The Grand Canyon National Park needs no presentation. It is one of the most famous natural wonders in the world, and one of the most visited attraction in the US. The Grand Canyon stretches for over 277 miles (ca. 446 km) and reaches depths of up to a mile.
You can enter the park from two points, the north and the south rim. The former is open only during the summer and will give you the most reserved experience, while the latter is the main and most popular entry point to the park, offers the most facilities, and it is open all-year around.
In this guide, we’ll focus on the South Rim, trying to go through everything you need to know to plan an unforgettable visit to the Grand Canyon National Park.
How to get there?
The most convenient way to reach the Grand Canyon South Rim is by flying into Las Vegas, Phoenix, or Flagstaff, where you can rent a car or join a guided tour. The South Rim is approximately 230 miles (ca. 370 km) from Phoenix, 280 miles (ca. 451 km) from Las Vegas, and 80 miles (ca. 129 km) from Flagstaff.
Drive to Williams, AZ and take the route 64 towards the Grand Canyon South Rim village. We suggest getting there early, to avoid long queues at the entrance.
You can park free-of-charge inside the park, in the allocated parking lots.
How to move around the park?
The Grand Canyon Village is quite big, but fortunately the NPS prepared three bus routes to explore the park and get to the main highlights spot.
There are three active bus routes in the Grand Canyon Village:
- Red Route (from March 1st to November 30th): From Bright Angel Trailhead to Hermits Rest. This is the bus you should take, to hike the Rim Trail.
- Blue Route (all-year round): It connects all the main village facilities (Visitor Centre, Village Market, Hotels) and stops near many viewpoints.
- Orange Route (all-year round): From the visitor centre to South Kaibab trailhead and Yaki Point view point.
When to go?
The Grand Canyon South Rim is open year-round, but the experience can vary depending on the time of year. The spring and fall seasons (March to May and September to November) offer pleasant weather and smaller crowds. Summer (June to August) can be hot, but it’s still a popular time to visit. Winter (December to February) brings cooler temperatures and snow.
We visited the park in April, and found pleasant temperatures during the day, and below zero temperatures during the night. Still, it was the perfect weather for hiking in our opinion. At the top of the Canyon, we found some snow and ice, so be prepared and pack your crampons, if you plan to hike into the canyon.
Where to sleep?
The South Rim offers a range of accommodation options, from luxurious lodges within the Grand Canyon National Park to more budget-friendly hotels and camp grounds in nearby towns. If you plan to stay within the park, make sure to book well in advance, as accommodations can fill up quickly, especially during peak seasons.
We stayed in a tiny house, just 30 minutes south of the village entrance. Our accommodation had all the facilities we needed (kitchen, bathroom, heating), and we would stay there again. You can find this accommodation on booking.com at this link.
What to do inside the park?
Hiking of course 🙂 There are plenty of possibilities for all levels. The three hikes we made were:
- Rim Trail from Hermit Rest to Bright Angel Trailhead (very easy)
- Bright Angel to Plateau Point (Medium-Hard)
- South Kaibab to Tip Off (Medium-Hard)
Dedicated hike reports will be published soon on the blog.
In addition to hiking, you can also attend the many activities organised by the ranger in the park. For more info, visit the official NPS website.