Ultimate Travel Guide to Grand Canyon

Table of Contents

About Grand Canyon

There’s something about standing in front of Grand Canyon that makes you realize how small and insignificant you are.

If you’re afraid of heights, don’t look down! This natural world wonder is a dizzying 1400m deep full of powerful landscapes and a variety of different terrain.

Located in the United States, Grand Canyon is one of the most famous as well as the most visited tourist attraction here. Throughout the years it has always left visitors in awe not only with its beauty but also its history.

Forged by the mighty Colorado River for 70 million years, this is truly one of mother nature’s greatest works of art.

Where is Grand Canyon Located?

grand canyon south rim, arizona

Grand Canyon is located in northwestern Arizona, filled with history and Instagrammable spots for days. No American road trip is complete without crossing this Wonder of the World off your bucket list.

Since prehistoric times, the mighty Colorado River has been shaping and chiseling Grand Canyon into the picturesque landscape it is today.

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Which Part of Grand Canyon Should I Visit?

sunset at grand canyon

The sheer size of Grand Canyon can be overwhelming if it’s your first time visiting. To put things into perspective, it takes 5 hours to drive from the North Rim to the South Rim.

You can access the North and South Rim by the National Park Service. The west side is also accessible along with Havasu Falls but is owned by the Hualapai Nation Tribe — you’ll have to pay extra to explore as your park pass won’t grant you access to this section.

The natural beauty of the North Rim and the South Rim are drastically different because of the elevation difference.

If you prefer a quieter experience, visit the North Rim where you’re surrounded by nature.

The South Rim is the most visited part of Grand Canyon, offering more viewpoints. Keep in mind it can get really busy here since there is lodging on-site and other various amenities.

Best Time to Visit Grand Canyon

view of grand canyon, usa

Avoiding crowds at Grand Canyon is nearly impossible but there are a few things to know to make your trip as enjoyable as possible.

The best time to visit Grand Canyon is from March through May, and September.

If you are planning to visit Grand Canyon during the summer (peak season), make sure to be prepared for the heat, large crowds and limited lodging availability.

During the summer months, temperatures hover around a scorching 100 ºF (38 ºC), especially if you’re inside the Canyon.

If you prefer to avoid the heat, go during November where daytime temperatures are cooler and the crowds are thinner.

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Tips For Visiting Grand Canyon

Havasu Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation
  • The Skywalk does not permit photography with cameras or phones. Professional photos are available for sale that you can purchase as a memoir.
  • Purchase your tickets in advance online and you can save up to 20% on tours.
  • Try to plan your trip during off-peak season to avoid crowds. January and February are the lowest tourist season.
  • If you’re driving into Grand Canyon during the busy season, make sure to arrive before 9 AM as the parking lot fills up really quickly.
  • Grand Canyon North Rim is closed to all vehicles from December 1st to May 15th. The South Rim is open year-round.

How Much Does Grand Canyon Cost?

All private vehicles entering Grand Canyon are required to pay an entrance fee of $35 USD. If you’re on bike or on foot, the fee is $15 USD per person.

What to Bring & What to Wear

grand canyon north rim

When visiting Grand Canyon, comfort is the key as it involves a lot of walking. Wear comfortable, sturdy shoes (ie. running shoes or sports sandals) as the terrain is rough and unstable. If you’re hiking, wear proper hiking boots.

During the summer months, a breathable short-sleeve shirt and shorts along with a light jacket would be your best option. In the winter, go for jeans and a long-sleeved shirt with a jacket.

If you’re visiting in the summer, be sure to pack essentials such as sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, reusable water container, camera, snacks and a battery pack for your phone.

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Things to Do at Grand Canyon

grand canyon skywalk, arizona

Grand Canyon South Rim

The South Rim of Grand Canyon offers a lot of hiking trails (Trailhead of the Bright Angel Trail) and activities like river rafting, mule riding, and scenic beauty.

The Watchtower is a popular visitor site that offers an excellent point for viewing the Canyon and the Colorado River.

An excellent and relaxing way to reach the South Rim is through the Grand Canyon Railway.

Note: Parts of the South Rim are only accessible by bus.

Grand Canyon North Rim

If you prefer to get lost in nature rather than in crowds then the North Rim is for you! This section of Grand Canyon is quite heavily forested, and is a favorite amongst avid hikers and photographers.

Note: Due to extreme weather conditions, vehicle access to the North Rim is only open from May 15th to December 1st every year.

Grand Canyon West

The skywalk is the main attraction at Grand Canyon West — a glass bridge that extends 70-feet over the Canyon, providing an unobstructed 360-degree view.

If you’re looking for a hiking spot, there are two easy trails on the west side. It’s also home to many other adventurous activities like zip-lining and pontoon boat rides.

Note: Private vehicles are not allowed in Grand Canyon West — use the shuttle service available on-site.

How to Get to Grand Canyon

view at grand canyon, usa

Getting to Grand Canyon South Rim

The closest airport near Grand Canyon South Rim is in the city of Flagstaff, about 250 miles east of Las Vegas.

From Flagstaff, you can reach the South Rim in an hour by car. If you do not have a vehicle there’s also a shuttle from Flagstaff to the park.

Getting to Grand Canyon North Rim

The quickest way to reach the North Rim is to fly into Las Vegas. From there, it’s about a 4.5-hour drive.

Map of Grand Canyon

grand canyon map

Final Thoughts

The Grand Canyon is one of the most breathtaking natural destinations in the world. The size and depth make it a spectacle that you need to see for yourself.

In fact, this is North America’s most iconic national park, with a wide range of awe-inspiring geological features and landscapes.

Are you ready to check one of the most impressive natural wonders of the world off your bucket list?