Exploring the Grand Canyon South Rim

Exploring the Grand Canyon South Rim | adventuresandkindness.com The Grand Canyon is arguably one of the most breathtaking natural wonders that this world has to offer. It is a popular destination for both national and international tourists, with an average of 5 million visitors each year. Beautiful and massive, the grand canyon south rim is a must-see for any family, couple, friend group, or solo traveler.

There are numerous spectacular views to see, so it is likely that you won’t be able to see everything. It is easy to adjust a Grand Canyon trip into any time frame. In fact, my family and I were able to conquer much of the South Rim in just ONE day! We drove a rental car from Las Vegas down to the canyon, and while it isn’t for everyone, I highly recommend it. (For more information on how to plan a one day trip from Las Vegas, just shoot me an email!)

Because there are so many viewpoints, you will want to prioritize where you go first.

So why do I recommend starting with the Grand Canyon South Rim?

  • it’s easy to get to from multiple big cities (aka where the commercial airlines are) such as Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Flagstaff
  • it’s open all year
  • it’s a great way to pack a lot of different spots into one simple drive (hello Desert Drive!)
  • it makes for BEAUTIFUL pictures, especially at sunset

So how do you get to the Grand Canyon South Rim? There are plenty of options out there, so please don’t think that you can’t travel a different way. Another route may be more suited to your individual needs or preferences!

Planning a trip to the Grand Canyon? Don't miss the beautiful photography opportunities at the South Rim! | adventuresandkindness.com

Yavapi Point

How to Get to the South Rim

  • Fly- There is limited service into Grand Canyon Airport (7 miles from the park) or you can fly into the bigger cities mentioned above.
  • Rent a Car- A huge benefit to renting a vehicle is that you have a lot control over where and when you travel. My family and I rented one from the Las Vegas airport, but unfortunately we had to wait hours before we finally got a car. Make sure you do plenty of research beforehand so that you choose a rental company that you trust!
  • Take a Bus- Before you can ride the shuttle directly to the canyon, you need something to get you a bit closer. Greyhound offers bus services to Flagstaff and Phoenix.
  • Ride the Shuttle- You can get from Phoenix to Flagstaff or Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Village by riding Arizona Shuttle. If you need to get to the park from Flagstaff, Sedona, Phoenix or Las Vegas, then you may want to try Grand Canyon Shuttle Service. They also offer rim to rim services, if traveling in a large group. Trans Canyon Shuttle runs between the rims each day, with a limited schedule in October. It takes about 4 1/2 hours each way, costs $90 per person, and they require reservations.


Day Hiking the South Rim

Wanting to go on a day hike during your visit? Here are some of the trails you can use, and I’ve included links to offer you all the information you may need on them! The Grand Canyon South Rim is so beautiful, you definitely don’t want to miss out on opportunity to hike! Personally, I went on a small trail that was less official, so just do what works best for you!

Planning a trip to the Grand Canyon? Don't miss the beautiful photography opportunities at the South Rim! | adventuresandkindness.com

Grandview Point



Easy: Rim Trail (most of it is paved)

Steep: Bright Angel Trail • South Kaibab Trail •  Hermit Trail

Very Steep: Grandview Trail

Viewpoints That I Recommend

Because I knew that my family and I would obviously have limited time at the canyon, I wanted to make sure we were using it wisely and visiting as many viewpoints as possible. I did a little research on Pinterest, and one post really inspired me to consider Desert View Drive. The photos of it were GORGEOUS and I was so impressed with the variety of views that it offered. It also seemed like the perfect way to conquer a lot of viewpoints in one simple drive.

Exploring the Grand Canyon South Rim


In reality, it was all of those things and more! I highly recommend it. We came in through the South Entrance and first stopped at the visitor center. (And you should too!) It was full of great information, had a spectacular view, and it offered restrooms and places to refill your water bottle. From there we drove to Yavapai Point, backtracked to Mather Point, then continued on that road toward Desert View Drive. We stopped at Grandview Point, Moran Point, and Desert View.

Planning a trip to the Grand Canyon? Don't miss the beautiful photography opportunities at the South Rim! | adventuresandkindness.com

Desert View

There are a lot of other possible viewpoints, but some required extensive hiking or offered basically the same view. Even though we did cover a lot of ground, it was nice to enjoy each viewpoint and really take in the canyon’s beauty. We spent the most time at Desert View where we watched the sunset with a lot of other visitors. There was also a gift shop, small restaurant, general store, and restrooms. It’s a great place to get some hot chocolate, and you can even climb to the top of the watchtower!

Planning a trip to the Grand Canyon? Don't miss the beautiful photography opportunities at the South Rim! | adventuresandkindness.com

And Don’t Forget…

WATER. I can’t stress this enough. If you plan on hiking, then you really need a refillable water bottle. You can scout out all of the refill stations at the grand canyon south rim, and definitely replenish as often as needed.

