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Old 06-24-2019, 09:06 AM   #1
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Christmas Break - Grand Canyon?

So we realized that for 2 vacation days, we can have 2 weeks off of work and the kid's school over the holidays. We've had the Grand Canyon on the brain lately (we're in MI), so hmm, time to go?

Years ago, I was there in January, and we were camping. I don't recall any issues and I recall it being in the high 50s and low 60s. I remember because others at the canyon teased us for being from MI, with only jeans/tshirts, since it was warm...

However, looking up average temperatures......sure doesn't jive with what I remember. Looks like 40s during the day and teens at night. While I'm sure we could "survive", it's not the winter getaway / enjoy the Grand Canyon when it's not 100*F outside that we were hoping for.

So, I guess I'm looking for thoughts on Dec 20-Jan 5 in the "greater Grand Canyon" region.
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:22 AM   #2
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average temperatures can be misleading. average of 40 during the day. you mention experiencing 60 during the days. so to make the average be 40 there has to be some days in perhaps the 20's. for what it's worth it got down to 34 at the grand canyon a couple of nights ago.

sure it is doable but expect some cold, snowy, wet weather somewhere. that's quite a drive from michigan to the grand canyon and back. i'd expect some weather somewhere.
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Old 06-24-2019, 09:59 AM   #3
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The Dec - Feb/Mar [eriod is the storm season. Rather than stay up on the shelf, consider dropping down to the Sedona area for your base camp. Much more moderate weather there and it about 1 - 2 hr drive to the canyon from there if the weather is decent.
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:03 AM   #4
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brrr. its not warm at Christmas just because its Arizona. High elevation.
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Old 06-24-2019, 01:06 PM   #5
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So we realized that for 2 vacation days, we can have 2 weeks off of work and the kid's school over the holidays. We've had the Grand Canyon on the brain lately (we're in MI), so hmm, time to go?

Years ago, I was there in January, and we were camping. I don't recall any issues and I recall it being in the high 50s and low 60s. I remember because others at the canyon teased us for being from MI, with only jeans/tshirts, since it was warm...

However, looking up average temperatures......sure doesn't jive with what I remember. Looks like 40s during the day and teens at night. While I'm sure we could "survive", it's not the winter getaway / enjoy the Grand Canyon when it's not 100*F outside that we were hoping for.

So, I guess I'm looking for thoughts on Dec 20-Jan 5 in the "greater Grand Canyon" region.
I've always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon with a little snow on the Canyon. Since it can be too cold to hang around waiting for snow I thought I might stay in the Sedona area or further south near Quartzsite, or even Death Valley area and watch the weather forecasts. And be prepared to go to GC if the weather was favorable. One day's drive away maximum.
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Old 06-24-2019, 02:28 PM   #6
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Grand Canyon

I will always be glad we stayed at thetrain.com RV resort on Route 66 in Williams, AZ. We rode the train to the canyon, staying in the least expensive lodge there for a night or 2. Your bags will be delivered to your room if booked through the train website.
Buy 1st class tix on the train, (not a lot extra) to recover from the drive and have breakfast, coffee, etc. On the way back the train will be "robbed" at full speed by actors leaping from horses, (the train will not stop). They will mess with your kids while taking any money you place behind your kids' backs. Even my "cool" 20 year olds enjoyed it.
You might order "Death at the Canyon" to inform all as to the hazards. Someone dies there every month on average. A young man fell the week before we got there, so be careful and enjoy your trip.
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Old 06-24-2019, 02:33 PM   #7
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A lot of people think of Arizona as being low and mostly desert. Keep in mind that the Grand Canyon's South Rim is about 7,500 feet -- nearly 1/2 mile higher than Denver. Lot's of opportunity for cold and snow there.

If you go, though, check to see if Trailer Village RV Park is open. It's inside the park on the South Rim, with full hookups and the handiest location you could ask for access to the Canyon. I'm not sure if it's open year-round or not.
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Old 06-24-2019, 06:09 PM   #8
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If you have an RV with full hookup capability, I would recommend staying in Williams, AZ, at the Grand Canyon Railway RV Park. Great big RV sites with electric, water, and sewer service. It is adjacent to the Grand Canyon Railway terminal, and easy walking distance to board the train for a fun rail trip to the South Rim. You have the option of also staying over at the Lodge on the South Rim for one night if you so choose. In winter the railway also offers a special "Polar Express" train trip passage with all kinds of "goodies" for youngsters.

The town of Williams is also a treasure. Small town with some great restaurants, and lots of memorabilia from the Route 66 days.
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Old 06-24-2019, 06:48 PM   #9
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Arizona weather in winter is certainly not very predictable on a day by or week by week basis up in the high country (White Mountains, Mogollon Rim, Flagstaff area). You can certainly get 50's but then again you can get snow and 17 degrees. As someone mentioned Sedona might be a more reliable weather bet to stay and explore back up north. If you want warm and Arizona in the winter time go to Phoenix to Tucson and all points west toward the Colorado River. Southeast AZ is a mix with normally seasonal weather in winter and cooler than 105 weather in summer.
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Old 06-24-2019, 10:40 PM   #10
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I'd expect chilly, windy, snowy during the day and downright cold at night. It is not on the top of my list to visit the G.C. at Christmas. My sister and I wanted to go up there for several days in mid-April this year but it was still too cold to be a pleasant trip and there was snow on the ground what with all the wonky weather we've all been having.

And I'm from Michigan, too, so know how to deal with snow but also don't want to visit the G.C. when it's so cold and windy that all I want to do is look out the window of a vehicle and keep going.

