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Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

by christine.j Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 3:44 AM

In June, my husband and I will be driving from the North Rim to Flagstaff on highway 89. We plan to stop at Cameron Trading Post and then drive the circle to Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monument. We'll probably leave the North Rim late in the morning and don't want to rush. Where is a good place to stay the night? In Cameron, then drive to Sunset Crater and Wupatki, then back to Cameron? Or continue to Flagstaff? Is it necessary to book in advance? Are there any motels/hotels on this stretch of the 89? Thank you for your help.

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  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by vtveen Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 3:52 AM

    As far as I can remember your options are indeed Cameron or Flagstaff. Personally I would opt for Flagstaff with more possibilities of motels/hotels and restaurants. (We were not satisfied with the resaturant at Cameron.)

    happy travels Jaap

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by christine.j Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    Thank you, Jaap. Do you remember how long you needed for the drive from Cameron to Flagstaff?

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  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by blueskyjohn Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 5:10 AM

    Your best option is to stay in Flagstaff. Flagstaff is only 30 minutes from Crater N.M. And about 15 minutes from Wupatki. There is a lot to do in Flagstaff and many more options on hotels and restaurants. Check out Beaver Street Brewery. Good food and drink.

    Also, for a good hotel and rate, you should book in advance. Northern Arizona University is there and if they have some event, good rooms are hard to find and the rates sky rocket. I happen to be there the weekend before and of graduation and the rate difference was criminal! I didn't book in advance.

    Have a great trip!

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  • akkipaa's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by akkipaa Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 5:40 AM

    Distance begtween Cameron and Flaggstaff is about 50 miles so it doesn't take a long time. I stayed in Cameron Trading Post spring 2011 and found the place really nice, we got a "tiny canyon view" on the back door and the room and other facilities were more than ok. There are cons also, the place is small (of course you find more from Flagstaff, depends what you are looking for). The other cons, to some people, is that there are no beer, wine or other drinking possibilities :) so your dinner is wine-free. We managed to survive without. I have written from Cameron, you can easily find my Cameron story straight from link from my home page.

    Btw, we didn't have reservation to CTP but it was low season, I would recommend you to do it, at least if you accommodate close to Canyon.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 5:41 AM

    Just agreeing with the others that Flagstaff is your best bet. The Sunset/Wupatki sites are not large and won't take all day to see, and Flagstaff is not far enough from them to warrant going back to Cameron - where there are very few hotels/restaurants to choose from.

    I usually only recommend Cameron for visitors to the South Rim who've been unable to find accommodations at the park but wish to spend several days there.

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by christine.j Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 5:42 AM

    Thank you, John. I didn't think about the university and it's good to know that booking ahead there can save money.

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by christine.j Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 5:47 AM

    Markku and Kate, thank you both. It seems we were all typing at the same time. So yoou think we'll have enough time to drive from the North Rim to Cameron, spend some time there, continue to the loop of Wupatki and Sunset Crater and still arrive in Flagstaff before the night? We don't want to hike every trail at the national monuments, but we also don't want to be in the car all the time.

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by christine.j Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 5:47 AM

    christine.j wrote:

    Markku and Kate, thank you both. It seems we were all typing at the same time. So you think we'll have enough time to drive from the North Rim to Cameron, spend some time there, continue to the loop of Wupatki and Sunset Crater and still arrive in Flagstaff before the night? We don't want to hike every trail at the national monuments, but we also don't want to be in the car all the time.

     

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by christine.j Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 5:48 AM

    Sorry for the two replies, I still don't know exactly how to post in the new system.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 6:36 AM

    No problem, Christine - we're all sort of finding our way around the new system. :O)

    Tough question about doing it all before sunset as it all depends how much putter time you take and amount of seasonal daylight hours you have. We managed to drive to the South Rim from Sedona with stops at Oak Creek Canyon, Sunset, Wupatki and all the overlooks along the east rim road with a little hiking time to spare before sunset but it was early Sept, and we also started out earlier in the morning.

