Grand Canyon Travel Guide

USA  #1 in Best Places to Visit in the USA
Credit

Courtesy of Piriya Photography/Getty Images

Getting Around Grand Canyon

The best way to get around the Grand Canyon is by shuttle bus. Operated by the National Park Service, these free shuttles will take you all around the South Rim. If you're visiting the North Rim, a car will be the most convenient option, but make sure to check the park's website for updates on road conditions and closures.

Getting to the area can be trickier; of the numerous airports, many travelers choose to fly into Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) or McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas. Tour buses (such as Grand Canyon Shuttles) and car rentals are all available from both Phoenix and Las Vegas. To land closer to the canyon, consider flying into Pulliam Airport (FLG) in Flagstaff, Arizona, about 80 miles south of the South Rim. Amtrak trains, buses (such as those provided by Arizona Shuttle) and car rentals are available here as well.

Shuttle Bus

The South Rim shuttle operates four routes in spring, summer and fall, which connect the visitor center with various lodges, campgrounds and park attractions. These routes are called the Village (Blue) Route, the Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route, the Hermit Road (Red) Route, and the Tusayan Route/Park & Ride. In the winter months, the park offers just the blue and orange shuttle routes. The shuttles, which are white with a green stripe, display the route name on the front and side panels and run every 15 to 30 minutes and are free of charge. 

The Hikers' Express Shuttle connects the Bright Angel Lodge to the South Kaibab Trailhead. The Hikers' Shuttle runs three times daily in the morning during most months of the year; in the winter months of December, January and February, it runs twice daily. There is also the Trans-Canyon Shuttle, which is ideal for rim to rim hikers since it connects the South and North Rim. It costs $90 per person each way.

On Foot

Many of this destination's top attractions can be found along major trails. To get the best of the South Rim, try the Rim Trail, which runs from Pipe Creek Vista through the Grand Canyon Village and out to Hermit's Rest. Or follow the Bright Angel Trail for a deeper look at the canyon (just watch out for the donkeys). If you're looking to explore the North Rim, try the North Kaibab Trail.

Grand Canyon Railway

The scenic Grand Canyon Railway runs between Williams, Arizona, and the Grand Canyon Village, which is about 60 miles one-way. Trains depart from Williams at 9:30 a.m., arriving at the park at 11:45 a.m.; the train departs from the Grand Canyon Depot at 3:30 p.m., and arrives back at Williams at 5:45 p.m. During peak seasons, the train will run an additional route that departs from Williams at 10:30 a.m. Many visitors agree that this is a fun, unique way to experience the park, but you can expect to pay a fair amount for a ride. Round-trip rates for adults start at $67 for a coach-class ticket and go up to $219 for a luxury parlor ticket.

Car

Although having a car can be convenient, especially if you're exploring more remote parts of the area like Havasu Falls, be prepared to pay an extra fee at the park entrance. If you are visiting during the summer, you'll have better luck finding parking if you get there early. If you're planning a winter trip, check the Grand Canyon website for any road closures. You can rent a car at any of the airports servicing the canyon.

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