Visiting Grand Canyon During December 2023 Holidays

This is the pullout at Duck on a Rock overlook, along Desert View Drive. Beyond an almost sheer cliff, and immense canyon is visible in the distance, with colorful peaks and buttes. NPS photo.
Open to private vehicles all year, scenic Desert View Drive follows the South Rim of the canyon 23 miles (37 km) between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View. There are six developed canyon viewpoints and five unmarked overlooks. This view is from Duck on a Rock Overlook.

NPS photo/M. Quinn


Like many national parks, Grand Canyon has seen a dramatic increase in visitation. The South Rim experiences crowded conditions during busy periods, including spring break, summer, fall weekends and winter holidays. You can expect:.

  • Long entrance station lines,
  • Long shuttle bus lines,
  • Limited parking near Grand Canyon Visitor Center,
  • Large crowds at popular viewpoints.

However, there are ways to navigate and avoid some of this congestion to make the most of your time on the South Rim.

Below are some tips, need to know information, and suggested activities.


South Entrance Station

Use this webcam to help time your South Rim arrival. During fall weekends and holidays, there can be long lines and up to two hour wait times between 10 am and 4 pm. This view refreshes every 5 minutes. Be sure to check the time and date in the image, to be sure it is current.

The entrance station is about 1.6 miles (2.5 km) north of the gateway town of Tusayan, Arizona, and 4.9 miles (7.8 km) south of Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

View Webcam

Entrance Fees and Passes

  • 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 an entrance pass from third party vendors in the gateway town of Tusayan. (Between May 15, and November 30, when the North Rim is open, the pass includes admission to both South and North Rims.)

  • Private Vehicle ($35 valid for 7 days): admits everyone traveling with you in your personal vehicle. (up to 15 people)
  • Motorcycle ($30 valid for 7 days): admits motorcyclist and up to one passenger.
  • Individual ($20 valid for 7 days): for bicyclists, hikers, and pedestrians.

  • Additional kinds of entrance passes, including senior, military, access and annual passes >

    E-mail your questions here >

  • At park Entrance Stations, credit and debit cards, and America the Beautiful passes are accepted for entry. Cash is not being accepted at this time.

  • Annual passes are also on sale at all park entrance stations.

Four lines of cars wait in line to pay the entrance fee at a wooden building with gabled roofs.
The South Entrance to the park can get this busy during spring break, summer and weekends during the fall. If you arrive between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, be prepared for a wait between 45 minutes to 2 hours. Try to arrive before 9:30 am or after 4 pm.

Fall Weekends Are Busy on the South Rim

  • Know where you will spend the night. Campgrounds and lodges book 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.

  • Note: the information on this page is about visiting the South Rim. Considering a trip to the North Rim during 2023? Visit this link >

  • Those planning to hike into the canyon should be prepared for extreme summer heat, winter cold, 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 photo/Dana Belcher

1) Take the Train

  • As an alternative, to driving, depart from Williams, Arizona, and ride Grand Canyon Railway to the South Rim. (Distance 59.7 miles/96 km)
  • 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 in the village. Details >
Two lanes leading to an entrance station. The fee booths are built into narrow masonry walls that are 16 feet high. Extending from the walls are roofs that cover the part of the drive-through lanes, where vehicles are alongside the fee booths.
The East Entrance Station at Desert View

NPS photo/M. Quinn

2) East Entrance Station at Desert View

Travelers arriving from the east on Interstate 40, or from Phoenix on Interstate 17, can take US 89 from Flagstaff, Arizona, north to Cameron, Arizona, then west on State Route 64, —to enter the park through the East Entrance at Desert View.

(The East Entrance has shorter wait times at the entrance station, and Desert View Point has spectacular views of the Colorado River a mile below the canyon rim).

Aerial view showing 5 numbered lanes leading to a park entrance station in a forested area. several vehicles are approaching.
Approaching the entrance station, the far-left lane, lane 1 is the best lane to take if you have already purchased an entrance pass in the town of Tusayan or have one of the America the Beautiful passes.

