Catchy name isn’t it? We decided to head up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon during the off-season, while risking the potential colder temperatures, in my ever lasting quest to catch a glimpse of a rare, large bird. This winter’s quest was to see the California Condor.
One year it was off to Port Aransas trying to catch a glimpse of the Whooping Cranes (NOT – missed by oinly a few days) and another it was the Roseate Spoonbill (we have found often in Florida) and another it was the White Pelicans (we have seen many times throughout the US) and another it was the Swallow-Tailed Kite (Nope, still haven’t seen this one). Yes, “The Big Year” is one of my favorite books and movies. Always a quest and always a journey!
The California Condor was re-introduced in the Grand Canyon/Utah area in 1996 and also in the Pinnacles National Park area in Central California in 2003. It is claimed to be the largest flying land bird in the United States with a wingspan close to 9-10 feet. Can you imagine that flying over your head?
Let’s zip up to Grand Canyon and do some condor searching. Well, to cut this story off quickly, we did not see any condors. We looked and looked and talked to a few rangers and they said that you have a better chance of spotting a condor in the springtime. Right now, in the winter, they are probably nesting a few hours north of the South Rim where the hunters are currently busy and the condors can snack on some carrion. Oh well. Well they are wild animals so it can be hit or miss. We missed! I was sorely disappointed. I guess that means on to Pinnacles?
There aren’t many choices for camping with a big rig at the South Rim, in the Park in winter. Exactly one choice, Trailer Village. A nice quaint typical RV park which provides easy access to all that the South Rim has to offer. And we had spectacular weather, warm sunny days and just above freezing at night. What more can you ask for?
The RV Park is located next to Mather Campground (dry camping, 30′ vehicle limit) and easy to find and access. There is a small registration booth and restrooms and a shuttle stop. There is plenty of room to either unhook your tow vehicle near the entrance (at the school bus stop just pas the registration booth) or at your pull thru site. Of course, during the summer, during peak season, it may be a different story.
We arrived mid-week and there were very few other rigs around us. By the weekend quite a few more rigs appeared but the park was still quite empty. We hear that in late spring, summer, and early fall it is difficult to get a site.
RV Park: Trailer Village RV Park
Location: Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim
Site: C13 – 50′ pull thru
Services: FHU (50 AMP)
Comments: A typical RV park sitting amongst the pines along the South Rim. It is easy walking distance to the Market Plaza with a full grocery store (with WiFi), post office, bank, and cafe. It is about a half mile walking distance to the Rim Trail and right next to the Greenway Trail for access to miles and miles of hiking/biking trails. No WiFi, no cable (even though it is advertised), but we did have a bit of T-Mobile cell signal (no data).
Showers are common showers for all at the South Rim near the Mather Campground. Anyone is welcome to use this area, campers at the campground, daily visitors, etc. So there can be crowds and long waits especially in the high season. When we were there in February it was empty. YAY!