Plan Your Visit
An Introduction to Grand Canyon National Park
Around 5.5 million people each year see the 1 mile deep (1.6 km) Grand Canyon each year. The canyon is 277 river miles (446km) long, and up to 18 miles (29km) wide.
Most visitors (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 open all year.
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. The North Rim has a short season. Lodging and food services are open between May 15th and October 15th of each year.
Download our Trip Planning "Newspaper" as a PDF file here. (Includes information and maps for both rims and the inner canyon.) Available in 7 additional languages here.
The South RimThe South Rim is the most accessible part of the park and it is open all year.
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. -- South Rim Pocket Map and Services Guide---
The North Rim is Closed for the WinterAveraging 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. During the winter months, hikers and cross country skiers will be able to enter the North Rim with valid backcountry permits.
The North Rim opens for the 2018 season on Monday, May 15, 2018.
You can make reservations now for North Rim lodging, restaurants, and camping.
Driving Directions to the North Rim
The Inner Canyonincludes 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)
Introduction to Backcountry Hiking Brochure (download)
How to prepare for an inner canyon trip. (webpage)
There are many opportunities here for adventurous and hardy persons to backpack, camp, ride a mule to Phantom Ranch, or take a river trip through Grand Canyon on the Colorado River.
River trips can last 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?
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.
Grand Canyon National Park Area Map (83kb PDF File)
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)
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In "More Than A View," Park Ranger Stephanie Sutton invites us to go beyond the rim and explore all that Grand Canyon National Park has to offer; diverse life zones, landforms, and cultural history.
Visiting Grand Canyon with your pet ? Things you should know...
Thanks for doing what you can to help protect our environment!
Last updated: November 30, 2017