How To Get To Grand Canyon National Park: Complete Guide

With incredible canyon formations, the Colorado River, and breathtaking views at every turn, Grand Canyon National Park trips are enjoyed by almost six million people each year. 

Now that you’re starting to plan your trip, you might be asking “how do I get to the Grand Canyon?”

This guide is here to help you decide the easiest way to get to Grand Canyon National Park so you’ll make the most out of your Grand Canyon National Park travel.

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If you are planning to visit Grand Canyon National Park in spring, summer or fall, make your planning easy and stress free with a detailed itinerary. I have 1-, 2-, and 3-day itineraries for Grand Canyon’s South Rim that include all the park highlights, give you choices based on your preferred activity level, and take all the stress out of planning your trip. 

Check out the three Grand Canyon itinerary options

Where is Grand Canyon National Park?

Grand Canyon sunrise Grand Canyon
Sunrise Grand Canyon

The national park is in northern Arizona, almost directly east of Las Vegas and north of Phoenix. 

When thinking about directions to Grand Canyon National Park, knowing which rim you’ll visit is important.  

Grand Canyon National Park location (South Rim)

The South Rim is accessed at Grand Canyon Village, where there are several lodges, campgrounds and restaurants.  The nearest (small) town is Tusayan, just 15 miles south of Grand Canyon Village.  The closest city to Grand Canyon National Park is Williams (60 miles | 1.25 hours south), though Flagstaff (80 miles | 1.5 hours southeast) has more services. Sedona is 115 miles | 2.5 hours away. 

Grand Canyon location (North Rim)

The North Rim is not far from the southern Utah border, and a visit there is often combined with a trip to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon National Park.   The main cities near the Grand Canyon National Park’s North Rim are Page, AZ (125 miles | 2.5 hours northeast); Kanab, UT (80 miles | 1.5 hours north); and, a little further afield, St George, UT (150 miles | 2 hours 50 minutes)

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How To Get To Grand Canyon National Park

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So how do you get to the Grand Canyon and what do you do when you get there? You can map out your travel details about Grand Canyon, how to get there, and other information you would need in these related posts: 


How To Get To Grand Canyon National Park

Getting to Grand Canyon National Park is not that hard, but you’ll need to decide which rim – or rims – you want to visit before you can work out the best way to get to Grand Canyon National Park. 

You can visit either the more popular South Rim, the less-visited North Rim, or both.  However, it takes about five hours to get from one to the other!

Taking a Tour to Grand Canyon

If your time is limited, or you prefer to have someone else take care of the travel details, then the easiest way to get to the Grand Canyon is to take a tour.  Because of its proximity to Las Vegas, there are plenty of Grand Canyon tours to choose from.  My top picks are:

Grand Canyon Tour from Tusayan

If you can get to Tusayan, which lies just outside the south entrance, this day tour is a great way to see the highlights and best viewpoints with a knowledgeable guide to point out the best views and share interesting information about thew canyon’s geology and history.

Book a 6-hour tour of the South Rim from Tusayan here

Private Grand Canyon Tour from Williams

A private tour that includes the major viewpoints.  In summer a picnic lunch is included.  In winter, the price is reduced and you have lunch at the El Tovar hotel. They also offer pickups from Tusayan and Grand Canyon Village. 

Book a full-day private tour of the South Rim from William

Grand Canyon National Park South Rim Bus Tour from Las Vegas

A full day (15-16 hours), but well worth it if you only have one day.  The South Rim is further than the West Rim, so you’ll spend more of your day in the bus – but you can sleep on the bus AND the canyon is deeper and more spectacular at the South Rim than the West Rim. 

Book a one-day tour from Las Vegas to the South Rim

One-day tour to the West Rim

The canyon isn’t as deep here, but test Rim is much closer to Las Vegas than the South and North Rims, so tours there are shorter and you’ll spend less time in the bus.  You also get to stop off at Hoover Dam on the way for a photo and will have time at the West Rim to go on the Skywalk (a glass-bottomed walk way that hangs over the edge of the rim). 

Book a one-day day trip from Las Vegas to the West Rim and Hoover Dam here

Grand Canyon South Rim, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend Day Tour from Las Vegas

This is a lot to do in a day, and it can take up to 19 hours (!) – but you get to see some truly awe-inspiring highlights of Arizona – and you can sleep on the bus. Recommended IF you have limited time and want to see as much as possible. 

