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Talk:Grand Canyon

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North and South?[edit]

I think we need to have a North Rim (Grand Canyon) and South Rim (Grand Canyon). These two areas are hundreds of miles apart by car and have vastly different lodging options and directions. Cramming them both together on this page is making it kinda unreadable. --Evan 15:09, 1 Feb 2004 (EST)

I'm inclined to agree. Maybe keep this page to give an overview and the pros and cons of each rim to help travelers deciding which rim to go to. Does Flagstaff really have an international airport? Nurg 02:01, 16 Mar 2004 (EST)

It does have an airport. Just not an international airport (AFAICT). Most of the time the definition of "international airport" in the US just means that they could potentially serve international flights. I think it may have something to do with having a Customs Office in the facility. Looking at the page again I agree that it really should be busted into the two rims. -- Yosemite 05:11, 22 Mar 2004 (EST)

Since both rims are within Grand Canyon National Park, I think it would be better to keep them united on one page. Also, 80% of visitors go to the South Rim. Splitting into two pages will cause more confusion than it is worth. I think we should concentrate on making the Grand Canyon page a "star" page before we go off and try and split it. Just my two cents. Findbgs 16:59, 9 Feb 2006 (EST)

I would agree at the moment, especially with the comment that a breakup would cause more confusion than clarity. The article doesn't seem (to me) to currently be that unwieldy, although if it grows enough to be confusing then a breakup into North, South, and the Indian reservation might be warranted. -- Ryan 17:37, 9 Feb 2006 (EST)
The Havasupai reservation isn't referred to as a separate rim, but we're starting to see a lot of questions come up about "GC West" or the "West Rim", as the Hualapai have named it. They are getting a lot of publicity these days. Between the aggresive GC West tour sales in Las Vegas, and their under construction glass bottom walkway, should it be added as a "rim"?Gcmaven 21:56, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

I've updated the intro paragraph to make it clear that this article includes the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the Hualapai Indian Reservation. While typically on Wikitravel we've handled national parks with their own articles, this article has for many years included the Indian reservations since they don't fit well elsewhere, and are actually a part of the geological canyon although not a part of the park. That said, with a more prominent mention in the opening paragraph for these reservations it's probably worth watching this article to ensure that no one tries to extend it further to include the Navajo Nation - that reservation includes land near the canyon, but it's a far larger entity and best kept separate. Similarly, any information about Lake Mead should be placed in its own article to avoid confusion. -- Ryan • (talk) • 01:08, 7 July 2010 (EDT)

In a region, or stand-alone?[edit]

Preparatory to doing some other work on Arizona, I have set up some regions for the state. Following the usual hierarchical structure that results, it would be normal to change the GC "isIn" entry to be North (Arizona), which is the region that more or less contains it. However, GC is such an obvious destination and so closely associated with Arizona as a whole (not to mention so plain old big) that I'm not sure that that's the way to produce an optimally useful article. Opinions? -- Bill-on-the-Hill 21:11, 23 Dec 2005 (EST)

My understanding is that isIn always specifies the smallest region that fully contains the article, so in this case North (Arizona). -- Ryan 21:04, 24 Dec 2005 (EST)
Part of my reason for asking is that I'm not entirely sure that North (Arizona) does "fully contain" the Canyon, unless it is declared to do so by fiat (i.e., the boundaries are drawn so as to contain it). Anyway, since the Canyon will obviously still be mentioned in the top-level Arizona page, might as well set up the isIn for North AZ unless someone sees a compelling reason not to. National parks are difficult critters to fit into the hierarchy that's evolving here! -- Bill-on-the-Hill 22:55, 24 Dec 2005 (EST)


Thanks to User:Gcmaven for all of your recent work on the Grand Canyon article. One question though -- why keep Open Road Tours but remove Angels Gate tours? It seems like it might be helpful to provide a simple list of tour companies offering trips to the Canyon. -- Ryan 15:09, 30 March 2006 (EST)

