The Grand Canyon, Arizona is one of the world’s seven natural wonders, attracting nearly 5 million visitors every year. The park stretches 277 miles along the Colorado River. However, 90% of the visitors see the Park from the overlooks along the South Rim. The South Rim, which is the most accessible part of the park, includes historic Village, Hermit Road, and the scenic Desert View Drive.

Grand Canyon, Arizona
I was driving a Cool Looking Kia Soul Rental Car

The North Rim of the park is the less visited part of the Grand Canyon even though it’s only 10 miles across the canyon from the South Rim, but it is 220 miles, or approximately 4.5 hours drive by car, all the way around the National Park.

Best Time to Visit

Grand Canyon is always beautiful, but it depends on what you are interested in, as the conditions vary significantly all through the year.

Spring between the months of March-May is the best time of the year to visit the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. This could be the ideal season if you are looking for mild temperatures, comfortable hiking, light precipitation, and fewer crowds.

Summer between June – August is the picking season; they are the most popular months but crowded, and temperatures are hot and regular thunderstorms may not be the best. 

Fall between September and November is also a great month to visit Grand Canyon’s South Rim as the crowds drop significantly after Labor Day and the temperature. 

Winter between December – February has freezing temperatures, and that definitely scares many visitors away, but Grand Canyon covered in snow is a gorgeous sight. On average, South Rim gets about five feet of snow in winter.

How Did I Get There

Over the years, I was fortunate to make a couple of trips to the Grand Canyon, and each time I discovered something new. There are several ways to arrive at the National Park. Many visitors take a day trip from Las Vegas; many fly out of Phoenix and Las Vegas. Daily flights also arrive in Flagstaff, only about 73 miles from the Park. You must rent a car from these airports or reserve a shuttle to the park. Below are a few examples of how I traveled during my previous trips.

1st Option: Flying to Flagstaff, then a road trip to Tusayan

Road Trip to Grand Canyon, Arizona
Road Trip to Grand Canyon, Arizona

2nd Option: Flying to Grand Canyon from Boulder City Airport

From Las Vegas, we took this exciting 10 hours tour by Grand Canyon Airlines. First, we were picked up from our hotel in Las Vegas and transported to Boulder City Airport. Then our unforgettable scenic experience started with a 1-hour 10-minute thrilling air journey by a small plane. The large glass windows on both sides of the plane were perfect for tourists and allowed me to take some breathtaking pictures of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Canyons from the air.

A View of Grand Canyon from the air!
A View of Grand Canyon from the air!

Grand Canyon National Park Airport was only 7 miles from the Canyon’s village, and upon arrival, we were transferred to rim by a guided bus. We visited a few most popular viewpoints for photo ops and had our box lunch provided by our tour guide. After the end of the tour, we returned the same way and dropped off at our hotel in Las Vegas. It was a great experience, but the drawback was that you might miss out on a lot of exciting activities due to limited time.

Flight to Grand Canyon
This sightseeing flight operated by Grand Canyon Airlines was a thrilling experience!
Hoover Dam from Gran Canyon Airline
A view of Hoover Dam from the flight

3rd Option: Driving from Las Vegas, Nevada

From Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim is another popular drive among day trippers. The drive via Hoover dam is about 4+ hours and doable in a day. We did from Vegas hotel – the South Rim – back to Hotel trip in about 12 hours but was little hectic despite shared driving. It’s recommended only if you are in a tight vacation schedule in Las Vegas. 

Make a Memorable Train Trip

Take the historic Railway from Williams, Arizona to the breathtaking Grand Canyon. Enrich your adventure with an entertaining train trip with cowboys and western musicians on vintage rail cars. The journey is about 2 hours, and during this time, you will have the opportunity to see plenty of wildlife. This is one of the most popular National Park experiences for the entire Family.

Grand Canyon train station
Grand Canyon train station
Grand Canyon train station
Local Train station

Top Things To Do In Grand Canyon, Arizona

The South Rim includes the historic Village, The Scenic and Historic Hermit Road, and the Desert. View Drive. The South Rim is open all year long, even on holidays.

A Must Do – The Desert View Drive

The less crowded Desert View Drive, with many breathtaking overlooks and un-named pullouts, will allow you to experience the ever-changing moods of the Grand Canyon. The scenic route is east of Village on the South Rim, which follows the rim for 25 miles (40 km) out to the Desert View Watchtower and East Entrance. The Drive is well maintained, and pulling out to lookouts is easy as signs are well marked. 

Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Beautiful view of Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona

The map below shows the location of many breathtaking overlooks and un-named pullouts on Desert View Drive and will allow you to experience the ever-changing moods of the Grand Canyon. It also displays the scenic Desert View Drive with marked outlooks. It’s about 23 miles long toward the east from theVillage or Information Plaza to Desert View Tower. If you have a self-driven car, then this is a must-do. Equally beautiful no matter what time of the day you visit, each has its unique beauty. Sunrise in the east of Desert View Tower and Sunset towards the village will bring home some beautiful shots. Also, George and the valley will be bright when the sun is in a higher position.

