Last updated on October 2nd, 2023
Planning on things to do for the Grand Canyon itinerary? We’ll share the Grand Canyon travel blog with information on how to visit Grand Canyon South Rim in this detailed travel guide to help you with the planning.
A trip to Grand Canyon South Rim has great views of the canyon. Words cannot describe the absolute immense beauty of this place. You can walk along the rim, take a short hike, or go to the various viewpoints to immerse in the beauty of the canyon. We enjoyed our Grand Canyon experience! There are so many awesome spots to see and explore in the park. Trust us, Grand Canyon is one place you don’t want to sleep on.
For those of you planning your trip to the Grand Canyon, it’s important to plan your itinerary before your trip. That way, you can prepare in advance and make the most of your Grand Canyon trip.
Here, we wanted to share our Grand Canyon South Rim itinerary and detailed travel guide. In this Grand Canyon travel blog, we’ll include all the useful information and tips, including the best things to do and what to see in Canyon. Take a look!
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Located in Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park is a truly magnificent place to visit. This awe-inspiring landscape is carved by the Colorado River and layered bands of colorful rock formation millions of years. It is one of the Seven Natural Wonder in the World and UNESCO Heritage Site. Besides, Grand Canyon is one of the most popular destinations in the world, which makes it also one of the busiest National Park in the USA.
We recommended Grand Canyon South Rim as it has a more scenic side and perfect place to begin your explanation of the Grand Canyon. It is dubbed the “true Grand Canyon” and is open 24 hours with a number of lodging choices, restaurants, shops, and facilities. While the North Rim is closed during the winter due to snow.
Grand Canyon National Park
Address: S Entrance Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023
Area: 1,218,375 acres
Telephone: (928) 638-7888
Official Website: https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
Entrance Fee To Grand Canyon NP
The entrance fee to Grand Canyon National Park is $35 USD per car and it covers up to 4 people in 1 vehicle for 7 days entrance in and out of the park. But if you plan to visit more than 3 USA National Parks within the year, we highly recommend you purchase an America The Beautiful pass. This pass grants you free admission to the National Parks and it definitely will save you a lot of money.
Here is some of the quick information for your Grand Canyon South Rim itinerary:
It depends on what you want to see and do in Grand Canyon. One to two days is a perfect amount of time for a glimpse and introduction to this magnificent site. We recommend at least one full day at the Grand Canyon South Rim but this natural beauty can be visited for days and even weeks.
It is doable for a visit even you only have a few hours to spend in Grand Canyon. We recommended stopping by a few viewpoints to immerse the view of the Grand Canyon.
With one day at the Grand Canyon South Rim, you can visit a few viewpoints, take a short hike into the canyon, or watch the sunrise or sunset for the Canyon.
Definitely Yes! It is one of the most beautiful parks in the world and it worth spending time for a visit even if you just have limited time.
Best Time To Visit Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon South Rim is open all year round while the North Rim is closed during winter. The best time to visit Grand Canyon is during spring and fall when the weather is pleasant and less crowded.
While the Summer months will be the peak season for Grand Canyon, so please expect more crowds. The weather is hot and hiking can be challenging in the middle of the day. Please take more caution on the hot weather if you are planning to visit Grand Canyon in Summer.
Winter will be less crowded compared with spring and fall. Snow is possible and the weather is extremely low. But this also means quieter viewpoints and less expensive accommodation.
Where To Stay
There are two options if you are looking for accommodation when visiting Grand Canyon, which is within the park and outside the park. If you plan for the sunrise, the best way probably is to stay close by so you can catch the sunrise in the early morning.
Best Place to Stay within Grand Canyon
Staying within the Grand Canyon National Park will save you a lot of traveling time by driving in and out. You can also be camping and Grand Canyon with 3 campgrounds (Desert View, Trailer Village, and Mather) in the park. There are several accommodation options for in-park accommodation:
- The historic El Tovar Hotel – The most premium accommodation option in Grand Canyon South Rim. It is a National Historic Landmark with 78 unique rooms and a fine dining restaurant.
