Plan Your Visit

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visitors boarding the Village Loop Shuttle Bus at dusk.

Visitors who have parked at the South Rim Visitor Center board free shuttle buses to access village facilities and canyon overlooks.

Quick links:


No matter what the season, visits to Grand Canyon National Park require planning and preparation. This "Plan Your Visit" section has helpful tips about:


Introduction - South Rim

Nearly five million people see the 1 mile deep (1.6 km) Grand Canyon each year.

Most of them (90%) see Grand Canyon from the "South Rim" from overlooks accessed by free park shuttle buses or by their personal vehicles.

The South Rim is the most accessible part of the park.
Elevations average 7000 feet (2134 m) above sea level. Driving Directions to the South Rim

The South Rim includes:

The South Rim is open all year. -- Maps--- South Rim Newspaper

CA condor photo (courtesy of Steve Mull) and cover of Grand Canyon Trip Planner newspaper.

California condor courtesy of Steve Mull

Download our Trip Planning "Newspaper" as a PDF file HERE. (Includes information and maps for both rims and the inner canyon.) Translated Versions in 7 languages HERE

A much smaller number of people (10%) see the Canyon from the
North Rim of the park, which lies just 10 miles / 16 km across the canyon from the South Rim, (as the California condor flies) but is a 220 mile/ 354 km drive by car - all the way around the canyon.
view from patio of grand canyon lodge on the north rim

View from Grand Canyon Lodge (North Rim)

NPS photo by Jessica Pope

The North Rim
Averaging 8000 feet/ 2438 m above sea level, rises 1000 feet/ 305 m higher than the South Rim, and because of its remote location, is less accessible than the South Rim.

The North Rim has a short season.

and restaurants are open from
May 15 through October 15
each year. ----

Driving Directions to the North Rim


Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim

Even in good weather the North Rim is harder to get to. It is 220 miles (354 km) by car from the South Rim, or 21 miles (34 km) by foot across the canyon by way of the North and South Kaibab Trails. -- Maps --- North Rim Newspaper


Hikers descending South Kaibab Trail

Hikers Descending South Kaibab Trail

NPS photo by Michael Quinn

The Inner Canyon
includes everything below the rim and is seen mainly by hikers, backpackers, mule riders, or river runners.

The inner canyon is a harsh desert environment with little shade and summer temperatures over 100°F. (>38°C) How to prepare for an inner canyon trip.

There are many opportunities here for adventurous and hardy persons who want to backpack, camp, ride a mule to Phantom Ranch, or take a river trip through the Canyon on the Colorado River.

River trips can take anywhere from several days to three weeks. There are no one-day river trips through the length of Grand Canyon.

Trail Courtesy Practices that Leave No Trace

With so many of us participating in a wide range of trail activities, it really helps when we are considerate of each other. Trail Courtesy Guidelines help protect Grand Canyon's plants, animals and history, and enhance everyone's experience.


How Do People Get Across Grand Canyon?

click on map to download

Grand Canyon Area Map

There is only one way to cross the Colorado River by automobile, and that is 137 miles / 231 km from the South Rim Village (at Marble Canyon, AZ) via the Navajo Bridge, a few miles downstream from Lees Ferry, where the Canyon is only 400 feet/ 122 m wide.

There is no longer an airstrip on the North Rim of the park. That means that the North Rim village may only be reached by driving all the way around - or by hiking across the canyon.

Click on the map to download the
Grand Canyon National Park Area Map
(83kb PDF File)
Kaibab Suspension Bridge crossing the Colorado River above Phantom Ranch

Colorado River footbridge.

If you are hiking across the canyon, the South Kaibab Trail crosses the Colorado River on a narrow foot bridge 70 feet/ 21 m above the water.

It is a 21 mile/ 34 km hike to go "Rim To Rim," with a vertical descent - followed by a climb - of 1 mile/ 1.6 km. This is an overnight hiking trip for 95% of individuals, and most people really shouldn't attempt it during the hot summer months, when high temperatures often average over 100 F. (38 C)


The Park's Seasonal Newspapers

Front cover of Fall 2015 South Rim Guide Newspaper

Park Newspaper

Download the 2015 Autumn (English)
September 8 - November 30, 2015
Autumn South Rim Guide (letter-size)
(Prints on 8.5 x 11" paper 1.7 MB PDF File)

Autumn South Rim Guide (tabloid size)
(Prints on 11 x 17" paper 2.5 MB PDF File)

Contains maps, schedules and information.

South Rim lodging and camping along with most other visitor services within the park are open all year.

Reserve lodging and campsites as far ahead as possible, especially during busy summer and fall months.

Download Autumn South Rim Village Shuttle Bus/ Parking Map
as one large page 22.5 x 17" (1.1 MB PDF file)

3 thumbnails of maps that may be downloaded. l to r: Grand Canyon Area Map, South Rim Village Transit Map, Desert View Drive Map

Front cover of 2015 North Rim Guide Newspaper

2015 North Rim Guide

Park  Newspaper

Download the 2015 Season (English)
May 15 through October 15, 2015.
North Rim Guide (letter-size)
Pages split to print on 8.5 x 11" paper.
(4.3 MB PDF File)

North Rim Guide (tabloid size)
Prints on 11 x 17" paper
(2.2 MB PDF File)

The 2015 edition of the North Rim Guide contains the maps, schedules and information needed to plan your visit.

The North Rim has a short season, so it is best to reserve lodging and campsites as far ahead as possible.

Download Maps and Trail Guide as one large page 22.5 x 17" (467 kb PDF)

Visiting Grand Canyon with your pet ? Things you should know...

Bottled water - in individual disposable containers - is no longer sold in the park. Learn why

family of 4 with 2 girls in between parents, grand canyon in background

"Traveling Green"
is a great way to help Grand Canyon and other areas you visit reduce carbon emissions, divert and reduce what goes into the waste stream, and to generally help the environment. Visit our Traveling Green page for helpful tips on planning your next green adventure.

Thanks for doing what you can to help protect our environment!

Did You Know?