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Web can provide what you need to know to visit Grand Canyon

Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2002

What, you haven't been to the Grand Canyon yet?

Just a few Web sites will show what you've been missing, and help you find most of what you need to plan your visit.

When you drive in from Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix or Albuquerque, you can ditch the car at Williams and take the Grand Canyon Railway -- http://www. thetrain.com/ -- to spend the last 50-odd miles concentrating on the scenery instead of traffic. When you arrive, the canyon's South Rim and the landmark El Tovar Hotel are just a short walk from the station.

Whether you drive or ride the train, you need to consult Grand Canyon National Park -- http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm -- for maps and basics. Then click on inDepth for more information and a library of scenic and historic photos (look for General Photos and dig the 1914 shot of a car on the rim).

Click on Trip Planning for information on hiking, camping and backcountry treks, and the weather (the South Rim's elevation is 7,000 feet).

Read through the privately run Grand Canyon National Park Web site -- http://www.grand.canyon. national-park.com/ -- for even more information, including history and geology and hiking. And Grand Canyon Explorer -- http://www. kaibab.org/ -- has tour guides, visitors information and, under Learn More, a set of links to volumes of photos.

Interested in some serious hiking? Check out Grand Canyon Treks -- http://www.grandcanyontreks.org/ -- for detailed information on trails and climbing.

A breathtaking setting requires breathtaking music. Try to take in this summer's Grand Canyon Music Festival -- http://www. grandcanyonmusicfest.org/ -- although the schedule isn't available yet. While you're at it, glance at the festival's spectacular posters.

If you can make reservations well in advance, you can stay inside the park at Grand Canyon Lodges -- http://www.grandcanyonlodges.com/ -- including the century-old El Tovar.

According to the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce -- http://www.grandcanyonchamber.org/ -- there are more than 2,000 rooms available, including the lodges inside the park and motels outside in the town of Tusayan, south of the park entrance.

You also can go about an hour south to Interstate 40, where Arizona Rocks -- http://www.arizonarocks.com/williams.htm -- can tell you about rooms in Williams.

From the canyon, head southeast about 60 miles to explore Flagstaff, surrounded by ponderosa pines and with its own 12,000-foot-plus mountains in the background. The local Convention and Visitors Bureau -- http:// www.flagstaffarizona.org/ -- has suggested tour itineraries, and links to attractions including the Lowell Observatory -- http:// www.lowell.edu/ -- where the planet Pluto was first sighted. Community Links will take you to a reservations page for motels and inns.

Outside Flagstaff, discover the jagged landscape of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument -- http://www.nps.gov/sucr/ -- where the last eruption was in 1064-1065. A few miles farther up the road through the park you'll reach Wupatki National Monument -- http://www.nps.gov/wupa/ -- where a well-preserved Pueblo dwelling once served farmers who tilled the rich volcanic soil. Just southeast of Flagstaff, hike into Walnut Canyon National Monument -- http://www.nps.gov/waca/ -- to see the remnants of a community of small cliff dwellings.

If you're driving back to Phoenix on Interstate 17, watch just south of the I-40 interchange for the exit to U.S. 89A, a scenic detour through Oak Creek Canyon to the red rock scenery towering around the city of Sedona. Take a look around through the eyes of Sedona Webcam -- http://www.sedonawebcam.com/ -- and then explore with the help of the city's own guide -- http://www.city.sedona.net/.

If you have any time left, consult the Arizona Office of Tourism -- http://www.arizonaguide.com/ -- for other parts of the state.

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EDITOR'S NOTE: E-mail comments and tips to cybertrip(at)ap.org.



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