Before You Go
Doing a little research before you arrive at the Grand Canyon can help you avoid wasting time trying to figure out what to do. There are lots of ways to explore the Canyon, such as hiking, biking, or riding a mule. If you’re visiting with your family, make sure everyone is on board with the plan or everyone could end up having a miserable time (we all know what that’s like). If you’re having trouble agreeing on an activity, consider splitting up – just make sure you agree on meeting times points throughout the day.
You can avoid planning and coordinating your Grand Canyon adventure altogether by opting to take a guided tour. The drive to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas is roughly the same as the drive from Scottsdale, but Las Vegas is much easier to access from across the United States than Scottsdale. If you’re interested in horseback riding through the Canyon, floating down the Colorado River on a pontoon boat, or soaring above the Canyon in a helicopter, a guided day trip from Las Vegas is your best option.
And don’t forget to pack your camera. For some helpful advice read our mini photography guide.
The drive from Scottsdale to the Grand Canyon is straightforward: get onto I-17 north and make your way to I-40, travel west on I-40 up to the US-180 exit, then proceed north to the Grand Canyon. As you get closer to the Canyon, signs will guide you where you need to go. With nothing but small towns along the way, you’re not likely to encounter much traffic. You’ll also pass through the Kaibab National Forest, so make sure you take a moment to enjoy the scenery, especially if you’re traveling in the fall!
The Grand Canyon Village is the gateway to the park, and you can’t miss it. This is your last chance to grab food and drinks for the day, so make sure you stock up! Staying hydrated is critical, especially if you plan on hiking or biking. And with the dry heat of the Canyon, you may be surprised how much you need to drink, so plan on carrying more water than you think you might need. Supplies in the Village cost a little more than in the surrounding towns, but if you plan ahead you can easily save a few bucks.
Once You Arrive
The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular national parks in the United States. The high season brings with it a lot of visitors, many of whom choose to drive into the park. Parking can be tough to find, but d on’t spend too much time looking for the perfect spot and instead take the first opening you see. A quick look at a map will help you determine how far away your parking spot is from the main entrance. If you’re not feeling up for a walk, the park has a free shuttle that makes it easy to cover a lot of ground without much effort. Plus it’s free, so simply hop on and hop off!
Combine Your Trip
Combining your Grand Canyon adventure with a trip to Las Vegas is the best way to make the most of your vacation. Guided tours offer great flexibility in terms of dates and times, as well as highly experienced tour guides and a variety of tour options, such as rafting down the Colorado River, flying over the Hoover Dam, or descending 4,000 feet into the Canyon in a helicopter. You’ll most certainly learn more, see more, and relax more with a professional tour guide!