It’s something you’ve read about in novels. You’ve probably seen it in a movie. Grand Canyon National Park lives up to the hype and then some, with unique excursions and unearthly views. This “great marvel of nature” (in President Theodore Roosevelt’s words, not mine) is the largest of Arizona’s three national parks, with over 5.5 million visitors each year. The public parts of the park—South Rim and North Rim—are divided by a prominent feature: a steep-sided canyon created by the Colorado River. The South Rim attracts the majority of visitors because of its breathtaking views and challenging hikes. Can you blame them when the North Rim resembles a Night Walker’s lair?
Where is Grand Canyon National Park?
Grand Canyon National Park is located in northern Arizona, about 82 miles north of Flagstaff and 330 miles north of Saguaro National Park, respectively. The park is bordered to the north by Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, and to the south by Kaibab National Forest. Because the park is close to Arizona’s borders with Utah and Nevada, it is easily accessible from these states.
How to get there?
It’s entirely up to you whether you drive, train, or fly to Grand Canyon National Park. The South Rim is accessible by all three modes of transportation, whereas the North Rim is only accessible by car. The park is roughly 82 miles south of Flagstaff and is accessible by car in 90 minutes. The South Rim is accessible via State Highway 64 or US Highway 89 from Interstate 40. If you prefer to go by air, the South Rim Airport is accessible from Flagstaff, Phoenix, and Las Vegas, Nevada.
You are welcome to visit Grand Canyon National Park at any time, but keep in mind that it is notorious for its frequently harsh weather. Surprisingly, the climate you’ll encounter depends on where you are in the park. Summer is the busiest season at the South Rim, but spring and fall are also ideal times to come because the weather is agreeable. The North Rim is only available from May to October (believe me, you don’t want to be in this portion of the park during the other months). Winter is the most challenging season for visitors, with temperatures as low as 31°F.
All visitors to Grand Canyon National Park have access to the South Rim 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The majority of the visitor services are available all year, notably from morning to evening. It’s also full-option between mid-May and mid-October when the North Rim is open. Due to COVID-19, Grand Canyon National Park is only open to a limited number of visitors. Check out the Grand Canyon’s public health update page for the most up-to-date information and frequent updates.
Park Entrance Fee
What’s more, guess what? On the following five dates in 2021, admission is free: January 20, April 18, August 25, September 26, and November 11. If those days pass you by, you’ll have to pay $20 for an individual permit, $30 for a motorbike permit, and $35 for a vehicle permit, all of which are valid for seven days. An annual pass, which is good for 12 months from the date of purchase, costs $70. (vehicle and immediate family covered too). Isn’t it enticing? Each permit allows entry to both the South and North Rims of the Grand Canyon. At recreation.gov, you can get a digital entry pass.
Grand Canyon National Park Hiking Trails
The Trail of Time
Bright Angel Trail
South Kaibab Trail
Ken Patrick Trail
Uncle Jim Trail
Grand Canyon National Park Landmarks
Grand Canyon Skywalk
Grand Canyon Village
Grand Canyon Railway
Mather Point Overlook
Kaibab Black Suspension Bridge