Julie United States 34 Comments

If you only have one day in the Grand Canyon, what should you do?

Grand Canyon National Park is enormous. With thousands of acres of land, four rims to visit, plus the option to hike below the rim, there is no way that you will get to everything in just one day.

However, with one day in the Grand Canyon, you have just enough time to see the highlights.

Since the Grand Canyon is so large and different travelers have different interests, we have several itineraries to choose from. Whether you are visiting the Grand Canyon on a quick day trip or have a full day to spend here, get suggestions on the best things to do with your time. 

We have visited the Grand Canyon multiple times over the past 20 years. Tim and I recently hiked the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim (North Rim to South Rim) and Tyler and I have hiked the Grand Canyon South Rim to South Rim (also called rim-to-river-to-rim). We have been here during the hot summer months and during the busy Christmas holiday season. We have lots of great information to share with you.

Let’s get started.

Quick Facts About the Grand Canyon

In 2020, the Grand Canyon was the fifth most visited national park in the United States. It’s busy all year but the biggest crowds will be here between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

The Grand Canyon is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the Natural Wonders of the World.

Grand Canyon National Park is located in Arizona. You can combine the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Sedona, and Monument Valley in one epic road trip. 

There are 1.2 million acres of land inside of Grand Canyon National Park. The Colorado River has been at work for 5 to 6 million years, carving out this canyon. For 277 miles, this river twists and turns along the canyon floor.

On a visit to the Grand Canyon, you can take in the sweeping views from the canyon rim, or, journey below the rim on foot or by mule. With more time, you can raft the Colorado River.

But first, before you decide what to do in the Grand Canyon, you have to decide which part of the park to visit.

Grand Canyon Infographic

Which Rim Should You Visit?

It is easiest to think about the Grand Canyon in four sections: the South Rim, the North Rim, Grand Canyon East and Grand Canyon West. Here is an overview of each of these sections.

Sections of Grand Canyon

The South Rim

When you see photos of the Grand Canyon, most likely, these were taken on the South Rim.

For 32 miles, you can drive, hike, or bike along the South Rim, visiting dozens of spectacular viewpoints. For those looking for more adventure, journey below the rim on foot on one of several trails that start on the South Rim.

South Rim View

South rim of the Grand Canyon | One Day in the Grand Canyon

The South Rim is the most popular area of the park to visit. This is where you will find Grand Canyon Village and its large collection of hotels and lodges, restaurants, and shops. Just a short drive from Grand Canyon Village is Tusayan, a small town that also makes a handy home base for exploring the South Rim.

Because of its amenities and jaw-dropping views, the South Rim is the best section of the park to visit if you only have one day in the Grand Canyon.

The North Rim

Located on the opposite side of the Colorado River is the North Rim. From this rim, you get very similar, sweeping views of the canyon. There are several viewpoints to visit and a few hiking trails to explore.

North Rim Grand Canyon

The North Rim | One Day in the Grand Canyon

This part of the Grand Canyon is a beautiful place to visit, but with less to do and its remote location, it’s not the best option if you have just one day in the Grand Canyon.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Due to its remote location and high elevation, the North Rim is only open from mid-May through mid-October.

Grand Canyon East

Grand Canyon East encompasses a large area of land that sits to the east of the Grand Canyon. It is not officially part of Grand Canyon National Park. In this area, you will find Antelope Canyon, Marble Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and other sites in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

This is a beautiful area to visit but you will not get the iconic Grand Canyon views from Grand Canyon East.

Grand Canyon West

Grand Canyon West’s claim to fame is the Skywalk, a glass walkway that is perched high above the floor of the canyon. For those visiting Las Vegas, this is most accessible part of the Grand Canyon to visit. But is it worth it?

In our opinion…no. We visited the Skywalk in 2018. For our family of four, we paid almost $300 for this experience. And the views in Grand Canyon West do not even come close to those on the South Rim or North Rim.

Grand Canyon West

Grand Canyon West | One Day in the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk is located on the Hualapi Native American Reservation and it is not officially part of Grand Canyon National Park.

Winner: The South Rim

If you only have one day in the Grand Canyon, we recommend visiting the South Rim. With its breathtaking views, an assortment of hiking trails, lots of cool activities to keep kids happy, and a large number of hotels and restaurants to choose from, it’s hard to beat the South Rim.