- Yavapai Lodge – There are 378 rooms for a regular basic stay in Grand Canyon. A great option for family travelers and is located slightly further far compared with other in-park lodges. Check prices now!
- Bright Angel Lodge is often one of the cheapest options within the park. The lodge offers rooms and cabins and is located on the rim at the top of the Bright Angel trailhead. Check prices now!
- Maswik Lodge has 280 contemporary-style rooms across 12 buildings.
- Thunderbird Lodge featured with many of the rooms offers partial views of the canyon.
- Kachina Lodge offers regular-style hotel rooms and it is clean and comfortable.
Best Place to Stay Outside of Grand Canyon
Another great option for where to stay when visiting Grand Canyon is outside the park. You can plan to stay in a nearby town such as Tusayan. Here is our recommendation:
- Best Western Squire Inn is featured a lot of amenities and complimentary coffee in the morning. It took about an hour of drive to the entrance of the Grand Canyon. It is a very popular option accommodation option for those who plan to stay closer to the Grand Canyon entrance. Check for room availability here!
- The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon is another popular pick. The hotel is located at Tusayan and about 1 mile from the South Entrance. The rooms are clean and quiet. An ideal for those who need a good rest after a tiring trip to Grand Canyon. Check prices now!
Grand Canyon Travel Tips: Accommodation is limited and the In-park hotels in Grand Canyon Village are extremely popular, especially during summer. So, book ahead of time to secure your stay. You can click on either of the hotels above to check on the prices and room availability.
Getting Around in Grand Canyon South Rim
Driving in the Canyon: Self-driving definitely gives you the most flexibility. Viewpoints of Grand Canyon like Lipan and Moran are accessible by car all year-round.
Free Shuttle Bus Service: Grand Canyon National Park provides a free shuttle bus service at the Southern Rim. There are 5 shuttle bus routes (only 3 routes during winter) are in operation. The bus makes multiple stops where you are able to get off and on. It is advisable that you get a map and carefully plan out which viewpoints are you gonna stop at. The wait between buses is about 15-20 minutes, giving visitors the perfect amount of time to admire the view, take pictures, and then take the next bus.
Helicopter Tour: If you’re the adventurous type, you can also take a helicopter ride over the canyon. It certainly is a cool once-in-a-lifetime moment flying above the canyon, but most likely also the most expensive activity around. You can check around the price here: Grand Canyon Tour with Helicopter
Grand Canyon Itinerary
The Southern Rim is easily accessible from Las Vegas, or from nearby cities like Flagstaff and Page. All are the perfect places to begin your adventure in the Grand Canyon. Very easy to do.
The day before, we drove from Las Angelos to Las Vegas with a rental car and spent the night there. The next morning, we continue our journey and headed to Grand Canyon. A 5-hour drive from Las Vegas put us in the South Rim entrance of the Grand Canyon.
At the Grand Canyon National Park, we took the shuttle option and hopped around to different viewpoints to have a different view of this natural wonder. The view was just amazing and immense! One of the must-visit National Park in the USA for sure!
There are dozen of viewpoints in the Grand Canyon and offer spectacular views of the canyon. Below are our picks and how we spend our time in the 1-Day Grand Canyon South Rim itinerary:
- Arrived at Grand Canyon South Rim Entrance Point from Las Vegas.
- Grand Canyon Visitor Center.
- Mather Point.
- Yavapai Point.
- Hermit’s Rest Viewpoints (Trailview Overlook, Maricopa Point, Powell Point, Hopi Point, Mohave Point, The Abyss, Monument Creek Vista, Pima Point, and Hermits Rest).
- Kaibab Rim Route: Yaki Point, Pipe Creek Vista.
Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Our first stop in the Grand Canyon itinerary was the Visitor Center, the busiest area in the Grand Canyon National Park.
At the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, you can get the ranger suggestions and the orientation maps to the Grand Canyon. Besides, the visitor center is the main shuttle bus interchange station if you plan to take up the shuttle service. It also has restrooms, the largest book and gift store in the park.
