The Grand Canyon South Rim
So, you want to visit one of the natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon, and you want to know Where to stay when visiting the Grand Canyon!
Naturally, you want to plan your trip and your visit carefully, and we are here to help. We get questions almost everyday about visiting the Grand Canyon, and most especially, where to stay when visiting the Grand Canyon. Of course, staying at a Classy Cabin is the perfect place for many, many kinds of Grand Canyon visitors, and I’m going to show you why.
The most important factor in determining where to stay when visiting the Grand Canyon is your canyon visitor category. Are you a category one, two or three?
Travelers have options of course, and which one makes the most sense depends on the person, family or group, and what they like to do when the travel. Lets break down Grand Canyon visiting travelers in to a few categories, you’ll understand why later.
Category number One – This category describes the majority of tourists wanting to visit the Grand Canyon. The Grand Canyon is on your list, and you want to have a great experience seeing it, but aren’t going to be taking a day long hike in the canyon. You may already know about it, or once you have read this article you will know about the Grand Canyon Railway. Your canyon plan is part of a larger agenda of things to do while visiting Northern Arizona, like visiting Route 66 in Williams, going to Bearizona, visiting the Meteor Crater, or spending time in nearby scenic areas like Sedona or Flagstaff. For you, Classy Cabins AZ is perfect.
Category number Two – The second most likely kind of canyon visitor, you want to see a lot of the canyon, and will probably take a day tour. You want to be close enough to the canyon to do that, but don’t want to stick around once you are done. You are a perfect Classy Cabins AZ guest.
Category number Three – the hiking, camping, outdoors people. This is the smallest group of canyon visitors, but if you are one of these, you like to visit the canyon by hiking down in it, maybe for several days. You might be taking day tours, or you might want to pack everything in, and camp in the canyon. If you are this kind of visitor, you’ll be camping, or needing to stay in the park at the hotel.
Now, why does your canyon visitor category matter so much in determining where to stay? It’s important because where you stay should match the kind of canyon visitor you are. Depending your category, you’ll enjoy your travel, and your canyon visit much more if you choose the kind of lodging that matches your travel habits.
Many of our guests have a visit to the canyon in mind during their stay. I think a lot of people had the same vision I had when I first wanted to see the Grand Canyon. Maybe you have the same vision. I always imagined a rustic-luxury cabin or lodge, with a balcony or deck on the back that looked out over the canyon. In my imagination, it was settled into some beautiful tall pine trees, and was just a short walk or drive to other things to do. Kind of like a big resort overlooking a lake or a golf course. Well, I had a rude awakening when I finally came face to face with the reality of the geography, the sheer scale of the natural world and it’s wonders.
As it turns out, there aren’t any cabins overlooking the canyon. For the brave and adventurous, there are camp grounds and couple of cabins and a tiny lodge IN the canyon, but you have to get there first! For the rest of us, you never really understand until you see it, just how big the canyon is. And, just how out in the middle of a huge swath of nowhere it is! The Canyon is surrounded by tribal and federal lands. Except for a couple of visitor centers, there isn’t any development right on the canyon. And there are only a couple of roads that lead to the visitor centers, which cross quite the stretch of high desert, with little but the occasional gas station in a tiny village.
Let’s talk a little bit about the geography of the area, and what there is to see.
I-40 to The Grand Canyon via US-64
Look at this map of the area, and how to get to the Grand Canyon. The picturesque and historic Route 66 town of Williams is at the bottom of the map. Williams is known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon” because its the last town with shopping, groceries, restaurants, etc., before you get on Highway 64 heading North to the canyon. Highway 64 runs North from the East end of Williams, crossing Interstate 40 at exit 165. That’s just about 8 minutes from the West end of Williams, or, 8 minutes from beautiful Classy Cabins AZ’s properties.
Now the drive up 64 from I-40 is generally under an hour – it’s 50 or so minutes from Classy Cabins AZ. The canyon is plenty close for a day tour if you are a category two canyon visitor. If you are a category one canyon visitor, the Grand Canyon Railway leaves from Williams, just 10 minutes from the cabins.
Taking the train is a lot of fun, and pretty exciting for young visitors. The train takes multiple trips each day, the schedule might even work out for category two canyon visitors if you take the first train up in the morning, and the last train back in the afternoon. And I recommend it as a way to get to the canyon.
This what you see on the way to the Grand Canon on Highway 64. It’s an easy drive, but once you get just a few minutes North of I-40, there isn’t anything to see. The national forest ends just a couple of miles up 64, and shortly flattens out to an endless, wide open vista of high desert scrub. Look back up at the map, and you’ll see there are only two places with names on the map. Valle is a wide spot in the road. Tusayan is a tiny village actually at the gate to the south rim visitors center.
Don’t get me wrong, i’m not trying to dissuade anybody from visiting the canyon by driving up – after all it’s not a long drive. But I do want to let people in on the reality of the geography of the area. For you category three canyon visitors, who want to spend a lot of time going in and out of the canyon, you’ll want to try out one of the little hotels right up near the visitor’s center. That way you can get up in the morning, enter the park, and get back to your hotel after a day spent in the canyon – then rinse and repeat for the next day or two.
For category one and two canyon visitors, staying near Williams at Classy Cabins AZ is the way to go. Classy Cabins AZ has the closest luxury properties. It’s where to stay when visiting the Grand Canyon.
Nestled in the woods just minutes from town, when you return from your canyon visit, you can relax in comfort, grill dinner, or go out in Williams or Flagstaff.
Close to local lakes and other attractions like The Grand Canyon Deer Farm, Bearizona and Route 66 in Williams, Classy Cabins are the perfect places to stay. There’s a heck of a lot to do around here.
If you want to know what to do for a fall or winter getaway in Northern Arizona, read this post.