Skip Grand Canyon West and its overpriced Skywalk, skip Grand Canyon East because you won’t get the iconic canyon views, and only visit the North Rim if you will be out that way during the summer months.

One Day in the Grand Canyon: Best Things to Do

If you have one day in the Grand Canyon, here are the best things to do on the South Rim.

Visit the Viewpoints

There are dozens of viewpoints along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Each one of these viewpoints offers a spectacular view, but some viewpoints are just better than others. Some offer panoramic vistas, some are less crowded, and some make fantastic sunrise and sunset destinations.

There are three sections to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon: Desert View Drive, Grand Canyon Village, and Hermit Road, all stretching along 32 miles of road. Along these roads are dozens of spectacular viewpoints to visit. With one day in the Grand Canyon, there is no way that will get to all of them. And honestly, they do start to blend together after you see a bunch of them.

Here is a narrowed down list of the best South Rim viewpoints.

Near Grand Canyon Village

To get between these viewpoints, you can walk the Rim Trail or take the shuttle (Kaibab Rim Route, orange line).

  • Mather Point – most popular viewpoint on the South Rim; expect huge crowds and decent views
  • Yavapai Point – panoramic views with less crowds than Mather Point
  • Yaki Point – Stunning views of the Grand Canyon and you can see the South Kaibab Trail weaving its way to the Colorado River
  • Ooh Aah Point – located on the South Kaibab Trail and it is one of our favorite viewpoints of the Grand Canyon

Yaki Point

Yaki Point | One Day in the Grand Canyon

Along Hermit Road

Hermit Road is 7 miles long. From March 1 to November 30 you must take the Grand Canyon Shuttle (red line). During the winter months, you can drive to the viewpoints but parking can be limited.

  • Powell Point – jaw-dropping views with outcroppings of rock that make great photo spots
  • Mohave Point – more amazing views; there are several different photo spots that offer slightly different views
  • Pima Point – another great location for panoramic views of the Grand Canyon

Powell Point Sunrise

Powell Point (and yes, Tim is wearing a Santa hat)

Along Desert View Drive

The Grand Canyon Shuttle does not travel to these viewpoints so you will need a car. This road is 25 miles long. If you are entering or leaving the Grand Canyon through the east entrance (for example, if you are also visiting Page, Arizona or Monument Valley), you can visit these viewpoints as you drive to/from Grand Canyon Village.

  • Shoshone Point – Great spot to leave the crowds behind; short hike to the viewpoint
  • Grand View Point – The name says it all
  • Moran Point – Explore the rocky outcroppings to find your favorite photo spot
  • Desert View Point – Easternmost viewpoint on the South Rim; climb the watchtower for 360° views

Desert View one day in the Grand Canyon

Desert View Point | One Day in the Grand Canyon

For a full list of the viewpoints, with photos from each of them, take a look at our post about the Best Viewpoints on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Walk the Rim Trail

The Rim trail is a flat, mostly paved trail that heads along the edge of the rim. It is 13 miles (21 km) long, stretching from Hermit’s Rest to the South Kaibab trailhead. As you walk this trail, you can see the viewpoints from Hermit Road and near Grand Canyon Village.

You can walk all or just a part of the South Rim Trail, using the shuttle to hop your way down the trail.

Go for a Bike Ride along Hermit Road

Touring Hermit Road by bicycle is one of the best family friendly things to do in the Grand Canyon. You can visit the viewpoints on your own schedule and it’s much quicker than walking the entire 7 miles.

Bright Angel Bicycles has a package where you can rent bicycles for one day. With their Hermit Shuttle Package, you cycle from Hopi Point to Hermit’s Rest. A shuttle transports you back to the Grand Canyon Village so you do not have to bike 14 miles round trip. This is a great option for families with kids and those who do not want a long bike trip.

Hike Below the Rim

One of the best ways to experience the Grand Canyon is to go below the rim. There are two trails that start near the Grand Canyon Village, the Bright Angel Trail and the South Kaibab Trail.

Bright Angel Trail

The Bright Angel Trail is a very popular trail. It is easily accessible, starting right in the Grand Canyon Village. This trail starts on the rim and ends at the Bright Angel Campground near the Colorado River. It is 9.5 miles long and descends 4380 feet.