Book a full-day tour of Arizona’s highlights here


 Where to Fly into for Grand Canyon?

river insdie large canyon seen through screen of helicopter that took off from Grand Canyon National Park Airport

Unless you plan to travel overland from home, you will be need to know how to fly to Grand Canyon National Park.  The best airport for Grand Canyon National Park will depend on your specific trip. 

The nearest airport to Grand Canyon is technically Grand Canyon National Park Airport, but this is only used for scenic flights. 

If you’re interested, book a 45-minute helicopter scenic flight here.

Or book a 40-minute scenic airplane flight here.

For commercial flights, the closest airport to Grand Canyon National Park is Flagstaff Pulliam.  This is small regional airport with flights to/ from Phoenix and Dallas. 

If you’re looking for a major international airport close to Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim, the best options are Phoenix Sky Harbor and Las Vegas Harry Reid.  Phoenix is technically the closest airport to the Grand Canyon National Park with multiple flight connections, but Vegas can make a more fun stopover. 

For the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, the best large airport is Salt Lake City International.

For more information about airports and flights to Grand Canyon National Park, read my guide to the best airports for Grand Canyon National Park

Check prices on flights to Grand Canyon airports here.


Taking the Train to Grand Canyon National Park

Does Amtrak go to Grand Canyon National Park?  Almost. 

If you like to travel by train, then you’re in luck.  Grand Canyon is one of the few national parks that you can take a train to.  With just a little bit of bus travel, you can travel all the way from Los Angeles or Chicago to the Grand Canyon!

To take Amtrak to Grand Canyon National Park, you’ll take the Southwest Chief route, which runs between L.A. and Chicago. 

The nearest Amtrak station is Flagstaff.  From Flagstaff, you can either rent a car for the final leg to Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim (or to the North Rim) OR take a shuttle bus to the national park OR take a bus to William and then take the Grand Canyon Railway to Grand Canyon Village from there.

For a fun experience, you can take a Grand Canyon National Park train ride from William all the way to the 1910-era Grand Canyon Depot at Grand Canyon Village.  Travel Pullman Class in a 1923 train; Coach Class in a 1950’s carriage; First Class with more modern seats; or splurge on a streamliner-era dome, a luxury dome with private bar, or a plush parlor car. 

The train is designed as a day trip, departing daily at 9:30AM, arriving to the South Rim at 11:45AM, departing the canyon at 3:30PM and arriving back to Williams at 5:45PM (one hour earlier November and December).   Along the way, you will be entertained by roaming musicians, knowledgeable attendants, and possibly even a wild west shootout! 

Book a trip on the Grand Canyon Railway here


Taking a Bus to Grand Canyon National Park

Long straight road surrounded by trees, and behind is a mountain.

If you prefer not to drive, it’s easy to get to either rim by bus.  

When you’re at the South Rim, you can get around the main areas by the free Grand Canyon shuttle buses, so you can definitely get by without a car.  I’ve visited the South Rim by flying into Flagstaff and then taking a bus to Grand Canyon Village from there and the only thing I couldn’t do on that trip was the Desert View Drive. 

The North Rim area is fairly small and compact and if you like to walk, you can get around without a vehicle. 

Groome Transportation (previously called Arizona Shuttle) has shuttle buses between Flagstaff and Grand Canyon Village (South Rim).  They also have services between Flagstaff and Phoenix and Sedona (seasonal).  By shuttle, Phoenix to Grand Canyon takes about 3 hours and 45 minutes. 

They also provide a service between Flagstaff and Williams, so if you arrive in Flagstaff (by train or air) and are taking the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams, you can take this shuttle from Flagstaff to Willaims and avoid driving all together.

Grand Canyon Shuttles has services to both the South and the North Rim (seasonal) from Flagstaff and a direct shuttle from Phoenix to Grand Canyon National Park. They also have a rim-to-rim shuttle that goes between the North and South Rims (seasonal). 

Trans Canyon Shuttle also offers a Grand Canyon National Park shuttle service between the North and South Rims.  This is also seasonal (mid-May to mid-October) as the North Rim is closed the rest of the year. 

If you like traveling by bus and prefer not to fly, drive or take the train, you can also take a Greyhound Bus from locations all around the country to Flagstaff, Williams, Sedona, or Phoenix and then connect with another bus (or train) there. 

