If you haven't been to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in several years, the Shuttle Buses will be new to you. There are several shuttle routes. The Kaibab Trail Route, is the shortest with the fewest stops and fewest points to see the canyon. The Village Route, provides transportation between the Visitor Center, hotels, restaurants, campgrounds, and shopping. This is the most crowded part of the Grand Canyon Village. The Hermits Rest Route, is the only way to see the various points west of the Village. These points include various places where you can see the Colorado River flowing through the Canyon. On our trip we found fewer children and teenagers on this route. There are no shops or places to buy snacks or supplies until the very last stop.
The buses run every 15-30 minutes, depending on the season. Make sure you check the evening schedules if you will be in the park at night.
Tip: Be careful to check the maps at each bus stop. The map in the newspaper shows all the stops on each route, but isn't clear on the newspaper map which stops are made in which direction.
Tip: The color of the bus, or the color of stripes on the bus, have nothing to do with which bus it is! Check the signage on the bus to determine which shuttle it is.
Where To Stay
There are hotels inside the Grand Canyon Village that are all operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts. These should be booked well in advance of your visit. You can make a reservation by calling them at (303) 297-2757, or you can make reservations on-line.
Tip: If you cannot get a room inside the Grand Canyon Village, you can find one in Tusayan which is just seven miles from outside the Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim. (Book your reservations here.)
Where To Eat
The restaurant at the El Tovar Hotel is very popular, and reservations made in advance are required if you would like to eat there. The other higher end restaurant is the Arizona Room, right next to the Bright Angel Lodge. They do not take reservations, but you should get there well before sunset to get in. There are numerous other restaurants, cafeterias and snack bars, mostly in the Village area and near the campgrounds and RV park.
Tip: If you are only going up for a day or two, eating should not take up much of your time. Don't make reservations for dinner; you don't want to arrange your day around a meal that you can get any time and anywhere in the Phoenix area. For a day trip, bring food along in a cooler in the car so you can spend the most time enjoying the sights, or eat at one of the cafeterias or at the casual Bright Angel Lodge restaurant. If you are staying the night in Tusayan, there are plenty of eateries close to your motel where you can eat after dark.
What is the Weather Like
Click here to get the current weather conditions and information on road closures at the Grand Canyon, and to see the average temperatures during the year.
Tip: In the spring and summer wear a hat, bring water, wear sunscreen, wear sunglasses. Wear a hat with a wide brim, like a Tilly hat. Don't worry about looking a bit silly. One of the great things about the Grand Canyon is that absolutely everyone there is a tourist!
The Best Time To Visit The Grand Canyon
You will find fewer crowds in the early spring or late fall. The South Rim is open year round, but try to avoid the times when schools are not in session. If you have to go during the summer when it is most crowded, try to go during the week and not on weekends. If you have to go on a weekend, just be patient!
Tip: The best photos of the Grand Canyon are at sunrise and sunset. Why not get there super early and beat the crowd?
What Time Is It?
The Grand Canyon, like most of Arizona, does not observe Daylight Saving Time. We are on Mountain Standard Time year-round which is the same time zone as Phoenix and Tucson.
What Else is There To Know?
If you want to hike, mule, raft, fly or find out anything else about visiting the Grand Canyon, you can find the information at the official web site.
Enjoy your trip to the Grand Canyon!
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