Going to Grand Canyon from LA, and to Las Vegas: by train or car?
Replies: 17 - Last Post: Nov 30, 2012 8:53 AM Last Post By: FlagStuff
Feb 5, 2012 5:59 PM
Going to Grand Canyon from LA, and to Las Vegas: by train or car?Hi everyone!
We're planning a trip from LA to Grand Canyon and then to Las Vegas (second week of April 2012). We could do it by renting a car and driving all the way from Los Angeles to Flagstaff, then spending the night there, and in the morning I'll go see the South Rim, go back to the car, drive to Hoover Dam, and arrive to Las Vegas by night.
Or, we could take the night 7 pm Amtrak train to Flagstaff, rent a car by 5 a.m. next morning, go to South Rim and all the rest.
(in this scenario, we sleep on the train, and not in a hotel, what could be budget-wise, our trip is long).
-What would you do? (car/ train)
-Also, if going by car, which road to take for the best sights and where to stop for lunch?
Just so you now, we're spending a night in Los Angeles just before, and a night in Las Vegas just after Grand Canyon, then we'll fly to Orlando to see family there.
Too tiring? Should avoid all together? We've never been to the Canyon and it's probably our great chance to do it (we're from Argentina!).
Many thanks to all in advance!!
Feb 5, 2012 8:52 PM
1You should definitely take the time to go and see the Grand Canyon while here in the states. If you like to do roadtrips, then I would rent a car and drive. It is not that bad of a drive, especially if you plan on staying overnight. You might want to stop in Williams rather then Flagstaff.
If going from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon see this: http://www.mapquest.com/
Feb 6, 2012 12:31 AM
Feb 6, 2012 4:24 AM
3There are shuttles from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon timed, I beieve (but am not sure) to coincide with arrival of the trains each direction. One could use the park's shuttles to get to many, though not all, places of interest. Going by car from L.A. would stillgive OP more freedom, and if you throw in Vegas, then it's more of a benefit, since getting between Vegas and the GC by bus is a bit awkward. LA to/from the GC easier. Good luck to you if you can sleep well on a train. I've taken two overnight trips on Amtrak, but in each case had a sleeper car, which is more expensive than a hotel. If your budget is to tight, you might want to look in advnce at how much the whole trip, including hotels and cars, will cost. It doesn't sound like you could afford the lodging inside GC Natl. Park. Flagstaff or Tusayan more feasible. If you are just going go drive from Flagstaff to the GC to Vegs in a day, I think it'd be rushed, especially if you just spent the night in a train seat.
Feb 6, 2012 6:58 AM
Feb 6, 2012 8:52 AM
5Or, we could take the night 7 pm Amtrak train to Flagstaff, rent a car by 5 a.m. next morning, go to South Rim and all the rest.
You probably won't get a rental car right at 5 AM, but you shouldn't have to wait too long. BUT, I agree, Flagstaff>GC>Vegas in a single day is VERY rushed, especially after spending the night on a train. You'll get in a couple quick stops at crowded viewpoints, and be on your way, probably exhausted, for the long drive drive to Vegas. Not my idea of fun.
A different (overall much better IMHO) option based around the 5 AM arrival might be to rent your car in Flagstaff, have a leisurely breakfast in Flag and head up to the Canyon and spend an overnight there, then drive to Vegas the next morning. You'll incur one-way fees on the rental that way.
We could do it by renting a car and driving all the way from Los Angeles to Flagstaff, then spending the night there, and in the morning I'll go see the South Rim, go back to the car, drive to Hoover Dam, and arrive to Las Vegas by night.
This might be the preferred option, but I'd probably drive straight to Grand Canyon and spend the night there. It is only an extra 30 minutes or so over driving to Flagstaff, and saves you the 90-minute drive back up to GC in the morning.
Edited by: FlagStuff
Feb 6, 2012 9:48 AM
6You really should stick around GC long enough to see the sun set! Afterward, retire to your reserved room at GC, Flagstaff, or Williams. Up bright and early for the drive to Vegas. Spend 1/2 day there before flying out.
It's close, but I think I'd go with the car rental. The train is relaxing, and allows some sleep time, but you will lose time making bus / shuttle connections. The Flagstaff to GC shuttle is convenient, but if the train arrives on time, you'll be waiting around Flag for 4 hours. http://www.arizonashuttle.com/flagstaff-grandcanyon Since you need to rent a car anyway.....