We are lucky as we parked right outside the visitor center. It can be hard to find the car park if you arrive late. While waiting, you can also enjoy the Granton Canyon View from the viewing point right in front of the visitor center.
Next, we walked from the viewing point by the visitor center to Mather Point, the closest view of the rim from the visitor’s center. It took us about 5 minutes as it is adjacent to the Grand Canyon Vistors Center.
If you only can visit one viewpoint in Grand Canyon, I would probably suggest Mather Point. The views are spectacular and amazing. It is probably the most crowded lookout point and it gives you a great view looking to the East side of the Grand Canyon.
To get there: Walk the Rim trail or take the Kaibab Rim Route, the orange line.
The Yavapai point is another place you have to go to see on the Grand Canyon itinerary.
We walked alongside the rim towards Yavapai Point. Alternatively, you can also take the shuttle over Yavapai Point. The trail is only 0.7km for one way and easy to walk through. Moreover, you’ll be rewarded with great views along the way.
The view from Yavapai Point is spectacular. The full grandeur of the Grand Canyon is on display and there are multiple spots to take. If you have time, it is also worth it to venture into the Geological Museum. The museum has a full model of the Grand Canyon and lots of interesting and informative about the geological history of the area.
To get there: Walk the Rim trail or take the Kaibab Rim Route, the orange line.
Hermit’s Rest Viewpoints
Next, we back to the Visitor Center and hop on the Hermit Road Shuttle to Hermit’s Point Viewpoints. This scenic route with a series of 9 stops with viewpoints that offer incredible views of the Canyon.
Hermit’s Rest Viewpoints (and shuttle stops): Trailview Overlook – Maricopa Point – Powell Point – Hopi Point – Mohave Point – The Abyss – Monument Creek Vista – Pima Point – Hermits Rest.
The en route is about 7 miles and the shuttle will stop at designated points for about 15 to 30 minutes. You can hop on and off along the stops to explore each viewpoint as much as you can, or even plan for a hike.
At Powell Point with Stunning Vista. We highly recommended spending some time enjoying the magnificent view at this stop.
There is Powell Memorial at the Powell Point viewpoint commemorates the 1869 and 1871-72 exploratory trips down the Colorado River by Major John Wesley Powell and expedition crews.
A short distance to Powel Point is the Hopi Viewpoint. The view is magnificent although it is quite similar to Powell Point. Hopi Point is also one of the popular viewpoints with its wide unobstructed views in the Grand Canyon.
Another must-visit in the Grand Canyon itinerary. The Mohave Point offers views of the Colorado River deep in the canyon below.
One of the stops for Hermit’s Point Viewpoints is Monument Creek Vista. The view is stunning and worth spending time on the Grand Canyon travel blog.
Hermits Rest is the last stop on the Hermits Rest Road Shuttle bus service
At the last stop at Hermit’s Rest, there is a stone building with a fireplace selling gifts and serving hot drinks. You can take some rest and spend some time exploring around.
We started the Hermit Drive adventure after our lunch and hopped on and off along the stops. We stopped by Trailview Overlook, Maricopa Point, Powell Point, Hopi Point, Monument Creek Vista until we reached the Hermits Rest.
You can plan and spend at all the viewpoints depending on how much time is allocated for your Grand Canyon itinerary. In my opinion, Powell Point and Hopi Point have the best view along the Hermits Rest Route.
To get there: Take the Hermit’s Rest Route, the red line.
Sunset at Yaki Point and Pipe Creek Vista
In the late afternoon, we took the shuttle back to the Kaibab Rim Route. On this route, we stopped off the Yaki Point and Pipe Creek Vista.
During the evening, the Yaki Point and Pipe Creek Vistas are extremely stunning as fading light of sunset brings out rich colors in Grand Canyon’s rock layers. We spend a lot of taking nice photography at these two viewpoints while waiting for the sunset at Grand Canyon.
Lastly, we took our car and continue our journey to Page. We stayed one night in Page and prepared for our next adventure to Antelope Canyon.
