USA Roadtrip #3: Hoover Dam, Route 66 and Grand Canyon

After three days in the city we headed towards Grand Canyon stopping on our way by Lake Mead to see the Hoover Dam. We drove across the dam to the other side but did not feel like stopping for a walk so turned around back towards the highway. Actually I think that the best views of the dam are from the Great Basin Hwy bridge to which one can walk from a visitor parking lot (Boulder Dam Bridge parking) a short drive back up the road from the dam.


Map of our drive from Las Vegas to Flagstaff and Grand Canyon



Hoover Dam photographed from the Great Basin Hwy bridge

We jumped off the highway in Kingman to drive part of the legendary Route 66. There are still some abandoned gas stations and car wrecks left on the side of the old road. We made pit stops in Hackberry General store (tourist souvenirs and cold beverages) and in Grand Canyon Caverns to take some pictures of the gas pumps, road signs and old cars. I also think that the ice cold soda on a hot day tasted especially good just outside the General store 🙂

We reached Flagstaff early afternoon and after checking in our motel decided that we would still drive up to Grand Canyon for the sunset. As it was weekend motels close to Grand Canyon were booked or too expensive for our budget and therefore we chose a less expensive option to stay in Flagstaff, which is 120 km outside of the park. Drive to the east entrance of the National park took about an hour and a half. We made it to the Desert View Visitor center just in time before the sunset.

Next morning we got up early and drove via US-180 to Grand Canyon main visitor center. The route had nice picturesque views on the way with small towns and green forests. We spent the whole day walking up and down the rim of the Canyon around Visitor Center. Paths were full of other visitors and quite many families with small children. Even though there were crowds we still saw many birds, squirrels and deer who seemed surprisingly accustomed and not at all afraid of all the people taking pics around them. We had packed our own sandwich lunch and there were several picnic tables available to sit down, eat and enjoy the views.

There are also busses available to take between the scenic points on the rim however I felt that the scenery, although magnificent and … in the end is quite similar at least on the south rim between the Grand Canyon and Desert View Visitor Center. For the evening we drove again towards the east entrance to take sunset pictures from Lipan point.


Scenery from Desert View just after sunset

Ps. I think one day is enough to see the south rim however for the next trip I am definitely spending more time by taking a hike down to the river bend. I was told that going up and down during one day is not recommended as it takes 5 hours down and at least 6 hours back up. This trail was something that I wanted to do already on this holiday but our planned schedule could not fit two additional days at this time. Oh well, next time then 🙂


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