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Grand Canyon National Park
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Grand Canyon Transportation

Airport

The Grand Canyon Airport is located in the town of Tusayan about 12 minutes south of the Grand Canyon Village. The airport is very small and offers limited commuter flights from Las Vegas, Nevada and Scottsdale Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. This airport also offers a variety of scenic excursion flights over the canyon via helicopter or turboprop aircraft.

Many visitors choose to fly into the larger airports and rent a car. The closest is Flagstaff, Arizona (1.25 hours) but it is also the most expensive. Phoenix, Arizona (4.5 hours) and Las Vegas, Nevada (5.5 hours) have better airfare but much longer drives.

Airport Transportation

Taxi service is available to the South Rim's Grand Canyon Village through the 24-hour taxi service of Xanterra Transportation Company ($10 for two adults and $5 for each additional passenger (tel. 928-638-2822).

Cassi Tours runs the hourly Airport Tusayan Shuttle that offers transportation from Tusayan and the South Rim with stops in between. It runs May through October and is available for a few dollars (tel. 928-638-0821).

Trains

The vintage Grand Canyon Railway takes passengers from Williams, Arizona to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where visitors have a 3-1/2 hour layover.

The closest interstate passenger rail service is at the Amtrak train station in Flagstaff, Arizona and is serviced by the Southwest Chief route.

Buses

Greyhound buses provide interstate transportation to Flagstaff, Arizona, a little over an hour from the Grand Canyon. Tour operators and private bus companies offer daily and shuttle service from Phoenix to Flagstaff (for $22) and on to the South Rim (for an additional $12.50). There is also service from Williams, about 40 minutes from the Grand Canyon.

Numerous private tour companies offer daily and multi-day bus trips, jeep tours and rafting trips from Las Vegas.

Driving

The Grand Canyon has three main visitor locations: The South Rim is the most popular and has the best views and the most tourist amenities. The North Rim is more isolated and wild, but is popular for wilderness campers and backpackers. The Grand Canyon West (West Rim) is slightly less spectacular but is nearest to Las Vegas.

Driving to the South Rim

The South Rim Visitor Center is easily reached from interstate route 40, the major east-west highway across northern Arizona. Simply take route 64 north from the little cattle town of Williams located 28 miles west of Flagstaff.

Traffic at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is very heavy most of the year. The best time to arrive is in the morning. To avoid sitting in the long entrance line, pay at one of two National Park Service “Pay Stations” that are located just before the park’s South entrance. The passes allow drivers to use the express lane. Parking can be very challenging. Unless you arrive early in the morning, expect to wait for a parking place.

Driving to the North Rim

The North Rim is more isolated and can be approached via route 89 and 67 near the Utah border. It is officially open from mid-May through mid-October, but as soon as the first heavy snow falls the road that leads to the North Rim (Highway 67) closes for the winter.

Driving from South Rim to North Rim

The West Rim is located about three hours from Las Vegas, Nevada and three and a half hours from Phoenix, Arizona. The highlight of the Grand Canyon West is the new Glass Walkway owned and operated by the Hualapai Indian Tribe. 14 miles of the road are still unpaved, but a park and ride option is now available for a few dollars at the Grand Canyon West Welcome center. Reservations are required (tel. 702-260-6506).

Shuttle Bus Fleet © National Park Service
Shuttle buses offer complimentary service to scenic vistas along the rim.

Driving to the Grand Canyon West

The West Rim is located about three hours from Las Vegas, Nevada and three and a half hours from Phoenix, Arizona. The highlight of the Grand Canyon West is the new Glass Walkway owned and operated by the Hualapai Indian Tribe. 14 miles of the road are still unpaved, but a park and ride option is now available for a few dollars at the Grand Canyon West Welcome center. Reservations are required (tel. 702-260-6506).

Shuttle Buses

At the South Rim Visitor’s Center in Grand in Canyon National Park, shuttle buses offer complimentary service to scenic vistas along the rim. They offer three routes: Hermits Rest Route, Village Route, and Kaibab Trail Route.

Trans-Canyon Shuttle carries passengers between the North and South Rims once a day going both directions. The drive is about 4 ½ hours each way. (The fare is $65 one-way and $110 round-trip)

Bike Rentals

Bike rentals are available in Flagstaff (closest to South Rim).and Kanab, Utah (closest to North Rim).

Warning: Bicycles are not allowed on any park trails but they are allowed if carried. A fine will be issued to visitors who ride on the trails.

Hiking the canyon

The South Rim has two Corridor Trails: Bright Angel and South Kaibab. Bright Angel is the primary route into the Grand Canyon with more shade then South Kaibab. The South Kaibab trailhead is not accessible by private automobile, but can be reached via the free shuttle bus.

The North Rim has one Corridor Trail: North Kaibab. The Hiker Shuttle offers transportation to the North Kaibab trailhead from the Bright Angel Lodge and Backcountry Information Center.

There are many other trails throughout the canyon. Permits are required for visitors planning on overnight hiking and camping below the rim in Grand Canyon.

Tip: Carry at least 2-3 quarts of water per person and more if hiking in the summer heat.

Grand Canyon Mules © National Park Service
Mule rides are provided on both the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon.

Mules

Mule rides are provided on both the North and South Rims. Visitors can take day or overnight trips into the canyon. Each rider must qualify by meeting minimum height and maximum weight and other requirements.

Air Tours

Airplane and helicopter tours are a very popular way to view the Grand Canyon. Flights originate from all over the region (Las Vegas, Scottsdale, Phoenix, and Flagstaff). Some of the tours even land at the Grand Canyon Airport to allow passengers to see the Grand Canyon from the ground. Helicopter and airplane excursions are also available from the Tusayan Airport.

Handicap Access

The Canyon View Information Plaza offers free wheelchairs for the disabled, temporary parking permits for designated wheelchair-accessible parking, and permits for access to the restricted Hermit Road. Nearly all of the Rim Trail is wheelchair-accessible. Most of the shuttle buses are not wheel-chair accessible; however, visitors may request a wheelchair accessible shuttle by calling the following number the day before if one is needed. (tel. 928 638-0591).

Written by: Mike Leco
Top Photo Credit: © Mike Leco / USATourist.com
Photo Description: Tour Plane at the Grand Canyon Airport