There is also a shuttle bus from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park and a return shuttle bus from Grand Canyon to Las Vegas, leaving once a day.  The trip takes about five hours. 

Book a shuttle bus from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim here

If you just want to take a day trip from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon, bus tours are your best option. This is a better option than taking a shuttle from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park because it maximizes your time at the rim.  

Grand Canyon to Las Vegas bus tour (one day): Take a bus from Las Vegas to South Rim Grand Canyon, travelling along Route 66. Visit several major viewpoints, have lunch and take time to buy some native American handicrafts at Hopi House, before heading back from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas. Bus pickup is typically before 6:00AM and you get dropped back about 16 hours later, so it’s a long day, but a great way to see the canyon if your time is limited. 

Book a one-day tour on a bus from Las Vegas to South Rim Grand Canyon here


Taking a Grand Canyon Taxi Service

Obviously, taxis are best for short distances only, but can be handy if you’re traveling at odd hours or when other transportation services aren’t running.  

Xanterra Taxi (Grand Canyon) Service operates 24 hours/ day between Tusayan and the Grand Canyon Airport and Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim as well as between Grand Canyon Village and the South Kaibab Trailhead, which is handy if you’re hiking that trail. In summer, they also service Hermit Road.  928-638-2631

Canyon Taxi (formerly Top Hat Taxi) has a taxi from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon National Park.  928-719-0909


Driving to Grand Canyon National Park

White car in the middle of the road surrounded by red rock cliffs in grand canyon national park

If you drive to Grand Canyon National Park, you can see all the park’s highlights, including the Desert View Drive, one of the most scenic drives in US national parks.  

The closest car rental agencies are in Flagstaff (at the airport and the Amtrak station) for the South Rim and Page, AZ (airport) for the North Rim. 

Book a rental car with Discover Cars

Book a rental car with rentalcars.com 

Check out my guide to saving money on rental cars before you book.

From Flagstaff to Grand Canyon National Park, there are three routes you can take to get to the South Rim. Take I-40 going west to Williams, then drive to Highway 64 north to the entrance. The second route sets you off on Highway 180 going west to Valle. From there, take Highway 64. The last route starts from north of Cameron on Highway 89, then follow Highway 64 west to the South Rim’s East Entrance called Desert View. 

From Phoenix to Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) is around three and a half hours. For driving directions going to Grand Canyon National Park from Phoenix, take I-17 north to Flagstaff. From there, take I-40 heading west to Williams. Then take Highway 64 north to the South Rim. The distance from Phoenix to Grand Canyon National Park is 231 miles. 

From Grand Canyon National Park to Vegas and vice versa is a long drive – it takes about four and a half hours (280 miles). If you have the time, the best way to get to Grand Canyon from Vegas is to drive so you can make several stops along the way. 

How to get to the Grand Canyon from Vegas? Driving directions to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas are a little complicated and you should consult a map or GPS for detailed directions to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, but you’ll basically head south on 93 to Kingman.  Then east to Williams.  You can choose from the faster highway 40 or the slower but more iconic Route 66.  At Williams, turn north on 64 all the way to the South Entrance. 

Grand Canyon National Park to Sedona is about 119 miles. You can take Highway 89Alt to Flagstaff, then I-40 west going to Williams. Drive on Highway 64 north to the South Rim entrance. You’ll get to the Grand Canyon in about two hours. 

Glendale, AZ to Grand Canyon National Park is 220 miles (around three and a half hours). The route starts from I-17 N in Phoenix coming from West Northern Avenue. Continue driving on I-17 N to Williams, then take exit 165 from I-40 W. Go north on AZ-64 N until you reach the park entrance. 

The distance from Tucson to Grand Canyon National Park is about 336 miles, and takes more or less 5 hours. From West Grant Road, get on I-10 West, then proceed to I-10 W. Continue on I-17 N to AZ-64 N in Williams. Take exit 165 from I-40 W, then AZ-64 N. 

The distance from Scottsdale to Grand Canyon National Park is about 233 miles and takes about three and half-hours. The route starts from the AZ-101 Loop N going to I-17 N. Drive along I-40 W going to AZ-64 N in Williams. From there, take exit 165 from I-40 W, then head off to AZ-64 N. 

Colorado Springs to Grand Canyon National Park is a doable drive but this needs more careful planning, as it’s more than a 10-hour drive. The distance between the two points is 605 miles. 

