Bearizona and a Sneak Peek of the Grand Canyon

June 3rd and 4th ~ Canoga Park to the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon from Mather Point next to the Visitor’s Center

On Saturday we got a later start than we had hoped and pulled out of Canoga Park just before noon. It simply took us longer than we anticipated to finish up the last-minute items, grab our toiletries, top off the diesel and propane tanks, load up the balance of the refrigerator and freezer items, go over our check list for the hundredth time, and hook up our tow vehicle which is all new to us. 

Tim in front of “Ellie Mae” with “Jethro” all hooked up behind her.

The intended stops between the Los Angeles area and our first nights stay got thrown out the window and instead we simply enjoyed the remainder of our day, excited to finally be on our way toward America’s Wonders…

Long drive through both desert and semi-desert terrain on our way to Kingman, AZ for night #1

Sunday – June 4th

After a warm night that was made much more comfortable with our air-conditioner humming, we woke up refreshed and feeling more like we had actually left home. I am still finding my way around this tiny kitchen, but we managed a nice warm breakfast, showers and found clean clothes hanging in the closet. So far, we seem to have remembered to pack the essentials…

Today starts off with a two-hour drive from Kingman, Arizona to Bearizona Wildlife Park located in Williams, AZ. After family members had visited there and recommended it, we were curious to check it out for ourselves.

Bearizona is located at the intersection of I-40 and US Hwy 64 (Historic Route 66) in Williams, AZ. – 58 miles south of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon – 25 miles West of Flagstaff, AZ.

Bearizona Wildlife Park

It is a combination rescue center, walking park and a drive-through zoo. I was a little disappointed in the drive through portion, however we only utilized one of the two options. We chose to drive ourselves since we had just missed the bus tour that included a guide and narrative. I’m confident that would have been much more interesting and informative if we had learned more about the animals, their history and how they came to be at the park.

There were sectioned off areas, each divided by a fence and a cattle guard which kept each breed of animal in its own area. In this part of the park we drove past mountain goats, wild burros, young bears, large bears, arctic wolves and both white and brown bison.

I did get a kick out of seeing one of the black bears relaxing in his own “hot tub” bath.

I think he was loving having the hot tub to himself

Just FYI, once you pay your admission, you are welcome to do both options, we just did not want to wait the extra two hours for the next guided bus tour.

The walking portion of the park was similar to visiting a zoo, but on a smaller scale. The highlights for me included the birds of prey show, an engaging turkey and the magnificent black jaguar.

This turkey was down-right friendly. Talk to him and he gobbled right back.

I have such a love for the big cats and this black jaguar was stunning

Our afternoon turned out to be OK, but not a wow. The drive-through portion mid-afternoon was the wrong time as many of the animals are quiet or resting in a shaded hide-a-way. Best time to visit would be mornings or late afternoon. I do think it would be a great stop for families with children on your way to see the Grand Canyon.

Our next challenge came when the RV park we had made reservations at, was on the opposite side of the Grand Canyon than was shown on the map. That meant that we had a mile deep hole and the raging Colorado River between us and where we were expecting to sleep…

It would have taken us quite a way out of our path, so decided to forgo the money spent on the reservation and try to find an alternative. This time of the year, finding an empty space in a campground close to a National Park can be a challenge, but the fates were in our favor and a lovely lady in a shop mentioned Camper Village, just around the corner from where we were. They had a spot left and we grabbed it.

It was before 5:00 so we quickly parked Ellie Mae, unhooked Jethro and made a beeline toward the Visitors Center of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon National Park

“For each man sees himself in the Grand Canyon – each one makes his own Canyon before he comes, each one brings and carries away his own Canyon.” – Carl Sandburg

We had just enough time to take a few pictures along the rim on the Rim Trail and Mather Point and watch an introductory movie at the Visitor’s Center before calling it a day.

Here is a sneak peek of the GRAND CANYON. We plan on getting up and out in the morning to get some more shots before heading out.

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GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for a very helpful lady who graciously got me a map and helped me find an alternate place to stay when our original plans went up in smoke…

We hope you will join us for more of our road trip adventure!

