Las Vegas is a popular point of origin (or final destination) for a Grand Canyon road trip. What exactly makes Sin City such an ideal starting point?
- If you have enough time, its proximity to the Grand Canyon offers easy access to every spot on the Rim.
- It’s also within easy driving distance of a number of other nearby southwest hotspots—not to mention the smorgasbord of activities and attractions available in Sin City to any type of visitor.
- Flights to Las Vegas are usually reasonably priced compared to Phoenix (another popular point of origin for a Grand Canyon road trip).
Whether you’re planning a Grand Canyon road trip from Las Vegas or are ending your southwest journey in Sin City, we’ve created the ultimate Las Vegas-Grand Canyon road trip itinerary.
Before we jump into places to visit on the way to the Grand Canyon, you’ll need to decide what region(s) of the Grand Canyon you want to visit. Each tourist region can be reached fairly easily from Las Vegas by car, depending on how much time you have.
Grand Canyon West
Grand Canyon East
|Distance from Las Vegas||290 miles||270 miles||130 miles||275 miles|
|Driving time||4.5 hours||5 hours||2.5 hours||4.5 hours|
If you have five days or more and are flexible with your route, you can easily hit all four regions by following our Ultimate Las Vegas-Grand Canyon Road Trip itinerary. If you have less time, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered, too.
The Ultimate Las Vegas-Grand Canyon Road Trip Itinerary
The Ultimate Las Vegas-Grand Canyon Road Trip Itinerary will take you to all four rims of the Grand Canyon, and beyond if you want to keep the fun rolling.
Total Miles Travelled: 823 miles (from Las Vegas to Phoenix); 784 miles (Las Vegas Loop)
Total Driving Time: 14 hours 40 minutes; 13 hours 35 minutes
Recommended Trip Duration: 5-7 days
To make it easier for road trippers who have less time to explore the southwest, we’ve broken up our Ultimate Las Vegas-Grand Canyon Road Trip itinerary into two segments:
From Las Vegas to the South Rim and everything in between, including Grand Canyon West, Route 66, and the Hoover Dam. Ideal for shorter timelines, loop routes, and those beginning their road trip in Las Vegas.
- If you only have one day for your Grand Canyon road trip, opt for the West Rim—you can easily make it there and back to Las Vegas in a single day. Save yourself the work of driving and hop on a guided tour instead—there are many guided tour options available, including airplane tours, helicopter floor landings, and leisurely Colorado River boat tours through the Grand Canyon.
- If you only have the time to visit one Rim, head to the South Rim—it has the greatest number of viewpoints, guided ranger programs, and hiking trails, as well as many of the most iconic sights and vistas. The best way to experience the South Rim as part of a Grand Canyon road trip is to spend the night—that way, you can break up the drive and check out the many other places to visit on the way to the Grand Canyon. More on that below.
- If you have more time, you can add the East Edge segment to your trip.
Explore the sights and attractions that lie beyond the borders of the South Rim, including Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, and Bryce Canyon, as well as cities like Flagstaff, Sedona, and Phoenix. Ideal for those journeying westward towards Las Vegas from Phoenix or other eastern points of origin, or for longer road trips.If you have lots of time to work with, you can also add the East Edge component of the Ultimate Las Vegas-Grand Canyon Road Trip Itinerary to the West Edge segment of our suggested route, or skip the West Edge altogether by heading straight to the South Rim from Las Vegas and continuing east.
The Ultimate Las Vegas-Grand Canyon Road Trip: West Edge route details
What can you see and do between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon, and beyond? Let’s find out.
Las Vegas hosts nearly 43 million visitors every year. Its reputation for catering to visitors of every inclination—including kids—and its proximity to numerous Southwest locations make it an ideal spot to start your Grand Canyon road trip. Depending on your preferences, you can start your Grand Canyon road trip in Las Vegas or end your southwest adventure in Sin City.
If you have a few days to explore Las Vegas, check out our Ultimate Guide to Visiting Las Vegas for our tips for finding the right hotel, what to pack, where to eat, and what to see and do in the city limits and beyond.
Located just 5 miles from the Strip, Springs Preserve is a 180-acre natural preserve featuring interactive exhibits about how to live sustainably in the desert, the history of Las Vegas, and its historic and current inhabitants.
