|The south rim is the most frequently visited area of the park. Nearly five million visitors come to the south rim to see the park annually. It is 60 miles north of Williams and 80 miles north of Flagstaff. Although it is only ten miles to the north rim as the crow flies, it is a 220 mile ride by car to get to the north rim.
Upon arrival at the south rim, stop at the visitor center to get an overview of the park. At the visitor center, there is a free slide show presentation and also exhibits about the Grand Canyon’s history, geology, wildlife, and activities. Park rangers are available to answer any questions you might have.
The weather at the south rim can change abruptly any time of year. Summers are hot and dry, although thunderstorms and sudden temperature drops do occur. Winters bring freezing temperatures and snowstorms. The 5,000-foot elevation difference between the rim and the bottom of the canyon means that, in summer, rim temperatures in the 70s to 80s can translate to temperatures exceeding 110°F at the canyon bottom. Spring and fall are pleasant and warm.
The south rim of the Grand Canyon is mostly desert. There are very few springs in the area and absolutely no surface water. The plants and animals of the south rim, over millions of years, have adapted to these conditions. Trees like the Pinon Pine and Utah Juniper do very well here. They don’t need much water, and they are very thrifty with the water that they do get. Groves of Douglas Fir are strewn along the south rim, the highest concentrations around the visitor center and along the East Rim Drive. Besides those, cacti, agave and yucca plants also thrive on the south rim.