My reasoning was that it seems to me that the "bus" sections are for commercial type transportation, like a regional bus service. Open Roads has a daily scheduled, transportation only service, which is the closest to a bus that grand canyon has. But I didn't think it fair to list just one of the hundreds of companies that operate tours. To try to be fair, I also took off the part that said Open Roads also provides guided tours.
Gcmaven 15:34, 30 March 2006 (EST)
Makes sense - at some point it might be worth compiling a short list of some of the more prominent / better tour companies so that people who like that sort of thing have some references, but that task can be left to people who have actually been on tours. -- Ryan 15:56, 30 March 2006 (EST)
I went ahead and put Angels Gate back in for a couple of reasons. They provide transportation to the canyon fro their tours, but they also provide transportation for hikers and backpackers and are relevant in the category. Especially since there is such a lack of public transportation in the area. I agree that it may be a good idea to start a "tour company" section also. Findbgs 01:33, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
You also removed other "get in" info and a competing hiker bus, so I reverted your change. -- Colin 02:17, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
I started a section for guided tours and moved the entry into it. Should the educational institute also be moved as much of the education behaves a lot like a tour? -- Colin 02:30, 25 April 2006 (EDT)
Hi Colin, I didn't remove a hiking company, just put it back into a more relevant category. GCFI website states: "GCFI is an educational program whose mission is to help educate park visitors about the cultural and natural history of the Grand Canyon." They are a non-profit that works with the NPS, and as such their charter does not allow them to use the word "tour" or "guide" in thier offerings. At least it didn't when I worked for them. (I realize that the front page of their website says "guided educational tours" but this was likely a web copy edit that won't get past Park Service approval. Click on the "class" link and you will see that they even use the word "tuition" instead of "prices" - "instructors" instead of "guides"). The emphasis here is educational. I think it is a mistake to add them into a "guide" catagory.

I like the addition of the tour company section; however, I went and placed it in the "get in" section. I think it is more relevant there. Especially, since this is one of the few ways to actually "get in" to the park. It is my feeling that the Grand Canyon Railway is also a guided tour and may be better placed under this category.
Furthermore, I deleted Transcanyon from the "get in" area. Since they provide North to South rim transport they are definately more of a "get around" organization. Finally, I changed the Open Road link to directly link to the Grand Canyon Shuttle schedule. Findbgs 17:54, 25 April 2006 (EDT)

Grand Canyon Railway[edit]

I removed some of the Grand Canyon Railway links, because it is really more of a tour than a transportaion to the canyon. I would appreciate comments on where to classify the canyon railway. Should we put it under guided tours, or is it really bonified transportation to the canyon? Findbgs 01:29, 26 April 2006 (EDT)

I apologize if I'm not putting this comment in the proper place. It's starting to get a little confusing, but here goes: Angel's Gate doesn't provide transportation. They do not indicate that you can purchase a ticket to be taken to the park and dropped off, you can only buy a tour. Grand Canyon Railway, on the other hand, does sell tickets for a seat on the train for just transportation to the canyon. Regarding the transcanyon shuttle, it is one of the only ways to get transportation to the north rim, even if they only depart from the southGcmaven 18:18, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
I greatly appreciate your comments on the train. However, my question for you is this: Is the train really just transportation? Can you really just buy a ticket for the transportation? My experience with the train is that you are bombarded with cowboy actors, musicians, and other entertainment. There is no train car that is solely for "transportation" without the additional song and dance that accompanies an organized tour. For example, if you take the train from the canyon to Williams, there is no way to avoid the staged "train robbery" on the way back. It is my feeling that the train is much more similar to a guided tour than to a mode of transportation. I would like to see a few more comments in this regard before placing the train into the guided tour category. I realize that historically it was transportation, but these days it's more of a guided tour.Findbgs 01:49, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
It probably wouldn't be the end of the world to have a mention of it in both places! It sounds like it is presented as a "tour" with entertainment, so maybe the full listing could go there, but a mention of the possibility of using it as transportation (as long as you don't mind a train robbery along the way...) should also appear in that section. Glad to see this article coming along btw... keep up the good work! Majnoona 21:39, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
Hey, sometimes on a bus you have an entertaining driver! If you fly, you might have a choice of coach, business, or first class. It's a way to get here. You can even purchase a one way ticket. And from some of the review on tripadvisor, it isn't very entertaining! Just my two cents.Gcmaven 21:56, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