Bright Angel

Bright Angel Trail

Bright Angel Trail | One Day in the Grand Canyon

With one day in the Grand Canyon, I don’t recommend hiking the entire Bright Angel Trail, since this will take the majority of the day. Here are four shorter day hike options.

1.5 Mile Resthouse: Distance: 3 miles round-trip. You will rapidly descend from the rim on a switchback trail. The view is good, but honestly, it’s not spectacular. Much of the Bright Angel Trail descends through a canyon, so you don’t get those sweeping views like you get from the rim. This hike is more about the experience going below the rim than having a stunning view.

3 Mile Resthouse: 6 miles round-trip. Descend further into the canyon. The views do not change much from the 1.5 Mile Resthouse hike.

Hiking Trail one day in the Grand Canyon

Bright Angel Trail between 3 Mile Resthouse and Indian Garden

Indian Garden: 9 miles round-trip. Just past 3 Mile Resthouse, the trail “levels out.” You are still walking downhill, but at a lower grade than on the first part of this hike. Indian Garden is a small campground with water. The NPS website recommends going no farther than this point in the summer.

Plateau Point: 12 miles round-trip. At Indian Garden, take the Plateau Point Trail to Plateau Point for a stunning view over the Colorado River.

Visit the National Park Service website for more information on these hikes.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Hiking down the Bright Angel Trail is going to be a lot faster and a lot easier than hiking back up. Make sure you start early in the day, bring plenty of salty food and water, and plan to give yourself plenty of time for the return hike back up to the rim. If this is your first time hiking, especially during the summer months, consider turning around at 1.5 Mile Resthouse or 3 Mile Resthouse.

South Kaibab Trail

The South Kaibab Trail also starts on the rim and ends at the Colorado River. It is shorter and steeper than the Bright Angel Trail (it’s 7 miles long with 4800 feet of elevation loss). It is also more spectacular, in my opinion. There is a lot more exposure on the trail, which gives you expansive, jaw-dropping views of the Grand Canyon.

Here are day hike ideas for the South Kaibab Trail.

Ooh Aah Point: 1.8 miles round trip. Amazing viewpoint! Tyler and I were here at sunrise and this is one of my favorite spots in the Grand Canyon. It’s a very steep descent to get here (and a hefty climb back up to the rim later in the day) but it’s worth it for this view.

Ooh Aah Point

Ooh Aah Point | One Day in the Grand Canyon

 

South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail | One Day in the Grand Canyon

Cedar Ridge: 3 miles round-trip. Enjoy more ever changing views as you descend farther into the canyon.

Skeleton Point: 6 miles round trip. The NPS website recommends going no farther than this point as a day hike. From here, it’s still a very long ways to go until you reach the Colorado River.

Visit the National Park Service website for more information on these hikes.

Bright Angel or South Kaibab? If you only have time for one trail, without a doubt, the winner is the South Kaibab. The views are much better and this trail tends to be a little bit less crowded, since you have to take a shuttle bus to get here. For most of the hike on the Bright Angel Trail you are in a canyon, so you don’t get the same expansive views like you do on the South Kaibab Trail.

Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails in One Day

Even though the National Park Service discourages it, it is possible to hike from the South Rim to the South Rim in one day. But this is not a decision to be made lightly.

The entire round-trip hike is 16.5 miles with a massive descent at the beginning and nearly a mile of elevation gain at the end. This is a long hike with a huge amount of elevation changes. During the summer months, this becomes a very dangerous hike.

I would only attempt this hike if you are very fit and have lots of hiking experience. This is not a hike for newbie hikers and weekend warriors. But, if you are fit and fast and are looking for epic way to spend one day in the Grand Canyon, this is a hike to consider.

Rim to River to Rim Hike one day in the Grand Canyon

Tyler on the South Kaibab Trail, below Skeleton Point

Watch the Grand Canyon IMAX Movie

This is a great, low-key activity to add to your list of things to do. In the IMAX theater in the Visitor Center, you can watch 34-minute movie about the Grand Canyon. It’s not quite as thrilling as seeing the Grand Canyon from the viewpoints or hiking below the rim, but this makes a great midday activity to do during the summer, since you can escape the heat in the air-conditioned theater. Learn more here.

