Q & A

Why the Grand Canyon? There are plenty of other national parks around, so why did you pick this one to do a book about?
First and foremost, I absolutely love the Grand Canyon — and have, ever since I first visited it when I was 12. I’m not alone either, as it’s one of America’s most visited national parks. But more important, at first glance it appears pretty rugged and inaccessible; which isn’t true at all. Over the years the National Park Service and park concessionaires have made access improvements to the trails, infrastructure and lodging, so it really is a great choice for wheelchair-users and slow walkers. I just wanted to let folks know that everyone can enjoy the Grand Canyon today.
Does the Grand Canyon even have access for people who can’t walk at all, like people who use a power wheelchair?
Absolutely! There are many accessible trails suitable for power wheelchairs, and accessible lodging options with roll-in showers. You can even take an accessible bus tour of the South Rim or go to a western cookout on the North Rim. Like I said, it really is accessible to everyone.
Did you actually look at all the hotels you covered, or did you just interview the managers?
I looked at all the hotels. I’ve found that you just have to do that rather than rely on second-hand information. Plus I always try to measure the beds and tell people where the toilet grab bars are located, as these things are very important to some people.
How long did it take you to do the research for the book?
It took a few years, because I visited the park about six times, and spent many nights in or near the park. In some cases I had weather restrictions, so I couldn’t do everything in one year. Plus, I also visited the attractions on tribal land and covered the train. It was a much larger project than I first anticipated. Writing the book was easy, but the research was pretty time intensive.
I know there is a shuttle bus on the South Rim, but I’d just prefer to drive my own car. Is this possible?
Yes it is. Traffic is prohibited on Hermit Road during peak season and on Yaki Point Road all year, but if you are disabled you can get a special permit to drive on these roads.
What’s the best time of year to visit the Grand Canyon?
It depends what part of the park you want to visit. The North Rim is only open from May 15 to October 15, so a winter visit is out of the question. I prefer to skip the peak summer season, so I like to visit the park after Labor Day, but before the North Rim road closes for the year.
Grand Canyon West and Peach Springs are not part of Grand Canyon National Park, so why did you include them in the book?
Although Grand Canyon West and Peach Springs sit on tribal land, they both offer magnificent views of the Grand Canyon. The Skywalk at Grand Canyon West offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to look down on the canyon through a glass floor; while Peach Springs is the gateway to the only driving route to the bottom of the canyon. I just felt they both needed to be included in the book.
I see you covered the Grand Canyon Railway. I don’t have much time, but I do want to see the Grand Canyon, so can I do that trip in a day?
Certainly. The train leaves the Williams Depot at 9:30 a.m. and arrives at the South Rim just before noon. The return train departs for Williams at 3:30 p.m., so you have several hours to enjoy the South Rim.
There are a lot of restaurants on the South Rim. What is your favorite, and why?
My favorite is the Arizona Room, because it offers a great view of the canyon. They serve a great Chicken Adobo there too.
What is your favorite thing to see or do in the Grand Canyon?
To be honest, I enjoy the North Rim, because it’s much less touristed than the South Rim. I love sitting on the sun porch at the lodge and just enjoying the canyon view. It’s a great place to watch the sunset.