Grand Canyon Field Institute[edit]

The NPS website list GCFI as their only recommended "back country guide service". So they are considered by NPS to be guides.Gcmaven 18:18, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
While this is currently accurate of the official national park website, you may remember that the "back country guide service" page used to list ALL of the back country offitters that operate in the park. Once Rebecca Rhea took over as the concessions cheif, she decided to remove most of the outfitters pending review. GCFI is a non-profit educational institute. It is also a "partner" with GCNP. As such it belongs in educational classes section. It is not a hiking outfitter, and they have no guides. For clarification on this issue you should read the GCFI website. Findbgs 01:40, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
To some one looking for a guided hike in the park, this is a guide service. Why should their "non-profit" status make them unmentionable? And they do use the word "guide" on their website. We're listing multiple river companies and river organizations-so why not do the same for hikers?Gcmaven 21:07, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
I appreciate your input, and have researched the mattter further. I both spoke with the GCFI and researched their website. They don't use the word "guide" or "tour", the park won't let them. The terms that they use are "instructor" instead of "guide". Instead of a "tour", they use the word "class". And you don't pay for a "tour", you pay "tuition". Occasionally, on their website they use verbage such as "guided educational tours", but this is likely a copy edit by a web designer or a wordsmith. To say that this is evidence that they use the word "guide" is taking the word out of context. A GCFI representative emailed me the following information describing the organization: "GCFI has been working closely with the National Park Service (NPS) to provide educational opportunities that complement the park’s own interpretive efforts. Each GCFI class is reviewed by an interdisciplinary team of NPS resource managers to ensure that it meets the educational goals of the park." I think it is pretty clear that this organization is not a tour company or guide service. It is not that it shouldn't be listed. It is simply that it doesn't need to be spammed all over the page. It is correctly place where it should be under educational classes. Findbgs 16:57, 8 June 2006 (EDT)
And they also do custom hikes. If Angel's Gate can be linked twice, why not GCFI? And why present Angel's Gate as the only option for a guided trip into the canyon? And a guide service and an outfitter are two different things. Yes, some companies do both, but it isn't a requirement. Oh, for the good old days when "grand canyon guides" was in the depot! Gcmaven 17:05, 31 August 2006 (EDT) --New NPS website Gcmaven 22:40, 1 September 2006 (EDT)
I tire of rehashing this arguement. The new NPS site desribes GCFI as offering "guided hikes that are educational in nature". They also describe the offerings as "multi-day learning events". I understand your bias (see edit in the cars section below). However, GCFI is clearly offering educational programs. Regarding Angel's Gate, they are only mentioned once in the "DO" section. Since the ranger walks are rim based, I added a "rim walk" edit to the "Ranger Program" section below hiking. I have guided both for GCFI and Grand Canyon TRAIL Guides that was in the depot. I am not sure if you were aware that the trail guide company that you refer to was owned by Canyoneers, Inc. This is one of the "outside" tour companies that you seem to dislike so. Findbgs 22:05, 9 September 2006 (EDT)

External links[edit]

This batch of external links was hidden down at the bottom of the article without a section label. I've removed them in accordance with Wikitravel:External links, but am listing them here in case they're useful for data mining.

For more information: NPS back-country tips, NPS smart hiking,, and Grand Canyon travel guide written by a local.