Grand Canyon Helicopter Flight

A Grand Canyon helicopter tour can be a thrilling way to experience the awe-inspiring views and stunning beauty that the Grand Canyon has to offer. This allows you to see parts of the Grand Canyon that you cannot see from the South Rim viewpoints.

You can take a flight that starts and ends on the South Rim. There are also options to take a helicopter flight from Las Vegas over the South Rim. This is a lot pricier, but if you are short on time, this is an unforgettable way to experience the Grand Canyon.

This 4-hour helicopter tour starts and ends in Las Vegas. Not only do you get aerial views of the Las Vegas Strip but you also get to fly over the Grand Canyon. 

Yavapai Museum of Geology

Learn about the history and formation of the Grand Canyon in this museum which is located in the historic Yavapai Observation Station. It’s cool in the summer and warm in the winter, so it makes a nice activity to do midday. Plus, you can enjoy another stunning view across the Grand Canyon from the large picture windows.

Walk the Trail of Time

The Trail of Time is a short walk (1.7 miles) that is actually a portion of the Rim Trail. It starts at the Verkamp’s Visitor Center and ends at the Yavapai Geological Museum. Along the way are 13 information panels that explain the geological history of the Grand Canyon.

Sunrise, Sunset and Stargazing in the Grand Canyon

From one of many viewpoints, watch as the sun rises over the Grand Canyon, lighting it up in warm hues of reds, pinks, and oranges. Or, at the end of the day, behold the view as the sun descends toward the horizon, washing the canyon in warm light and making it glow just before nightfall.

At sunrise, Hopi Point, Yavapai Point, Mather Point, and Mohave Point are all popular. I think that Ooh Aah Point is gorgeous at sunrise.

At sunset, if you want to get away from the crowds, try Shoshone Point (the view may not be quite as stunning as Yavapai or Hopi but the hike to get here will keep the viewpoint quiet) or one of the other viewpoints on Desert View Road. These also make great places to go stargazing once the sun sets.

While in Grand Canyon National Park, please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

One Day in the Grand Canyon Itinerary Suggestions

One day in the Grand Canyon can mean a lot of different things. Will you just be passing through quickly, like the Griswalds in National Lampoons Vacation? Or will you have more time…a full day in the park, maybe even an overnight stay?

Depending on how much time you have in the Grand Canyon, here are our suggestions on great ways to spend your time.

Grand Canyon Day Trip

With Just a Few Hours

The first time we visited the Grand Canyon was on a day trip. Tim and I flew from Maryland to Phoenix, Arizona, had lunch in Sedona, and we arrived at the Grand Canyon in the early afternoon. We spent a few hours visiting the viewpoints on the South Rim before driving to Las Vegas. It was a very long day and I’ll never forget my first view of the Grand Canyon.

If you will be driving past the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and only have a few hours to spend, I recommend putting your time into visiting the viewpoints. Pick one section of the South Rim. The viewpoints around Grand Canyon Village are the easiest to visit, since you will park here and can easily get around by shuttle. If you are driving to/from Grand Canyon East, visit the viewpoints along Desert View Drive. And finally, if you have a little more time, hike, bike, or take the shuttle along Hermit Road.

Mohave Point Sunrise one day in the Grand Canyon

Mohave Point | One Day in the Grand Canyon

With A Half Day in the Grand Canyon

If you have more than just a few hours, visit one section of viewpoints and then hike a short distance below the rim. My top pick is the short hike out to Ooh Aah Point. It’s only 1.8 miles round trip. From Ooh Aah Point you are treated to sweeping views of the Grand Canyon, a much different perspective than what you get standing on the rim.

How to do this: Park at the Grand Canyon visitor center. Get your first view of the Grand Canyon at Mather Point. Ride the shuttle (orange line) to Yavapai Point. Once finished, ride the shuttle (orange line) to Yaki Point. Enjoy the view, and then walk or ride the shuttle to the South Kaibab Trailhead. Do the round trip hike to Ooh Aah Point and then ride the shuttle back to the Visitor Center.