3) South Entrance Station

  • The South Entrance Station, near the town of Tusayan, Arizona, receives the most traffic, and experiences long lines and up to two hour wait times between 10 am and 4 pm.

  • To help time your arrival, you can monitor the entrance station's webcam >

  • If you have purchased a pass in advancestay in the left lane as you approach the South Entrance Station and enter through lane 1 (far left)
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 9:30 am) to enter the park and find a good parking spot. During holiday weeks, between 10 am—3 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. 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 photo/M. Quinn

Prepare for Crowded Conditions

  • Visitors to Grand Canyon National Park during summer and fall holiday weeks can expect long lines, full parking lots and crowded conditions.

    The parking lots around the Visitor Center usually fill by 12 noon. It's a good idea to arrive early (before 9:30 am) to find a parking spot and be able to make the most of your time here.

    The best way to tour the village is to park your vehicle once, then ride the Village (Blue) Route Shuttle around the South Rim. It connects the Visitor Center, lodges, campgrounds, Backcountry Information Center, and Market Plaza (Market, deli, outdoor ATM, and U.S. Post Office).

  • Two additional shuttle bus routes will transport you out to scenic overlooks. There is no extra fee to use the shuttle system. Paying your entrance fee 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.

  • The Four parking lots (1, 2, 3, 4) usually fill by 12 noon.
  • Around the village, Lots A, B, C, D provide additional free parking. (See map above).
  • For those visiting for the day in an RV, or pulling a trailer, three parking lots provide large pull-through spaces. Details >

Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations are available in and around Grand Canyon Village. Chargers are open to the public, and free of charge. Details >

  • Note: EV charging is not available at Desert View or on the North Rim.
a large room with high ceilings and exhibits and maps on the walls. standing behind a curved desk, a park ranger is answering visitor questions.
Visitor Center Hours: 10 am to 4 pm daily.

Visitor Center Hours

Winter 2023-2024 Hours

  • The Visitor Center is open from 10 am to 4 pm daily.
  • Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder, the park's 20 minute orientation film, is presented —on the hour and half-hour, on the large screen in the theater. (From 10 am to 3:30 pm daily)
  • When the Visitor Center is closed, trip planning and hiking information is available through sidewalk signs and exhibit kiosks outside of the building.

interior of a large gift shop that features books, gifts, and some outdoor clothing.
Grand Canyon Conservancy Park Store across the plaza from the Visitor Center.

Visitor Center Plaza Services

  • The Park Store is open 8 am to 6 pm daily, on the south side of the Visitor Center Plaza. The park store has:
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

NPS photo/M. Quinn

Free Shuttle Bus Service

If you have some time to explore the park, three 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 (1, 2, 3, 4) — and leave the driving to us!

  • Village (Blue) Route > Transportation to lodges, campgrounds, the Backcountry Information Center and Market Plaza (market, outdoor ATM, and U.S. Post Office).
  • Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route > Eastbound to the South Kaibab Trailhead, Yaki Point and Pipe Creek Vista. Westbound to Mather Point and Yavapai Geology Museum.
  • Hikers' Express > Early morning shuttle with service from Grand Canyon Village and the Visitor Center to South Kaibab Trailhead.

From March 1 through November 30, an additional scenic shuttle route: the Hermits Rest (Red) Route is in operation, however, it does not stop at the Visitor Center Shuttle Bus Terminal.

The route begins at the western end of the Village. If you park at the Visitor Center, you can ride the Village (Blue) Route shuttle to the Village Historic District, then transfer to the Hermits Rest (Red) Route Shuttle > The route is CLOSED During Winter.

During December, January and February, it is possible to tour Hermit Road in your vehicle.



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 (0.3 miles/ 0.48 km), from the Visitor Center Plaza 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.

For less crowded canyon views, starting from Mather Point, it is possible to access the Canyon Rim Trail, which provides excellent scenic walks both to the west and to the 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. Pets are not permitted on park shuttle buses).