    Look at it this way: It's 207 miles (4 and 1/2hours) from North Rim to Flagstaff. Sunset Crater is only 14 miles (according to park website) from Flagstaff where Cameron is 53 miles so it really doesn't make any sense to backtrack nearly 40 miles to Cameron?

    A lot will depend on time of year and amount of daylight you have. The good news is that you'll arrive in Wupatki first if coming from the north, and you should be in plenty of time to see Wupatki Pueblo before it closes at 5:00 PM. The few others in the park are open from sunrise to sunset.

    Sunset Crater (closest to Flagstaff) is also open until (appropriately) sunset but visitor centers at both close at 5:00.

    Really, it didn't take us long to see either park, and the ruins are not as extensive as those I've seen elsewhere. So I guess it's sort of up to you? Personally, I'd leave the North Rim a bit earlier than late morning so as not to burn daylight.

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by christine.j Online Now Feb 24, 2013 at 10:32 PM

    Kate, thank you for these details. I didn't even think of the closing times. We're hoping to do another light hike at the North Rim in the morning, that's why we probably won't leave early. The more I read, the more I'd like to do - it's the same story each time.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 25, 2013 at 4:20 AM

    You're welcome. Fitting it ALL in is always that problem, eh? :)

    Just in case you don't have them, here are the NPS websites for Sunset and Wupatki: great sources for all the relevant visitor info.

    http://www.nps.gov/sucr/index.htm http://www.nps.gov/wupa/index.htm

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by christine.j Online Now Feb 25, 2013 at 10:05 AM

    Thank you for the links.

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  • toddecus's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by toddecus Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    I would tend to kind of think in some slightly different terms. I think you should also check out "Walnut Canyon Just outside of Flag" - Flagstaff Things to Do Tip by toddecus just outside of flagstaff and then forget staying in flagstaff, go the extra 50 miles and stay in Sedona!

    My favorite is the Sedona Rouge Hotel And Spa I think the crater is boring, the canyon is a fun short (30 min) easy hike. and then Sedona is beautiful. Food for thought.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 11:19 AM

    Good thinkin', Toddecus. I'll agree that the volcano is a little low on the "oh wow" scale. After the the canyon, it'll be anticlimactic at best. Sedona is a lot prettier/more dramatic and yep, some good hiking there.

    Were you planning on going on down to there after Wupatki/Sunset, per chance?

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  • toddecus's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by toddecus Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Hey I just noticed she said "north rim" not "the rim" North rim is like a 3 hour drive to cameron isn't it? and another hour to the flagstaff area. Walnut canyon is just after sunset crater on the left as you get into flag. Sedona is just 45 minutes down the road from Flagstaff. Definitely, keep going to Sedona!

    For context, I think of flagstaff as a large truck stop and dog food production facility not a tourist destination. Sorry Flaggers, I know this is a gross oversimplification, but in fact the city does mostly smell like the dog food canning factory. Kind of like Milwaukee smells like a beer factory.

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  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by blueskyjohn Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 11:59 AM

    toddecus wrote: Hey I just noticed she said "north rim" not "the rim" North rim is like a 3 hour drive to cameron isn't it? and another hour to the flagstaff area. Walnut canyon is just after sunset crater on the left as you get into flag. Sedona is just 45 minutes down the road from Flagstaff. Definitely, keep going to Sedona!

    For context, I think of flagstaff as a large truck stop and dog food production facility not a tourist destination. Sorry Flaggers, I know this is a gross oversimplification, but in fact the city does mostly smell like the dog food canning factory. Kind of like Milwaukee smells like a beer factory.

     I've never experience Flagstaff as you refer to it.  With hiking MT. Humphrey in summer or other areas of the Upper Mongollon Rim, skiing snow bowl just outside Flagstaff in winter, as well as some pretty good restaurants, Flagstaff is worth a visit.  While I am a huge fan of Sedona hiking, the town center is the epitome of a tourist trap, sadly. Unless your plans are to continue south, stick with Flagstaff. 