Day Trip from Sedona

If you are visiting the Grand Canyon on a day trip from Sedona, this full day tour includes sunset at the Grand Canyon. This tour from Sedona includes viewpoints of the Grand Canyon from the Desert Watchtower and along the South Rim, plus a short hike on the South Rim.

Grand Canyon Day Trip from Las Vegas

It is possible to visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon on a day trip from Las Vegas, but it will either be a very long day or a very expensive day.

It takes about 4.5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to the South Rim. So, that’s 9 hours in your car. Doable? Yes. Worth it? Maybe not.

If you can, spend one night at the Grand Canyon to give yourself more time.

But if it does sound worth it, here is a highly rated tour from Las Vegas that spends 3 hours on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. And here is a tour from Las Vegas that visits the South Rim and includes Hoover Dam and sights on Route 66.

If 9 hours in a car sounds crazy, but you still want those South Rim views, you can take a helicopter tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. These day trips take about 7 to 9 hours and cost roughly $500 per person, but you get amazing aerial views of the Grand Canyon plus a little bit of time on the South Rim. Get more information in our post about Grand Canyon helicopter tours.

Grand Canyon Travel Guide

One Full Day in the Grand Canyon

If you have one full day in the Grand Canyon, here are two suggestions on how to spend your time, depending on the type of traveler you are. Plan to spend at least one night at the Grand Canyon, but two nights is ideal, since it allows you to experience the Grand Canyon at sunrise and sunset.

Grand Canyon Highlights

Sunrise: Watch the sunrise over the Grand Canyon from one of the viewpoints on the South Rim or from Ooh Aah Point on the South Kaibab Trail.

Mid-Morning: Hike out to Ooh Aah Point (if you did not do that yet) or walk the Rim Trail.

Midday: Have lunch. Take a helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon (midday is the best time for photography). Or, watch the IMAX movie in Tusayan or visit the Yavapai Geology Museum in Grand Canyon Village.

Afternoon: Walk, bike, or take the shuttle to the viewpoints along Hermit Road.

Evening: Have dinner. Watch the sunset over the Grand Canyon.

If you are visiting the Grand Canyon with kids: This itinerary works well. I recommend the IMAX movie (over the helicopter flight or Geology Museum) since it’s a nice, low-key activity to do midday.

Hike South Kaibab Trail one day in the Grand Canyon

South Kaibab Trail | One Day in the Grand Canyon

For Hikers and Adventurous Travelers

If you like hiking, I recommend putting the majority of your time into a day hike. Hike out to Skeleton Point on the South Kaibab Trail for panoramic views of the Grand Canyon. Or, hike the Bright Angel Trail out to Plateau Point. The views along the Bright Angel Trail are nice, but in my opinion, the South Kaibab Trail is the better of the two.

If you are very fit and fast, consider hiking the South Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Trail. It’s a big day, but you get see the Grand Canyon from the rim and the Colorado River. It is truly an unforgettable experience.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If you like the idea of going rim-to-rim, it’s absolutely worth it to add an extra day to your time in the Grand Canyon to do this hike. Most people do it in two days, spending the night at Bright Angel Campground near the Colorado River. Hiking from rim to river to rim in the Grand Canyon is one of my favorite national park experiences of all time. Learn more in our guide on the South Kaibab and Bright Angel trails.

Colorado River one day in the Grand Canyon

Colorado River | One Day in the Grand Canyon

How to Get Around the South Rim

Several shuttles that operate in and near Grand Canyon Village. You will use these shuttles to get around the South Rim.

Map of GC Village one day in the Grand Canyon

Map of the South Rim | One Day in the Grand Canyon

In Grand Canyon Village, there is a large parking lot that is open for day trippers and those coming in from Tusayan. On the park map, you will see other parking lots, but these spaces are reserved for visitors who are spending the night in one of the lodges and for staff members.

PRO TRAVELTIP: The parking lot near the visitor center fills up fast!! Plan on getting here by 9 am in order to get a spot.

From the visitor center, there are three different shuttle lines. To get around the park, you will use the orange and blue lines. If you are staying in Tusayan, the purple shuttle connects Tusayan with the visitor center (this is a seasonal shuttle and does not operate during the winter months).

To visit Hermit Road, take the blue shuttle to the Village Route Transfer station to transfer to the red line.

