Half Day/ Auto Tour Itinerary
Visitors who have just half a day at the more easily accessible South Rim of the Grand Canyon, can combine touring in their own vehicle with a bus tour.
- Drive between the Desert View Visitor Center and back to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, stopping at any overlook destination along the way.
- Travel west of the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to Hermit Road.
- Take the bus tour take makes at least 9 stops, with the option of getting off at a stop and boarding another bus later. The bus ride along Hermit Road is 75 minutes, without getting off.
Full Day Itinerary
Visitors with a full day on the South Rim can add some hiking perspective to their journey and take more time to soak in the sights of the expansive canyon.
- Hike, bus, or bike (or combine travel) Hermits Road (7-mile one way), with 9 overlook stops.
- Consider stopping at the Tusayan Museum and Ruin or the Yavapai Point and Geology Museum.
- Visit the South Rim Canyon Overlook by the Visitor Center.
- Consider adding another short hike, like the Grandview Trail, a 2.2 mile (round-trip) to Coconino Saddle. The trail is steep and rough is some places. Experienced hikers can this to their day itinerary to gain another perspective of the area.
Two Day Itinerary
Visitors who spend two days in the park may wish to see the North Rim, but driving from rim to rim is over 220 miles and 4 or more hours of driving. Excellent adventures await on the North Rim, however, this itinerary will recommend spending the second day on the South Rim, as there are plenty of destinations to keep visitors satisfied.
- Complete the Full Day Itinerary, listed above.
- Visit the major overlooks, museums, and day hikes.
- Hike either of these longer hikes based on time and ability. The national park guides recommend hikers only attempt to hike part of each of these hikes in one day. During the late spring and summer months, hikers attempting to hike to the river and back often overheat and overexert themselves, sometimes resulting in hospital trips. If you would like to hike all the way to the river and back, consider hiking all the way down on the first day, and coming back up the second. Also, always remember to bring enough water for these strenuous activities.
- Bright Angel Trail: 12 miles (round-trip). A steep, difficult hike down to the river and back. Partial shade.
- South Kaibab Trail: 6 miles (round-trip). Steep trail, little shade, difficult hike down to the river. Offers great views for a shorter hike.
Always check with the visitor center for any permits needed while camping.
A backcountry permit is needed for all overnight hiking and use of backcountry.
Grand Canyon National Park has a large selection of backcountry hiking, but perhaps none more impressive than hiking rim to rim of the miles-wide canyon. Consider starting the overnight backpacking journey on the North Rim and hiking the North Kaibab Trail, 9.4 miles to Roaring Springs. The next day, continue to the river, crossing the bridge, and continue up to the South Rim by way of either the South Kaibab Trail or the Bright Angel Trail. About 19 miles total.
Another exciting backcountry opportunity is the popular Havasupai Indian Reservation. These permits are dealt directly through Havasupai: 1-928-448-2180.
The hike is 20 miles to the campground, and another 8 more to the river. Hikers will experience the famous Havasu waterfalls and clear-blue water, and the incredible hike there. It is best done in 3 days, but can be accomplished in 2.