From Dallas to Grand Canyon National Park is around 15 hours without breaks.


FAQs about How to Reach Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon aerial view Grand Canyon

Is it better to fly into Las Vegas or Phoenix to go to the Grand Canyon?

It depends which rim you’ll visit.  
Las Vegas to Grand Canyon North Rim is 265 miles and takes about 4.5 hours. 
The distance from Las Vegas Airport to Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim is 280 miles and, although it is further, it’s on better roads, so takes about the same amount of time. 
From Phoenix Airport to Grand Canyon (North Rim) is 355 miles and takes almost six hours.  
Phoenix Airport to Grand Canyon South Rim is 235 miles | 3.5 hours.
So, it’s better to fly into Las Vegas for Grand Canyon’s North Rim and better to fly into Phoenix for Grand Canyon’s South Rim.  
This doesn’t take other factors into account, though.  You might like to start or end in Las Vegas, or you might like to stopover in Sedona on the way to/ from Phoenix. 
Although many people choose to fly to/ from Las Vegas, in fact it’s quicker to get from Phoenix to Grand Canyon National Park than it is from Las Vegas. At least to the South Rim.

How is the drive from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon?

The drive from Flagstaff AZ to Grand Canyon National Park is easy on a good quality paved road.   There are three routes to choose from, but all are easily accessible.
The distance from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon National Park is relatively short and takes about an hour and a half. The drive from Grand Canyon National Park to Flagstaff is the same.

How far is Sedona from Grand Canyon National Park?

Sedona to Grand Canyon National Park is 113 miles and takes about two hours.

How to get to the North Rim Grand Canyon?

To get to the Grand Canyon National Park North Rim, take AZ-67 south from Jacob Lake, which connects with highway 89A. This road is only open mid-May to mid-October.

How to get to South Rim Grand Canyon?

To get to the South Rim entrance of Grand Canyon National Park, head north on AZ-64.  Either all the way from Williams or connecting from AZ-180 from Flagstaff.  Alternatively, you can take the Grand Canyon Railway from Williams.

How to get to Grand Canyon West Rim?

The West Rim of the Grand Canyon is located within the Hualapai Indian Reservation.  Buy an admission ticket for Grand Canyon West in advance here
The easiest way to visit is on a day tour from Las Vegas, but you can drive north from Kingman, AZ or via Dolan Springs. 
Book a one-day day trip from Las Vegas to the West Rim and Hoover Dam here (it includes time to take the Skywalk if you like).

How to get from Zion to Grand Canyon?

Zion is about 250 miles from Grand Canyon’s South Rim but just 120 miles from the canyon’s North Rim.  Exit Zion National Park through the east entrance and go south to Kanab. 
Head further south for the North Rim or turn east and go via Page to the South Rim.


Travel Insurance for Grand Canyon National Park

When planning your Grand Canyon National Park visit, you should definitely be sure to get travel insurance.  Good travel insurance will cover you for trip cancellation, theft or damage of your property when traveling, medical help if you have an accident in or while getting to the Grand Canyon, or medical repatriation if you need to get medi-vaced out.  

A great insurance option is Travelex. It has coverage for all you’ll need. You can choose the best travel insurance plan for your trip here or get a quote right now:

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Enjoy Grand Canyon National Park!

Did you decide how to get to the Grand Canyon National Park?  Join my private Facebook group National Parks Collectors and comment and let me know (you can also pick up extra planning tips, share your photos and stories with other national park lovers and more). 

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About the Author

James Ian Yosemite

James Ian is a national park, camping and hiking expert.

He has dedicated his life to travel, visiting more than 80 countries, all 7 continents and most of the national parks in the United States. With over 35 years experience in the travel industry, James has worked on cruise ships, at resorts and hotels, and as a travel planner who’s helped hundreds of people plan successful trips to US national parks. 

Based on his experience visiting our national parks multiple times, in-depth research and expertise as a travel planner, James has published detailed itineraries for most of the major national parks in the US. These itineraries, as well as in-depth park guides, comprehensive camping and hiking gear reviews and buying guides, and helpful packing lists and gift guides will help you have your own incredible trip to US national parks without stress and hassle.

As a national park expert, James has contributed to many publications, including USA Today, Time Business News, Savoteur, Best Trip, and Wired.

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