One of the seven natural wonders of the world, the iconic Grand Canyon is a must-visit spot when you're in Las Vegas. The massive size of the Grand Canyon and the countless ways to explore it requires a little research ahead of time to make your Las Vegas to Grand Canyon trip a memorable lifetime adventure.
So, whether you choose to drive your car, hop on a helicopter tour, or raft down the Colorado River, this guide offers the best tips to help make your Grand Canyon experience flow smoothly.
Las Vegas to Grand Canyon: First Things First
The massive length and size of the Grand Canyon mean there are many destinations to explore and different ways to enjoy them. Here are some of the basics from leaving the Las Vegas strip to parking in the Grand Canyon.
North Rim vs South Rim vs Grand Canyon West Rim?
Before heading to the Grand Canyon it's important to know what part you want to visit. The North and South Rim are located in Grand Canyon National Park which has different fees, rules, and regulations than the Grand Canyon West located on Hualapai land and run by the Hualapai Native Americans.
Although all of these areas are part of the Grand Canyon, the entrances are hours from one another so look at a map and make plans before you venture out.
Can you do a day trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon?
A day trip to the Grand Canyon for Las Vegas is very popular. Both the North Rim and South Rim are about 4.5 hours from Las Vegas. While this is a long day of driving, many travelers short on time will make this journey. Drive there, spend a few hours exploring, and drive back to Las Vegas in the evening.
An alternative idea for one day is to visit the Grand Canyon West. This area is only about 2 hours from Las Vegas and is famous for its skywalk and helicopter tours.
How Far is Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon?
Las Vegas to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is about 260 miles. Las Vegas to the South Rim is about 290 miles and to Grand Canyon West it's 126 miles.
How long does it take to get to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas?
On average it takes about 4.5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon. The drive to Grand Canyon West is much closer, only about 2 hours.
Which part of the Grand Canyon is closest to Las Vegas?
Grand Canyon West is the closest access point to the Grand Canyon.
Are There Entrance Fees & Limited Hours?
The different parts of the Grand Canyon have different fees and accessibility.
In the national park, the Grand Canyon South Rim is the only part of the park accessible year-round (provided serious snow conditions don't close the road in the winter). The Grand Canyon North Rim closes for the winter. It usually opens in mid-May and closes mid-October. If arriving by car, a week-long pass entrance fee into the park is $35.
When you visit the Grand Canyon West Rim you must purchase general admission tickets into the general tour area. This is because it's located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. While ticket prices vary depending on the season, general admission is usually $45 with the option to add on things like the skywalk, meals, a helicopter tour, or zipline tour.
When Should You Go?
The Grand Canyon offers picturesque sites year-round, however not all roads are always open. The Grand Canyon South Rim is the only part of the national park accessible year-round. With the canyon's northern location in Arizona and the high elevation, it still gets cold and snows in the winter so check weather conditions before you head out.
While the South Rim is open year-round it is very hot in the summer, therefore, fall and spring are the best seasons for the most comfortable temperatures.
Any Safety Tips For The Grand Canyon?
When visiting the Grand Canyon, it's important to check the weather. Because late spring to early fall is typically very hot many people suffer from heat exhaustion or heat stroke at this time of year. It's essential to carry plenty of water to stay hydrated. Only very experienced, well-prepared hikers should take on long treks. Otherwise, enjoy a stroll along the rim where services are easily accessible.
How to Get From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon
Drive a car or RV, take the historic train, hop on a Las Vegas bus tour, or fly over the Grand Canyon. Depending on your interests there are plenty of options for travel from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.
Driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon gives you the most freedom to visit where you want to on your own schedule. While this is usually a luxury, if you plan to visit in the summer expect lots of traffic and difficulty finding parking. Also, entrance lines can take over an hour so it's best to avoid summer weekends.
Rent an RV
Another great option is to use peer-to-peer RV rentals in Las Vegas. This allows you to rent out someone else's RV for travel. It's a convenient way to explore and get from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.
Take a Train
Join the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel to take you on a train ride to the Grand Canyon. The train departs daily from Williams, Arizona at 9:30 am and gives you some free time in the canyon before the ride back at 3:30 pm, giving you about 3 hours to explore the Grand Canyon. This is a great option to avoid crowded parking and it lets you see the view the whole way!
There are two options for bus trips. You can join a tour company in Las Vegas to drive you to the Grand Canyon or you can drive to the park on your own and take the South Rim Bus Tour.
There are many companies that run bus tours from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. Most bus tours go to the Grand Canyon West Rim or the South Rim. There are both single-day bus trips and overnight bus trip options depending on the tour company you choose. So don't worry about looking up facts ahead of time, let a tour guide take care of that for you!
To get around within the South Rim of the park you can hop on one of the national park buses. There are many viewpoints along the south rim that would take a long time to walk to. The buses go to Hermits Rest and Desert View and also run sunrise and sunset tours. A national park tour guide provides fascinating information along the way. Check online to see if the bus is running.
