's tough to get mother nature to cooperate like that.