Grand Canyon National Park
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How to get to the Grand Canyon:
Las Vegas is the most popular starting place for people visiting the Grand Canyon. Many national and international airlines land at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas so you can usually find reasonably priced tickets from any place of departure. The drive to the South Rim Visitor's Center at the Grand Canyon is about 250 miles, but the roads are excellent. You can drive the distance in less than 5 hours. Follow route 93 through Boulder City and across the Boulder Dam (Hoover Dam) to Kingman Arizona. Take Interstate route 40 east to Williams, Arizona, then route 64 and 180 north to Tusayan and the Grand Canyon.
Air and Bus Tours depart from Las Vegas to the South Rim and West Rim of the Canyon. Tour companies offer many tours including half-day or full day excursions via helicopter, airplane or bus. They will pick you up at your hotel, take you to the Grand Canyon, show you the spectacular scenery and return you to your hotel. This is a great way to visit the Canyon if you are in Las Vegas and have little time to spare.
© Mike Leco / USATourist.com
The West Rim of the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai Indian reservation is approachable from route 93 via a secondary road through Dolan Springs.
Phoenix is 200 miles south of the Grand Canyon South Rim Visitor's Center. Sky Harbor International Airport has a wide selection of flights from all major cities in the USA. You can drive Interstate route 17 north to Flagstaff, then take route 180 to the Canyon in four hours.
Flagstaff is a small city with a small airport and fewer flights. It is a one-hour drive to the Grand Canyon.
Other attractions in the area:
Tusayan is just seven miles south of Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. It is a small town with several restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores and motels. This is a great place to stay when you visit the Canyon. It is just ten minutes from the Rim and it offers more facilities than the village run by the National Park Service. Tusayan airport hosts several companies offering helicopter and airplane tours over the Canyon.
Sedona is 30 minutes south of Flagstaff. It has scenery similar to the Grand Canyon on a smaller scale and is much more approachable. The town is located in a lush canyon surrounded by red-rock cliffs and towering mesas. You can stay at one of the local hotels or play golf amidst spectacular geological surroundings.
© Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Monument Vally, a spectacular collection of rock buttes and mesas, is located in the Navajo Nation along the Arizona - Utah border.
Williams, Arizona is an old-west town located on the original route 66. It manages to retain a lot of its cowboy ambiance. This is a good place to stop for lunch or to spend the night. Grand Canyon Railway departs from Williams and travels north to the rim of the Grand Canyon. It is a great way to relax and enjoy the scenery while avoiding the 65-miles drive to the Canyon.
Seligman is located along interstate route 40 about 35 miles west of Williams where a 100-mile segment of route 66 veers to the north. It contains many restaurants, shops and businesses that have been preserved or restored to the splendor of the route 66 "mother road" days.
Kingman is 200 miles west of Flagstaff on interstate route 40. This large desert town was one of the main junctures on the original route 66. It still has many businesses and attractions preserved just as they were in the days when route 66 was the "mother road".
Peach Springs is one of the small towns located along a well-preserved section of route 66 between Kingman and Seligman. Located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, Peach Springs offers one gas station, a tiny post office, a small grocery store and the modern Hualapai River Lodge with its nice restaurant. This is a good place to stay if you really want to get away from the common tourist attractions.
Supai with its exquisite waterfalls is one of the most inaccessible places in this area. You must drive 75 miles northwest from Peach Springs on a desolate Indian road to an isolated ledge of rock hanging two thousand feet above the canyon. Then you must hike, or ride a horse eight miles down into the canyon to the village of Supai. This is a great destination for really adventuresome travelers.
© Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Supai with its exquisite waterfalls is one of the most inaccessible places in this area.
The West Rim of the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai Indian reservation is approachable from route 93 via a secondary road through Dolan Springs. The road passes through a great Joshua forest and a beautiful white marble canyon, but the final 30 miles are unpaved and rough. There are no facilities other than a snack bar, souvenir shop and airfield. The scenery is beautiful and few tourists venture here. The Hualapai charge a $15 per person entry fee.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is just 25 miles due north of the South Rim Visitor Center as the crow flies, but it requires about 30 miles of hiking through the canyon or 200 miles of driving around the park to get from one to the other. It is favored by backpackers and wilderness hikers, but few tourists venture to the North Rim. There are far fewer facilities and less access to spectacular views. The roads to the North Rim close during the winter months due to deep snow accumulation.
Zion National Park is a three-hours drive northeast of Las Vegas. This great mountain canyon has 2,000 high walls of red and pink sandstone capped by white and yellow limestone. The various rock layers blend and intermingle their colors to create one of the most spectacular and colorful canyons in the southwest.
The Valley of Fire is just an hour drive north of Las Vegas. This Nevada State Park features several square miles of strange volcanic landscape with multihued rocks ranging from reds, pinks and browns to whites, yellows and blacks.
Page, Arizona is less than two hours drive from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and about equal distant from the North Rim. It is the location of the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. Antelope Canyon with its exotically beautiful rock formations is just a few miles south of Page.
Monument Valley (not shown on map) is a three-hours drive northeast of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and about two hours east of Page. This spectacular collection of rock buttes and mesas is located in the Navajo Nation along the Arizona - Utah border.
Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © National Park Service
Photo Description: Panoramic view of the Grand Canyon from Pima Point on the West Rim Drive