Grand Canyon FAQs

How big is the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon National Park is 1,218,375.54 acres or 1,904 square miles in size. This is bigger than the state of Rhode Island, which is 1,212 square miles. The massive ditch is 277 miles long and 18 miles wide. The Grand Canyon’s depth is about one mile, averaging 4,000 feet deep and 6,000 feet deep at its deepest point. The South Rim reaches an elevation of 7,000 feet, while the North Rim reaches a towering 8,000 feet. Keep in mind that the park doesn’t include the entire canyon.

How was the Grand Canyon formed?

The Grand Canyon’s formation did not occur by a single event in history. Instead, it is the result of a combination of geological events. It began about two billion years go with the formation of the inner gorge. Then, about 30 to 70 million years ago, the entire region was uplifted through the process of plate tectonics. This created the Colorado Plateau which was later carved out by the Colorado River, deepening and widening into the Grand Canyon.

How many people visit the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon National Park sees approximately five to six million visitors each year, with the majority visiting the South Rim. In fact, only 10 percent of visitor’s travel to the Canyon’s remote North Rim.

Where is the Grand Canyon?

Because the natural wonder is so vast, there is not one specific Grand Canyon location. Although, you can find a majority of the landscape in Grand Canyon National Park located in Northern Arizona, near the borders of Nevada and Utah. Knowing which rim you will visit will help you determine where you need to go when visiting the Grand Canyon.

How do I get to the Grand Canyon?

There are a variety of different routes that take you to Grand Canyon National Park, depending on where you are coming from. Fortunately, the South Rim has a nearby rail service and airport making it much more accessible to reach than the North Rim.

The best way to get to the canyon’s South Rim by car is from Flagstaff or Williams. You can also get to the South Rim by bus or train through Greyhound, Arizona Shuttle or Amtrak. Due to the North Rim’s remote location, there are less traveling options available. For more information on getting to the Grand Canyon, including detailed directions to the North and South Rim, click here.

Are reservations required for lodging at the Grand Canyon?

Yes, reservations for Grand Canyon National Park lodges are required and must be made far in advance. Some lodges even take reservations a year in advance.

Is the Grand Canyon hard to hike?

Grand Canyon hikes are much different than other hiking experiences. Rather than hiking uphill to reach the top of the mountain, the Grand Canyon consists of trails that descend to the bottom of the canyon floor. Therefore, you can expect a lot of downhill walking followed by uphill climbing.

While Grand Canyon trails aren’t easy, many small children, senior citizens and people with physical disabilities have successfully hiked the natural wonder. The level of difficulty usually depends on how prepared you are. This means packing enough water and food, as well as having a positive mental attitude. Learn more about the various hiking trails here.

Is a permit required to hike the Grand Canyon?

A Grand Canyon backcountry permit is only required for overnight camping. You do not need a permit to hike the canyon during the day.

What is the weather like at the Grand Canyon?

You can expect the Grand Canyon weather to range from 50 to 80 degrees during the summertime. However, the inner part of the canyon can reach scorching temperatures. During the day, temperatures can exceed 100 degrees below the rim. Temperatures are much more moderate during the spring and fall. Due to the North Rim’s higher elevation, you can expect temperatures to be cooler here. In the winter, the North Rim is completely closed. The South Rim may experience road closing if there is snow fall or icy roads.

Are there any fees to enter the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon entrance fee is $20 for any individual entering the park by foot, shuttle bus or bicycle. A single vehicle permit for all of its passengers is $35 and a motorcycle permit for all of its passengers is $30. For more information regarding operating hours and fees, click here.

Are dogs allowed to hike with me in the Canyon?

The Grand Canyon is pet friendly, as long as pets are on leashes in the park’s developed areas. Only certified service dogs are allowed on trails below the North or South Rim. However, these dogs must be registered with the Backcountry Information Center. You also have the option of boarding your pet at the South Rim Kennel.

How far is the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas?

Driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon takes about a 4 ½ hours. The part of the canyon that is closest to Las Vegas is the Grand Canyon West Rim, which is not a part of Grand Canyon National Park. Those staying in Las Vegas can take a day trip to the natural wonder by bus tour or helicopter tour.

Is there an airport near Grand Canyon?

The closest airport to the steep-sided canyon is the Grand Canyon Airport located in Tusayan, AZ. Most tour companies from Las Vegas and other surrounding cities charter their aircraft into this airport. Many helicopter and airplane tours depart from here, as well.

When is the best time to visit the Grand Canyon?

The best time to visit the Grand Canyon is in the spring and fall. You can expect cooler daytime temperatures and less crowds from March through May and September through November. The summer is the busiest time for the National Park, making it more difficult to find lodging. While the winter has the best hotel deals, there is the risk of road closings from snowfall.