- By Kevin
- On May 23, 2017
- North America
- Travel Tips
Grand Canyon Map to give you an idea of the terrain, the remote nature of this part of the country, and the dozens of National Parks, Wilderness Areas, Tribal Parks, State Parks, National Forests, Lakes and Recreation Areas that surround the Grand Canyon, and Grand Canyon transportation by this map.
No matter which Rim you decide to visit - South, North or West - the expense of renting a car or fueling your own vehicle is comparable to the total cost of shuttle(s) if shuttle(s) are even an option, and you'll have greater freedom when it comes to where, when and how you decide to get around. Arizona (and likewise Nevada and Utah) is a vast state, so even in the cities and towns, you'll find that points of interest are too spread out to reach on foot, there is little to no public transportation, and cabs must be scheduled as opposed to caught (except in Las Vegas). A rental or private vehicle will become necessary at some point, so the most practical option is to drive yourself everywhere vs. trying to stick to shuttles and taxis.
At the South Rim, once you're inside the Park, take the free shuttle bus system from viewpoint to viewpoint and around Grand Canyon Village. You can also take the daily TransCanyon shuttle from the South Rim to the North Rim, and vice versa. This service is particularly useful to hikers and river rafters. Reservations are required; call 928-638-2820. During the season, from May 15 to October 15, the rim-to-rim shuttle leaves the North Rim at 7:00am and arrives at the South Rim at 11:30am; it leaves the South Rim at 1:30pm and arrives at the North Rim at 6:00pm. The fare is $85 per person one way; $160 per person round trip. TransCanyon Shuttle is also available for transportation to Marble Canyon (a popular upper canyon river rafting put-in), post-season service and charter service.
If you own or are renting a high-clearance vehicle, driving yourself is the best way to get to the West Rim. (If you're renting, be sure to check the rental car company's policies on driving off road, as required by the approach to Grand Canyon West.)
Once again, driving yourself is the most practical way to get to the North Rim. There are very few companies that provide Grand Canyon shuttles or taxi cabs exclusively from Flagstaff to the North Rim.
Regardless of the supreme practicality of driving oneself, many Grand Canyon visitors insist on finding a shuttle or taxi for a number of reasons. Oftentimes budget is a concern and people perceive shuttles or taxis to be a more affordable option (though that point is debatable depending on the vacation itinerary.) Sometimes visitors from outside the U.S. do not feel comfortable driving here (although there is nothing to be feared about doing so). Other times visitors are intimidated by twisting roads, weather conditions and driving at night. Finally, visitors often say they just want to be able to enjoy the scenery without having to pay attention to the road. Because all these objections to driving are certainly legitimate and understandable, there are shuttle and taxi alternatives.
Year-round, you can choose any of three routes to approach the South Rim: via Highway 64 from Williams to the south (main) entrance; via Highway 180 from downtown Flagstaff to the south (main) entrance; or via US-89 from east Flagstaff to the east entrance (known as Desert View). In the winter, your best bet for road conditions and prompt snow removal is Highway 64 from Williams.
The final 9-mile stretch of Diamond Bar Road is unpaved and irregular, and is made even trickier in inclement weather. Most visitors approach the West Rim from Las Vegas, a 123-mile drive via Highway 93 south over Hoover Dam. Go northeast on Pierce Ferry Road (County Highway 25) to Diamond Bar Road (County Highway 261). Go east on Diamond Bar Rd to Grand Canyon West. From Kingman, go north on Stockton Hill Road to Pierce Ferry Road to Diamond Bar Road. Diamond Bar Road ends at Grand Canyon West Airport, the entrance to the West Rim, where you'll buy your entrance package and optional upgrades. Take the mandatory park-and-ride shuttle into Grand Canyon West.
Approach the North Rim by first arriving in Jacob Lake, Arizona at the junction of US-89A and Highway 67. Take Highway 67 south 44 miles (approximately 1 hour) to the North Rim.