Grand Canyon - South Rim


Where? : Located in northern Arizona 1 and a half hr drive north of Flagstaff.

Google Map Link


What? : Probably the most famous nature wonder in the US, the mighty Colorado river cut it way south west in a 1.6 mile deep canyon.

When? : Year round, winter is cooled and snowy and summer can be very hot.

Last time we visit here (Christmas evening of 2016) we had a strong winter storm roweling in the day after, we cut our visit after few hr and drove south to Sedona (it heavily snowed over there, but we were able to travel and hike). People that stayed in the high Grand Canyon got stuck for a day or two. My advice check in advance the weather conditions and plan accordingly.


Due note 1: In this blog I’m referring only to the main south rim section of the Grand Canyon.


Due note 2: At winter the entrance on hwy 64 from Cameron Az can be close.

So if you are planning to come/go after the Grand Canyon to Page AZ you will need to go through Flagstaff.


Due note 3: Check in the website for travel arrangement, shuttle options and schedules especially at the busy tourist season.


Due note 4: the main park section near the Village can be packed with tourists, full parking lot, try to come early as you can, you will not regret the early morning view and enjoy less people.


Due note 5: many years ago, I took the helicopter trip and really enjoy it, check in advance. I think there is also 3D movie and other tourist attractions if you want…


My thoughts: I was living in Phoenix Az 20 years ago, so we visited the Grand Canyon many times. Indeed, this is impressive to see for the first time this might canyon, just look at the vast landscape, all rock layers and the deep canyon, so deep you can’t even see the river below.

But …. This park is “too big” for my taste, I miss intimacy feeling with the landscape, it is like looking from afar.

So…. although his is a must-see place at list once. Assume you are not doing overnight hike down to the Colorado River or Rim-to-Rim day hike, I’m not sure I will recommend spending here more than one day.


The visit:

At all the times I visited the Grand Canyon I never did any significant hike usually hiking sections of the Rim Trail and viewpoints. At my last visit we planned to go halfway down the canyon and then climb up but due to snowstorm we changed our plans.

I do recommend going Grand Canyon Visitor Center and park there (not near the Village). Here you can hike the Rim trail, usually with less people. You can go out to the east in the direction of South Kaibab Trailhead or you can take west in the direction of the small but nice Yavapai Geology Museum. You can keep going west for less than a mile and you will reach the main park village, train station and many lodging options.


There are few Shuttle Bus Routes that connecting the different park section and, in some cases, they are the only option to get to points like: South Kabiba Trailhead and Yaki Point at the east Rim Trail, or Hermits Rest road in the west.


Sleeping Arrangements:

In any case try to reserve your hotel rooms or camp site in advance, especially at the springtime and holydays weeks.

A very good option is to find hotel accommodations at Tusayan on hwy 64 just before the park south entrance, there are few large hotels and it is 30 min drive from the park visitor center.

Another valid option is to spend the night at Flagstaff, weak up early drive to the Grand Canyon for a full day trip.

I do not recommend camping during winter, you can get a snowstorm and very called temperatures.