Grand Canyon South Rim
All the marked outlooks along the scenic Desert View Drive, Grand Canyon South Rim

Pull Over At Pipe Creek Vista

This pullout can be accessed by private vehicle or the free Kaibab Rim Route (Orange) Shuttle Bus, departing from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

Pipe Creek Vista
Pipe Creek Vista, Desert View Drive, Grand Canyon
 Desert View Drive
View of Grand Canyon from Desert View Drive

A Quick Stop At Yaki Point (Elevation: 7262 feet / 2213 meters)

If you like to enjoy the sunset or sunrise, then the quiet Yaki Point is your best bet. This is the only viewpoint on Desert View Drive that is not accessible by a private vehicle. Instead, it can be reached using the free Kaibab Rim Route (Orange) Shuttle Bus departing from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

Yaki Point, Grand Canyon National Park
Yaki Point Lookout by the Desert View Drive.

Another Stop At Grandview Point (Elevation: 7399 feet / 2256 meters)

This popular viewpoint offers panoramic views of the National Park from east to west, including several bends of the Colorado River to the east. The historic Grandview Trail begins here. This trail is very steep! In the summer, much of the trail is in full sun. In the winter, ice, and snow can make hiking treacherous. Always use caution on the Grandview Trail.

Grandview Point Lookout, Grand Canyon
Grandview Point Lookout, on Desert View Drive

Don’t Miss Moran Point (Elevation: 7160 feet / 2182 meters)

This is one of the most colorful spots on Desert View Drive; you must stop here and enjoy the scenic view of the rocks, the sediment colors are varied, and the lights reflect off the rocks to provide beautiful views.

Moran Point Lookout by Desert View Drive
Moran Point Lookout by Desert View Drive

Tusayan Ruin and Museum

The Tusayan Ruin is off the Desert View Drive (Route 64 ). This ruin is the remains of a small ancestral Puebloan village. A relatively flat 0.1-mile (200 meters) trail wraps around the ruin and offers the opportunity to learn more about the place and the people who once called this home.

Next Stop At Lipan Point (Elevation: 7360 feet / 2243 meters)

This viewpoint is also along Route 64 (Desert View Drive), worth stopping to embrace the beautiful nature. From this viewpoint, you will witness several points of interest.

Lipan Point, Desert View Drive
Lipan Point, Desert View Drive

Must Stop At Navajo Point (Elevation: 7461 feet / 2275 meters)

Just a few minutes west of the Desert View Watchtower, this viewpoint offers a great view of the Watchtower, panoramic vistas to the west, and a view north up the Colorado River. Navajo Point is the highest overlook on the South Rim – unless one is standing on the top observation deck of the Watchtower itself. This is because the top of the tower measures slightly higher.

Navajo Point, Desert View Drive
Navajo Point, Desert View Drive

Stretch Out At Desert View Watchtower (Elevation: 7438 feet / 2267 meters)

Along Desert View Drive, you will find a parking area, and a short ¼-mile (½-km) walk will lead you to these historic buildings, to the rim. From Desert View Point, you can enjoy the Colorado River and make a big bend to the west. Finally, you can climb the stairs to the watchtower’s top for outstanding canyon views—a great photo opportunity for photographers. At this location will find a bookstore, snack bar, general store, service station, restrooms, and seasonal campground. 

Desert View Watchtower
Desert View Watchtower
Desert View Watchtower
Inside view of Desert View Watchtower

Where to stay in Grand Canyon, Arizona

Canyon Plaza Premier Studio and Apartments

Views of the valleys and forest areas are featured in select Arizona apartments. Grand Canyon, South Rim Entrance, is a 5-minute drive away. Studios feature a kitchenette, and apartments include a full kitchen at Canyon Plaza Premier Studio and Apartments. A balcony is provided in each unit. An outdoor swimming pool and indoor hot tub are available for guest relaxation. A concierge is provided to assist guests with area attractions, and many Grand Canyon tours pick up from the hotel. Grand Canyon National Park Airport is just 2 miles from the accommodation.

Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon

Featuring an indoor swimming pool, this Grand Canyon, Arizona hotel is 15 minutes drive from Grand Canyon National Park. Free Wi-Fi is provided in all rooms. In addition, a flat-screen TV with cable is featured in all guest rooms at Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon. Furnished, each air-conditioned room features coffee-making facilities. A hot tub is provided onsite at Grand Canyon Holiday Inn Express. In addition, fax and photocopying services are offered onsite. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is 229 mi away, while Kaibab National Forest is 14 mi from Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon.

My Opinion and Last Word

Have you been to Grand Canyon, Arizona? Any cool tips to share?

I loved being in Grand Canyon, Arizona, and want to go back again. I hope my story has motivated you to visit Arizona.

Please leave a comment below! I’d love to hear from you to improve my knowledge. 

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Hasan Mahmud

Traveler, Blogger, and Travel Photographer!

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