From Niagara Falls to Yosemite National Park, the United States is home to some truly breathtaking natural landmarks and awe-inspiring landscapes. At a time when we're doing so much damage to the world and so much of our environment is being harmed and destroyed, it's never been more important for people to visit these locations, seeing and experiencing the beauty of nature in all its glory. And on any list of the best natural destinations to visit in America, the Grand Canyon usually appears right at the very top.
Situated in Arizona, the Grand Canyon was carved out by the Colorado River and runs for around 277 miles in total, attaining a maximum width of around 18 miles and a peak depth of over a whole mile. One of the most significant natural sites on Earth, the Grand Canyon demonstrates literally billions of years of Earth's history and has been a home to human life for thousands of years as well. It's an extraordinary location and a must-visit spot for anyone who gets the chance.
Getting to the Grand Canyon is quite simple for those in nearby cities like Albuquerque or Las Vegas, as well as Phoenix in Arizona. In fact, you can plan out a full day trip to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix, setting off early in the morning and leaving late in the evening in order to have a whole day seeing, admiring, and experiencing this hugely impressive natural monument. Read on to learn how to plan out the perfect day trip to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix, AZ.
Getting to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix
Depending on the route you follow, the city of Phoenix is around 230-250 miles away from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The journey between these two locations is a long one, but it's also a very beautiful one, with some amazing scenery waiting to be seen along the way as you travel through the Coconino National Forest and other stunning natural locations. Many people plan out a road trip to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix, but you can also choose to take a bus tour.
Getting to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix by Car
Doing a road trip to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix can be a lot of fun with your family or friends, and the whole journey can be done in less than four hours on a good day. As previously mentioned, it makes sense to start the journey early in order to give yourself the most time when you actually get to the Grand Canyon, and if you're traveling with multiple drivers, taking breaks and changing driver every now and then is a good way to ensure that everyone stays safe and alert for the whole journey.
When driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, the fastest route is to follow the I-17 north out of the city until you link up with the I-40. You'll then take the I-40 west for a short while, before turning off onto Highway 64 and heading right up to the South Rim and Grand Canyon Village. With good conditions and minimal traffic, the journey can be completed in about three and a half hours, so if you set off around 5am or 6am, you can be there by around 9am and have a full day ahead of you.
Getting to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix by Bus
Those who are unwilling or unable to drive can also choose to sign up for a bus tour from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. Various travel companies run bus tours direct to the Grand Canyon, and you’ll get the full benefits of the tour to enjoy along the way. Some tours will feature narration, for example, to help passengers learn all about the Grand Canyon, and some may also feature additional stops to help you see even more during your day out.
Important Information and Things to Do at the Grand Canyon
- Passes - You'll need to pay for entry in your vehicle into Grand Canyon National Park, and the standard fee is $35 for a private vehicle. You can also get in for free or at a discounted rate by owning a special bass like an America the Beautiful Annual Pass or a Grand Canyon National Park Pass.
- Grand Canyon Village - Grand Canyon Village is the usual starting point for all visitors arriving at the Grand Canyon. This is where you can get your visitor's guide to the canyon, which will help you get around and find the best viewpoints. Around Grand Canyon Village, you can also learn a lot more about the history and geology of the park, so it's a nice place to spend a little time before actually heading outside.
- Getting Around - The best way to get around the Grand Canyon is to take a ride on the free shuttle bus. The routes and times of this bus will depend on the time of year of your visit, with some routes only available from March through to November. The Village route, which is always in operation, takes you from the Visitor Center around to the various lodges and campsites, while the Kaibab Rim route takes you to some of the best viewing points for the canyon.
- Best Time to Visit - As with most major national parks and natural locations around the country, the Grand Canyon is at its busiest in the summer months. Summer can also be unbearably hot for many people in Arizona, so it's not really the best time to visit the Grand Canyon. In general, visiting in the months of late spring or early fall is the best option for your day trip to the Grand Canyon; you'll still get warm weather at these times of year and you'll also be able to avoid the big crowds.
- Things to Do - The best things to do on your Grand Canyon day trip are hiking and taking photos. Since you're only at the canyon for a single day, these activities represent the best way for you to see and experience this amazing location. The Rim Trail is a good hiking trail to follow for day trips and will give you some super views, and the Trail of Time is another popular walking route too.