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our "next chapter". At a stage in life where traveling the world, taking pictures, and sharing our adventures with friends and family will be our dream come true.
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32 Responses to Bearizona and a Sneak Peek of the Grand Canyon

  1. nanci dixon says:

    Happy Trails! We just went to Grand Canyon and the Utah Big Five (Zion, Bryce, Canyonland, Capital Reef, Arches) and it was fantastic! When we couldn’t get into the National Park campgrounds stayed at the closest campgrounds to the entrance. Enjoy your trip- will enjoy reading all about it.

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    • Nanci, that is probably what we will end up doing as well. We are thinking we will try to find centrally located RV parks that we can park for three days at a time. Then unhook Jethro and explore using Ellie Mae as home base. Since this is still new for us, we are flying by the seat of our pants and will simply have to see what works best for us with a bit of trial and error. So glad you enjoyed seeing those beautiful parks!

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  2. Cameron Boquet says:

    Have a fantastic American adventure. We were inspired by the Grand Canyon too! Spectacular and the natural beauty… stunning. Happy Summer & happy trails you two!

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    • Thanks Cam! We are having a great time and so happy to be on the road once again. The Grand Canyon certainly is well named but even “GRAND” does not really do her justice. Hugs to you and the family.

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  3. sheilsm says:

    My husband and I have visited most of the places that you are heading towards and enjoyed every minute of it! Can’t wait to follow you as you experience our National Parks. Also, have always been impressed with your pictures and I know that you already told us/me what camera you are using…but could you remind me, again?

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    • Most of our pictures are taken on a small Sony RX100 camera. We have liked it so much that between Tim and I we have version I, II and V. We also have some great Nikon cameras and lenses, but find that the Sony is what we use most of the time. It is simple to use and fits in my pocket or purse so I always have it with me which seems to be most important.

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      • sheilsm says:

        Thank You! I, too have a Nikon with a few lenses. Just hate carrying it around! Love your photos…so think I will investigate your latest model! Can’t wait to read your future posts!

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      • We just completed our tour of Antelope Canyon and only shot with the Sony RX100. I have not looked at the pictures yet, but hoping we got some great ones. I’ll be writing that post within the next 24 hours (probably later today) and you can see how it does in midday low light conditions,

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  4. One of my favorite hangouts, Joanne. I’ve camped there a number of times, stayed in the various lodges, hiked and backpacked into the canyon several times, rafted through the canyon on a private trip, and even rode the mules down (many years ago). Our son flew helicopter tours over the canyon so we have also done that. Anyway, enjoy! The Canyon is one of the world’s great treasures. Good photos! –Curt

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    • Curt, there is nothing else on earth that can compare to the Grand Canyon! It is impossible to take in its total grandeur, but well worth the effort. I have not hiked to the bottom, but a few years back drove to the bottom (quite a ways from here) after visiting Sedona. I can only imagine the thrills rafting on the Colorado through the canyon. We did take the helicopter in 1991 and it was fabulous.

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  5. Another great adventure and Bearizona would probably be a place I hang out for awhile given that bears are my favorite animal hahaha. Beautiful pictures and another great story. Thank you and safe travels.

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  6. Terry says:

    Wonderful you found a camping spot available this time of year. Whats nice about this kind of travel if you do forget something a store is available. Just enjoy and you’ll both get use to the smallness of everything and I bet you’ll enjoy it. I did. Great photos of the canyon. Enjoy.

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  7. Trish Hatcher says:

    beautiful pics…as always!

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  8. lulu says:

    Vistas of the Grand Canyon are truly awesome. No way can a camera capture its drama no matter how beautifulul the photos.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jill says:

    Loved the photo of the bear in the hot tub! Interesting post. Looking forward to the next one!

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  10. It sounds like a good beginning to your great adventure, with only a couple minor hiccups. Happy travels!
    Alison

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  11. Widdershins says:

    Two years ago on our trip from BC to Ontario and back, we found a wonderful out-of-the way campground just by asking a local. 🙂

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  12. tippysmom2 says:

    Wonderful post. I did a quick visit to the Grand Canyon years ago…and, by quick, I mean spent the night, got up an hour late to see the sunrise (due to them not following DST), looked around for about an hour, and then on the road to CA. Even at that, I was glad that I got to spend the time I did. Enjoy your stay. Glad you were able to find a campground on the correct side of the canyon. You probably need to let the original campground know that the map has them located at the wrong place. Maybe they could get that changed. Looking forward to reading about your adventures.

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  13. Pingback: Month of June Travels in our National Parks ~ Highlight Moments in Pictures | A Note From Abroad

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