It’s a great place to stop if you’re beginning your southwest adventure in Las Vegas for a quick primer on area history, geology, and wildlife. If you’re ending your Grand Canyon road trip in Las Vegas too, make sure you visit Springs Preserve either before you continue your journey or head home.
About 30 minutes southeast of Las Vegas and just a short hop from Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, Boulder City is the last place you can stop for major metropolitan conveniences before you hit the desert.
ROAD TRIP TIP: Skip the busy and expensive breakfast in Sin City and stop in Boulder City instead. Pack a picnic to enjoy in Hemenway Park—you may even spot a bighorn sheep. They’re known to frequent the area.
Hoover Dam and Lake Mead
About 40 miles east of Las Vegas, this is a great place to stop and stretch your legs while you snap a pic of Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, and the Bypass Bridge. If you have the time, hop on a Hoover Dam tour and journey deep inside the Dam for a look at the hydroelectric generators, a chance to navigate the interior tunnels, and to learn more about the Dam. Guided tours run daily and are about one hour in duration.
The Hoover Dam isn’t directly en route for road trips to the North Rim or Grand Canyon East, so if you’re heading in that direction, you might be better off making a separate trip or taking a guided Hoover Dam tour from Las Vegas so you can take your time to truly enjoy the visit.
- The Hoover Dam created the nation’s largest reservoir—Lake Mead—covering 248 square miles and containing approximately 29 million acre-feet of water. One acre-foot is equivalent to about 325,000 gallons. As a result of a drought in the Colorado River Basin, Lake Mead has since dropped to its lowest water level since it was first filled in the 1930s.
- It took a total of 21,000 workers to build the Hoover Dam. Each worker was paid an hourly wage ranging from $0.50 to $1.25. There were officially 96 construction-related fatalities, but no workers were buried alive while the Dam was poured.
- The Dam consists of approximately 4.3 million cubic yards of concrete—that’s enough concrete to pave a 16-foot-wide, 8-inch-thick road from San Francisco to New York City.
- The Hoover Dam is not the world’s tallest dam—that title belongs to the 1,001 foot high Jinping-I Dam in Liangshan, Sichuan, China.
- Lake Mead is America’s most diverse recreation area, with 600,000 hectares of mountains, canyons, and wilderness, plus two lakes where you can fish, participate in watersports, and swim.
After your visit to the Hoover Dam, cross the Bypass Bridge into Arizona.
ROAD TRIP TIP: Arizona does not observe daylight saving. After you cross the border, double check your timezones so you can adjust your clocks accordingly and stay on schedule.
Grand Canyon West
Continue 100 miles from the Hoover Dam to Grand Canyon West. If you don’t have time to visit Grand Canyon West and the South Rim, stay on Highway 93 till you reach Kingman, AZ .
While you’re there, be sure to check out Eagle Point and Guano Point, as well as attractions like the Skywalk, Hualapai Ranch, and the new zipline.
Learn more about what you can do and see at Grand Canyon West:
Route 66: Kingman and Seligman, AZ
After visiting Grand Canyon West, it’s time to get your kicks on Route 66. Hop on the Mother Road in Kingman, AZ and continue your journey along one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System.
ROUTE 66 FACT: Route 66 was established in 1926. Also known as the Main Street of America and the Mother Road, Route 66 originally stretched from Chicago through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before culminating in California. Because it crossed the majority of the country, it was one of the main routes for people migrating west during the 1930s Dust Bowl.
Kingman, AZ, is a common stop on the road between the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas or Los Angeles, and it’s where you’ll catch Route 66 if you’re planning a road trip to the Grand Canyon. With over 60 restaurants to choose from, including the famous Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner (try their famous homemade root beer), it’s a great place to stop for a bite to eat or to spend the night after exploring Grand Canyon West—you can even hunker down in one of the last remaining pre-WWII tourist motor courts.Kingman, AZ
Be sure to check out:
- The Arizona Route 66 Museum: Located across from Mr. D’z Route 66 Dinner, this museum features photos of Dust Bowl survivors and stories of post-WWII America, as well as an exhibit featuring the famous Burma-Shave signs that used to line the route.
- The old town area—it’s a living tribute to the Mother Road.
