The Grand Canyon South Rim is the most popular part of the National Park, bringing in approximately 5 million visitors per year. In fact, 90 percent of the park’s tourists visit the South Rim each year, while 10 percent prefer the remote North Rim. This is primarily due to the South Rim’s accessibility and wide range of lodging options. Not to mention, all of the restaurants and attractions that create the perfect setting for a family vacation.
If you are visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time, the South Rim is the best place to start. The wondrous landscape is an adventure playground offering endless opportunities to hike, bike and even take a helicopter flight. From dawn to dusk, you will never run out of things to do. Learn more about the most visited rim, including accommodation, tours and the best time to visit.
Visiting the Grand Canyon South Rim
The Grand Canyon South Rim is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This includes all visitor services like food, lodging and camping. Although, accommodations should be made well in advance. The park entrance fee is $35 per vehicle and $30 per motorcycle, permitting access into the park for seven days.
While there is no Grand Canyon South Rim address, there are various location points located in Tusayan, AZ that are located near the entrance. You can put these into your GPS when traveling to the South Rim. The South Rim is easily accessible by car, bus, train or tour. If you are traveling from Las Vegas, Nevada, a day trip by helicopter is highly recommended.
Click here for more information on getting to the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon South Rim Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during high season. Here you will find information about park activities, attractions, hiking trails and the free shuttle bus system. You can escape the heat while enjoying cultural exhibits and an introductory IMAX film that provides captivating visuals into the depths of the natural wonder.
The Best Time to Visit the South Rim
The Grand Canyon South Rim is open year-round, but the best time to visit depends on what you are looking for. While summer nights are ideal for camping, the summer time also brings in big crowds. If you are an avid hiker looking to hike the Inner Canyon trails, you will need to keep in mind how scorching temperatures can be.
The Grand Canyon South Rim weather during the spring and fall offers mild temperatures perfect for hiking. There are also less crowds making it easier to find lodging. Surprisingly, temperatures deep in the canyon are pretty temperate during winter. While daytime temperatures up on the South Rim typically lie in the 30s and 40s, daytime temperatures at Phantom Ranch can reach up to 60 degrees.
Grand Canyon South Rim Hotels
Whether you plan to stay right on the rim or just outside of the park, there are plenty of Grand Canyon South Rim hotels available. You can stay at Bright Angel Lodge, El Tovar, Thunderbird Lodge or Maswik Lodge. Yavapai Lodge is the largest lodge, containing a wide range of services, including a general store, deli and bank.
There is also the famous Phantom Ranch located at the bottom of the South Rim canyon. It can only be reached by mule ride, hiking or river raft. Reservations must be made as far in advance as possible and are managed by Delaware North and Xanterra Parks & Resorts.
For an adventurous outdoor experience emerged in nature, many opt for Grand Canyon South Rim camping. Desert View Campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis, while Mather Campground only takes reservations. There are also accommodations available in the nearby town of Tusayan.
Click here for more information on places to stay in and around the Grand Canyon.
Town of Tusayan
Just outside of the Grand Canyon South Rim, lies the vibrant town of Tusayan. This small town is filled with restaurants and lodging options for travelers who wish to explore the south side of the magnificent marvel. In fact, the National Park Service operates shuttle services that takes visitors from Tusayan directly to the Grand Canyon South Rim Visitor Center. Tusayan is also home to the Grand Canyon National Airport, servicing numerous helicopter and airplane companies that offer exhilarating tours of the natural beauty.
What to See and Do at the Grand Canyon South Rim
Whether venturing through the park solo or alongside a tour guide, there is plenty to see and do at the Grand Canyon South Rim. Many visit the South Rim viewpoints for spectacular views and photos ops of the natural wonder. Some of the most incredible viewpoints include Mather Point, Yavapai Point and Desert View. These picturesque spots are best seen during sunrise and sunset.
Other fun activities include biking along hermit road or walking the South Rim trail. If you are feeling a bit more adventurous, you can hike below the rim and explore the depths of the canyon. Popular hiking trails include Bright Angel trail and South Kaibab trail.
Hiking trails available for hikers of all levels can be found here.
From mule rides to whitewater rafting along the Colorado River, there are a galore of tours at the Grand Canyon South Rim. You can revel in the panoramic views of the bright vermillion rock formations while peering out the window of a chopper or relax as you enjoy a relaxing cruise on a pontoon boat. During these tours, you will receive expert knowledge about the canyon’s early settlers, fascinating geology and wildlife.
Other Grand Canyon South Rim attractions include the Yavapai Geology Museum, Verkamp’s Visitor Center and Kolb Studio. In Desert View, you can visit the Tusayan Ruin and Museum which holds the remains of a small Ancestral Puebloan village. Here you will also find the 70-foot-high circular stone structure known as the Desert View Watchtower.