If you are staying at a hotel in Tusayan, leave your car parked at your hotel and ride the free shuttle (purple line) into the park.

The shuttles are free and you can ride them as much as you need to. Click here to learn more.

Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon can be visited year round. Peak season is during the summer months and during the holiday seasons of Easter and Christmas. During these times, expect large crowds, traffic jams to enter the park, and hotels booked to capacity.

Spring and fall are great times to visit the park. The weather is pleasant and the park isn’t overly crowded.

From June through September, expect hot conditions and large crowds.

Winter is the off-season. Crowds will be low, but so will the temperatures. Snow is a possibility, but that will only make the Grand Canyon look more magical.

Grand Canyon National Park appears in our Best US National Parks Month-By-Month series as a great park to visit in January, April, June, November and December.

Where to Stay

There are five hotels located in the Grand Canyon Village (El Tovar, Thunderbird Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge, Kachina Lodge, and Maswick Lodge). Staying here gives you the advantage of easy access to the shuttles, short walks to several of the viewpoints, and no hassles driving into and out the park every day. However, the hotels get mediocre reviews and many people say they are expensive for what you get.

Click here to view the lodges and get updated pricing. These hotels fill up very far in advance. Make your reservations 4 – 6 months in advance.

You also have the option to stay in Tusayan. From Tusayan, it is a 15-minute drive into the park. There are several hotels to choose from as well as some restaurants.

We stayed at The Grand Hotel in Tusayan. It is the highest rated hotel in the area. The hotel looks impressive from the outside and the lobby is very nice but the rooms are nothing special. On Booking.com it is listed as a 5-star hotel but it looks and feels a lot more like a 3 to 4 star hotel. However, the rooms are clean and quiet and this is our go-to hotel when we visit the Grand Canyon.

The Best Western and the Holiday Inn Express are two more hotels to try in Tusayan.

View over Bright Angel Trail

South Rim of the Grand Canyon in June | One Day in the Grand Canyon

Practical Information

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The entrance fee is $35 and is valid for 7 days. This fee also includes the visit to the North Rim.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Check for trail closures, road closures, and get important updates before your visit on the official National Park Service website.

One Day Tours of the Grand Canyon

If you want to take the stress out of planning your visit, or you have no plans to rent a car, here are several highly rated tours to consider.

 

More Information about the Grand Canyon

 


If you are planning to spend one day in the Grand Canyon and have any questions, comment below!

Read all of our articles about the United States in our United States Travel Guide.

Visit More National Parks

 

 

 

One Day Grand Canyon Travel

Grand Canyon One Day Itinerary

 

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Comments 34

  1. Avatar for Hernan
    Hernan

    Hi Julie! Thanks for the article, this was really helpful since I was planning to go in October to do gran Canyon from Las Vegas in 1 round day trip, but I think I will take the tour haha,
    In terms of tour site to reserve, the link to the most complete one (canyon, hoover,Route 66) does not say if they go to south or west rim, in this case would you suggest to take the one that says “South Rim” in the title? I guess you always use this website for any tour reservations right ? Idk which is best place to make the reservation.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Hello Hernan. I will provide the affiliate links here for clarity. The most complete tour (GC, Hoover Dam, Rt 66) goes to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. The tour that goes to the South Rim spends 3 hours here, but it is a long day, since you have to get out and back from Las Vegas.
       
      Both tours get very good reviews on GetYourGuide. They are offered by different tour companies (GetYourGuide is a website that researches tour companies that get good reviews and then lists them on their site, to narrow down the long list of tour options to the very best ones). We have had great experiences with the tours that we have taken with GetYourGuide. You can book it through GetYourGuide using the links above, or directly from the tour company. A big advantage of booking it through GetYourGuide is that you can cancel up to 24 hours in advance and get a full refund.
       
      With that being said, the South Rim is more spectacular than the West Rim. On the South Rim tour, will most likely drive past the Hoover Dam so you will get to briefly see it. You will have to decide if it’s worth the long drive to get to the South Rim (I think it’s worth it, especially if this is your one chance to see the Grand Canyon). But if you want to do something shorter, do the West Rim tour.
       
