If at all possible, especially if you've never been to the South Rim, I recommend getting there through the east entrance. It takes longer if coming from the south but your first look at the canyon from Desert View is killer, and it's less congested than the south entrance, too.
If coming from Flagstaff (which most people do), instead of taking 180 north through Tusayan to the South entrance, head north-east on 89 and then west on 64 at Cameron.
There are two bonus stops along this route:
Sunset Crater Volcanic National Monument -18 miles n. of Flagstaff off 89.
Wupatki National Monument - 36 miles N of Flagstaff off 89. Prehistoric pueblo site.
They are virtually right next to each other and one small entrance fee covers both sites. If you have an annual NPS pass, you can use it here.
Once through the ticket gate at the park entrance, Desert View will be your first stop: climb Mary Colter's famous tower for an all-directions panorama. From there, it's 25 miles to Grand Canyon village with 5 overlook stops along the way. Another plus? Heading west, all those overlooks will be on the righthand side versus having to turn against traffic - which can be slow and heavy.
If you are driving from Las Vegas to Phoenix via the Hoover Dam, look out for a big sign for the Grand Canyon West. It is a left hand turn if you are heading to Phoenix.
The road is a bit rough, about 21 miles of dirt road, but well worth the ride. When you get to the end, you nearly drive into the canyon. It is nearly undeveloped in any way. The Hualapai Indian Nation that run the area have kept it simple.
There is a small airport for light planes and helicopters but there is an area to get away from even this. The only thing there is a wooden seat. You can almost imagine it was 100 years ago or that you are the first personto see this sight.
From US 93, take Pearce Ferry Rd until you come to Diamond Bar Rd and follow that to the Grand Canyon West. There is an admission fee but it is only about $10 per person and well worth it for this non-tourist experience of the canyon.
As you approach/leave the East entrance to the Grand Canyon, you have an opportunity to visit the Little Colorado River Gorge.
Off the highway, it is a quarter mile walk to see the gorge. My family and I thought it was worth our time to stop.
I had first read about it in Guiness book, long time ago. My son pointed out the tiny board which said "meteor crater", on our way back from grand canyon (going EAST). I almost missed the exit. I told everyone, I am not going if its way off, but the board said 6 mi so i went in.
I am glad I did. Its spectacular!! just standing there try to imagine what would have happened when this meteor struck, and remember it can happen again. The astonishing part is that the meteor disintigrated.
They have a small museum. Not much but you get to see a re-creation of impact. Plus you get to touch some "other" meteors.
The only negative, my wife thinks the ticket is pricey for this place ($25/-)
Well, if you are in Arizona then you know to see the Grand Canyon however, there are several routes you can take to drive there. I've driven to the Grand Canyon twice from Phoenix. My route of choice, and the one I highly suggest, is to drive first through Sedona to Flagstaff and on to the Grand Canyon. What you will find between Sedona and Flagstaff just might blow your mind! I'll get around to building my Sedona and Flagstaff pages later but for now let me convince you here! As you are driving between Phoenix and Sedona you will mostly be passing through the desert with cactus all around. You'll know Sedona when you get there because it is known for its red rocks! And when I say red I mean RED! It is so incredible! As you drive through Sedona on your way to Flagstaff you will be driving higher and higher up the mountains. You will be driving through what is called Oak Creek Canyon. It is absolutely beautiful!!! Not at all like the desert surroundings you just left. Huge trees, green all around, streams, and not quite so hot! But don't let that fool you...you're still in for possibly the worst sunburn of your life! At least I was!!! The first time I was in Flagstaff I was amazed because it is nothing like what I'd expect for Arizona weather. Actually, if you go high enough into the mountains, it snows in July and that is an odd thing for a Mid-Westerner to comprehend! Take my word for it, this route might not seem like the straightest shot but you will not be disappointed!
We rented a ski boat in Lake Powell.
We had lots of fun we towed each other on the water donut inflatable water toys.
Lake Powell is like Utah National parks with water in it.
A water park with great views.
You need a 4 wheel drive for this. Before the visitor center on the north rim take a right on a dirt logging road west to Sublime Point beautiful view 17 miles down. Allow at least an hour each way most of this road won't permit you to go quicker than 17 miles per hour!
In the middle of the desert, lies this huge lake which feeds into the colorado river that forms the grand canyon. It is 3 hours drive from south rim