The park was established in 1919, official status was given to the Grand Canyon by Woodrow Wilson. The area includes 1,904 square miles of land, 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and nearly 1 mile deep. The South Rim is 6,900 feet above sea level, and the North Rim is 7,498 feet above sea level.
Visitation. The South Rim of the Grand Canyon stays open year round due to the high elevation and moderate temperatures. The North Rim facilities are open mid-May through mid-October.
Location. Located in the northwestern border of Arizona stretching along the Colorado River.
Grand Canyon National Park
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
Telephone. General Information: 520-638-7888; Lodging: 303-297-2757
Park Directions. Grand Canyon Village (South Rim) is located 60 miles north of Interstate 40 at Williams via highway 64, and 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff via highway 180. Only ten miles from rim to rim as the crow flies, the North Rim is 215 miles (about 4 1/2 hours) from the South Rim by car. The North Rim is 44 miles south of Jacob Lake, AZ, via highway 67.
Park Headquarters. At the South Rim Visitor Center you can view a free slide show presentation about the Grand Canyon’s history, geology, wildlife, activities and gain a basic knowledge and overview of the park. Books, trail guides, brochures, and much more is available at the Visitor’s Center to better your visit at the Grand Canyon National Park.
Entrance Fees. Entrance to the park costs $20 per vehicle. Entrance permits are good for seven consecutive days in the Park.
Entrance fees are waived with an annual Grand Canyon Passport or Golden Eagle, Golden Age or Golden Access Passport. You can obtain these passes at any national park, monument or recreation area, including any Grand Canyon Park entrance.
$50 annually for all national parks
$10 one time charge for US citizens or residents age 62 or older
Golden Access Passport: Free for disabled US citizens or residents
Reservations and Permits. Campground / Lodging / Restaurants – Reservations are strongly recommended for all concession operated facilities. Reservations should be made as far in advance as possible. For reservation information, call (303) 29PARKS.
Operating Hours. Season runs from mid-May to late-October. Due to snow, the North Rim is closed for the rest of the season.
Open year-round, though the greatest concentration of people is from April to August. All gates are open 24 hours a day, but the visitors centers typically only run from 8am to 5pm daily.
For current road conditions and construction, contact the NPS at 307-344-7311.
Daily commuter lines fly from Los Angeles and Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan which is four miles from the Visitor’s Center. Shuttles run hourly from the airport to Grand Canyon Village.
The Park operates a free shuttle bus system from March 11 until October 17. The Grand Canyon Village shuttle travels every 15 minutes and provides transportation between the visitor center and hotels, restaurants, and campgrounds nearby. The West Rim scenic shuttle runs approximately every 15 minutes and meets up with the Village shuttle.
. Almost 1500 feet higher than the South Rim, the North Rim at 7,498 feet above sea level is closed during the winter months of October through May. Through its open months, temperatures can be expected to be slightly cooler than the South Rim, but thunderstorms will still be present.
South Rim. At an altitude of 6900 feet above sea level, the South Rim fluctuates in its weather from cool, crisp mornings to hot, dry afternoons. Dressing in layers will allow you to properly adjust to the cool morning and the slow heating of the day. June is usually warm and dry with only occasional afternoon breezes. July and August have more rainfall with frequent thunderstorms at the rim. There will occasionally be severe lightning and hail.
Resembling weather of the Southwestern deserts, weather in the Inner Gorge can have extreme changes. Ranging above 100 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, nights can become cool rather quickly. Many hikers tend to choose hiking at night or early in the morning when it is still dark for the best experience and to miss the heat of the sun.
- Prevent blisters by wearing comfortable boots or shoes which fit the terrain.
- Prevent hypothermia by wearing layers. If you find yourself shivering and feel disoriented, seek shelter and drink warm liquids. Hypothermia can develop and is a serious condition requiring medical attention.
- If you see a storm developing, reduce the risk of lightning strike by retreating to a lower location and avoid water, ridges, isolated trees and boulders. If you feel an electrical charge building up, kneel down, lean forward and place your hands on your knees. DO NOT seek refuge under rock overhangs.
- Be careful of your footing when approaching and looking over the canyon rim.
Visitor Centers and Exhibits. The Visitor Centers are the hub for park information and are located near most lodging complexes. Ranger stations are located at all developed areas of the park. Most have shortened or closed hours between late August and Memorial Day.
- South Rim Visitor Center – open year round
- Yavapai Observation Station – hours change seasonally
- Tusayan Museum and Ruin – hours change seasonally
- Grand Canyon Railway – open during the summer
- Kolb Studio – hours change seasonally
- Desert View Contact Station – open from spring to fall
Trails and Roads.
Bright Angel Trail. Starting right outside the Bright Angel Lodge, this trail takes you to the inner canyon.
South Kaibab. Southern inner canyon trail.
East Rim Drive. A 23-mile drive between the Village and Desert View. Featuring canyon vistas, Tusayan Indian Ruin, views of Painted Desert, the Colorado River, the San Francisco Peaks, and the Vermilion Cliffs from the Watchtower at Desert View.
West Rim Drive and Nature Trail. An enjoyable 16-mile round trip including 8 main viewpoints along the West Rim.
Lodging Facilities. The Grand Canyon has nearly 1,000 rooms, cabins, and suites. With three historic lodging establishments and four motel type lodges, plenty of space is available. Reservations may be made up to 23 months in advance. Call (303) 29PARKS for reservations. Reservation information about accommodations can be found at the following locations:
- El Tovar Hotel – open year-round
- Bright Angel Lodge – open year-round
- Kachina and Thunderbird Lodges – open year-round
- Maswik Lodge – lodge open year-round; cabins closed during winter season
- Yavapai Lodge – open year-round
- Phantom Ranch – open year-round
- Moqui Lodge – open April through October
Food and Supplies. Food service and groceries available in the park and in surrounding communities.
Accessibility. The park’s major sites can be viewed by automobile. Some trails and facilities are wheelchair accessible.
Recommended Activities. Many trails and rim drives are available to visitors. Rim trails stretching along the Grand Canyon provide scenic views of breathtaking beauty along the edge. Long as well as short trails are accessible at the North and South Rim for backpackers and average hikers.
Basic Visit Recommendations. Check at Visitor Centers for current information on road closures, weather forecasts, ranger-led activities, park regulations, and permits. Visitors should keep in mind that, due to high levels of visitation, travel through the park can be slow, especially during July and August. Make lodging reservations as early as possible. Allow at least two days or more if you wish to see most major park attractions.