CAMERA. I just used my iPhone for all of the pictures you see in this post, but if you want a higher quality then definitely don’t forget your camera! (And if you’re using your phone, invest in a car charger just in case the battery dies on you!)

MONEY. This may seem unnecessary, but once you are there you may really want to get a souvenir t-shirt or magnet. You also might get hungry, and want a snack or drink. When we left the canyon we found a yummy restaurant, We Cook Pizza and Pasta, that I recommend if you’re looking for some dinner after the sun sets!

Planning a trip to the Grand Canyon? Don't miss the beautiful photography opportunities at the South Rim! | adventuresandkindness.com

There are so many things to see and do in the Grand Canyon South Rim area, you probably can’t go wrong. Just remember to really take your time and soak up the canyon’s majestic beauty! (Thankfully you probably won’t have cell service so you’ll be forced to :)) Seeing it is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I am so thankful for it! Want to go? Let me help you make it happen!

What do you think about visiting the Grand Canyon? Is it something that you would like to do one day? Or if you have already done it, what advice would you share? Let me know in the comments!


With love,


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42 thoughts on “Exploring the Grand Canyon South Rim

  1. Chandler @ Life as a Larsen says:

    What a great and detailed post! I haven’t been to the grand canyon in years but we used to camp there every year. I miss it, maybe this year I can start camping there again!

  2. Dana says:

    Visiting the Grand Canyon is on our Family Bucket List. I am waiting until our boys get a bit older – I am definitely pinning this, thank you!!!

  3. Angie Scheie says:

    This is great! The Grand Canyon remains on my bucket list. We tried to go in 2013 on a long road trip but the government shut down the same week we were there:(. We tried to sneak in through a Navajo reservation (which was quite the adventure) but we still haven’t seen it. Pinning it for when we try again haha.

    • Emily says:

      Oh wow, sneaking through a Navajo reservation? How adventurous for sure! Definitely try again, it was on my bucket list and I’m so glad I got to mark it off!

  4. Marc says:

    Thanks for linking to my blog post on the Grand Canyon! Desert View Drive is definitely a great way to see a lot of the Grand Canyon in a short time, so I think you made a wise choice.

    We also ate at We Cook Pizza and Pasta while we were there. I was surprised at how few choices there are for food with that many tourists in the area, but at least there are a few options.

  5. Becky says:

    I would love to go as it looks so beautiful, but never thought as far as where specifically and good viewpoints. Thanks for all the advice!

    • Emily says:

      Honestly I didn’t either until a family member brought it up! I searched Pinterest and viola! Super thankful for all the different viewpoints we got to experience!

  6. Keating says:

    I want to go to the Grand Canyon so bad!! It’s been on my bucket list for a while now. My husband and I will be moving to San Diego this September so we’re definitely making a stop at the Grand Canyon during our cross-country road trip. We’re super excited for it!!

    • Emily says:

      That’s exciting! Congrats on your big move and I hope you have a blast on your cross-country road trip! I’m definitely jealous! Hit up all the Route 66 stops for me! 🙂

  7. Lauren says:

    I had no idea there were so many transportation options for visiting the Grand Canyon. I love the idea of doing a camping road trip and stopping at several sights along the way, but it’s great to know that you can easily visit in a day.

    • Emily says:

      Oh a camping road trip would be so fun! I loved getting to see as much as I did in one day, although I know most people just do 1 stop I had to see it from multiple viewpoints!

  8. Kachina says:

    The Grand Canyon is an amazing natural wonder! I’d love to return there and work on area conservation. I also loved how if you look really closely at the rocks you can see indentations from ladders that were used by Native Americans many many many years ago 🙂

  9. Danielle Des says:

    Grandview Point looks out of this world. I also didn’t know that you could hike at the Grand Canyon. This is something I would be interested in doing on my next trip!

  10. Joy Sheehan says:

    Such a great post with a lot of really helpful information! I like that you split up the hike suggestions by the difficulty level! I’ll definitely be saving this post for the future!

  11. Katy says:

    Fantastic post and suggestions. You are right about the water. I actually became quite dehydrated on returning to the rim and was sick for days afterwards. All worth it though, what a wonder of the world

  12. Kerri says:

    Love camping and we have camping traditions too. I would definitely like to hang out here for a while. Lots of detail in this post. Thanks so much, I enjoyed reading it and I can’t believe those photos were taken from an iphone.

    • Emily says:

      Thank you Kerri! Yes I just recently bought my very first GoPro and it is the only thing I have now besides my iPhone to take pictures! I was really impressed with how they turned out! 🙂

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