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    As they are trying to do a lot in one day and want to be checked in somewhere by dark, I'd stick with Flagstaff too. Was just thinking that continuing on to Sedona - maybe the next day - was a good idea too.

    Yep, Sedona's town center has pretty much gone to the tourists but the scenery/hiking is still nice. A 1/2 day trip up to Jerome is fun too.

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by christine.j Online Now Feb 27, 2013 at 10:37 PM

    Some more ideas, thanks a lot. If only we had more time!
    We've decided to break the drive down from the North Rim into two days, mostly because I've read about the Desert View area in the east of Grand Canyon and we'd like to stop there as well. So we're going to spend the night in Cameron and then continue the next day with Sunset Crater.
    And then I'm afraid it will be a long drive back to Ontario airport with one more stop in between, somewhere along the interstate.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 3:41 AM

    Views of the canyon are impressive indeed from Desert View. Hopefully you'll have time to continue along the east road to some of the other overlooks as well, and do some walking along the rim around the G.C. village area.

    So Cameron it is. As mentioned before, there's really not much there (it's also not very scenic) but be SURE and make reservations as soon as possible: what little there are for accommodations are sure to be booked quickly by people who were unable to find open rooms at the park at this late date.

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by christine.j Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 3:58 AM

    Kate, do you know how long we can drive on the east road towards the South Rim? I read somewhere that parking and driving there is limited and that one has to take a shuttle bus.
    And yes, I was looking at the page of the hotel in Cameron and saw how quickly the number of available rooms was getting lower and lower. So we decided to book a room and got one of the last. No wonder it's filling very fast, if it is the only place to stay in this area.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 4:18 AM

    You can drive that road all year. It's the WEST rim road to Hermit's Rest that you must take a shuttle for. There is only one overlook on the east road (Yaki Point) that has shuttle-only access. You can see a shuttle map here:

    nps.gov/grca/parknews/upload...

    Because Cameron isn't especially scenic or blessed with services, I was going to suggest calling the park to see if they just might have an accommodation open due to a cancellation. It would have made sense to just stay there and be closer to the rim for sunrise if possible.

    How much time to you estimate you'll have at the South Rim, and are you at all interested some hiking there? We've done the 8-mile rim hike to Hermit's Rest and it's fun. You don't have to do the entire length if time is short: there are shuttle stops along the way for jumping a bus back to the village. And, of course, you could do a bit of Bright Angel or South Kaibab trails for a taste of the below-the-rim experience.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by goodfish Online Now Feb 28, 2013 at 4:25 AM

    Sorry - forgot to mention that yes, parking can be a challenge. That's another reason I was going to suggest booking an accommodation in the park if at all possible: then you'd have a spot.

    But you can find parking information here:

    nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/p...

    The Desert View lot is quite large so you should be able to find a spot at that overlook but it's entirely possible (as I recall) to drive into the smaller overlook lots and have to wait for a spot. It's going to be a very busy park in June!

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 1, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    Apologies, Christine, I think I misread this question:
    "....how long we can drive on the east road towards the South Rim?"

    Because the west rim road is only open to private vehicles during two months or so of the winter, I thought you were asking about any seasonal issues with the eastern road as well.

    The "South Rim" as it applies to tourism generally applies to the area from east entrance near Desert View to the far western overlook at Hermit's Rest, although the park itself is bigger than that. Other than the spur to Yaki Point, visitors may drive all of the eastern road from Desert View to Grand Canyon Village all year long. It's at the village where you'd need to pick up a shuttle to continue on to the western overlooks, or hike them.

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  • christine.j's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by christine.j Online Now Mar 1, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Thank you, Kate, that was what I hadn't understood completely.

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Accommodation near Sunset Crater National Monument?

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 1, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    Oh good! So sorry I misunderstood!

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