Grand Canyon National Park – Camping, Tours, and Best Tips

Petr Novák

The Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The park is located in the American state of Arizona and covers an area of 1,902 mi2. Approximately 4.5 million people visited the park in 2021.

Tipoff on the S. Kaibab Trail in the Grand Canyon | © Grand Canyon NPS

Table of Contents
  1. Grand Canyon National Park Information
  2. What to Do in Grand Canyon National Park
  3. When to Go to Grand Canyon National Park
  4. Grand Canyon National Park Entrance Fees
  5. Navigating Grand Canyon National Park
  6. Accommodation in Grand Canyon National Park
  7. Grand Canyon / Grand Canyon Park Visitor Information
  8. Photos of Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park Information

Grand Canyon National Park was established on February 26, 1919, as the 15th National Park of the USA. Until then, it had only been maintained as a national monument. In 1979, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The park consists of two parts:

South Rim

The South Rim is the most visited part of the national park and houses all the tourist facilities. Visitors can access the Grand Canyon National Park through a gate near the town of Tusayan. The average elevation of this part is 6,988 ft.

North Rim

The North Rim is a smaller and less frequented part of the park, with an average elevation of 7,972 ft. It is accessible from Highway 89A.

The canyon spans nearly 277 mi in length and ranges in width from 1,640 ft to 18.02 mi. The Colorado River has sculpted the canyon to a depth of 5,249 ft. Only 34 species of mammals inhabit the entire Grand Canyon, with bats and rodents being the most prevalent. Among the plant life, fungi, mosses, and lichens are predominant.

The oldest parts of the canyon are 1,864,000,000 years old. This time span is staggering when compared to the average human lifespan of around 80 years, representing roughly one-third the age of the Earth.

What to Do in Grand Canyon National Park

Initially, you will just stand and take in the scenery. The views of the canyon are truly unforgettable from just about anywhere. Additionally, there are several overlooks on both the North and South Rim. Most of these are along the scenic Kaibab and Hermit Road routes serviced by minibuses.

Located right in the center of Grand Canyon Village is the old railroad depot and a wooden train station, built in 1901. This was when the Santa Fe Railway first opened, connecting the Grand Canyon with the cities of Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe. The railroad depot is open to visitors.

If you have more interest in geology than trains, visit the Yavapai Museum of Geology. In addition to offering a stunning view of the Grand Canyon, the museum, located one mile east of Market Plaza, provides 3D models, photographs, and other exhibits depicting the evolution of the local landscape.

If you’re searching for an unforgettable experience, consider a sightseeing flight over the Grand Canyon. The flight usually departs from Las Vegas, and although the price of the ticket is quite high (starting from USD 349), I can attest from personal experience that it’s worth it.

You may also consider organized tours and trips:

When to Go to Grand Canyon National Park

Most visitors head to the Grand Canyon National Park in the summer when temperatures can soar to around 104°F.

Spring and autumn are more favorable times to visit the Grand Canyon. In addition to milder temperatures of between 68°F and 86°F, you will also enjoy lower prices for accommodation. Although the park is open all year round, except for the North Rim, the average temperature between the end of November to February is between 55°F and 64°F, and snow showers are not uncommon.

Average Temperatures and Visitor Numbers at Grand Canyon National Park

Average temperatures in the Grand Canyon National Park. Visitor numbers are based on the 2017-2021 average. The data source is the National Park Service.

Max Temp Min Temp Precipitation Days Visitors Popularity
January 43°F 17.60°F 3.7 210 710 🟩
February 46°F 21.20°F 3.8 218 788 🟩
March 54°F 23.00°F 4.2 455 720 🟨🟨
April 61°F 28°F 2.5 517 568 🟨🟨
May 70°F 34°F 1.9 587 116 🟧🟧🟧
June 81°F 41°F 1.8 656 632 🟧🟧🟧
July 84°F 50°F 6.9 757 947 🟧🟧🟧
August 81°F 50°F 8.1 673 035 🟧🟧🟧
September 75°F 43°F 4.8 548 782 🟨🟨
October 64°F 32°F 3.1 517 000 🟨🟨
November 52°F 23.00°F 2.8 357 228 🟨🟨
December 45°F 17.60°F 3.2 321 799 🟨🟨

Grand Canyon National Park Entrance Fees

The entrance fee to Grand Canyon National Park is $35 for a passenger car and all occupants, or $30 for a motorcycle trip. Pedestrian entry is $20.00 per person.

If you intend to visit several USA parks at once, consider purchasing an America the Beautiful pass. For $80, you can visit all the national parks in the USA in one year.

Navigating Grand Canyon National Park

The journey to Grand Canyon begins at the visitor center in Grand Canyon Village, which offers all the essential information and is open year-round. The center is located near the city of Flagstaff. It’s served by Greyhound, but it’s much easier to navigate by rental car. For distance and route information with major cities nearby:

From / To Distance Driving Time Map
Flagstaff 79 mi 1 hour 30 minutes View Route
Las Vegas 276 mi 4 hours 30 minutes View Route
Phoenix 229 mi 3 hours 30 minutes View Route
Salt Lake City 519 mi 8 hours 30 minutes View Route

You can use the free shuttles to navigate the park. We recommend parking your car at the visitor center and continuing on them.

Accommodation in Grand Canyon National Park

🏨 Hotels

Search for accommodation around Grand Canyon NP, especially in the towns of Flagstaff, Williams, or Tusayan. The most affordable room you can find costs about $65 per night.

⛺ Campsites

There are three main campgrounds in Grand Canyon National Park where you can rest.

  • Mather Campground
    This campground is situated in the South Rim area in Grand Canyon Village. It is open year-round, and the fee for a one-night tent is $18.00.
  • Desert View Campground
    This camp is situated 22.99 mi east of Grand Canyon Village in the South Rim area. It is open only for the high season, and reservations must be made in advance. The cost per site is $18.00.
  • North Rim Campground
    Located in the northern part of the park, it is open from May 15 to October 31 every year. There is a nightly fee of $18.00, and space must be reserved in advance.

Grand Canyon / Grand Canyon Park Visitor Information

ℹ️ Visitor Center

We recommend starting your tour of the national park with a trip to the visitor center. It is in both the northern and southern parts of the park.

The visitor center not only provides you with information about the park, but you can also buy souvenirs or chat with the rangers.

👍 Good to Know

If you wish to visit the Grand Canyon but don’t feel like driving all the way from Las Vegas, consider visiting Grand Canyon West Rim. The West Rim of the Grand Canyon is equally beautiful (one of the most gorgeous places I’ve seen in the US), and it’s about a 3-hour drive from Las Vegas. It’s the site of the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass-floored observation deck.

Before your trip, we recommend downloading useful brochures and maps of the Grand Canyon from the park service on your phone—they’re free.

Photos of Grand Canyon National Park

Mather Point Overlook in Grand Canyon NP | © Grand Canyon NPS
Toroweap in Grand Canyon National Park | © John Fowler
Cedar Ridge | © Grand Canyon NPS
North Rim Point Imperial in Grand Canyon National Park | © Grand Canyon NPS
Desert View Point | © Grand Canyon NPS
View from Hermits Rest | © Grand Canyon NPS
Grand Canyon National Park | © Grand Canyon NPS
Grand Canyon NP and the Colorado River | © Grand Canyon NPS
Grand Canyon National Park Inversion | © Grand Canyon NPS

US National Parks

  1. List of US National Parks
  2. America the Beautiful Annual Pass
  3. Timed-Entry Reservation for US National Parks

Travel Guides to USA National Parks

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