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Phoenix/Grand Canyon in January

Ubil

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Need some opinions.

We (my wife and I) are looking at traveling to Phoenix on Jan 2, staying at a timeshare in Scottsdale through Jan 9, then going to Williams to take a 3 day/two night pkg with the Grand Canyon Railway. Travel back to Phoenix on Jan 11 to catch a flight back to Md. (As I am typing this, I'm thinking that we will want to leave the timeshare a day early to make the last day less rushed.)

Does this make sense?

How is the Grand Canyon in winter? Have any of you taken the Grand Canyon Railway in winter? Since we would be taking the train to the Grand Canyon, will a lack of a car hurt our visit? Does it make sense to spend a night at the Grand Canyon in the winter?
 

Red Rox

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There is never a bad time to visit the Grand Canyon. But at 7,000 feet you should expect winter conditions. Snow is likely and it will be cold.
I'm not a big fan of the GC Railway. IMO it's an expensive and time consuming way to get to the GCNP. You do not see the canyon from the train. Furthermore, as you realize, you won't have your own car at the park. That means that you'll be limited to using the park shuttle service to get around. And in the cold winter that could mean standing and waiting for the next bus. Not my favorite way to vacation in the park. I prefer to have my own wheels.
Finally, I'd encourage you to plan a day and possibly an overnight visit to Sedona on your way to or from the GCNP. It's a perfect half way stop between PHX and the GCNP, and it's a not to be missed part of northern AZ.
 

DianneL

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GC Railway

We were at Sedona and on to the Grand Canyon in May. We were given the same information about the Grand Canyon Railway as Red Rox stated above. The train is expensive and the scenery to and from the Grand Canyon on the train is not great. If you are staying at one of the lodges in the park, you will be able to use the shuttle service. However, you may have a wait to get the shuttle service, and you may have to ride a good part of the shuttle's route just to get to the area you want. We very much enjoyed having our car. That area is truly amazing and so scenic.
 

applegirl

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My parents have a second home just outside Williams, and we go to the Canyon almost every time we visit. Don't get tired of that view!

I would pretty much agree with RedRox. Not trying to burst your bubble about the train. I think it's a fun thing to do, but the problem with winter is when you get there and you want to see other vantage points of the canyon (something I'd suggest), you won't have your own wheels and will have to wait in the COLD for the next shuttle. This could be frustrating or unpleasant. Then again, maybe the shuttle runs frequently enough to where it wouldn't be a problem. I don't know.

There definitely is no bad time to visit the Canyon! Enjoy!

Janna
 

PStreet1

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I agree with everyone above: the train really isn't the way to do it. Book a room yourself in the Canyon and drive there. It isn't far, and you'll see the same scenery. You will miss the gun fight on the train, but that's not much of a loss for adults.
 

Ubil

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Thank you! Train is out. Will investigate staying at Sedona on the way there and on the way back.
 

Ubil

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any suggestions about which lodging to use at the Grand Canyon, South Rim for 2 nights Jan 9-11?

Looks like all of the choices in the park have availability.
 

Red Rox

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At the GCNP, El Tovar is the best. My next choices would be Bright Angel, Kachina or Thunderbird. Those are all on the rim. Yavapai and Maswick are the other two, but they are a short walk from the rim.
 

DianneL

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Maswik

We stayed at The Maswik. It was a short walk to the rim of the canyon. The accommodations were fine. It appears the lodge has been recently updated and is well maintained. I would prefer El Tovar if it is within your price range and available. It was not available when I made my reservations.
 

kcirbodmot

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We stayed at The Maswik. It was a short walk to the rim of the canyon. The accommodations were fine. It appears the lodge has been recently updated and is well maintained. I would prefer El Tovar if it is within your price range and available. It was not available when I made my reservations.

The Maswik Lodge also has what might be the most reasonable (i.e., expensive but no more so than at a ball game) food prices, in their cafeteria. Nice to have choices other than fast food without paying sit-down restaurant prices, too. It was especially perfect for breakfast and lunch.

We stayed at the El Tovar when I was home on R&R from OIF in May 2005, which means we had good reason to pay the premium for the El Tovar vs. staying at one of the others. We did enjoy staying there, but the other places on the rim are VERY close by, so if you just want to wander through the El Tovar, have a drink at theri bar, etc., you may as well stay at one of the others.
 
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