-- Ryan 14:19, 7 April 2006 (EDT)

I added the hiking info links to the "Do" section "hiking" entry. If you've read "Death in Grand Canyon", you know how important it is to provide people with a link to this information! Gcmaven 18:20, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
Actually the idea behind not linking to that information is that it should be included within this article - part of the reasoning behind the Wikitravel:External links policy is that Wikitravel guides should be complete and stand on their own, and including links to outside information sources goes against that goal.
Note that I'm in full agreement about the need to warn people about dangers of over-exertion and heat-injuries when hiking in the Grand Canyon. The "Stay safe" section does a decent job at this, and the trail descriptions also describe the dangers. Anything additional you want to add is fine, but the information should really be in the article, and not linked from the article. Your contributions are appreciated, we just need to finesse things a bit ;) -- Ryan 18:37, 5 June 2006 (EDT)
Okay, I think I've got it now. But how much do you want to have in the "stay safe" section? Should we add the directions for tying your hiking boots, when we can just link to hit the trail? I also added information on the book I mentioned. Just FYI, I was actually at the clinic yesterday. Among some minor falls (they're hoping the scars won't be permenent), and a possible case of norovirus, they had handled 4 ambulance emergencies so far, and weren't scheduled to close for another hour!. Gcmaven 21:37, 6 June 2006 (EDT)
Instead of linking to other travel guide websites, the idea is to place as much information "IN" the article. If you feel that directions on how to tie hiking boots is really relevant to staying safe, then place it in the article. The Wikitravel MOS specifically state: "In particular, avoid linking to other travel guides."
"Death in Grand Canyon" is an excellent read that is essentially a case study of every known death in the park. It doesn't really describe "how" to stay safe, but details how some people "didn't". I think that a recommended reading list that is short, and relevant might be acceptable as long as it doesn't violate the MOS. Comments on this? Findbgs 17:19, 8 June 2006 (EDT)
I think it's fine to reference a minimal number of books in context. Saying that "Death in Grand Canyon" tells the story of the many tragedies that have befallen hikers within the "Stay safe" section is interesting and useful. Note that other travel guides should not be referenced though - saying that "Lonely Planet" has an excellent section on Grand Canyon wildlife is inappropriate, and it would also be inappropriate to make a book list solely for the sake of including a list of books about a place.
Referencing other travel web sites, and more generally non-primary web sites, is not OK according to current policy. Based on that policy, "Hit the Trail" isn't a valid link. If it's important that travelers know how to tie their shoes, put it in the article. If it's not (and knowing how to tie your shoes is not important) then leave it out. We're trying to create useful travel guides, which means including enough detail to help a traveler, but not so much that we're telling someone every detail including things they should be reasonably expected to either know already or figure out on their own. -- Ryan 19:27, 8 June 2006 (EDT)

Air Tours[edit]

I changed the link for air tours to the Chamber of Commerce site, because it is more up to date. For instance, the info pages list Airstar, but it's Maverick, etc.Gcmaven 21:12, 6 June 2006 (EDT)

I don't think this link is really relevant to air tour companies, but I didn't want to revert all or your changes. I think you have some good things to add, but perhaps we should put a couple of links directly to the air tour operators themselves. I couldn't find a list of the air tour operators anywhere on the chamber site. Findbgs 17:50, 8 June 2006 (EDT)
It's on the "adventures" page. But we are only supposed to link to a main page. Gcmaven 18:14, 9 June 2006 (EDT)
Let's pick one or two air tour operators, and clean it up a little. I don't know the best one's so I will defer to your opinion.Findbgs 23:45, 9 June 2006 (EDT)
Sorry I haven't been back for a while. I'm not a huge fan of the airtours, so wouldn't really care to pick one over another. Even the chamber list is just those that joined the chamber. There are a lot of companies based in Las Vegas that also do flyovers. Maybe someone else could pick? Gcmaven 20:56, 19 June 2006 (EDT)
I just picked a couple that sounded good, and am happy to defer to a more expert source. I am however having a problem with a las vegas booking agent that keeps spamming his page into this listing. Findbgs 01:01, 23 June 2006 (EDT)