- The world’s longest Route 66 map, painted onto the side of the El Trovatore Motel. Also check out El Trovatore’s restored 100-foot neon sign.
ROAD TRIP TIP:Take a short 30-mile detour off Route 66 from Kingman to visit Oatman, AZ. This abandoned ghost town was originally founded in 1908, and is now home to just 135 people. Stop in for some quick souvenir shopping before you continue your journey to the South Rim.
About 87 miles from Kingman along Route 66, Seligman is a great place to stop and stretch your legs on your way to the South Rim. There are only 500 inhabitants and few tourists. Check out the Route 66 General Store and the Return of the 50s Museum, and stop in at the Roadkill Cafe to try one of their famous buffalo burgers.
ROUTE HACK: If you want to save some time, skip the drive down Route 66 and hop on the I-40 instead. You’ll shave 14 miles off your trip.
Williams, AZ is your last stop on Route 66 (signposted here as Route 161). Despite its small size, there’s lots to do in Williams before you head to Tusayan and onto the Grand Canyon:
- Bearizona Drive-thru Wildlife Park: See bears, wolves, buffalo, and more, from the comfort and safety of your own car.
- Grand Canyon Brewing Co: If you’re a fan of craft brews, jump on a brewery tour or stop for a bite.
- Kaibab National Forest: Explore the Kaibab National Forest and try some of the many hiking trails that originate in Williams.
- Grand Canyon Railway: Bypass Tusayan and hop on the Grand Canyon Railway for a leisurely ride through the Arizona forest right to the Grand Canyon Village, complete with a (staged) train heist.
Williams is also a convenient place to spend the night—it’s about an hour’s drive to the South Rim, and hotels are more plentiful and affordable than inside the National Park.
A short 1-hour drive from Williams, Tusayan, AZ is your last stop before the Grand Canyon. Like Williams, Tusayan is a prime spot to spend the night, but since it’s only about 15 minutes from the South Rim, hotels book up quick, so book as far in advance as possible. Stop in at the National Geographic Visitor Center and the IMAX theater to learn all about the hidden secrets of the Grand Canyon before you make your way to the South Rim.
Grand Canyon South Rim National Park
Make the most of your Grand Canyon road trip and stay overnight at (or near) the South Rim. Two days gives you the perfect amount of time to snap pics at the most iconic viewpoints, explore the Grand Canyon Village, and even check out some hiking trails.
ROAD TRIP TIP:If you want to stay overnight inside the National Park, book your accommodation as early as possible. Hotels on the Rim can be fully booked up to a year in advance.
If you’re not staying overnight in the National Park or only have one day to explore, park your car in the lots near the main entrances and take advantage of the shuttle bus. It’s the best way to get around and easily access every viewpoint and attraction, including:
- Mojave Point
- Hopi Point
- The Grand Canyon Village
- Mather Point
Discover 11 more South Rim viewpoints to visit, find out what to do in the Grand Canyon Village, and more with our South Rim resources:
Return to Las Vegas or continue east
From the South Rim, you can return to Las Vegas and check out any spots you might have missed on your way to the Grand Canyon, or you can continue east to explore the east rim and beyond on the East Edge segment of the Ultimate Las Vegas-Grand Canyon road trip.
The Ultimate Las Vegas-Grand Canyon Road Trip: East Edge route details
Continuing eastward? Here’s where to stop on your journey.
Grand Canyon East and Page, AZ
Page, AZ is the perfect home base for exploring the Grand Canyon East region, including Glen Canyon Dam, Horseshoe Bend (one of the most photographed natural places in the world), Marble Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Lake Powell.
Spend a day exploring viewpoints like Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, then trade your tent, camper, or hotel room and rent a houseboat on Lake Powell for a relaxing break from the road.
FACT: Lake Powell is the second largest manmade lake in the United States, with nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline, more than 90 major canyons, and numerous sandy beaches.
Learn more about the Grand Canyon East region and find out what else you can do and see in our East Rim Guide (LINK).
From Page, you can head back west to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park (LINK), or detour northeast to Monument Valley before continuing on to Flagstaff, Sedona, and Jerome.
