Grand Canyon Village is the center of activity and the transportation hub for the South Rim of the park. The village is the only place where the railroad reaches the rim of Grand Canyon.
South Rim: Grand Canyon Village has 3 "Zones," or Districts.
The Visitor Center/ Mather Point, where most visitors park and get their first look at Grand Canyon. Four large parking areas are located here as well as the main transit center for the park's free shuttle buses.
Market Plaza - the business center where the general store, bank and US Post Office are located. This zone is adjacent to Mather Campground, and Trailer Village RV park.
The Historic District, where the Grand Canyon Village started back in "pioneer days", around 120 years ago. The railroad depot is located here, as well as the historic lodges and livery operation.
Watch the film, Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder, in the theater. (20 minutes long: starts on the hour and the half-hour.
Walk to the canyon rim and Mather Point by following signed pedestrian paths from the Visitor Center area to Mather Point.
South Rim Village:
The Village Historic District, is the heart of development on the South Rim, constructed mostly by the Santa Fe Railroad during the first half of the 20th Century.
Several of the buildings date from the early 1900s, including Lookout Studio (1914) and Hopi House (1905) designed by Mary Colter.
Stop by the Train Depot (1909) Take one of the walking tours, and imagine yourself back in the day when President Teddy Roosevelt and artist Thomas Moran spent time here at the canyon. Grand Canyon Railway trains arrive at the Grand Canyon Depot at least once a day.
Visit Verkamp's Visitor Center, a curio shop and family home for over 100 years. Exhibits tell the story of the community, and the Grand Canyon Conservancy store is a great place to browse for books and gifts.
Kolb Studio cascades down the side of the canyon and features art exhibits in the auditorium of a building that was once the home of the canyon's pioneering photographers. A Grand Canyon Conservancy store within Kolb Studio is a great place to browse for books and gifts, with al proceeds going directly to the upkeep of the studio itself.
Hermit Road Interchange
Just west of Kolb Studio, in the Historic District, is the Hermit Road Interchage, where the Hermit Road Shuttle (Red Route) picks up passengers for a breathtaking trip along the scenic 7 mile (11 km) Hermit Road - with stops at 9 spectacular canyon overlooks.
Between March 1 and November 30, Hermit Road is closed to private vehicles, so taking the bus, walking or riding a bicycle is the only access.
During the winter, between December 1, and February 28, Hermit Road is open to private vehicles.
Across the street from the railroad depot, and just east of the Xanterra South Rim General Offices, begins a segment of the Greenway Trail. This paved footpath connects the Historic District to the Market Plaza services area. For walkers and bicyclists the Greenway provides a much safer route than walking along the village's busy narrow roads.
Located one mile east (1.6 km) of Market Plaza and features spectacular views of Grand Canyon. Geological displays include three-dimensional models, powerful photographs, and interpretive exhibits that describe the complicated geologic story of the area.
The Yavapai Museum exhibits explain the deposition of rock layers, the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, and the carving of Grand Canyon. A Grand Canyon Association bookstore within the museum is a great place to browse for gifts.
Open All Year
Desert View is a small settlement located 25 miles/ 41 kmeast of Grand Canyon Village, near the eastern edge of Grand Canyon National Park.
At Desert View, the Colorado River makes a turn to the north while the Painted Desert extends toward the Navaho and Hopi Indian Reservations. On a clear day, one can see well over 100 miles. (161 km)
There is also a first-come, first-served seasonal campground (open mid-April through mid-October, 2020.) Lodging is not available at Desert View, the only option for visitors who would like to stay overnight is the campground.
Lodging, restaurants and shops are usually open May 15 through Oct. 15 of each year. During winter months, the North Rim is closed by snow.
A worthwhile trip for those who enjoy the road less traveled, the North Rim, or "other side" of the Grand Canyon is visited by only 10% of all Grand Canyon visitors. There is one lodge, Grand Canyon Lodge (managed by Forever Resorts) and one campground on the North Rim operated by the NPS.
The hike across the canyon from South Rim to North Rim is 21 miles (34 km). However, traveling from the South Rim to the North Rim by automobile requires a five-hour drive of 220 miles (354 km). Driving directions to the North Rim.
The view from Toroweap Overlook, 3000 vertical feet (914 meters) above the Colorado River, is a breathtaking sheer drop. This remote and primitive area, known as both Tuweep and Toroweap, is on the northwest rim of the Grand Canyon on the Arizona Strip. A visit to this area can be challenging, but rewarding.
Since the National Park Service manages the area for its primitive values, improvements and services are minimal.