Plan Your Visit

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view from Mather Point on the South Rim

View from Mather Point (South Rim)

NPS photo by Michael Quinn


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

Most of them (90%) see it from the park's free shuttle buses or from their car at overlooks along the South Rim.

The South Rim includes: historic Grand Canyon Village, Hermit Road, and Desert View Drive. --- Maps
The South Rim is open all year. ----- Newspaper

The South Rim is the most accessible part of the park.
Elevations average 7000 feet/ 2134 m above sea level. South Rim driving directions.

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.)

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 much less accessible than the South Rim. The North Rim has a short season. Lodging and restaurants are open from May 15 through October 15 each year. ---- North Rim driving directions

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 --- Newspaper


On December 1, 2014, with the closing of Highway 67, the North Rim of the park closed for the winter. The North Rim is scheduled to reopen on May 15, 2015. Hikers and cross country skiers are able to enter the North Rim through the winter months, provided backcountry permits have been obtained. Learn more >


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.

Kaibab Suspension Bridge crossing the Colorado River above Phantom Ranch

Colorado River footbridge.

How Do People Get Across the Canyon?

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 hikers, especially during the hot summer months.

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)
Grand Canyon National Park Announces Interim Permits for Organized Groups Conducting Rim-to-Rim and Extended Day Hiking and Running. Learn More >

Trail Courtesy Practices that Leave No Trace

The Park's Seasonal Newspapers

Front cover of 2015 Spring Guide Newspaper showing Desert View Watchtower and Colorado River

Park Newspaper

Download the 2015 Spring (English)
March 1, through May 20, 2015
Spring South Rim Guide (letter-size)
(Prints on 8.5 x 11" paper 2.5 MB PDF File)

Spring South Rim Guide (tabloid size)
(Prints on 11 x 17" paper 2.4 MB PDF File)

Contains the maps, schedules and information needed to plan a South Rim visit.

South Rim lodging and camping and most other visitor services are open all year.

Reserve lodging and campsites as far ahead as possible, especially if you plan to visit during the busy summer and fall months.

Download Spring South Rim Village Shuttle Bus/ Parking Map
as one large page 22.5 x 17" (1.5 MB PDF file)


2014 North Rim Guide

Park  Newspaper

Download the 2014 Season (English)
May 15 through October 15, 2014.
North Rim Guide (letter-size)
(Prints on 8.5 x 11" pape 1.7 MB PDF File)

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

Even though the North Rim of the park has closed for the winter, the 2014 edition of the North Rim Guide contains the maps, schedules and information needed to plan your visit in 2015.

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" (700 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?