The Grand Canyon is entirely located in the State of Arizona.
It is nearly 300 miles long measured along the route of the Colorado River, and although it covers a large area, there are only a few areas we can go to see it.
Most of the Grand Canyon area is remote and undeveloped back-country with the vast majority of visitors going to a small handful of widely separated developed areas – each of which offers very different facilities and experiences.
South Rim Grand Canyon National Park
- The vast majority of visitors – over 4 million each year – go to the South Rim National Park.
- The South Rim is the oldest, most established, and finished area available.
- It is a major tourist destination and has the most lodges, restaurants, viewing points, and other attractions.
- It takes 4-1/5 to 5 hours to get there by car or bus from Las Vegas; if you take a scheduled tour from Las Vegas, you’ll have about 3 hours on the ground at the Grand Canyon.
- Grand Canyon Village is right on the edge of the South Rim, and it is the most popular, famous, best developed and most visited part of the canyon.
- Grand Canyon Village is where all the day tours from Las Vegas go.
- It is the ‘classic’ Grand Canyon that is so often shown on travel shows, magazines, and posters.
- The historic El Tovar lodge and Bright Angel Lodge are here at The Village, and the famous mule ride to Phantom Ranch at the bottom starts here.
- The South Rim is only 55 miles from a major interstate highway (I-40), and closest to a major southwest airport (Phoenix).
- The elevation of Grand Canyon Village is 7,000 feet (2150 meters) above sea level, so there is snow during the winter months, but Grand Canyon Village is open year round.
- It is very busy and crowded during the peak summer tourist season, and very beautiful and less crowded during the off-season.
North Rim Grand Canyon National Park
- The remote North Rim is less developed, and is at a much higher elevation than the Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim – about 8,500 feet (2,500 meters).
- There is only a single lodge, some cabins and campgrounds, and there are no major cities, airports, or highways nearby.
- It takes 5 hours or so to drive from the South Rim to the North Rim around the east end of the Grand Canyon near Page, Arizona.
- The North Rim Lodge is surrounded by forest, and it is closed during most of the year because of deep snow.
- It is much less crowded, much less developed, and it takes 5 hours or more to get to the North Rim National Park from Las Vegas.
- The North Rim Lodge is exceedingly beautiful, rustic, serene, and peaceful.
- Scheduled day trips from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon North Rim are hard to find; we suggest you rent a car and find lodging in the area to stay the night.
- The astronomers tell us that on a clear night you can see 7,000 stars in the sky from up there.
Grand Canyon West
- Grand Canyon West (sometimes called the ‘West Rim’) is on the Hualapai reservation.
- There are Grand Canyon helicopter tours available, some of which include a motorized boat trip on the Colorado River (smooth water, nothing rough).
- The Skywalk glass bridge is there at Eagle Point.
- Grand Canyon West is the closest developed part of the canyon system to Las Vegas (about a 2-1/2 hour drive from the strip).
- A very nice airport at Grand Canyon West has been built; tour companies fly visitors in from Las Vegas, Phoenix, Sedona, and other nearby airports, using helicopters and commuter-size airplanes that carry up to 30 passengers.
- Grand Canyon West Rim has been developed some, and is still raw and unfinished in many ways, which adds to the beauty of Grand Canyon West.