Before You Go
It’s important to have a rough idea of what you want to do or see at the Grand Canyon before you depart. There’s lots to do around the Rim and in the Grand Canyon Village, and knowing what spots to hit and what spots to avoid can save you valuable time, allowing you to maximize your Canyon experience.
Most people who visit the Grand Canyon spend the day strolling along the rim. This can be fun and you’ll certainly be impressed by the views, but if you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, there are a few other options to consider.
- Hiking into the rim is a great activity for adventurous visitors. Hiking trails are well-marked, you’ll get a different perspective inside the Canyon than from the rim, and you’re more likely to encounter wildlife. But be warned – many people underestimate the time and effort required to hike out of the Canyon, so make sure you plan accordingly.
- If hiking seems too tough, you can arrange for a mule to carry you in and out of the Canyon. Reserve ahead of time to avoid disappointment – mule rides can book up far in advance.
- Finally, if you find walking too slow but you want to stay on the rim, check out the bike rentals. There’s no other way to cover ground as quickly and with as much freedom than riding a bike!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of things to do and see at the South Rim, forget about planning altogether and consider taking a guided tour. There are plenty of guided tours available from nearby Las Vegas, NV, including South Rim and West Rim tours, helicopter and airplane tours, SUV excursions, and boat rides down the Colorado River.
Lastly, don’t forget your camera. Check out our list of photography tips to make the most of your trip.
The drive from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon is as easy as it gets: drive west on I-40 until you come to US-180, then turn north to the Grand Canyon.
Flagstaff is the last city before the Grand Canyon, but you will pass through the Grand Canyon Village, which acts as the gateway to the park. If you didn’t buy your supplies before leaving or you remembered something during the drive, stop in the Village – it’s your last chance to stock up.
Once You Arrive
In the high season, thousands of visitors choose to drive into the Grand Canyon National Park. The good news is that there’s a lot of parking! The bad news is that you might not get a spot exactly where you want. Don’t waste your day waiting for someone to leave; instead, park wherever you can and go from there. Free shuttle buses run frequently all the day throughout the park. All you have to do is park your car and hop on!
Combine Your Trip with a Las Vegas Vacation
Make the most of your Grand Canyon adventure by combining it with a Las Vegas vacation. There are many guided tours available from Las Vegas, and they offer great flexibility in terms of location, dates, times, and activities. You could experience unparalleled views deep into the Canyon from a helicopter, float serenely down the Colorado River in a pontoon boat, or simply avoid the stress of driving by taking a guided bus tour. A professional tour guide can help you learn more, see more, and relax more, so that you can make the most of your Canyon visit.