Both an airplane and helicopter flight are an incredible way to explore the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. With the close proximity to Las Vegas, the scenic flight is well worth the cost.
Best Things to Do in The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is an incredible destination for all people to visit. Whatever your interests and fitness levels are, there are many ways to explore the Grand Canyon.
Walk the Trail of Time
The Trail of Time runs along the Grand Canyon South Rim. It's a flat, paved, 1.2-mile long trail. It takes you on a journey through time to learn about the geological history of the Grand Canyon. The trail also features rock samples from the canyon.
One of the most popular activities in the park is hiking! Depending on your skill and fitness level, there are a variety of options for all hikers, some day hikes, some overnight. Here are some popular day hike options.
Rim Trail. It extends along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and offers great views of the inner canyon. It is an easy hike option and you can walk for as long as you want then turn around.
South Kaibab Trail. This trail begins south of Yaki Point and starts heading down into the canyon. This trail offers a range in distance up to 6 miles road trip. It offers some of the best views for a relatively short hike but it is steep, and there is no water or shade.
Bright Angel Trail. This is considered a premier hiking trail. It is well maintained and has drinking water stations. The full hike from the rim down to the canyon floor is about 15 miles round trip. It's the safest trail option to the Grand Canyon floor but it's also possible to hike part of this trail then head back up.
Phantom Ranch to Phantom Overlook. On the North Rim, this 3.5-mile trail offers great panoramas of the canyon and the chance to see wildlife. It is considered moderate.
Bright Angel Point. This flat, paved, half-mile trail offers spectacular views of the Grand Canyon along the North Rim.
Drive to Scenic Viewpoints
The East Rim of the Grand Canyon is home to East Rim Drive. It's a 23-mile scenic road that starts in Grand Canyon Village and heads east to Desert View, the east canyon entrance station.
This is the only scenic road open where you can take a private car year-round on the South Rim. So enjoy the beautiful sites whatever time you visit!
White Water Raft
With the roaring water rapids of the Colorado River flowing through the Grand Canyon, white water rafting trips are very popular. Join a commercial outfitter for a 3-21 day trip down the Grand Canyon. With dozens of companies authorized to raft the canyon the trip lengths and costs vary but average around $250-$300 a day. Reserve well in advance as these tours book up quickly.
If you're daring, walk on the glass floor of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. This horseshoe-shaped bridge, glass walkway extends over the side of the Grand Canyon. This is not for the faint of heart. You'll look down into the canyon a few thousand feet below and see the Colorado River running through. It's only about 2 hours from Las Vegas so this is a great day trip option.
Join a Grand Canyon tour via train. The historic Grand Canyon Railway is an exciting experience with western musicians and cowboys dressed up on the railway cars. Don't worry about driving the windy, narrow roads; enjoy the train for spectacular views the whole way!
For an incredible tour experience, sign up for an airplane or helicopter Grand Canyon tour from Las Vegas. All scenic flight tours are located outside of Grand Canyon National Park often on the West Rim. They start right on the Las Vegas Strip and most companies offer hotel pickup.
There are a few options when booking this adventure. Some helicopter and airplane tours just fly over the Grand Canyon West, while some land in or near the canyon. As your helicopter takes off in Las Vegas you'll pass over the Mojave Desert which surrounds Las Vegas, you'll fly above the Hoover Dam, and you'll get impressive views of Lake Mead.
Turn Your Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Adventure Into a Road Trip
The drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon is an adventure in itself. If you're driving to the South Rim or West Rim spend a few hours exploring.
As you drive out of Las Vegas you'll head through Boulder City and the Mojave Desert. Head east on I-11 and you'll cross the bridge near the Hoover Dam between Nevada and Arizona. Lake Mead, filled by the Colorado River, is the large body of water that ends at the Hoover Dam. This area signifies the end of the Grand Canyon.
If you have the time stop at some of the viewpoints and visitor centers to learn more about this incredible area.
As you continue from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park, you'll end up on the historic Route 66 through Arizona. You'll pass through spots with pine forests, much different looking than the Grand Canyon.
Spend a Night or Few
To really dive in and experience everything the Grand Canyon has to offer, escape the Las Vegas strip and spend a few days exploring the canyon. There are a few well-known hotels throughout the area.
If you visit the Grand Canyon West Rim stay at Hualapai Ranch. You'll be close to the beautiful Guano Point and many other spots to enjoy the views. If you're visiting the South Rim, stay at the Maswik Lodge. Because it is such a popular destination make reservations early for the best camp spots or hotel accommodations.
Now go plan your Las Vegas to Grand Canyon trip! With such close proximity to Las Vegas and so many sites to see and ways to explore, you really can't miss one of the most beautiful spots in Arizona. So get ready to hike, fly, stroll, and relax as you visit one of the most impressive sites in the US!