Additional 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), an outdoor ATM machine, the 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 0.2 mile/ 0.3 km and the adjacent Trailer Village RV Park. 0.3 mile/ 0.5 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 shaded area shows the designated "masks required" zone.

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.

Bright Angel Trailhead is also located 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. Park Rangers suggest parking your vehicle, then taking a walking tour, or riding the free shuttle buses out to scenic views and other South Rim locations.

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 >

  • An audio tour of the Historic District entitled, "Full Steam Ahead", is available here on the website. You may also download the NPS Moblie App, then navigate to Grand Canyon National Park, and toggle "save this park for offline use." This will pre-download the audio tour, and you won't have to use mobile data during your visit.

  • As an alternative to driving around, park your vehicle once, then ride the Village (Blue) Route Shuttle around the South Rim. It connects lodges, campgrounds, Backcountry Information Center, Visitor Center, and Market Plaza (market, outdoor ATM and post office).
aerial view of a 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 Hermit Road

Scenic Hermit Road begins on the west side of the Village Historic District, near Bright Angel Lodge. The road follows the canyon rim for 7 miles (11 km) out to Hermits Rest, and the Hermit Trailhead.

If you are visiting during December, January, and February, Hermit Road is open to private vehicles because there is no bus service during the winter months.

  • Hermit Road may be accessed throughout the year by hikers, runners and bicyclists - unless closed by incliment weather.
  • The Canyon Rim Trail also follows the rim of the canyon for 7.8 miles (12.6 km) alongside Hermit Road.
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.
  • If you tire of walking, shuttle buses can return you to your starting point
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). Check with the Backcountry Information Center when you arrive, for current trail conditions.

Current Trail Closures

Current Transcanyon Waterline construction-related closures to Grand Canyon National Park trail and campground areas.

    1/2 mile from the Trailhead down to the Silver Bridge, including Havasupai Gardens Campground.
    CLOSURE DURATION: December 1, 2023, through April 14, 2024
    East of Horn Creek to the South Kaibab Trail (the Tipoff)
    CLOSURE DURATION: December 1, 2023, through April 14, 2024
    CLOSURE DURATION: October 12, 2023, through March 14, 2025

Where can people day hike - now that Bright Angel Trail is closed?

Visitors can still have a below the rim experience on the Bright Angel Trail, as it will remain open from the Trailhead to nearly 1/2 mile down the trail to the turnaround point (during the December. 1, 2023, through April 14, 2024, closure period.)

Visitors looking for longer day hikes into the canyon can hike down the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point or Cedar Ridge and back to experience some of the steep and challenging terrain. Since there is no parking at the South Kaibab Trailhead, we suggest parking at the Visitor Center, then taking the Kaibab (Orange) Route shuttle bus to the trailhead. It is a 9-minute ride from the Visitor Center to the South Kaibab Trailhead. Details and schedule >

During the winter months, icy trail conditions are present on the upper reaches of all inner canyon trails, as well as along the Canyon Rim Trail.

Visitors should not attempt these hikes or walks without assessing conditions and managing risk by wearing foot traction and using hiking poles. Both foot traction and poles are on sale in the shops and stores throughout Grand Canyon Village. More winter hiking tips >

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 23 mile (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 only 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.

You can enter and exit the park through the East Entrance. Details >

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

Detailed infromation about what is available 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. Download it here >

Map showing South Rim Grand Canyon Village and Vicinity showing four shuttle bus routes that are in service during summer 2023
Two shuttle bus routes operate from December 1, 2023, through February 29, 2024. Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route, right, transports visitors to S. Kaibab Trailhead and outstanding views at Yaki Point. Village (Blue) Route, center, connects Visitor Center with lodges, campgrounds, Backcountry Information Center, and Market Plaza (market, outdoor ATM, post office). Hermit Road (Red) Route resumes March 1. Tusayan (Purple) Route will resume service during summer 2024.

Visit this webpage (updated daily) for the current list of what is open, hours of operation, and public health updates.

Last updated: December 8, 2023

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