Feb 6, 2012 7:00 PM
7-What would you do? (car/ train) CAR. More convenient and flexible as to when and where you want to go. If the rental car is picked up in California (or Nevada) make sure you CAN drive out of the state you rented from. Sometimes there's a clause in the contract that says the car cannot leave the state. Read it and ask. Better yet TELL them that yo plan to drive it out to the Grand Canyon BEFORE reserving. YES you want to reserve to get a better rate and know you have a ride.
If you REALLY want train the Amtrak Southwest Chief train (running between L.A. and Chicago) only runs once a day in both directions. They don't go to Vegas but DO sell tickets from Vegas to Williams Junction or Flagstaff (nearest stations to the Grand Canyon) via Kingman, AZ. From Vegas you go to Kingman on the Amtrak Thruway Motorchoach (a BUS) and transfer to the eastbound train to Williams Junction or Flagstaff. From Williams, AZ (train depot in town) there's also another train on the Grand Canyon Railway going up to the Grand Canyon Village in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Could be expensive. Going to Las Vegas from Los Angeles it's quicker to Go Greyhound.
-Also, if going by car, which road to take for the best sights and where to stop for lunch? From L.A. THE fastest way which is east on I-10 to San Bernardino, north on I-15 to Barstow and I-40 east to Williams or Flagstaff. If coming from Las Vegas it's US93 SE to Kingman and I-40 east. Or you can go off the beaten track from Las Vegas by going NORTH on I-15 up to Washington, UT and over on UT-9 and UT-59 to Colorado City, AZ. The same road becomes AZ389 to Fredonia, AZ. From there US89 goes around the Grand Canyon in the north and east or you get into the north rim via AZ-67 (Grand Canyon Hwy) at the at the Jacob Lake junction. Look & preview on the map.
"AMTRAK stops at the, more or less private, station in Williams..." That's Williams Junction which is 3mi/4.8 Km east or SE of Williams. It's more of a platform with an "Amtrak" sign than a full station. They provide another Thruway Motorchoach (a smaller SHUTTLE VAN instead of a full sized bus) into town from there.
Feb 6, 2012 8:06 PM
8If you're in Kingman at lunch time, there is a good Mexican restaurant called El Palacio, in the very small historic downtown area.
If you're in the next town down the road, Seligman, there are a number of local Rt. 66-themed diners; the most classic is probably Delgadillo's SnowCap. The food is only OK, but the place, and the staff, are an experience.
If you're in Flagstaff at lunch or dinner, there are a heap of very good restaurants, just to pick one I've enjoyed recently - Diablo Burger on Heritage Square. Fabulous. The Beaver Street Brewery is a reliable standby, with good food and beer.
Feb 7, 2012 6:10 AM
9Guys! Amazing response! I got plenty of data to decide.
I think "car" it is, taking the 'fastest' way (route) because it's a lot of travel. Spending the night at the Canyon, maybe catching the sunset if we can be there by 5.30 pm (that means we'll have to wake up and leave L.A. really early!). And enjoying a little Canyon the next morning till noon, and then to Vegas. Or maybe, if we really like the Canyon, spending a second night there and going to Vegas next morning. We figure we can decide that a little later on.
Thanks so much to you all!!!
Feb 7, 2012 8:37 AM
Feb 7, 2012 8:43 AM
11"Too tiring? Should avoid all together? We've never been to the Canyon and it's probably our great chance to do it (we're from Argentina!)."
To avoid being to rushed or "tiring" you can also SKIP L.A. and start and end in Las Vegas.
Feb 7, 2012 8:48 AM
12We are coming from S.F., Yosemite Park, and the coast. We can skip L.A. (although we intend to spent there only a day to relax a little after all the driving) and then we plan to go to GC.
I think skipping the night in Las Vegas could be an option (sleeping in GC).
Feb 7, 2012 8:59 AM
Feb 7, 2012 12:28 PM
14If you are just planning on coming down the coast and then relaxing in LA, I would absolutely consider skipping that, take your relaxation time elsewhere and save yourself the troublesome and time-consuming detour into and out-of the metro area. LA is a vast, sprawing, traffic-choked area and with only one day you'll eat up a fair bit of time just getting around. If you have a specific thing you want to do or see in LA, or someplace special you want to stay, then fine. But if you're just looking for a down-day, there are places to do it that are more convenient (and more pleasant). Either take that extra day somewhere up the coast or in Arizona.
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