Good luck!
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Old 06-24-2019, 11:35 PM   #11
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I'd expect chilly, windy, snowy during the day and downright cold at night. It is not on the top of my list to visit the G.C. at Christmas. My sister and I wanted to go up there for several days in mid-April this year but it was still too cold to be a pleasant trip and there was snow on the ground what with all the wonky weather we've all been having.



And I'm from Michigan, too, so know how to deal with snow but also don't want to visit the G.C. when it's so cold and windy that all I want to do is look out the window of a vehicle and keep going.



Good luck!
Yeah, this seems to be what I'm realizing. Don't understand why it was so nice/easy years ago, when we didn't know any better. Haha.
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Old 06-25-2019, 12:28 PM   #12
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We spent a marvelous Christmas at the Grand Canyon several years ago.

Weather was moderate for Winter with some sun and some snow.

Coats and hats were required, but it was wonderful.

We stayed IN the park, a very short walk to everything on the south rim.

Leaving was another story. As we left the park we saw many 4x4s on their side or top. The road had been snow covered the previous day.

100 miles down the road it started to snow. We were fortunate enough to fine a campground to duck into. Stayed two nights while the roads thawed. Kids played in the snow and packed the freezer with snowballs to carry back to Texas.

We had sun, snow, ice, clouds, and LOTs of fun. It was a memorable trip that our grown kids remember fondly.

Go for it. Enjoy it. Be prepared for whatever the winter weather may bring.
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Old 10-03-2019, 03:21 PM   #13
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Still considering this. Sedona *does* seem like a good choice.
I'll be set up with some "tank heaters" for our tanks and piping, but it'll be 110v only. Granted, I suppose my inverter and an idling truck would get us out of trouble if we found ourselves in it. I'll have my champion generator, too.

Does anyone know if you can get to Potwisha Campground (In Sequoia NP) from the south? We're a 23' trailer with a CCSB truck. It seems like the campground is "ok", but the road from the south might have length restrictions? It's a little conflicting, I think.
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Old 10-03-2019, 05:28 PM   #14
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Still considering this. Sedona *does* seem like a good choice.

Does anyone know if you can get to Potwisha Campground (In Sequoia NP) from the south? We're a 23' trailer with a CCSB truck. It seems like the campground is "ok", but the road from the south might have length restrictions? It's a little conflicting, I think.
We were at Sequoia 1st week of June and it had just opened - there was still snow everywhere. Access will be weather dependent. Regardless, it will be cold.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:13 PM   #15
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aeblank, the road into Sequoia NP from the south is very twisty and pretty narrow, but usually well maintained. Last time we camped there we had a Starcraft pop-up tent trailer, so towing with our Ford Van was not a problem. These days we tow a 35-foot fifth-wheel, and I would not attempt that south entrance with our rig.

Biggest issue will be weather if you're planning to visit in winter. The Sierra Nevada mountains are expecting huge snow falls this coming winter.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:31 PM   #16
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I will always be glad we stayed at thetrain.com RV resort on Route 66 in Williams, AZ. We rode the train to the canyon, staying in the least expensive lodge there for a night or 2. Your bags will be delivered to your room if booked through the train website.
Buy 1st class tix on the train, (not a lot extra) to recover from the drive and have breakfast, coffee, etc.
Wife and I visited Williams and rode the train during Christmas break back in 2005. As I recall the weather was 60's in Williams during the day. However after taking the train to the Grand Canyon, it was colder and snowing a bit, but sunny and a great place to be. The trip back the next day found us back in the 60's.

During that trip I rented a convertible Mustang. We drove to Vegas and toured some of the big state parks there with the top down and heater on... great fun.

While at Williams, think about driving 80 miles to the Meteor Crater east of Flagstaff. Nice science oriented exhibits in the center there with overlooks of the crater.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:52 PM   #17
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High elevation not the dessert. Going to be cold. Go to Flordia.
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Old 10-03-2019, 07:58 PM   #18
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I will always be glad we stayed at thetrain.com RV resort on Route 66 in Williams, AZ. We rode the train to the canyon, staying in the least expensive lodge there for a night or 2. Your bags will be delivered to your room if booked through the train website.
Buy 1st class tix on the train, (not a lot extra) to recover from the drive and have breakfast, coffee, etc. On the way back the train will be "robbed" at full speed by actors leaping from horses, (the train will not stop). They will mess with your kids while taking any money you place behind your kids' backs. Even my "cool" 20 year olds enjoyed it.
You might order "Death at the Canyon" to inform all as to the hazards. Someone dies there every month on average. A young man fell the week before we got there, so be careful and enjoy your trip.

We did this two weeks ago, high 80's and low of 42. Stayed in williams and took the train, its really cool, and takes a lot of hassle from you. we stayed two nights at the grand canyon. i would say its the best trip we have ever taken, i got some beautiful sunset pictures. Let me warn you food options are not that great if you eat at the restaruants there.
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Old 10-06-2019, 05:31 PM   #19
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Where to stay, on/near the beach, near Monterey Bay?
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Old 10-06-2019, 07:19 PM   #20
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Christmas Break - Grand Canyon?

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Originally Posted by CurtPutnam View Post
The Dec - Feb/Mar [eriod is the storm season. Rather than stay up on the shelf, consider dropping down to the Sedona area for your base camp. Much more moderate weather there and it about 1 - 2 hr drive to the canyon from there if the weather is decent.


You are planning a flight? I lived in Sedona for nine years and traveled to GCNP often. If all goes well, you may make it in 2 1/2 hours, on dry pavement, week days and light traffic. Winter driving is going to take longer, as will weekends/holidays. Still doable for a day trip, but I had rather stay over night at the canyon.

Though unusual, I have been snowed on, hiking out of the canyon in September....melted right away, but at that elevation you never know.
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