Jump to content

  •  

CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.

Photo

Grand Canyon observation spots and accommodations reviews/recommendations?

  • Please log in to reply
17 replies to this topic

#1 hydrox

hydrox

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2021
  • Loc: Pacific North West, US

Posted 27 November 2022 - 07:32 PM

Hi all,

 

We want to visit Grand Canyon for 5 nights this April and already booked the air tickets to Vegas but no accommodation yet. We haven't stayed at Grand Canyon before. We will be getting a car rental. I saw some review threads in the forum but they are from 2019-2020. I'm looking for more recent reviews / recommendations regarding observation spots and accommodations since a lot of development and changes have happened since:

- Any spots you recommend are best for observation? Should avoid? I heard some spots are crowded with tourists and white light.

- North rim? South rim? Doesn't matter?

- Inside the park? Outside the park?

- Did you visit nearby dark sky parks /communities?

- Which hotels/lodges/inns did you use? Recommend for/against?

 

Thank you,

 

 



#2 Gridley

Gridley

    Mariner 2

  • -----
  • Posts: 278
  • Joined: 04 Oct 2021
  • Loc: Rutland Prison Camp ;) MA, USA

Posted 27 November 2022 - 07:38 PM

I can't answer your grand canyon questions, but if you can make it a little further north to Vermilion Cliffs, you won't be disappointed.  Large area of BLM land, much fewer tourists and plenty of dark sky camping opportunities.  Maybe add it to the list of options!


  • hydrox likes this

#3 Stevegeo

Stevegeo

    Surveyor 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 1,886
  • Joined: 29 Jan 2019
  • Loc: Finger lakes area

Posted 27 November 2022 - 08:35 PM

If you do north rim you wont be disappointed,  however be warned , there might be snow, even in late april as we found out. ..we camped in a trailer  no electric boondocking ..

 

And it gets very cold when we returned in june , nite temps were in 30s and lower 40s ..

As for accommodations,  i cant recommend  anything as we were towing our camper .. 



#4 EGregerson

EGregerson

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 148
  • Joined: 23 Dec 2020
  • Loc: Newport News, VA

Posted 27 November 2022 - 08:55 PM

If ur on the south rim; Wapatli national monument is not tooo far away.  Closes at 5:00 pm; but park lets astronomers set up in parking lot.  I saw best skies ever last april. no crowd 


  • hydrox and Gridley like this

#5 Shane1200

Shane1200

    Vostok 1

  • -----
  • Posts: 141
  • Joined: 30 Jun 2017
  • Loc: North Florida

Posted 28 November 2022 - 12:26 AM

I just visited the  Grand Canyon on 11/1.   We took the train from Williams and stayed at the Railroad hotel.  They have a option where you can take the train and stayed at one of the lodges in the park and ride the train back. It may be easier than trying to drive to the park. I stayed outside the park years ago, but traffic is so much worst now, making it hard to get in. 

  The View Hotel in Monument Valley, Utah has a rooms that  have balcony with roof set back allowed you to observe and it's a really dark site.   We had planned to visit it and the Lowell Obs.  at Flagstaff on the same trip but a snow storm messed up that part of our trip. 



#6 flightlogic

flightlogic

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • Posts: 29
  • Joined: 13 Oct 2022
  • Loc: Flagstaff, Arizona

Posted 28 November 2022 - 11:08 AM

There is a trading post at Cameron, between Flagstaff and the Canyon.  Pretty dark and has a small hotel.

Wupatki monument, as mentioned is popular with locals.

If you stay at a hotel on the south rim, a night drive on east rim drive will easily move you away from the village light sources.  Lark parking lots along the way.  Some low trees though. April might be breezy...


  • hydrox likes this

#7 davidmcgo

davidmcgo

    Soyuz

  • *****
  • Posts: 3,914
  • Joined: 09 Oct 2004
  • Loc: San Diego, CA

Posted 28 November 2022 - 11:55 PM

Any of the overlooks on the South Rim drive east from the village will do.  Many have big pullouts and parking.  None have street lights.  You may deal with cars pulling in at times.

 

The North Rim may not be open that early in the year and doesn’t have as open and spectacular views of the canyon as it is higher up and heavily forested.  The only true Bortle class 1 skies I have seen have been in the forest midway between Jacob Lake Inn and the North Rim entrance.  But it was hard to find an open enough area to not be dodging pine trees or burned trunks of pine trees there.

 

I like to stay in the park, Yavapai Lodge rooms are pretty nice and can still walk to the market plaza and the Visitor Center.  My wife and I have been there about 12 times over the last 10 years, definitely our favorite national park .

 

Cameron Trading Post and the East Entrance are a lot less busy than going in from Tusayan, and let’s me get a Navajo Hot Beef.  Rooms there are nice also, but not much else around and the reservation has night time curfew to discourage being out and about and the Trading Post has enough lights you won’t stargaze from the property.

 

Dave


Edited by davidmcgo, 28 November 2022 - 11:55 PM.

  • hydrox likes this

#8 hydrox

hydrox

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2021
  • Loc: Pacific North West, US

Posted 29 November 2022 - 12:43 AM

Thank you all for your responses. We end up booking Yavapai Lodge. The other lodges inside the park are already sold out or way over our budget. It's indeed too early and North Rim won't open until mid May. Less options make it an easy decision. Wupatki monument looks intriguing and unique so I will check it out even not for astronomy. And I will save View Hotel as well.