Flora and Fauna[edit]

I moved the bird watching from "to do" into F&F. I was going to work on this section today, but ran out of time. Once we finish that section, and get the landscape section completed, AND get the external links into MOS. I think we might be ready for star recommendation. Findbgs 23:49, 9 June 2006 (EDT)

Does the Mule refer to the Mules, or is it Mule Deer? I edited it to read Mule Deer, no Whitetail here. Gcmaven 21:00, 19 June 2006 (EDT)

Thanks for the additions to the section. That was fabulous. I"ve been meaning to break out the field guide, and do some writing. Thanks for the additions. I will check on the white tail; I thought they were there. But it wouldnt be the first time i was wrong. I corrected some grammar, and added a few things. I also broke the paragraphs up a little to make it easier on the web user's speed reading tempo. Findbgs 00:59, 23 June 2006 (EDT)


Couldn't sleep so I made all the changes that I thought were necessary. What else should we do to bring it up to Star status? Findbgs 03:01, 10 June 2006 (EDT)

These are mostly subjective critiques off the top of my head: The biggest issue is that we should probably have a more useful map - (see Isle Royale National Park or Paris for examples). Also, there are a lot of links not formatted according to Wikitravel:External links. Other issues are just my own personal feeling that the article could be more useful if cleaned up: the "Do" section could be expanded a bit - my personal opinion is that it would be more useful if laid out like Yosemite National Park so that there is room to list trail descriptions and such. I'm not sure that "Favorites" is a useful heading under "Buy". The "Backcountry" section doesn't read very well and could provide more info. Stuff like that - it's close! -- Ryan 12:22, 28 June 2006 (EDT)

Tour companies[edit]

Recently this article has had a lot of "tour company" links show up. That's not a problem, but according to Wikitravel:External links these "companies" must be actual companies that offer tours, and not booking services or travel agencies. One of several reasons for this policy is that while we want reviews like "Canyon tours offers trips tailored to adventure seekers" or "South Rim Expeditions focuses on family trips", it's less useful to say "Arizona Travel Agency is one of dozens of agencies that can help you find a tour". Below is a note from Findbgs about a few companies that should not be listed, including:

  • Western River
I'm very familiar with the river companies. I was a guide for 15 years in the 70's. I eliminated Western River, because right now ALL of the river companies can be accessed from the grand canyon river outfitters association link. AZ canyon tours seemed to get a little aggressive with their postings, but they are a bonified tour company (i checked with the park). I went ahead and placed their listing in the correct spot w/standard format. The problem I have with is that they keep placing their travel agent link for air tours, and I keep changing it back. I know they are a travel agent, but the edits are just going back and forth. I am happy to check the page once a week, and make any corrections. But I don't want to overstep my bounds either. Please let me know the best way to proceed. I'd like to see this article achieve star status, and I think that we are close. Findbgs 11:51, 28 June 2006 (EDT)

-- Ryan 12:14, 28 June 2006 (EDT)


I edited the warning box for two reasons - 1) They really have improved the wait times at the south gate, in addition to making a second prepaid lane, they will often direct traffic when it gets busy, which really helps. 2) The tour part! There are no special parking privileges in the National Park. There are a few outside daytour companies (and one in particular) that claim they have permits to access more places than an individual visitor, but it's not so. And they never mention that they're excluded from using the West Rim Drive when it's closed to private traffic March through November. They use these scare tactics to separate visitor's from their hard earned dollars. The park is a bargain! $25 to get in for a car load of people, and lots of free ranger programs to enhance your visit. Because of the lack of affordable public or commercial transportation to the park, these tour companies are great for people that don't or can't drive themselves to the park. But for anyone else, you could probably buy a telescope and some cold cuts to bring with you for less than it costs to put your family on one of these tours. They don't even give you a break on their fee if you're already here and paid your park entrance fee. The only viewpoint that requires a permit is Shoshone Point, and anyone can apply for that permit. There is a fee. It does have a locked gate, but unfortunately a lot of people park in front of the locked gate and walk out to the point without permission. NPS rarely if ever pays attention or fines anyone. (sorry I haven't had time to help with this lately!) Gcmaven 16:16, 31 August 2006 (EDT)

