The Grand Canyon: South, North, and West Rims

March 08, 2022

The Grand Canyon is like a paintbrush, dipped in golds and pinks and oranges and purples, swept over narrows and crags in an area that’s an average of 10 miles wide (18 miles at its widest) and a mile deep.

The Grand Canyon is divided into three unique areas that each offer a distinct and unique experience and vantage point.

The South Rim and Grand Canyon Village

Due to its proximity to Flagstaff , Williams and Tusayan, the South Rim is the Grand Canyon’s most popular destination. Home to park headquarters, Grand Canyon Village features the park’s largest collection of services, including hotels and lodges, restaurants, a general store, laundry and shower facilities, a bank with an ATM, and a public garage for emergency repairs.

Grand Canyon Village has a number of parking areas surrounding its various viewpoints, but summer days and weekends are crowded. Skip the parking-space race and take the park’s free shuttle buses instead, which operate in multiple loops including a summer run between Tusayan and the main Grand Canyon Visitor Center. The Town of Tusayan is located just outside of the South Rim Entrance Station to the Grand Canyon.

The Park Services strongly recommends all visitors traveling north on Highway 64, especially those in RVs and larger vehicles, park in the FREE Park & Ride lots located in Tusayan (about one mile south of the Park entrance). You can purchase your Grand Canyon National Park pass at several locations in Tusayan and then take the FREE shuttle to the visitor center within the Park.

The free shuttle service in Tusayan is seasonal and runs only from March through September. For more information visit the Grand Canyon National Park Service website.

The North Rim

While high elevation and heavy snow keep the North Rim closed during the winter months, this less-traveled area—far away from the crowds of Grand Canyon Village—is a remote, relaxing place to enjoy the beauty of the canyon in solitude.

Usually accessible from mid-May to October, the North Rim offers visitors a campground, general store, and camper facilities. It’s also home to the historic and rustic Grand Canyon Lodge. Additional campgrounds, lodging options, and stores are available at the Jacob Lake Inn year-round, approximately 45 miles north, outside the entrance to the park.

The West Rim

Welcome to Grand Canyon West, home to the Skywalk. Sitting 4,000 feet above the Canyon floor, the glass-bottom Skywalk is truly a modern marvel. Hiking is available from Guano Point. For overnight accommodations, guests can enjoy the Hualapai Ranch at the Rim or Hualapai Lodge, located on Historic Route 66, just over an hour from the rim. For the adventurer, explore Grand Canyon on a one-day Grand Canyon whitewater raft adventure with the Hualapai River Runners. All river guides are certified and provide narrations on Hualapai culture and history during your unforgettable journey.

Content courtesy of The Arizona Office of Tourism

Categories:vacation travel