 

I looked at Google and historical weather says the low in April is in the 50s? As long as it's not below 40*F, I'm fine with that.



#9 ButterFly

ButterFly

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,372
  • Joined: 07 Sep 2018

Posted 30 November 2022 - 04:25 AM

I looked at Google and historical weather says the low in April is in the 50s? As long as it's not below 40*F, I'm fine with that.

Yeah ... prepare for below 40F.

 

Wupatki and Vermilion Cliffs are quite far away, and really not needed.  Navajo Point vista is the highest at the South Rim and the most protected.  You will have plenty of warning when cars roll up.  Pop in to Grandview to see whether you can find a good spot, and if there are no people around.

 

Observe near your car and keep the door unlocked in case you need to pop in quickly.  No food near you!

 

Hermit Road closes to private cars in March, so you will miss that.  It's nice to hear the river from a mile up!  It all fit into airline constraints, so if you can fit all your gear on a bicycle, you are golden as far down Hermit Road as you can go.

 

 


  • hydrox likes this

#10 psy_zju

psy_zju

    Vostok 1

  • *****
  • Posts: 166
  • Joined: 08 Aug 2021
  • Loc: Phoenix, AZ

Posted 30 November 2022 - 05:37 AM

Thank you all for your responses. We end up booking Yavapai Lodge. The other lodges inside the park are already sold out or way over our budget. It's indeed too early and North Rim won't open until mid May. Less options make it an easy decision. Wupatki monument looks intriguing and unique so I will check it out even not for astronomy. And I will save View Hotel as well.

I looked at Google and historical weather says the low in April is in the 50s? As long as it's not below 40*F, I'm fine with that.

50F sounds too warm for south rim. Expect any temperature between 20-50 in early morning. I camp at high elevation area (7000 +) in Arizona in May a few times, the lowest I experienced was 27F, the highest low temperature I had was low 50’s.

#11 edwincjones

edwincjones

    Close Enough

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,426
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2004

Posted 30 November 2022 - 06:52 AM

I went to the GCSP once, both North and South Rims, and was so busy during the day seeing the canyon and condors that I was really tired to see much at night.

 

Be prepared for competition between the canyon and the night sky.

If you have time for the long drive to the North Rim

the view of the southern sky over the canyon is even more overwhelming.

 

edj


  • hydrox likes this

#12 hydrox

hydrox

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2021
  • Loc: Pacific North West, US

Posted 30 November 2022 - 06:59 PM

Oh no, I was hoping it would be above freezing. Will the eyepieces and mirrors freeze over?

Yeah ... prepare for below 40F.

 

Wupatki and Vermilion Cliffs are quite far away, and really not needed.  Navajo Point vista is the highest at the South Rim and the most protected.  You will have plenty of warning when cars roll up.  Pop in to Grandview to see whether you can find a good spot, and if there are no people around.

 

Observe near your car and keep the door unlocked in case you need to pop in quickly.  No food near you!

 

Hermit Road closes to private cars in March, so you will miss that.  It's nice to hear the river from a mile up!  It all fit into airline constraints, so if you can fit all your gear on a bicycle, you are golden as far down Hermit Road as you can go.

By "No food near you!", do you mean I need to keep some snacks or is it more like a bear warning?

 

50F sounds too warm for south rim. Expect any temperature between 20-50 in early morning. I camp at high elevation area (7000 +) in Arizona in May a few times, the lowest I experienced was 27F, the highest low temperature I had was low 50’s.

 



#13 ButterFly

ButterFly

    Skylab

  • *****
  • Posts: 4,372
  • Joined: 07 Sep 2018

Posted 30 November 2022 - 09:17 PM

And cougars!

#14 hydrox

hydrox

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2021
  • Loc: Pacific North West, US

Posted 30 November 2022 - 10:19 PM

And cougars!

oh my, good to know!



#15 edwincjones

edwincjones

    Close Enough

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,426
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2004

Posted 01 December 2022 - 04:54 AM

And cougars!

I think if you stay fairly close to all the activities a large predator (other than man) is unlikely,

but if you plan to go way out for darker sky I would suggest  checking  with the rangers.

 

edj



#16 hydrox

hydrox

    Sputnik

  • *****
  • topic starter
  • Posts: 42
  • Joined: 09 Sep 2021
  • Loc: Pacific North West, US

Posted 02 December 2022 - 01:09 PM

I think if you stay fairly close to all the activities a large predator (other than man) is unlikely,

but if you plan to go way out for darker sky I would suggest  checking  with the rangers.

 

edj

lol @this. Thanks for the checking tip
 



#17 spereira

spereira

    Cosmos

  • *****
  • Posts: 8,898
  • Joined: 21 Apr 2017
  • Loc: Bedford, NH

Posted 02 December 2022 - 01:24 PM

Folks, let's NOT get off into all the animal warnings and stories here, as that will hijack the topic.

 

smp



#18 edwincjones

edwincjones

    Close Enough

  • *****
  • Posts: 14,426
  • Joined: 10 Apr 2004

Posted 06 December 2022 - 05:12 AM

It has been a while, but when I was at the North Rim GCSP

I remember hearing of some observers setting up at the North Rim observation sites for darker skies.   I have no personal experience of these locations.

 

edj


Edited by edwincjones, 06 December 2022 - 05:13 AM.



CNers have asked about a donation box for Cloudy Nights over the years, so here you go. Donation is not required by any means, so please enjoy your stay.


Recent Topics






Cloudy Nights LLC
Cloudy Nights Sponsor: Astronomics