Tips For How To Avoid Traffic And Find Parking
The South Rim is the area of the Grand Canyon most frequentedespecially in the high season, when there is an increase in traffic, thus inconveniencing tourists, who are sometimes forced to wait very long to enter and find parking. So lets try to present you with useful advice so that your trip does not get ruined by rush hour traffic.
Go Dark Sky Stargazing
If you havent had enough and want to get an absolute maximum of your day at the Grand Canyon, consider ending your day with an epic stargazing experience.
As an honored International Dark Sky Park, Grand Canyon National Park is one of the best places in the world for seeing stars. The canyons remote location away from major cities and air pollution make for exceptionally dark skies and crisp night time views.
If youre not too tired come nightfall, head to any of the viewpoints along the South Rim to see the canyon by starlight and find unobstructed views of the nighttime sky. Theres a beautiful silence and stillness that will engulf you making this an unforgettable experience.
TIP: Be prepared to drive your own car and do the walking, as park shuttles only run until 1 hour after sunset. Also, make sure to bring along a flashlight or a headlight to help you walk to and from your stargazing location.
Best Things To Do At The Grand Canyon South Rim
So, youve decided to visit Grand Canyon South Rim and are wondering what to do in the Grand Canyon? Look no further! Heres a guide to the best things to do in the Grand Canyon on the South Rim. Also, check our one day at Grand Canyon Itinerary.
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Parking And Entrance Fee At Grand Canyon National Park South Rim
Parking around Grand Canyon South Rim village is plentiful but spaces will fill very early in the Summer months of June, July and August. Especially difficult places to park in Summer include all overlooks toward Desert View and South Kaibab trailhead.
Visiting in Spring or Fall gives you a better chance of guaranteeing a parking spot across the Rim.
We were in Grand Canyon National Park in November and parking was never a problem. In fact, we could choose exactly where we wanted to park up, which was useful at sunrise but more importantly at the overlooks.
A park shuttle bus is the only form of motor transport permitted to drive West from GC village to Hermits Rest. You can hire bikes and cycle this road but no cars are allowed.
Entrance fee to Grand Canyon National Park for individual access is US$ 35. That covers up to 4 people in 1 vehicle for up to 7 days.
However, if you plan to visit more than 3 or 4 national parks in the next year, we highly recommend you buy an annual National Park Pass called America the Beautiful. It will save you money.
You can read our complete guide to the annual national park pass to find out how much it will save you.
One Day In Grand Canyon Things To Do & Map
Due to the enormous size of this National Park and the multiple array of things to do, it is extremely important to have a well-thought-out day plan. In order to help you plan your day at the Grand Canyon, I created a map, indicating all the points of interest mentioned in this article. That way you get a better idea where everything is located.
Alternatively, if you prefer to use the official Grand Canyon tourist map, you can find it here. Print it out and indicate the places that you are planning to visit.
Further below, after we cover all the things that you can see in Grand Canyon in one day, we also have a short overview of the suggested one day Grand Canyon itinerary. Read on!
How to Use This Map: Use your computer mouse to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the left top corner for the index. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu button, and go to Your Places/Maps.
Heres what you can see and do at the Grand Canyon South Rim in a day:
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Where To Eat Near Grand Canyon South Rim
Okay, were going to be completely honest, finding a decent place to eat is hard work around Grand Canyon South Rim!
Inside the national park you can expect to find the usual types of quick serve restaurant / cafe to cater for the masses. That being said, the soup we got at Desert View was pretty good .
- Some of the lodges in South Rim village have their own restaurant or sports bar.
- Along the rim you will find one or two coffee shops with good ratings.
- Hermits rest has a very small cafe and Desert View has a canteen-style menu.
Nearby Tusayan offers a more diverse culinary scene. We cant recommend a particular restaurant as the must eat place in town because we didnt find it ourselves.
Williams is 60 miles away, which of course isnt exactly a pop out for lunch drive, but if youre entering or leaving via Williams, eating here is our top recommendation for food near the Grand Canyon South Rim.
Choose between Little Chicken Spot, Annas Canyon Cafe, Bayou by You and Red Raven. All great choices.
