Posted July 2, 2009 by Jamie Moore
This year, nearly five million people will descend upon the Grand Canyon. Most will see the one-mile deep wonder along the South Rim from their car. Oh, you hoped you could escape the bumper-to-bumper routine on this trip? Take the track less traveled, and, yes, you will find a quieter, traffic-free route to Grand Canyon's South Rim. Hop a ride on the Grand Canyon Railway, stay off-rim in a lodge surrounded by ponderosa pines, and shop for Native American artwork.
Grand Canyon Railway: Save the gas—and those poor mules' backs—and opt for a breathtaking journey through the park by train instead. Grand Canyon Railway locomotives make round-trip excursions ($70 to $190) from Williams, AZ, to the heart of the park's South Rim village. Once aboard the early 1900s steam train, you feel like you've been transported to a different time. Best value: A one-night package that includes your round-trip fare, hotel stay in Williams, breakfast, and dinner for $169.50.
Maswik Lodge: Maswik, a great pick for families, is just 1/4 mile walk (or free shuttle) from the South Rim village hubbub. The lodge is tucked away in a pine forest, and there's a big grassy yard for the kids to roll around in, so you actually feel like you're in a national park, not Grand Central Station. Cabins (summer only) or rooms with two queen beds go for $90 per night, and casual cafeteria-style dining is available in the lodge.
Hopi House: No need to admit you ever dozed during class. One step into Hopi House and you get a painless recap of history, architecture, and art in one visual sweep—all while you shop. What could be better? The architecture of this gallery and gift shop—built 103 years ago by Hopi craftsmen—is native to Hopi dwellings in the area. Study the timber-layered ceilings, adobe walls, and corner fireplaces, then move on to the gorgeous jewelry, pottery, and paintings crafted by Native Americans.
To search for flights and compare prices to Phoenix, which is home to the Grand Canyon’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.
(Photo: iStockphoto.com/Bill Grove)
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