On April 2nd I flew out to Las Vegas to road trip to 4 national parks and some other cool and quirky spots. The day of arrival we mostly spent shopping and eating in Las Vegas but after that it was all hiking and adventuring. We checked into the Mirage to be pleasantly surprised we were on the 22nd floor (this room was free.) We schlepped 7 nights worth of luggage down a very long hall to find the key didn’t work. Surprise! 2019 actually meant the second floor! After dragging our stuff back down the long hall we were treated with a view of an HVAC unit. Thats more like it!
After our not so restful night at The Mirage we wandered the labyrinth that is any Vegas strip hotel, got a $4.50 brewed coffee at Starbucks and we were on our way to our first destination: The Grand Canyon!
Since we left at 6:30 am we were able to detour a bit on our way to the Grand Canyon. I had always loved the idea of traveling on Route 66 so I planned some stops. Our first stop on Route 66 was Oatman, Arizona. Oatman is located about 2 hours away from Las Vegas and is sometimes considered to be a ghost town. In 1915 two prospectors found $10 million worth of gold mining and the population grew to 3500 people in just one year. Now less than 150 people live in the small town and it is more of a tourist attraction.
We parked our car and spent about 30 minutes walking around checking out the quirky Route 66 souvenir shops and the historic buildings. Burros (donkeys) roam the streets freely here and can often be seen blocking doorways to stores and crossing the roads. Some stores allow you to feed them but we preferred just to watch them from afar. After we continued on to drive Sitgreaves Pass, a road with hairpin turns through mountains and we passed by the Cool Springs gas station, a restored 1920’s gas station decked out in Route 66 memorabilia. They also have a big Route 66 sign on the road which makes for a good photo op.
We continued along to the Grand Canyon but we needed to pick up the pace a bit. After a few more quick detours and stops along another part of Route 66 we arrived at the Grand Canyon and bought our annual national parks pass. The park was mobbed and it was stressful to drive around since there were construction detours. Thankfully we were staying in the park so we were able to park at the Maswik Lodge and take the free shuttle around the park. Although it is expensive I definitely recommend staying in the park if you value your time and well being.
Our first viewpoint at the Grand Canyon was Mather Point. It was way too crowded here with selfie stick tourists but the view was amazing and a great place to see the canyon for the first time. After quickly checking into our hotel we got on the Hermit’s Rest shuttle route and stopped at all but one or two of the viewpoints. Unfortunately I don’t remember which photo was taken where but my favourite were the Abyss and Hermit’s Rest.
We were lucky enough to see the sunset and some elk on our way back to the hotel. Beware, it gets very cold at night! Since Arizona doesn’t observe daylight savings time it got dark pretty quick so we headed back to the hotel to eat at the foodcourt. Service was slow and the food was edible at best but we were just happy to be here.