Get A Feel For Geology
The Yavapai Geology Museum is filled with educational displays on Grand Canyons geologic history, but the most interesting and tactile for kids is the large topographic relief model. This 3D map that is designed to be touched mimics the panorama unfolding on the other side of the museums large plate glass window. The colors and labels on the map can be studied by young visitors to put the massive canyon into perspective. After a tour of the museum, walk on the interpretive path, the Trail of Time, to see samples of Grand Canyon rocks.
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North Rim Ranger Programs
Interpretive programs are free and are offered daily between May 15th and October 15th.
- When you arrive on the North Rim, between May 15 and October 15, check bulletin boards or ask at the information kiosk about programs being offered during your visit.
- Learn how youth can become Grand Canyon
When the North Rim is open, take a day hike through this beautiful scenery.
- Experience the wild and remote feeling of the North Rim.
- Solitude can be found hiking the trails, and enjoying an awe-inspiring view. Watch mule deer and turkeys feeding in mountain meadows.
- Enjoy, discover, and celebrate the unique world of the North Rim.
Little Colorado River Gorge Navajo Tribal Park
Another popular spot that you shouldnt miss at Grand Canyon East is the Little Colorado River Gorge Navajo Tribal Park that falls within the borders of the Navajo Nation, the largest Native American reservation.
Here, you can browse kiosks, shop hand-crafted jewelry from the Cameron Trading Post, learn about the culture of the Native people of the Southwest, have a picnic, or enjoy a fantastic view of the deep narrow gorge of the Little Colorado River at the Little Colorado River Gorge Overlook.
Little Colorado River Gorge Navajo Tribal Park. Grand Canyon National Park
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Things To Do At The Grand Canyon: Wildland Trekking Company
Wildland Trekking Company offers visitors five types of guided hiking experiences at the Grand Canyon. There are 12 backpacking tours to choose from, ranging from 3 to 7 days, including three variations of rim-to-rim hikes. They have three stock/porter adventure backpacking hikes to the Grand Canyon and Havasu Falls. Two classic base camp hiking tours on either rim are 3 and 4 days long. Inn-based Grand Canyon hiking tours range from 3 to 5 days, including 2 days to Phantom Ranch on the floor of the canyon. Five easy day hikes are also available.
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Grand Canyon National Park Factfile
National Park: Grand Canyon
Address: S Entrance Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023Telephone: 638-7888
Campgrounds: Desert View, Trailer Village and MatherArea: 1,218,375 acres
Things to do: Hiking, Rafting, Backpacking, PhotographyMajor Trails: Bright Angel and South Kaibab
Open: All yearAnnual visitors: ~ 6 million
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Grand Canyon South Rim Camping
If youre visiting between May and September or want to be closer to the action to make life easier for getting sunrise / astro photography, consider staying at a Grand Canyon South Rim campground.
The other major benefit of course is costs associated with camping are much less than hotels, you just have to sacrifice comfort and convenience!
If camping in early Spring or late Fall, be prepared for cold nights with plenty of layers and extra blankets. First hand experience allows us to confidently inform you you will need them!
Here are your campground options:
Located inside Grand Canyon South Rim village and the ideal place to set up tents / small RVs. No hookups provided here and places fill incredibly quickly, particularly in Summer. You can book ahead up to 6 months, our advice is book as soon as you know your dates.
US$ 18 per night / site and 30 ft maximum RV or trailer.
Opposite Mather campground is a site dedicated to RVs with hookups. This ideal location comes at a premium for RVers. Options to bundle breakfast into your site.
From US$ 55 per night / RV and up to 50 ft maximum length.
Close to Grand Canyon East entrance and Desert View Watchtower is a smaller campground with jut 50 sites. Reservations can not be made, it is first come first served and they usually fill up before noon.
Grand Canyon Railway At The Train Depot
If youre lucky enough to catch the train schedules at the right time, youll want to stop for a few photographs of the Grand Canyon Railway as it arrives or departs from the Grand Canyon Train Depot. Constructed in 1909, it was built just a few hundred feet from the El Tovar Hotel and the South Rim of the canyon to easily transport tourists to a luxury Grand Canyon experience.
