sedona and grand canyon advice

going to sedona and grand canyon oct5—wondering if there r any scenic places to paddle in the area----also while out ther i will spend 2 days at the grand canyon—i know there r a lot of touristy type things to do there–i would like your advice on what the best things to do if u have only 2 full days at GC----thanks for your help—phil

Hike the Canyon

– Last Updated: Aug-09-06 2:13 PM EST –

Not an expert--only went to the Canyon once, for two days. I walked from the South Rim down to Phantom Ranch. It was almost a religous experience, and I was not too excited about it before I went. I figured what's the big deal? Big hole in the ground, and you've seen a million pictures. But there in the flesh, I was very impressed.

I started calling for reservations several months in advance, and I called every day until finally a week ahead of time, I got a reservation in one of the bunk houses. If I was to do it again, I think I'd sleep out at the campground, but I would definately take a dinner reservation at the Ranch. The food was outstanding. Based on hearsay, I think reservations coming open at the last minute is fairly common. Hearsay is that some number of reservations are held by the donkey-ride concession--they can't sell the ride without a reservation to go with. Apparently, they release the reservations at some point, and that's when you need to be johnny-on-the-spot to say "I'll take it!"

Returning from the Canyon to Phoenix, I turned off the big highway prior to Flagstaff and took a secondary road to Sedona. The road takes you though a canyon, called something-Oak, maybe White Oak Canyon. There is a river in that canyon and it goes all the way to Sedona. I have no info on paddling, but there is a river.

I rented a backpack from REI in Phoenix. I was surprised at all the paddling gear being sold at the REI and asked about it because Phoenix is in the desert. I was told they do a lot or reservoir paddling. Maybe you can call REI in Phoenix for more details.

~~Chip Walsh, Gambrills, MD

Oak Creek Canyon
The scenic route into Sedona is through Oak Creek Canyon BUT they had a pretty major wildfire there earlier this summer, not sure of the visual impact.

Sedona & Grand Canyon
The advice about trips on the Colorado River are well taken. Sedona, was just there May of this year, is great for hiking. One of the trips is to the ruins of a Native American settlement abandoned about 500 years ago. They were called the Sinaqua, Spanish for ‘without water’. This should tell you all you will need to know about paddling in the Sedona area. By October even the tricklke in Oak Creek Canyon will be better suited for soaking your feet in than for a paddle trip.

The scenery in both areas are well worth the time to get out and enjoy.


Oak canyon and surroundings
pretty hard hit by the recent fire. The drought years continue so there is very little in the way of river paddling excluding the Colorado. The Wild & Scenic Verde had rain last week and was runnable. That is your best bet for a close, decent paddle. AZ lakes not known for being kayak friendly. Lake (Un)Pleasant is the closest major lake to where you will be. It’s actually not bad mid-week but I don’t go there on the weekends unless can be off the water very early. Good hiking except for the heat but not so good paddling right now.

A Word Of Caution!
If your schedule permits, I would strongly recommend viewing the Grand Canyon from the North Rim. It’s over a thousand feet higher in elevation, greener and more forested then the South side…and far less “touristy”. There’s a beautiful lodge situated right on the rim with a nice restaurant and place to imbibe a bit of spirits while soaking in the scenery.

A word of caution about venturing below the rim. Its an activity not to be undertaken lightly…specially during the summer months. First…its almost a 6K foot drop from the North Rim to the Colorado River…which means it’s a 6K’ climb back up. Total miles…28.4! Second…the temperature difference from the rim to the canyon floor can be as much as 20 degrees… hotter! The south side is not much easier…9.3 miles to the bottom and a descent of over 4K …with lots of exposure to mid-day sun.

Venturing below the rim can be a spectacular event…but careful planning and proper gear are essential to ensure a safe and rewarding experience.

kayaking and grand canyon
Anything around the Grand Canyon is a special experience. The whole region is pretty unique and offers an amazing landscape.

Here is a link to an outfitter in AZ that appears pretty serious. I plan on visting them in Oct when I visit my mom in Vegas.

For the future on of the most memorable times in my life was spending 3 weeks on the colorado floating through the grand canyon in a wooden dory. It is a trip I would do again in a heartbeat and almost caused me to give my daily life up and become a river guide. The offer is still out their for me and I am always tempted. There are some really great outfitters and some really terrible. Choose carefully. Try getting on a geologic research trip during the off season. You will be part of the research and have fun.

Beware though. The canyon is deceptive. It can be very cold up at the rim and super hot as you go down. The time of year is tricky. The desert is very beautiful though.

Enjoy. I’m jealous.