I only reserved 3 nights at the RV park we stayed at right outside the south rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. It was a but pricier than we like to pay, but the location was great, so we determined 3 nights would be a sufficient amount of time to do what we wanted to do there.
Where we stayed
Grand Canyon Camper Village in Tusayan, AZ didn’t have great online reviews, but it had full hookups and the location couldn’t be beat. We would recommend staying here, as we didn’t have to use our truck the whole time we were there. When we wanted to go into the park, we walked to the bus stop which was really close and caught a free ride in. We did this all 3 days. There were also several restaurants within walking distance as well as a country store with limited groceries (and high prices).
The day we drove in, a snow storm decided to blow through! We drove through a full blown snow storm the last hour of our drive in. We are so thankful for our F350 that pulls our 42’ rig like a champ! Aaron is so good at handling and maneuvering it too. By the time we arrived, it was later in the day and the RV park was under a blanket of snow. It remained that way until we left, so we don’t even know what the place looks like in “normal” conditions!
We were there in March and didn’t really anticipate a snowy experience! We were really glad we could walk everywhere, since it was so snowy, and not worry about getting the truck out. Our first full day there it was still snowing. We took the bus in to the park. We checked out the visitor’s center first and picked up the junior ranger booklets for the kids. It was pretty crowded in the center. I can’t imagine how crowded it must get in good weather!
We went back to the bus area and hopped on a bus that would take us around to different parts of the park. We would hop off, walk around for about 5-10 min, start to freeze in the snow and BRUTAL wind, then hop on another bus and thaw out. At one point we did part of the rim trail, but the views were pretty obscured why all the snow and clouds. It did make for some really cool pictures though!
We checked out the Grand Canyon store, which was also super crowded and then got bussed down to the Grand Canyon village area. By this time, the snow had stopped and the sun would try and peak out fro time to time. It still was miserably cold and the wind hitting any exposed part of your face HURT! It might be the coldest I’ve ever been!
Despite the cold…
The Grand Canyon did NOT disappoint!
Honestly, I wondered if I would be impressed because at this point, we’ve been on the road for about 4 months and have seen some amazing things. I have never seen anything as grandiose or exquisite as the Grand Canyon! It truly is in a class of it’s own. It just didn’t seem real!
Our Biggest Hike - South Kaibob Trail
Our last full day there, we were SO thrilled to see that the forecast was looking better! Less wind, warmer and NO SNOW! We decided to hike the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point. We quickly found out once we arrived that there was a lot of ice and snow still on the first part of the trail… it took at least 20 min of careful navigation down the steep switchbacks to get past it. We had several slips and bumped bums, but thankfully nothing major! Lots of people wore spikes on their shoes for better grip.
As we descended into the canyon, the snow and ice started melting and it got MUDDY. I’m talking, 4 inches of which, sticky mud to trek through! What a mess! But what an adventure! We made it down to Ooh Ahh Point and spent some time admiring the spectacular views before heading back up, through the mud and back into the snow and ice. The views the entire hike were breathtaking. We would’ve loved to go further into the canyon, but our youngest, who is 6, was ready to go back up. It was only 1.8 miles round trip, but the tricky conditions of snow, ice and then mud made it more challenging.
After the hike, we headed to the visitor’s center to complete some more activities in the kids junior ranger booklets. We watched a 20 min. movie about the history of the Grand Canyon. It was interesting! We then got to hear a ranger talk about California Condors. We learned so much about this interesting bird there!
That evening, we treated ourselves to a tasty Mexican meal at Plaza Bonita in town. They had the best salsa ever! I highly recommend stopping in if you’re in Tusayan.
Our last morning, I took the bus with the kids once more into the park while Aaron packed up the RV. They turned in their booklets and were sworn in as junior rangers of Grand Canyon National Park!
We really enjoyed our time at the Grand Canyon. We could’ve had better weather, but it probably would’ve been more crowded. We all were really looking forward to this experience and all four agree that it exceeded our expectations!