Today the Grand Canyon Railway trips run from near Flagstaff about 2 1/2 hours to the South Rim. While we havent taken the train trip ourselves, we did enjoy viewing the historic Pullman railcars
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Things To Do At The Grand Canyon: Bicycle Trails And Tours
The Grand Canyon National Park System encourages visitors to enjoy the canyon in whatever way feels best, including biking. The park assists visitors with amenities like bicycle rentals on the South Rim, and bicyclist/backpacker campsites for overnight or multi-day stays. Bicycle/backpackers can choose from Mather Campground on the South Rim or the North Rim Campground. Park shuttles make it even easier for bikers to explore. Shuttles have bike racks, so bikers can pedal to their destination, and take the shuttle back. Cyclists should take the parks elevation into consideration.
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Tips To Have The Best Experience
Dont try to visit all of these viewpoints in one day. They will all blend together. If you can, visit them over two to three days if you have the time.
Consider hiking the rim trail between some of these viewpoints. Who knows, maybe youll get some of the best views right from the trail. Most of the trail is paved and flat, so it is easy to walk. Learn more about the rim trail here.
The viewpoints are the least crowded early in the morning around sunrise. By mid-morning, crowds steadily build and peak midday. Several popular viewpoints, such as Mather, Hopi, and Yavapai, can also get crowded at sunset. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider starting your day at sunrise.
Use the free shuttle service to get from point to point. Learn more here.
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Hualapai River Runners Rafting
The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and one of the best ways to see its majesty is from a raft on the Colorado River. Rafters will see millions of years worth of rock layers on the rugged canyon walls limestone, sandstone, shale, granite, and schist up close. Rafting trip options are either 1 or 2-day trips. The 1-day trips follow a 12-mile journey through whitewater rapids followed by a lunch at Travertine Cavern Falls and a smooth water ride, while the two-day trips follow the same path on day one, but camp at Spencer Canyon that night. On day two, participants take a leisurely ride on power pontoon boats as a guide narrates, then take a helicopter back to the West Rim.
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What You Need To Know
- The park is 277 river miles long, a mile deep, and 18 miles wide its a big place with lots to do ! For the best experience, get an early start to your day and have a solid plan â like this detailed itinerary.
- Grand Canyon National Park includes both the North and the South Rims. The East and West Rims are not part of the national park, as well as the popular Havasu Canyon, so they have not been included in this list.
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Other Grand Canyon South Rim Lodging
Maswik Lodge is located 1/4 miles from the rim at Grand Canyon Village. It is an easy walk or free shuttle bus ride to the hustle and bustle of the Village.
Rooms are motel style with basic amenities such as coffee makers, TVs, and mini fridges. Rooms have either one king or two queens. There is a food court, gift shop, and a pizza pub at this location.
If you are visiting the Grand Canyon with kids, Yavapai Lodge is one of the best lodging options. It is located near Market Plaza. The only lodging in Yavapai that has air conditioning is Yavapai East. The rest of the rooms do not.
In addition to regular king and two queen rooms, the lodge also has family rooms which have a king bed and twin bunk beds. Have a large family? Double Queen Family rooms feature two queen size beds and a twin bunk bed and can accommodate up to six guests.
All the rooms at Yavapai West have two queen beds and are pet-friendly. There are mini fridges, TVs, and coffee makers in the rooms at Yavapai.
Mohave Powell & Hopi Points
Moving to the east along Hermit Road and the Rim Trail, youll find three canyon overlooks. Mohave, Powell, and Hopi Points continue to rank among the best of all the overlooks, and they tend to be less heavily trafficked than some of the viewing areas closer to the Grand Canyon Visitors Center.
Mohave Point has great sunset views whereas Powell Point has better eastern exposure for sunrises. Hopi Point juts out farther into the canyon than any other spot on the South Rim and has great views for both. Mohave and Powell Points tend to be less popular than Hopi Point, so if crowds are an issue at one, simply hike the Rim Trail to one of the other nearby overlooks.
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What To Do In Grand Canyon In One Day
Learn about what to do and see at Grand Canyon National Park if you only have one day.
The Grand Canyon is an immense natural wonder measuring one mile deep and 1902 square miles in area. As you might imagine, seeing all the canyon has to offer could take weeks. However, as our budgets and busy schedules limit many of us, we often cant take more than a day to see the park. In this guide, well share some tips and recommendations for seeing the Grand Canyon in one day.