Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon (South Rim)

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon

Last updated: 01/11/2019

Check out all the tips and information you need to know before visiting the Grand Canyon in the US state of Arizona.


On a previous post, we gave you all the tips to plan your trip with a great guide to visit the Grand Canyon. We explain that the Canyon is divided into 3 parts (Grand Canyon West, South Rim and North Rim) and talk about the differences in each one. The most visited region of the Grand Canyon is the South Rim, the south bank of the Colorado River, which is within the Grand Canyon National Park, a national park managed by the US government. The South Rim is the main visitation area of the Grand Canyon and has the presence of 90% of tourists who visit the Grand Canyon National Park due to its good infrastructure with hotels and restaurants. This post aims to better explore the region of South Rim, with an itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon, without missing a thing!

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon from where the Yavapai Geology Museum is located


The Grand Canyon administration provides 4 free bus lines:

  • BLUE (Village Route): It runs throughout Grand Canyon Village and leads from the Visitor Center to parking lots, hotels, shops, campgrounds and restaurants.
  • RED (Hermits Rest Route): it is the main line leading to the observation points on the west (left) side of the Grand Canyon.
  • ORANGE (Kaibab/Rim Route): It leads to a scenic Kaibab road, where there is a trail, and to Yaki Point.
  • PURPLE (Tusayan Route): Line that transports passengers from the city of Tusayan into the park and vice versa.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon map. Figure: official site of the Grand Canyon.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
One of the buses that travel through the Grand Canyon

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Sign indicating each of the bus stops


The main entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is via the road (US-180) that connects the city of Williams, passes through the city of Tusayan until reaching the park. Upon entering the Grand Canyon, you will arrive at the Grand Canyon Village. A small village where hotels and restaurants are located inside the Grand Canyon.

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Blue route bus stop points. Figure: reproduction official site

Grand Canyon Village is divided into 3 main areas:

  • The Visitor Center: At this location there are 4 large parking areas, as well as free buses that take you to various points in the park. In the Visitors Center there is a bookstore. There are exhibits and varied information about Grand Canyon National Park and what you can do in the park. The film, Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder, which is 20 minutes long, is shown at the theater. The Visitor Center is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon parking area. Figure: reproduction official site
  • Market Plaza: In this place there is a general store, camping, bathroom, gift shop, bank and post office.
  • The Historic District: It is the heart of the village, the place where it originated, there are original buildings and a railway station, built in the early 20th century. As for the original buildings that date back to the early 1900s, the main places to visit are the Lookout Studio from Mary Colter's and the Hopi House. From the train station (train depot) it is possible to take one of the walking tours, walking around the area to get to know it better. Trains arrive at the Grand Canyon train station at least once a day. On site is also located the Verkamp's Visitor Center, where you can learn a little more about the history of the local community. At the Kolb Studio has an art exhibition in an auditorium.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
View from Lookout Studio

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Map detailing Grand Canyon Village and Market Plaza


It is on this road that the most famous views of the Grand Canyon are located. It provides an 11 km scenic route from Grand Canyon Village to Hermit Rest. It can be accessed by the free buses, on foot, by bicycle. Private vehicles can also access it, but only in the low season period (December, January and February).

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Bus route. Figure: reproduction official site

Along the Hermit road, there are 9 observation points:

  • Trailview Overlook: This viewpoint is the closest to the village and offers good views of the trail. Bright Angel as well as from Historic District from Grand Canyon Village.
  • Maricopa Point: The place provides a beautiful view of the Grand Canyon and it is possible to observe the ancient Orphan Lode Mine. Originally a copper mine, it became a uranium mine in the 1950s. After its closure in the late 1960s, Grand Canyon National Park acquired the property in the late 1980s and began a restoration process in 2008.
  • Powell Point: The Powell Memorial at this observation point commemorates the Colorado River expeditions by Major John Wesley Powell. After a short walk from the bus stop to the Memorial, observe the incredible view provided on site.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
View of the Grand Canyon from Powell Point
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon seen from Powell Point at sunset

  • Hopi Point: It is one of the most popular viewpoints to watch the sunrise and sunset as it offers a wide view of the Canyon. The Colorado River is to the west. Restrooms are available at this point.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Panoramic photo taken at Hopi Point
  • Mohave Point: Another fantastic place to watch the sunrise and sunset, offering very beautiful views of the Colorado River cutting through the Canyon.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Paulo admiring the beauty of the Canyon at Mohave Point
  • The Abyss: This vantage point provides an almost vertical view down the Canyon, looking down on the Monument Creek area. It's a pretty common spot for backpackers to camp and there's a small beach along the Colorado River at Granite Rapids.
  • Monument Creek View: The Greenway trail starts at this viewpoint, which is a good place to accommodate walkers, cyclists and visitors using wheelchairs.
  • Pima Point: It's one of the best places on this side of the shore to see and hear the Colorado River. The Greenway Trail continues from here to Hermits Rest, allowing cyclists and wheelchair users to share space with pedestrians.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
View from Pima Point
  • Hermits Rest: Mary Colter, one of the most famous architects of the Grand Canyon, built Hermits Rest in 1914 to look like an old mine. Currently, there is a gift shop, a small cafeteria and restrooms on site.


In the direction of Hermit Rest – Village, the bus only stops at the following points: Hermits Rest, Pima Point, Mohave Point and Powell Point.

Buses run until 1 hour after sunset (check the sunset time daily in this link). It is important not to miss the last bus because there is no artificial lighting in the place, therefore it is extremely dark.

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Hermits Rest Route Map. Figure: official site of the Grand Canyon


The Kaibab Route region is to the east of Grand Canyon Village and is serviced by the orange bus line. There is interconnection with the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and there is a Geology Museum.

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Stops on the Orange Route. Figure: reproduction official site

At this location, there are 5 observation points:

  • Mather Point: Close to the Visitor Center, it's the first contact you have when parking and seeing the Grand Canyon.
  • Yavapai Geology Museum: This location provides spectacular and far-reaching views of the Grand Canyon. There are geological displays, including three-dimensional models of the Canyon's sediment layers; photographs and detailed geological explanations of the rocks and formation of the Grand Canyon. The place has parking for cars and restrooms.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Geology Museum
  • South Kaibab Trailhead: This observation point leads to a trail, the Kaibab, one of the most famous in the Grand Canyon, which connects the south and north rims. For more information access this link. Access to the site is only via the Grand Canyon bus, it is not allowed to enter the area with a private vehicle, as there is no on-site parking.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Paulo at the start of the Kaibab trail
  • Yaki Point: This location provides a small but beautiful view of the Grand Canyon. It is accessed only by the orange route bus.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Breathtaking view from Yaki Point

  • Pipe Creek View: Another observation point of the Grand Canyon that can be accessed by private vehicles and also with the orange route bus.


This is the route that connects the city of Tusayan, the closest to the Grand Canyon National, passing through some hotels in the city. The only stopping point inside the park is at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Therefore, to continue the visit, it is necessary to take one of the other bus lines made available by the administration of the Grand Canyon.

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Purple route waypoints. Figure: reproduction of official site

Purple line buses make 5 stops in Tusayan:

  • IMAX Theater/ RP's Stage Stop
  • Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn
  • The Grand Hotel
  • Big E Steakhouse and Saloon


Another area to discover in the Grand Canyon is known as Desert View and is not served by the bus lines we described earlier. It is east (right) of the Kaibab Route (orange route) observation points.

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Desert View Map: Figure: official site of the Grand Canyon

Desert View Drive is a road that provides scenic views for 40 km to reach the observation tower. Desert View Watchtower and at the east entrance to Grand Canyon National Park. Along the road there are 6 observation points, 4 picnic areas and the Tusayan Museum.

Stop points:

  • Pipe Creek View: It was already mentioned when we were talking about the Kaibab Route, it is another observation point of the Grand Canyon that can be accessed by private vehicles and also with the orange route bus.
  • Yaki Point: Also mentioned when talking about the Kaibab Route, this location provides a small but beautiful view of the Grand Canyon. It is accessed only by the orange route bus.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Enjoying the view from Yaki Point
  • Grandview Point: It is a great observation point and it is possible to have a very wide view of the Grand Canyon and also of the Colorado River. There is also a trail on site, the Grandview Trail (more information in this link).
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Beautiful view provided at Grandview Point
  • Moran Point: For anyone interested in geology, this vantage point is excellent as it provides a clear view of the 3 main groups of rocks that make up the Grand Canyon.
  • Tusayan Ruin and Museum: In this place are the ruins of an old village and there are trails. The Tusayn Museum, which also has a bookstore, helps to better understand what happened to the ruins at the site. There are restrooms and a picnic area.
  • Lipan Point: From this location it is possible to see several interesting points, such as Hance Rapid, Unkar Delta and The Grand Canyon Supergroup.
  • Navajo Point: This location provides panoramic views and from there it is possible to see the Desert View Observation Tower which is a few minutes away.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
at Najavo Point
  • Desert View: In the area there is parking, visitor center, bookstore, post office, snack bar, in addition to a general supply store, restrooms and camping site. There are no hotels in the area. It is possible to see the Colorado River and climb the Watchtower, a stone tower that provides beautiful views of the Canyon. For more information about Desert View, visit this link.
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Getting to Desert View
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Desert View region map. Figure: reproduction official site
Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Canyon detail with Colorado River

The Desert View Watchtower was built in 1932 and was designed by architect Mary Colter. Inside the tower are murals and a gift shop. Climb its 85 steps for a 360-degree view of the Grand Canyon.