To get there: Take the Kaibab Rim Route, the Orange line.
What and Where to eat in Grand Canyon
Food is very expensive and only have limited options are available inside the Grand Canyon National Park. You can go to the Grand Canyon Village or Market Plaza to look for food. But it is usually very crowded and lines get very long, especially during lunch hours.
Additionally, if you want to eat somewhere special then the historic El Tovar is a great option. It served with fine dining with stunning canyon views. Reservation is recommended.
During our visit to Grand Canyon, many restaurants are closed or carried out only. We bought the sandwiches for lunch and continue our venturing journey. So it is advised to plan your meals or have plenty of snacks before you go.
Hiking in Grand Canyon
Hiking is undoubtedly the best way to take in the grandeur of the Grand Canyon. We did not hike down into the canyon, but really enjoyed all the viewpoints along the rim road. If you’re planning for a great hike down into the Canyon, we recommended two options for a short hike in Grand Canyon.
From South Kaibab trailhead and hike to Ooh Aah Point, which is about 1.8 miles round trip. The Ooh Ahh Point is one of the favorite spots to stop for pictures and I highly recommend it for visitors looking for a shorter but worthy hike. It cannot be accessed by private vehicle and only can catch a shuttle (Orange line) to the trailhead. Alternatively, park on the side of highway 64 near Yaki Point road and walk about 1/2 mile to the trailhead.
Another less strenuous option is Bright Angel Trail. It is another popular and easiest access for hiking in Grand Canyon. It has lots of shops at the top where you can get last-minute supplies such as water and snacks. Parking is very limited and it is very difficult to find parking near the trailhead.
Watch Sunrise in Grand Canyon
If you are staying in Grand Canyon, don’t forget to wake up early for the magical sunrise when the light hits the canyon walls.
There are a few favorite spots for travelers to watch the magnificent sunrise view in Grand Canyon. The Mohave Point on Hermit Road and Mather Point, Yavapai Point nearby the Visitor Center are the popular sunrise viewpoints in Grand Canyon. The locations offer stunning sunrise vistas with stunning sunrise views.
However, expected a huge crowd to share the same excitement with you. It is recommended to stay within the park to save your traveling time in the early morning.
More Grand Canyon Travel Guide Tips
To enjoy the visit to Grand Canyon South Rim here is our quick and simple tips for your Grand Canyon itinerary:
- Get the America Beauty Pass as it really saves us a lot of money during our trip to the USA.
- At the Visitor Center at the park entrance, please get the maps and plan out what you want to see. Grand Canyon is easily planned for a self-tour.
- Please fully utilized the shuttle system service as parking is limited at most of the viewpoints. If you are planning for self-driving, please start your day as early as possible. Please check the Grand Canyon NP website for road condition information.
- Wear multiple layers for flexibility and comfortable shoes or hiking boots with a good grip. Hat and sunblock are highly recommended, especially in Summer.
- Bring water and snacks as there are not many stores or vending machines in the park.
- Cellular data and WiFi are basically nonexistent
- Lastly, get to the Grand Canyon National Park early!
Overview: A Trip to Grand Canyon South Rim
All in all, a visit to Grand Canyon was on my must-do list and I’m happy to have made the effort to go. Photos alone do not do justice to the sights of the massive size of the Grand Canyon. You have to be with your eyes to admire this nature experience.
We were short in time and only had a few hours in Grand Canyon before we traveled to Antelope Canyon. In total, we spent just about 6 hours in the park. But still, we highly suggest making a stop even if you don’t have time for a full-scale adventure. This is a very easy and excellent sightseeing attraction on a world scale-definitely not to miss if you are in the canyon country!
Last but not least, we hope you enjoy reading our Grand Canyon itinerary. Do you plan on visiting other National Parks and popular cities in the USA? Feel free to check out our travel guide blog below.
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- Big Sur Itinerary: Highway 1 Road Trip Travel Guide Blog
- Yosemite Itinerary: Travel Guide Blog For 1,2, 3 Days
Travel in Arizona: