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.
GRAND CANYON SCRIPT: SOUTH RIM
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!
BUS LINES IN THE GRAND CANYON
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.
1. GRAND CANYON VILLAGE
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.
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.
- 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.
2. HERMIT ROAD
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).
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.
- 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.
- Mohave Point: Another fantastic place to watch the sunrise and sunset, offering very beautiful views of the Colorado River cutting through the Canyon.
- 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.
- 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.
3. KAIBAB/RIM ROUTE
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.
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.
- 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.
- Yaki Point: This location provides a small but beautiful view of the Grand Canyon. It is accessed only by the orange route bus.
- Pipe Creek View: Another observation point of the Grand Canyon that can be accessed by private vehicles and also with the orange route bus.
4. TUSAYAN ROUTE
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.
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
DESERT VIEW DRIVE
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
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.
TOURS AND EXCURSIONS IN THE GRAND CANYON
- Grand Canyon National Park – South Rim with Snack and Lunch
- Grand Canyon: Multi-Stop Tour from Las Vegas
- Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour with Landing
- Grand Canyon West: Bus Tour from Las Vegas
- Grand Canyon: Skywalk, Helicopter and Boat Options
WHERE TO EAT AND STAY IN THE GRAND CANYON
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*!
*check the hotels with free cancellation on the website
We made a video about our passage through the Grand Canyon that is available on our YouTube channel. Check it out below:
Save these tips to Pinterest!
Keep reading about the Grand Canyon…