We took our time getting up and about this morning as this allowed Will to get lots of work done. The time difference is working to his advantage with his normal early rise. It was not before ten o’clock when we were packed up and ready for our drive to the Grand Canyon.
Our RV Resort, Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel, not only has a hotel in which the RV resort also can use all the amentities, it also has a Pet Resort. This was the best! Instead of leaving Pawley in his crate in the RV, he was able to have his own run at the Pet Resort that was both inside and outside! We were able to relax knowing he was having a great time. I wish all the RV resorts had this option! Side note: the town of Williams is where you could get train tickets and take the train into the Grand Canyon. We did not do this option for two reasons; one we didn’t want to be tied to anyone else’s schedule and two, coronavirus! It was shockingly packed with people!
The Grand Canyon, South Rim was 60 miles from our RV resort. Since day one of our travel planning we had planned on the South Rim, versus the North Rim and we were so thankful we did as the North Rim is closed due to wildfires. There are three stops, although spread out to get gas if you need it, but other than this there was nothing on the drive, until you hit right outside the park entrance. All of us were amazed at the overall feel of the Grand Canyon. We felt like we were driving into a resort community as there were villages with markets, hotels and lodges spread throughout on one side and then on the other there was the Grand Canyon! Some of the cabins you can stay in look directly over the Grand Canyon, talk about a view. This National Park gave you a pocket map at the entrance that was the best yet! It not only had a map of everything in the Grand Canyon, it also had advice on how to enjoy the Grand Canyon depending on how much time you had. I can see why some people spend many days here. We could have easily spent two full days at the Grand Canyon.
Here are some notes about the Grand Canyon from the pamphlet: Before you are waves of stair-stepped ledges, cliffs and buttes painted ochre, green and gray. Within moments the colors deepen, then brighten as clouds drift past. You marvel at the slender, shimmering ribbon of river that, along with erosion, carved through rock layers to create this natural wonder. Side canyons branch in all directions from the river. Development has changed many parts of the Colorado plateau, which surrounds Grand Canyon.
Pinyon and juniper trees survive with less than 15 inches of rainfall annually at this elevation of 7000 feet at the South Rim. Both trees have tiny leaves to minimize the surface area exposed to the dry air. Yucca’s thick, waxy leaves conserve the moisture that their muscular roots pull from the South Rim’s dry, rocky soil. Cliffrose and Gambel oak hug the rim. As you move away from the rim the soil’s moisture and nutrient levels improve, and ponderosa pines grow in stands.
From Mather Point, gaze across and downward. You’ll see tiny patches of bright green in the canyon bottom. The spots of color mark springs at Phantom Ranch and Bright Angel Campground, stopping points for many who make the rim-to-rim trek. A rimside walk of less than one mile will take you from Mather Point to Yavapai Point.
At South Rim there are roads, signs, sidewalks, and trails, hotels, visitor centers, museums and campgrounds, offices, concessioners, a rail depot, buses, cars and bicylces. At the North Rim you’ll find fewer human-made distractions. It is 25 miles by car from Grand Canyon Village to Desert View .
Our first stop in the park was to go directly to Mather Point on the Rim Trail. If you walked the entire Rim Train it would be 12.8 miles. The entire path is paved and wheelchair friendly and pets are allowed if they remain on a leash. We knew this, but taking advantage of a pet resort for Pawley was a nice treat for us all. The views were breathtaking! You see pictures of the Grand Canyon, but you can not appreciate both its beauty and how big it is until you see it in person. You truly could sit and look out for hours. We walked about a mile to Yavapai Point and Pipe Creek Vista before turning around to walk back to the car to continue moving on. We did not know at this point that the Rim Trail was walkable for so long (somehow we missed that on the map!). However, it all worked out, as Will had a very busy day (I wonder if he remembers the Grand Canyon!) so we decided to drive to one of the villages to eat lunch so he could sit and take calls without any interruptions.
We drove the Yavapai Road to Market Plaza and went into the General Store which had everything to get lunch. The kids and I masked up to go in. We enjoyed a picnic style lunch outside before heading back in to check out the other side of the store, the t-shirts and such. Eli, burned out from our last shopping experience in Moab, opted to go back to the car with Will. This was also the first National Park we stopped to use the restroom and we timed it perfectly as it was just cleaned. I will also say the crowds in this area were few (and overall the crowds were much less than I was expecting, but then again the Grand Canyon is very spread out) and the restrooms were exceptionally clean!
Once Will was finished with his calls, we ventured further down Yavapai Road to the Village area and went to the Bright Angel Overlook. Will was trying to find this area he wanted to take Betsie and Eli to and couldn’t figure out why he was having trouble locating it on the map, until he realized it was on the North Rim and not the South Rim. Since that clearly was not going to happen, we walked along the Rim Trail behind the Bright Angel Lodge to the Lookout Studio. Again the views were spectacular. Just like Arches National Park, there is not one bad view of the Grand Canyon on any part of the Rim Trail!
From here we wanted to continue driving to Hermits Rest, but it was closed. We knew we both wanted to visit the town of Williams and come back for a sunset, so we decided to head back to Williams for an early dinner and to get Pawley.
Will and Eli took a nap on the way back and I was most thankful Will was getting some shut eye as he needed it! We ran back to the RV to drop off our bags (from our purchases….again) and to use the bathroom before Anna Cate, Betsie and I started our walk into town. I love how the RV resort is walking distance to the town of Williams. The boys drove the car and met us along the famous Main Street, Route 66. We asked a local in one of the stores for a recommendation for dinner and she sent us to El Corral. It was outstanding! They give everyone a cup of sopa de fideo which is a warm comforting soup made with a tangy tomato base and golden brown noodles. Everyone thought it was delicious! We took home so many leftovers; we are set for lunch on the road.
After dinner we grabbed Pawley and headed back to the Grand Canyon for the sunset. Pawley was beyond excited to see us!!! As we were getting close to the entrance to the park we noticed that it was getting cloudy and we hoped we would still be able to see the sunset. We went to a different spot along Desert View Road this time to Hopi Point, but it was closed. Luckily the next best spot was right around the corner, Yaki Point. Sunset or no sunset, the views are stunning! However, we were not prepared for how cold it was! On one rock you have Betsie in a tank top and on another a woman in pants, a lightweight down jacket and a hat! Overall, the evening view turned out great!
By the time we rolled back into our campsite it was 9:00 pm and we called it a night by 10:00 to prepare for another long day of travel.
Grand Canyon Railway and Hotel/RV Resort was our favorite so far outside of our stay in Savannah at CreekFire. It was exceptionally clean, everything was paved, their were sidewalks within the RV park, the bath houses were very clean and everyone was beyond friendly! And the proximity to the town was great.