GCMaven, I understand that you are biased against "outside" tour companies. I also understand that you work for XANTERRA, a company that offers competing tours inside the park. However, when you make edits here please try and refine your bias. You have some great information to add. As a former river guide, and "outside" hiking and tour guide I have certain biases as well. But when I post here, I try to put those biases aside. Findbgs 21:48, 9 September 2006 (EDT)

I think your edits to the warning box were fine. I went ahead and simplified it a little more. The park will likely continue to make small changes to the entry station until the final record of decision is issued for the South Rim Visitor Transportaion Plan. This likely will not occur until sometime in 2007, then the plan requires funding and implementation. Until that time, delays at the South Rim Entry Station will likely occur during the busy months. Findbgs 21:48, 9 September 2006 (EDT)

Hualapai Section Added[edit]

Due to growing news coverage about the "Grand Canyon Skywalk", I added a Hualapai Indian Reservation section below the Havasupai. It seems that many are confused about the location of the skywalk, and assume it to be part of the National Park. I thought it best to create a new section so as to differentiate the two. Findbgs 14:58, 16 March 2007 (EDT)

Better map?[edit]

I'm considering a trip to the canyon, and after reading through this article with the map open alongside I couldn't find a lot of the places mentionned. Perhaps the map can be edited to add some of them? Since it's already fairly cluttered, symbols with a legend at the bottom would be even better. Perhaps a map of the area (for the "getting to" section) and a separate map of the canyon with landmarks. Well that's all assuming someone has the time/skills/will to draw the map :) 19:20, 28 August 2007 (EDT) (sorry no login, first-time visitor)

Hmm, unfortunately that is not an editable map; a new one would have to be created. Your suggestions seem quite sound, but I'm wary of tackling this one myself, just since I don't know the area all that well. If you are interested in making a map yourself, check out Wikitravel:How to draw a map. It's a time consuming process, but actually much less difficult than it seems, and very rewarding! --Peter Talk 21:21, 28 August 2007 (EDT)
Not editable, do you mean because of copyright issues? The image links to a page saying it is public domain, but does that include editing? If you mean not editable as in not easily editable, well I could give it a try. Otherwise, the link you provided mentions sat imagery, is it possible to take a Google map screenshot and edit it?
Also, it looks more and more like we'll be going (camping/hiking) early october. If there's photos needed or things to verify I'd be glad to help. Maybe in exchange people can answer this :) They don't recommend going down into the canyon and back out in a day, but I'm likely a bit late for backcountry permits. My only option would be the Phantom lodge thingy? If I want to start on the south rim and go camp on the north rim, and then back south then I would need to sleep at Phantom Lodge both ways (eg. 4 days total?) 21:43, 31 August 2007 (EDT)
Not editable in that it has no accompanying svg base file. Google maps are off-limits as their images and software are tightly wrapped up in copyrights, but you can make maps based on traces of screenshots (I believe the sat imagery is still under some sort of copyright) taken with NASA WorldWind (similar to google earth). The program I use for making traces and from them maps is Inkscape, which is linked in that article above. If you do try this out, I'll be glad to help you figure things out; you can contact me more easily on my talk page. Sorry I can't help with the hiking plans, I've never hiked in the area, unfortunately. I do know southern Utah like the back of my hand though, in case you are heading up that way ;) --Peter Talk 22:27, 31 August 2007 (EDT)

Driving in from Vegas[edit]

The article says that most visitors come north from Arizona. I'd wager that a lot of folk arrive from Las Vegas as well. Could we discuss this route as well?