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
Getting to the Tower in Desert View

Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon
View of the Grand Canyon from the Tower



We wrote a special post with details on where to eat and stay at the Grand Canyon South Rim. In it, you will find detailed information to plan a nice trip to this amazing attraction.

Read more: Where to Stay and Eat at the Grand Canyon

BOOK NOW your hotel and save up to 50%. Travelers readers are with a SUPER DISCOUNT! And the best, with FREE CANCELLATION*!

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We made a video about our passage through the Grand Canyon that is available on our YouTube channel. Check it out below:

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Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon (South Rim) - Travelers

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  1. Good morning, we are going to Las Vegas in July/2019 and I have plans to go to the Gran Canyon, south side and then back to Las Vegas.
    In which city or place should I make these overnight stays?
    And what is the average temperature in that region?
    Could you also recommend a hotel?
    I'm waiting.

    • Hi Gabriel! What a nice trip you are planning.
      we already wrote a post which is a summary with many tips. Our itinerary was as follows:
      DAY 1: We leave very early from Las Vegas and we went through Hoover Dam: the dam between Nevada and Arizona. Then we did the stretch of Route 66 we described in this post. you can if host inside the Grand Canyon or in the city of Kayena, which is close by and where we stayed.
      DAY 2: Full day at the Grand Canyon (see attractions on the blue line and red line in the post Itinerary to visit the Grand Canyon (South Rim). We slept in the same hotel as the day before.
      DAY 3: We checked out of the hotel and went to explore the area orange that was missing from the Grand Canyon.
      DAY 4: We leave the Grand Canyon and head to the city of Page to see the Horseshoe Bend. We slept in Page in a very simple hotel.
      DAY 5: We did the tour of the Antepole Canyon. We took the road because our goal was to visit Monument Valley in Utah the next day. Our idea was to sleep at the hotel inside the park, but there was no more space and we slept in a nearby town that we mentioned in the post.
      DAY 6: Visit Monument Valley and start the return trip to Las Vegas, passing through the Zion National Park, also in Utah, which is just a few hours from Las Vegas.

      => The temperature in this region varies a lot throughout the year. In summer, it easily exceeds 40ºC, but in winter, it even snows. The month of July is one of the hottest and muggiest. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, lots of sunscreen and drink lots of water! 🙂

      We hope to have helped!
      Hugs and an amazing trip to you!

  2. Hello
    I would like a suggestion, I'm going in October by car to the Grand Canyon. I was thinking of staying just half a day, because I have to continue my trip to Monument Valley. So, the plan would be to take one of these bus lines for a ride and then leave through Desert View towards MV.
    But I'm not sure which line would be the most interesting. Could you give me your suggestion?
    Your blog is very valuable
    Thank you!

  3. Hi, I'm loving the blog. We're leaving Las Vegas by car and we want to visit Hoover Dam, South Rim at the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Afterwards, we will return to Las Vegas for boarding.
    Which script would you recommend us? I'm a little lost in relation to the distance and consequent overnight stays. I thank you in advance for your attention.

  4. We are going to the Grand Canyon in June with a rental car, my idea was, on the second day, to enter through the “South Entrance”, drive to Desert View and leave the park through the “East Entrance”, to follow the road to Kayenta… . Is it possible to do this stretch with a private car or only with the orange line buses?

    • Hello Toledo!
      There are 2 points on the orange line that are exclusively accessible by bus: the South Kaibab Trailhead and the Yaki Point.
      What did we do: We parked the car at the Visitor Center, took the bus and made all the stops on the orange line. We took the bus back to the Visitor Center and took the car to go to Desert View.
      access this link to see the figure that explains it well. Notice the information in red: “Gate: Yaki Point Road closed to private vehicles”. The place is closed because there is no parking area.
      We wish you an excellent trip!

      • Abusing your goodwill, could you tell me if these two points that we can't stop by car are "must see"... at the Grand Canyon, since we are going to visit it for a whole day (but I wanted to do the rim trail)… Is it free for cars from the Grandview Pont? So we would get at least 4 legal points, right? Thanks for the help, your blog is 10, very informative and well written, I'm accessing it every day to plan the trip… abs

        • Toledo, honestly, you won't miss anything different if you leave these two points out of the script. Unless you make a point of doing the Kaibab trail, that is the main attraction of the place. Otherwise, it's much more worthwhile to go on a trip to Desert View! If you can include Page on the trip, we highly recommend it! O Horseshoe Bend it's the antelope canyon they are very cool! It's the Monument Valley it is sensational, arid landscape and very interesting!
          We are delighted to hear that the blog is helping you plan your trip!
          We are available to help you! 🙂

  5. Hi! The blog is very cool, super complete and it is helping me a lot in my research… When you took this trip, how many days did you stay and where did you stay?


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