Flagstaff, Sedona, and Jerome, AZ
Flagstaff, Jerome, and Sedona, AZ are all very close to each other—only about 70 miles separate Flagstaff and Jerome, with Sedona sitting right in the middle. You can easily explore all three towns in 2 or 3 days.
If you’re arriving from the east rim of the Grand Canyon or Monument Valley, your first stop will be Flagstaff. If your Las Vegas-Grand Canyon road trip originated in Phoenix, you’ll reach Jerome first.
Flagstaff is home to Mount Humphreys, Arizona’s tallest mountain, as well as the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort. The resort is open year round, with summertime activities like tubing, bungee trampolining, ropes courses, and more. You can also hop on the scenic chairlift for a ride up the western side of the San Francisco Peaks to catch birds-eye views of Northern Arizona, including the red rocks of Sedona and the Grand Canyon. There are also numerous hiking trails leading up to the resort and in the surrounding area.
The Flagstaff Arboretum is also worth a visit—this 200-acre botanical garden is home to 2,500 plant species, and one of the largest collections of mountain plants and wildflowers in the world.
DETOUR: Fans of the Eagles (the band) might recognize another town near Flagstaff. You too can stand on the corner of Winslow, Arizona—it’s only about an hour’s drive from Flagstaff. After a quick stop in Winslow, continue another 60 miles east to Petrified Forest National Park. From here, you can return to Flagstaff or continue on to Phoenix.
Situated in the middle of Arizona’s red mountains and right between Flagstaff and Jerome, Sedona is an ideal spot to set up camp while you explore the area. There are plenty of upscale hotels, spas, and restaurants to enjoy, as well as dozens of hiking and biking trails, and other activities such as:
- Sedona Trolley: Hop on board this historic trolley for a 55 minute narrated tour of Sedona’s landmarks and scenic overlooks.
- Oak Creek Canyon: About 4 miles outside of Sedona, this 12-mile long river gorge is a lovely place to stop for a picnic lunch.
- Meteor Crater: Created more than 50,000 years ago when a meteor crashed into the earth, this giant crater stretches 1 mile across and is more than 550 feet deep. Bonus for Eagles fans: it’s located just outside Winslow, AZ.
Founded in the late 19th century, Jerome was once a booming mining town with a population of more than 10,000 people. Today, it’s home to less than 500 people, but there’s lots to explore, including numerous ghost and vampire tours, as well as historical and heritage sites.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH
Adventurous travelers might enjoy an overnight stay at the Grand Hotel—formerly an insane asylum, the Grand Hotel is now considered one of the most haunted hotels in the country.
If you’re a fan of the band Tool, take a trip to Caduceus Cellars—Maynard James Keenan’s winery—for a tasting.
If you’re heading to Phoenix from Flagstaff, Sedona, or Jerome, stop at Montezuma Castle, just 25 miles outside of Jerome, to see the well-preserved ruins of an early cliff dwelling built around 700 AD by the pre-Columbian Sinagua people.
Whether you start your journey in Phoenix and head westward towards the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas, or end your epic Grand Canyon road trip from Las Vegas in Arizona’s state capital, there’s lots to see and do in Phoenix.
Enjoy the sunshine (Arizona’s capital city sees 310 days of sunshine per year) while you check out these activities and attractions:
- Street art on Roosevelt Row: Get that perfect vacation selfie (besides your #CanyonSelfie, of course).
- Camelback Mountain: Hike to the top of Camelback Mountain for some of the best views of the area. If you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to start early to beat the heat. There are also several less intensive hikes in the area.
- First Friday: On the first Friday of every month, downtown Phoenix turns into a huge street festival, complete with food trucks, live music, street exhibitions, and more.
- Taliesin West: Visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous home on the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation’s Night Lights tour.
- Tubing: Float down the salt river in Tonto National Forest.
- South Mountain Park and Preserve: Explore over 16,000 acres of land, with over 50 miles of biking, hiking, and horseback riding trails.
If you’re planning a road trip to the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas is a great place to kickstart or wrap up your journey. You can reach each of the four rims of the Grand Canyon by car, and there are numerous places to visit on the way. See them all on the Ultimate Las Vegas-Grand Canyon road trip itinerary:
The Ultimate Grand Canyon Road Trip Guide
Get more tips for your Grand Canyon road trip in our comprehensive guide: