South Rim — Busy Season — Helpful Tips

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graphic of a person's head that is wearing a face mask within a square frame.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, public health measures are in place including capacity limits, temporary closures, and modified operations.

Wearing a face mask/covering is required for everyone:

While boarding, and inside park shuttle buses. This is a federal mandate that applies to vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals on all public transit.

If you are not fully vaccinated, wearing a face covering is required:

  • Inside, in any shared space.

  • Outside if you cannot physically distance by maintaining a minimum of 6 feet/2 meters from those outside your household.

What's Open and Hours of Operation (updated daily)

 

Summer is a Busy Season on the South Rim

  • Know where you will spend the night. Campgrounds and lodges are filling up. If you want to stay overnight inside the park, check availability and make reservations before you arrive.
  • Camping in the park is only allowed in designated sites within designated campgrounds. Camping is not permitted along roadsides, at overlooks, pullouts, trailheads or other parking areas.
  • This page has information about visiting the South Rim. Considering a trip to the North Rim? Follow this link >
  • Those planning to hike into the canyon should be prepared for extreme summer heat and elevation changes. Review Grand Canyon Hiking FAQ >
  • Backcountry permits are required for all overnight trips into Grand Canyon. Details >

Ways to Enter the South Rim of the Park

 
diesel locomotive with red and yellow trim is pulling a passenger train around a curved section of track.
Grand Canyon Railway train arriving. NPS/Dana Belcher

Take the Train

As an alternative, to driving, depart from Williams, Arizona, and ride Grand Canyon Railway to the South Rim.

If you are able to take the train, you won't have to deal with entrance line waits, busy summer traffic and finding a parking place. Details >

 
a line of cars and RVs waiting in a long line to pay park entrance fees at a booth between lanes.
The South Entrance Station, near the town of Tusayan, experiences long lines and up to two hour wait times between 10 am - 5 pm.

South Entrance Station

  • At this time, Grand Canyon National Park does not require reservations to enter the park, nor does it have timed entry.
  • Entrance Fees are paid at the entrance stations. It is also possible to purchase a digital pass online through YourPassNow , or from third party vendors in the gateway town of Tusayan.
  • At the Entrance Stations, credit and debit cards, digital passes, and America the Beautiful passes are accepted for entry. Cash is not being accepted at this time. More >
 
a pair of photos showing the length of vehicle lines waiting to enter the park. 9:35 am shows 6 cars. 11:33 shows 5 long lines extending to the horizon
(South Entrance Station Webcam views). Arrive early (before 9 am) to enter the park and find a good parking spot. During summer, between 10 am—5 pm entrance station lines can be long; you can expect up to two hour wait times.  Visitors arriving from the east on I-40 or from Phoenix on I-17 can enter the park through the East Entrance at Desert View for shorter wait times. As of this update, Grand Canyon National Park does not require reservations to enter the park, nor do we have timed entry.
 
Several people walking past rows of cars in a busy parking lot with a pickup truck pulling out behind them
The parking lots around the Visitor Center usually fill by 12 noon. It's a good idea to arrive early (before 9 am) to find a parking spot and be able to make the most of your time here. Grand Canyon Visitor Center - Lot 2. NPS/M.Quinn

Prepare for Crowded Conditions

  • Visitors to Grand Canyon National Park this summer can expect long lines, full parking lots and crowded conditions.
  • The South Entrance Station, near the town of Tusayan, experiences long lines and up to two hour wait times between 10 am - 5 pm.
  • To help time your arrival, monitor the entrance station webcam >
  • Travelers arriving from the east on Interstate 40, or from Phoenix on Interstate 17, can take US 89 from Flagstaff north to Cameron, AZ., then west on State Route 64, and enter the park through the East Entrance at Desert View (for shorter wait times at the entrance station). Note: when traveling through the Navajo Nation, wearing a mask is still mandatory in public, whether a person is vaccinated or unvaccinated.
  • 5 Free South Rim shuttle bus routes are in operation. Face masks are required while boarding, and on the bus. There is no extra fee to use the shuttle system. Paying your entrance fees entitles you and your vehicle's occupants to unlimited use of the shuttles. Details >
 
South Rim Village Area — Overview Map
 
Grand Canyon village parking map shows parking lots 1-4 and A-D
The South Rim developed area showing three zones or locations: Grand Canyon Village, including the historic district on the left. Market Plaza and the campgrounds in the center, and the Visitor Center Plaza and Mather Point on the right. Public parking lots are also shown. Lots 1-4 at the Visitor Center Plaza, and Lots A-D, at Market Plaza and in the village itself.
 
South Rim Visitor Center Plaza Parking Lots adjacent to Mather Point and the Canyon Rim Trail.
Map of the Grand Canyon Visitor Center Plaza showing parking lots 1-4, and the footpaths leading from the plaza and parking lots to Mather Point and the Canyon Rim Trail. The Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route and the Village (Blue) Route shuttles may be boarded at the Visitor Center Shuttle Bus Terminal.

Visitor Center Plaza-
and Mather Point

Visitors entering the park through the South Entrance Station, often make the Visitor Center Plaza their first stop. Canyon views are a short walk from here.

  • Four parking lots (1, 2, 3, 4) surround the plaza.
  • Visitor center parking lots usually fill by 12 noon. Around the village, Lots A, B, C, D provide additional free parking.,
  • For those visiting for the day in an RV, or pulling a trailer, three parking lots provide large pull-through spaces. Details >
 
On the left, several people waiting in line under tent canopy to ask questions of a park ranger standing behind an outdoor information table with maps.
Information tables outside of the Grand Canyon Visitor Center are staffed by rangers from 8 am - 5 pm daily. Additional trip planning and hiking information is provided by signs in front of each visitor center and at other key locations throughout the park.

The Visitor Center Building is Closed

  • However, an information table, just outside of the visitor center building, is staffed by park rangers from 8 am - 5 pm daily. The rangers can answer any questions you may have.
  • In addition, trip planning and hiking information is available through signs and exhibits outside of the building — and at other key locations throughout the park.

Visitor Center Plaza Services

  • Within the Visitor Center Plaza, the Park Store is open 9 am to 7 pm daily. The Park Store features a wide variety of books, maps, souvenirs, and gifts.
  • Bright Angel Bicycle Rental and Café provides rentals and guided bicycle tours. They also have a small coffee bar/café with a grab & go menu.
 
People standing near two white and green buses at an outdoor bus terminal with several shade structures and informational signs.
South Rim Visitor Center Shuttle Bus Terminal

Shuttle Bus Service

If you have some time to explore the park, four shuttle routes serve the Visitor Center Shuttle Bus Terminal (just east of the Plaza). Arrive early and park you vehicle in one of the lots here — and leave the driving to us!

  1. Village (Blue) Route > Transportation to lodges, campgrounds, the Backcountry Information Center and Market Plaza (market, bank and post office).
  2. Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route > Eastbound to the South Kaibab Trailhead, Yaki Point and Pipe Creek Vista. Westbound to Mather Point and Yavapai Geology Museum.
  3. Visitor Center to Hermit Road Express > In operation between 12 noon and 8 pm daily. Does not make additional stops.
  4. Hikers' Express > Early morning shuttle with service from Grand Canyon Village and the Visitor Center to South Kaibab Trailhead.

Face masks are required while boarding and inside park shuttles. This is a federal mandate which applies to all public transit.

The Scenic Hermit Road (Red) Route Shuttle >
This route does not stop at the Visitor Center Shuttle Bus Terminal. It begins at the western end of Grand Canyon Village. From the Visitor Center, you can take the Village (Blue) Route shuttle to the village, then transfer to the Hermit Road (Red) Route.

 
several dozen sightseers scattered around a scenic overlook with metal guard railings around the perimeter of the viewing area.
Mather Point can become very busy during peak visitation periods.

Mather Point Overlook

If you don't have a lot of time, and just want to see the canyon, take the short 5 minute walk (.3 miles/ .48 km) to nearby Mather Point.

Because it is close to the Visitor Center and parking lots, Mather Point is a busy scenic overlook.
Depending upon how many people are at the overlook when you arrive, you may or may not feel comfortable entering the area.

if you are not fully vaccinated, wearing a face mask/covering is required — if you cannot maintain a minimum of 6 feet/2 meters from those outside of your household.

For less crowded canyon views, from Mather Point, it is possible to access the Canyon Rim Trail, which provides excellent scenic walks both the the west and east along the rim of Grand Canyon.

If you tire of walking, both the Village (Blue) Route and Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route shuttles can transport you back to the Visitor Center Bus Terminal. (Leashed pets are allowed on the Canyon Rim Trail, but not below the rim of Grand Canyon, or on park shuttle buses).

 

Locations of Interest and Related Activities

 
Looking over 2 dozen cars in a parking lot at a row of outdoor tables shaded by green umbrellas in front of a long building with lettering that reads, General Store.
The "General Store" is located in Market Plaza, next to the post office, bank, and Yavapai Lodge.  NPS/M.Quinn

Market Plaza

Market Plaza is the business center of Grand Canyon Village. Here you will find Canyon Village Market and Deli (General Store), Chase Bank, a U.S. Post Office, and Yavapai Lodge — with a gift shop, coffee shop and outdoor tavern.

Market Plaza is within walking distance of Mather Campground .2 mile/ .3 km and the adjacent Trailer Village RV Park. .3 mile/ .5 km

Market Plaza's Parking lot (B), is a large lot and is centrally located: about one mile/ 1.6 km from the Visitor Center Plaza, and one mile/ 1.6 km from the historic village. You can park your vehicle here for the day.

The Village (Blue) Route Shuttle > makes 2 stops here, and it can transport you to the Visitor Center, park lodges, campgrounds, the Village Historic District, and the Backcountry Information Center.

 
map of village showing 8 buildings and 3 parking lots along the edge of a canyon with the historic district shaded orange.
Map showing Grand Canyon Village Historic District with the Hermit Road Bus Stop on the left.
 

The Historic District is a Place of Interest

The village has an historic district, Verkamp's Visitor Center, train depot, lodges, gift shops, and galleries. The Historic District also has great views of Grand Canyon. Once parked, walk along the rim to explore the area.

The Bright Angel Trailhead and the scenic Hermit Road (Red) Route shuttles also begin from here.

Parking is limited in the Historic Districtif you move your vehicle you may not be able to find another parking spot until late in the afternoon.

 
a historic log railroad depot with the words Grand Canyon above the main entrance. In the background, an historic hotel, several stories tall.
Historic railroad depot and El Tovar Hotel in the Historic District.

Take a Walking Tour of the Historic District

  • Step back in time and wander through this historically preserved village dating back to the early 1900s. Before you visit, it is possible to view the district's buildings and sites through an interactive map. More >

  • As an alternative to driving around, park your vehicle, then ride the Village (Blue) Route Shuttle. It connects lodges, campgrounds, Backcountry Information Center, Visitor Center, and Market Plaza (market, bank and post office).

  • In addition, the Visitor Center to Hermit Road Express Shuttle provides direct service between Hermit Road Interchange (on the west end of the Historic District directly to the Visitor Center Plaza — between 12 noon and 8 pm only.

 
a backcountry trail descends thousands of feet through slopes and around sheer cliffs that make up the walls of a vast canyon. NPS/M. Quinn
DO NOT attempt to hike from the rim to the river and back in one day, especially from May to September when temperatures can reach over 110°F (43°C).

Bright Angel Trail

  • If you can set aside 4 to 8 hours, park in the village and take a day hike into Grand Canyon on Bright Angel Trail. The trailhead is just west of Bright Angel Lodge and is clearly marked. It is also shown in the map above. Before starting down the trail, review our Hiking FAQ > and Summer Hiking Safety Tips >
  • Bright Angel Trail is considered the park’s premier hiking trail; the best trail for first-time hikers. It is well maintained with covered rest-houses and drinking water (subject to pipeline breaks). It is the safest trail in Grand Canyon National Park. Check with rangers when you arrive for current trail conditions.
  • If you are not able to find a parking spot near Bright Angel Trailhead, continue driving around the Village Loop Drive to Parking Lot D — a large lot by Maswik Lodge and the Backcountry Information Center. From Lot D, it is about a .4 mile/.65 km walk to the canyon's rim and Bright Angel Trailhead.
  • For those who prefer to park in Lots 1—4 around the Visitor Center Plaza, The Village (Blue) Route shuttle will bring you to the Hermit Road Interchange, and it is just a short walk to the trailhead.
 
aerial view of a scenic road through a forested area on the edge of a vast and colorful canyon
Aerial view above Hermit Road. Photo courtesy of Aerial Filmworks, all rights reserved.

