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!
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!
Easy: Rim Trail (most of it is paved)
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.
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.
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!
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!
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!