      Cheers, Julie

  2. Avatar for Windy
    Windy

    Hello, thank you for this information!! So helpful in our planning to do this trip in November. A couple of questions, is it worthwhile it to stay within Grand Canyon, I am booked at Holiday Inn in Tusayan but thinking of changing to Maswik lodge for 2 nights? My daughter is in a wheelchair so we are trying to make this as accessible as possible. Your guides have really helped! If you have any suggestions for a person in a wheelchair to make the most of our 2 night trip I would greatly appreciate it!!! Thank you!

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      You’re welcome! If your daughter is in a wheelchair, I think it’s best that you stay in Grand Canyon Village. Then you can walk or ride the shuttle around and it saves you the hassle of driving in from Tusayan, potentially waiting in line at the entrance booth, and finding parking. Each national park website has accessibility information that will be helpful for you. I just looked, and the Grand Canyon doesn’t provide a whole lot of info, but you can see it here. The Maswick Lodge is fine but the other lodges near the rim will be more convenient (Kachina, El Tovar, Thunderbird, Bright Angel Lodge), so you could check these as well. I recommend the Rim Trail and riding the shuttle to viewpoints along Hermits Rest Road (the shuttles are wheelchair accessible). If I remember correctly, these viewpoints should also be wheelchair accessible. Tim and Kara watched the IMAX movie and thought it was worthwhile, too. I hope you have a great time in the Grand Canyon! Cheers, Julie

  3. Avatar for Marne
    Marne

    Hi Julie,

    Thanks for the very informative article! It is a great guide for a first-time visitor. I am planning to go to the GC in May and will stay in Tusayan. It looks like the Tusayan (Purple Route) shuttle bus service is currently closed until the end of May and I will not have a car at my disposal. Are there any alternatives available for me to get to the park?

    Thank so much for your time in advance.
    Marne

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      That’s a great question and unfortunately not one I have an answer to. I’m not aware of a taxi service or Uber in Tusayan but staff at your hotel would know about this. I do not believe that the Grand Canyon Train makes a stop in Tusayan so this might not be an option. How are you getting to Tusayan? If you don’t have a car and the shuttle is not running, it would be better to stay on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon because you can walk or ride the other shuttles to the Grand Canyon sights. If you are locked into staying in Tusayan, ask your hotel for advice on how to get to the South Rim. Cheers, Julie

  4. Avatar for Gina
    Gina

    Hey there. We are interested in getting to Ooh Aah Point for sunrise in April. We are staying in Tusayan. How did you get to the trailhead for sunrise and what time did you have to arrive at the trailhead to get down the trail in time for sunrise?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Tim dropped Tyler and me off at the trailhead, since Tyler and I were hiking the South Kaibab Trail. However, there is a Hikers Shuttle that runs from near the visitor center to the trailhead. This is the best way to get to the trailhead if you don’t have someone to drop you off. To see the sunrise, start your hike 30 to 45 minutes before sunrise (you can get sunrise times on Time and Date). Bring a headlamp or a flashlight (a smartphone might not be bright enough). Cheers, Julie

  5. Avatar for Nimrod Kapas
    Nimrod Kapas

    Due to the heavy wildfires this summer, how good the views can be anticipated? Would it be better to postpone visiting GC for another year? I have never been to GC yet.

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      Sorry for my late response. If the sky is hazy, you will have reduced visibility of the Grand Canyon, so you might not get the same views
      you see in many photos. The haze can be weather dependent. Sometimes rain or wind can clear up the sky, but most likely, if wildfires are nearby, you will have some amount of haze. If might be worth postponing it to next year or late 2021. Plus, the national parks in that part of the US are so crowded this year. We were planning on visiting northern California in September but have changed our plans because of the wildfires there and potential haze. Cheers, Julie

  6. Avatar for Jim
    Jim

    Thank you for the great information. Your one day itinerary looks great. I have one question about it. When you say watch the sunrise from the ooh aah point, is that only possible if we hike down to it in the dark?

    1. Avatar for Julie Post
      Author
      Julie

      You can start your hike down once you get some light in the sky, which starts about 30 minutes before sunrise. Or, you can even start right at sunrise. As you hike down, you will see the sun illuminating the canyon, which is nice too. Cheers, Julie

      1. Avatar for Jim
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