Tour Scenic Hermit Road
on Free Shuttle Buses

Starting from the Village Historic District, the Hermit Road (Red Route) shuttle bus follows the Hermit Road for 7 miles (11 km) and has spectacular views of the canyon and Colorado River. Personal vehicles are not permitted on Hermit Road between March and November.

  • In the morning, park in village Lot C or Lot D, and walk to the Hermit Road Transfer Station, and tour scenic Hermit Road on the free Hermit Road shuttles.
  • It is possible to get off at one stop, enjoy a scenic walk along the Canyon Rim Trail, then get back on the bus at the next stop.
  • Hermit Road is best experienced in the morning. During Summer, expect long shuttle boarding lines and wait times (between 10 am and 4 pm).
  • As an alternative to riding the shuttles, bicycle rentals are available from Bright Angel Bicycles located in the Visitor Center Plaza. Hermit Road is also accessible by foot or your personal bicycle. Shuttles have front loading bicycle racks, if you tire of riding.
 
Map showing the Trail of Time from the Historic Village to Yavapai Geology Museum
The Trail of Time begins with (1) The "Million Year Trail". It transitions from human time scales to geologic ones. The "Million Year Trail" is immediately followed by (2) the main Trail of Time where each meter equals one million years of Grand Canyon's geologic history. 1.4 miles/2.3 km each way.

Walk the Trail of Time

  • Park in the Village and Walk East along the Canyon Rim Trail from Verkamp's Visitor Center to Yavapai Geology Museum. (1.4 mile/2.3 km). This section of the rim trail, called the Trail of Time, is a geologic timeline with a series of exhibits that explain how Grand Canyon formed.
  • It is also possible to park at Yavapai Geology Museum and Walk West along the Trail of Time to Grand Canyon Village, spend some time exploring the village, then return to your starting point at the Musuem.
  • The Village (Blue) Route Shuttle serves Grand Canyon Village.
  • The Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route Shuttle serves Yavapai Geology Museum
 
a map showing the Grand Canyon Village Area on the left, with the 23 mile Desert View Drive drawn from left to right and ending at the Desert View settlement on the right.
 
two cars parked by the side of the road at a scenic overlook. Behind a stone guard wall, four people are viewing a colorful canyon landscape of peaks and cliffs.
Scenic 23mile (37 km) Desert View Drive features 6 developed canyon viewpoints, 5 unmarked pullouts, and 4 picnic areas. NPS/M.Quinn

Desert View Scenic Drive

There is just one scenic drive on the South Rim that is open to private vehicles all year. The 23 mile (37 km) long Desert View Drive features marvelous panoramic views of Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. There is parking at every viewpoint.

Visitors can enter and exit the park through the East Entrance at Desert View. Details >

Most Desert View services are open at this time. However, it is always a good idea to bring enough food, snacks and water for everyone in your group.

Detailed infromation about what is open at Desert View >

 

South Rim Pocket Map and Services Guide

Contains a map of the bus stops, parking areas, lodges, campgrounds and trails with distances. You will recieve a paper copy of this map when you enter the park. Download it here >

 
Map showing South Rim Grand Canyon Village and Vicinity showing the three shuttle bus routes that are in service as of July 17, 2021.
This edited version of the South Rim Pocket Map shows the three main shuttle bus routes that are in operation between July 17, and September 10, 2021 on the South Rim. The Kaibab Rim (Orange Route), on the right, and the Hermit Road (Red Route) on the left transport visitors to outstanding views. The Village (Blue Route) in the center, connects the Visitor Center Plaza with lodges, campground, Backcountry Information Center, and Market Plaza (market, bank, and post office).
 
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Last updated: July 26, 2021

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Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Phone:

928-638-7888

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