The Ultimate Grand Canyon Trip Planner From Locals Who Know

Welcome to Grand Canyon Trip Planner! This is your guide on how to visit the Grand Canyon National Park and surrounding attractions. 

In this Grand Canyon Trip Planner, hikers, backpackers, photographers, discerning Moms and other outdoorsy types provide tips for making your trip to Grand Canyon National Park the best it can be.

Table of Contents

Pinterest graphic with text: that reads: Grand CAnyon Trip Planner in green n a white circle. Overlays photo of the Grand Canyon that shows green pine trees, gold and purple layers of rock - cartoons of car, plane, map, compass and backpack decorate the graphic

The Grand Canyon is a place that simply takes your breath away, and with this guide, you’ll be able to experience all that it has to offer. From hiking the famous Bright Angel Trail to taking a scenic drive along Desert View Drive, you’ll find plenty of ways to explore this incredible natural wonder.

You’ll also find information on the best Grand Canyon viewpoints, the best day hiking in the Grand Canyon, and how to make the most of your time at this natural wonder. And with tips and recommendations from local experts like us, you’ll be able to plan your trip with confidence.

So don’t hesitate—come along with us, and let’s discover the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon!

How to get to Grand Canyon National Park

Hello fellow travelers!

Are you planning a trip to this wondrous national park and wondering how to get to Grand Canyon? Look no further because we’ve got all the information you need to make your journey a smooth and enjoyable one.

The Grand Canyon is located in the state of Arizona, about a 4.5-hour drive from Phoenix and a 5-hour drive from Las Vegas.

Flying to visit the Grand Canyon

If you’re flying in, the closest airport is Flagstaff Pullium Airport, from which you can rent a car or take a shuttle to the South Rim of the park. Driving from the Flagstaff airport to the South Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park will take only one hour and twenty-six minutes.

However, the South Entrance is only one of four different gateways to Grand Canyon National Park. [See the map above.]

The Grand Canyon is ginormous, so pick your passion

It’s important to know that the Grand Canyon is ginormous—the state of Rhode Island could fit inside it! So don’t count on seeing the whole enchilada on your first visit.

One of the first steps for your Grand Canyon Trip Planner is to decide upfront which area of this immense geological wonder you want to visit:

  • Grand Canyon South Rim
  • North Rim Grand Canyon
  • Grand Canyon East Entrance
  • West Rim Grand Canyon
Shop Now Skip Airline Fees with these Carry-Ons!
collage of 4 photos side by side depicting from left to right: North- hiking boots and poles on ledge looking over grand Canyon. South: day hiker stands on edge of canyon. East: tower of native rock on edge of canyon. Wset: couple stands on Skybridge over canyon
The four gateways to the Grand Canyon each have their own personalities | Photo credits: Bill Ferris, Stacey Wittig and Arizona Office of Tourism

The South Rim, the most popular and accessible area, can be reached by car, shuttle or train from Williams, Arizona.

The North Rim, less crowded and offers more solitude, is open from May to October and can only be reached by car or tour.

The East Entrance is accessed by car from the Navajo Reservation.

Most helicopter and VIP tours from Las Vegas go to the West Rim, part of the Hualapai Nation and not inside the national park boundaries. Helicopters are one of the most exciting ways how to get to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.

Bus and shuttle services to Grand Canyon

Bus and shuttle services operate between the park and Phoenix and Las Vegas, but the connections are not always convenient.

We recommend flying into Flagstaff and renting a car to get you to the Grand Canyon South or North Rims or East Entrance.

A fun and hassle-free way how to get to Grand Canyon is to hire a private guide or reserve one of the incredible tour services. Some tours pick you up from your Las Vegas hotel or Phoenix or Scottsdale resort. Check your options below:

> Tours from Scottsdale

How to get to Grand Canyon from Scottsdale

A quick and easy way to get to the Grand Canyon and back from Scottsdale, Arizona, is one of these tours we found for you on Viator:

> Tours from Las Vegas

How to get to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas

Take one of these convenient tours to the Grand Canyon and back from Las Vegas, Nevada, if you don’t want the hassle of arranging transportation. We found the highly-rated tours on Viator:

Take the Train to the Grand Canyon South Rim

diesel locomotive with "GCR" inscribed on its bow sits on railroad tracks
Grand Canyon Railway locomotive at Grand Canyon South Rim | Reinhard Dietrich photo via Wikipedia

A vintage train runs from Williams, Arizona, to the Grand Canyon South Rim 65 miles away. Take a trip back in time on the Grand Canyon Railway

Grand Canyon Railway

Leave the car behind and travel in roomy comfort to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. No need to fight traffic or find parking space. Live entertainment, including strolling musicians, cowboys and a train robbery shootout, are all part of the fun. The kids are entertained, and you’ll relax to the sound of the singing rails as the Arizona landscape goes by.

The historic Grand Canyon Railway, with musicians and a Wild West shootout reenactment, is a fun and entertaining way how to get to Grand Canyon.

Amtrak from Los Angeles or Chicago

Amtrak stops in Flagstaff on the Southwest Chief route that links Los Angeles with Chicago. The Flagstaff Amtrak Station, which shares the historic train station with the Flagstaff Visitor Center, is Amtrak’s closest stop to the Grand Canyon.

Unfortunately, Amtrak does not stop in Williams, AZ, so you must arrange transportation to Williams to connect to the Grand Canyon Railway

Once you’ve arrived at the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon shuttle bus at the South Rim | NPS photo

Once you’ve arrived at the Grand Canyon, you’ll have various options for exploring the park. Free shuttle buses glide you around the South Rim.

No matter how you choose to get there, the Grand Canyon is a truly unforgettable destination that is not to be missed.

So pack your bags, book your tickets, lace up your hiking boots and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!

Happy travels, The Grand Canyon Trip Planner Team

P.S. Now that you know how to get to Grand Canyon, make sure to drop over to Best Places to Stay at Grand Canyon

We’re a collaboration of Grand Canyon experts who live and play in Northern Arizona, and we want to help you discover safe and fun Grand Canyon experiences. That’s why we’ve designed the Grand Canyon Trip Planner just for you.

UNSTOPPABLE Stacey was NOT provided with accommodations, meals or other compensation for the purpose of this guide. The Arizona travel writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.

In addition, this blog, UNSTOPPABLE Stacey Travel, contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, Stacey earns a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the costs of keeping this travel blog active. 

Further, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thanks for reading.

Enjoy this article? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below. Please share this article with the red- and blue-colored social media buttons.

To get more FREE travel tips and inspiration, simply subscribe below and updates will be delivered directly to your email inbox.

Shop Now Skip Airline Fees with these Carry-Ons!

Leave a Comment

Want to know How to Buy Cheap Flights?

Master UNSTOPPABLE Stacey’s secrets for finding cheap flights, and you’ll be going to more of your dream destinations than you thought possible.

Get instant access to the
How to Buy Cheap Flights report

Like what you see?

Then Subscribe Today

Get UNSTOPPABLE Stacey’s email updates delivered conveniently to your inbox.
No spam, promise!