If traveling from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, then your destination will likely be the West Rim or the South Rim of the canyon. However, your best route to the Grand Canyon will largely depend on where you are traveling from and what part of the Grand Canyon you wish to visit. For example, how you arrive will depend on whether or not you wish to purchase a tour or vacation package.
The Grand Canyon has three main entry points. These entry points are the West Rim, South Rim and North Rim. However, not all the rims are open all year long. By learning more about the various routes that will lead you to the Grand Canyon, you will have the opportunity to better plan your trip as well as decide whether or not to fly to a nearby airport, drive, bus or use another form of transportation.
Where is the Grand Canyon?
In order to find the best route to the Grand Canyon, it is first important to understand where the Grand Canyon is located. The Grand Canyon National Park is 1,904 square miles. However, the park does not encompass the entire canyon.
The landscape of the Grand Canyon stretches further than some states within the United States. While primarily located within Arizona, the Canyon stretches into neighboring states, including Nevada and Utah.
Grand Canyon Hours of Operation
If you are interested in traveling from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon or from another location, it is worth knowing that the South and West Rim entrances of the canyons remain open 24/7 year-round while the North Rim entrance is only available between mid-May and mid-October each year. Additionally, the hours of operation are shorted during October and November.
Likewise, you should be aware that the West Rim’s entrance is not within the Grand Canyon National Park. The South Rim is the most popular entry point into the Grand Canyon National Park.
Traveling From Arizona or Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon (West and South Rim)
If traveling from Arizona or Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, then the West and South Rims will be your closest options. While most choose to drive to the entrance of the canyons, it is also worth knowing that there are several tours that provide alternative methods of transportation.
For example, Las Vegas Grand Canyon helicopter tours provide a unique aerial view of the canyons. Alternative Las Vegas to Grand Canyon tours may also include tour buses or other methods of transportation. While it often costs more to book a tour rather than drive to the canyons, these tours often offer a unique experience and some may also include the cost of lodging or activities within the canyon itself for one convenient price.
Traveling From Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon (South Rim)
If you are traveling from Arizona or Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, then the South Rim entrance of the canyon is considered to be the most convenient and more popular option. Similar to travel from Las Vegas, large Arizona cities, such as Phoenix, often advertise Grand Canyon tours. These tours may also offer package deals for activities and locations within the Grand Canyons.
The South Rim entrance of the Grand Canyon National Park is the most common travel route and offers additional means of travel, including travel by buses, trains and the infamous Grand Canyon railroad. The South Rim entrance is open 24/7 all year round. However, during the winter season, roads throughout the canyon may still close due to poor weather.
Traveling From Utah to the Grand Canyon (North Rim)
If you are interested in seeing the Grand Canyon National Park from the North Rim entrance, you will need to travel through Utah to get there. This entrance is far more remote, attracting less tourism in comparison to the southern entrance of the national park.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon offers unique sightseeing, hiking and camping experiences. However, it is important to dress more warmly when visiting the North Rim as, due to higher elevations, temperatures can be far cooler. For this reason, the North Rim entrance of the Grand Canyon National park features limited hours of operation during October and November.
The North Rim entrance closes each year from December until mid-May. If you intend to visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, it is worth knowing that you will more than likely need to spend at least a day in the area, due to its remote location.
Where is the closest airport to the Grand Canyon?
The closest airport to the Grand Canyon is in Flagstaff, Arizona. However, it can be difficult to obtain a direct flight to Flagstaff and these flights are often more expensive. In most cases, it is easier and cheaper to choose an airport in a nearby city, such as Las Vegas, Nevada or Phoenix, Arizona.
Should you choose to fly to Las Vegas and utilize a rental car, bus or shuttle, it is about 280 miles to the South Rim. Alternatively, the Phoenix, Arizona airport is 220 miles from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Forest. Having a car may be one of the best ways to see the Grand Canyon for an affordable price.
Alternative Methods of Transport to the Grand Canyon
If you would like to visit the Grand Canyon but you do not want to fly or drive, there are several other alternative transportation methods that may be available to you depending on your budget. One popular option is by train. Trains such as Amtrak regularly make stops in downtown Flagstone and Williams, which are both relatively close to the South Rim of the national park. From here, you could either rent a car or take advantage of the connecting rail service from Williams to the Grand Canyon.
Alternatively, several shuttles are available within Arizona. These shuttles provide shuttle services between Williams, Flagstone and the Grand Canyon National Park. While less expensive than train or railway travel options, shuttle services do not routinely offer the accommodations that a train or railway would offer.