I just returned from my whirlwind weekend to Vegas with Jason Lamb for the Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival. The whole trip was quite the wild ride – but my favourite part was renting a bright white convertible and rocketing it across the Nevada and Arizona desert, first to the Hoover Dam, then to the Grand Canyon, then back to Las Vegas, with lots of stops at trading posts and roadside attractions, all in about 13 and a half hours. It was super awesome.
The trip was made all the better thanks to a Zoner named Sienna who reached out to me last week and said this:
“Hey! So, I’m a huge expert in grand canyon stuff. I know it all, no lie. Message me, I’ll help you plan it out. I’ve been going for almost 20 years to the GC. I should be named an ambassador. It’s an incredibly sacred place. I usually recommend minimum 2 days, ideal 3-4, but as long as you don’t do one of the dumb bus tours there you’ll see enough to want to go back! Me=expert. You=my travel disciple.”
She went on to send me lots of tips, which, if you should ever feel the desire to make this trip yourself, i offer them to you now here…!
“Be prepared for a night drive home after sunset, because you have to see the canyon in the late afternoon and evening, wait for sunset, then head back (driving west, you’ll be driving into the sun which would be blinding).”
“Driving from GN to Grand Canyon south rim is easy peasy. Just hop it into google maps like this: Golden Nugget to Grand Canyon South Entrance Station. If it gives you multiple options (didn’t for me), pick the one that goes down through Kingman. You’ll go along Route 66 that way once you’re in Arizona 😉
Basically, when you arrive, you can follow signs to ‘visitor center’ if you want to park in the lot and walk over to Mather lookout. It’ll be filled with people, but a lot of people don’t mind that. From there you can take one of the shuttles to Yaki Point and back (no cars allowed).
Alternatively, you can turn right after the entrance and start heading towards ‘Desert View’. Stop at the points listed on the map and road pullouts in between. That’s my preference 🙂 Turn around at Desert View after wandering around (will be busy) and then head back along the same rim round you came.
“Food is expensive, there are lines and it’s crappy. Bring your own snacks and drinks.
I can’t stress this enough: midday the canyon is washed out and bright. Do your viewing in the later afternoon and evening, find a great spot for sunset not looking towards the sun but out at the canyon. Bring polarized or brown lens sunglasses! You can find them cheap in Vegas. Wear them to look at the canyon.
“On your drive out stop for a few minutes in the little route 66 towns.
Whatever you do, bring water, and enjoy the most incredible place in that part of the world.”
I absolutely did, plus the In-N-Out double-double burger animal style gave me the lean energy i needed to make it back safe and sound to the Golden Nugget by 1:30am. Sunscreen was absolutely a factor during the day and I of course forgot to bring a sweater and refused to put the top up – so it was chilly in the desert at night. Loud music and the odd glance at the stars warmed me up. I highly recommend this little adventure, and if you have the time and can swing it, lots more wandering around these parts.