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Automotive Traveler Magazine: 2011 11 Grand Canyon Road Trip Page 3

Canyon Railway tracks and then through the largest ponderosa pine forest in North America. Riders stop for about half an hour at the Abyss Overlook, which features a 3,000-foot vertical drop and views of many of the Grand Canyon's colorful pinnacles, buttes, and mesas.

Xanterra also continues to offer its two-day mule rides to the bottom of the Canyon and back with overnight accommodations at Phantom Ranch. The rides and Phantom Ranch lodging are usually booked many months in advance, so plan ahead. You can also hike down in on your own.

Relax on a Motorcoach Tour

Motorcoach tours are one of the most popular ways to view and learn about the Canyon. Xanterra offers a two-hour tour to Hermit's Rest along the West Rim ($25); a three-hour, 45-minute tour to the Watchtower along the East Rim ($44); and 90-minute sunrise and sunset tours ($20), as well as several combination tours. For most tours, passengers under the age of 16 ride for free when accompanied by a paying adult. All tours include extensive interpretive information offered by drivers and stops at scenic points along the way.

Bike the Park's Greenway Trail System

A new concession operated by Bright Angel Bicycle Rentals offers bike rentals for $10 per hour, or for half, full, and multiple days during non-winter months. Cyclists can ride on portions of the park's greenway trail system and on park roads. Start your self-guided tour right at the rental kiosk at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, or take a free park service shuttle to any drop-off spot and head out from there (the shuttles can accommodate three bicycles at a time).

Stroll the South Rim

In addition to more extensive hiking, visitors can stroll the Grand Canyon Village area on a self-guided walking tour of this historic district on the South Rim. (Informational brochures on the sites are available at no charge from the front desk of each lodge.)

Within easy walking distance of the Grand Canyon Village are the famed El Tovar Hotel (which has hosted Teddy Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, and many other historical figures in its century-plus history) and the fascinating Bright Angel History Room, with its collection of maps and memorabilia related to architect Mary Colter and Fred Harvey and the Harvey Girls (the inspiration behind the Judy Garland movie of the same name).

Also in the Grand Canyon Village Historic District are two more Colter-designed buildings--Hopi House and Lookout Studio--as well as the Kolb Studio. The one-time home and photography studio of Emery and Ellsworth Kolb now houses an art