Heading to the Grand Canyon? Read these Arizona Grand Canyon Travel Tips before you go!
With miles of trails and innumerable scenic viewpoints in a super-sized canyon, the Grand Canyon is really one of the most beautiful and unique national parks in the world!
These Arizona Grand Canyon Travel Tips will help you get the most of your time there! Here are the best hikes, viewpoints, insider tips, day trips from the Grand Canyon, and more!
Arizona Grand Canyon Travel Tips
Best Hikes at the Grand Canyon
South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge (3 Miles Roundtrip, 1,120 ft elevation change)
Hiking the South Kaibab Trail is my favorite way to get into the Grand Canyon, with unparalleled views. If you want a really incredible experience, start the hike right at sunrise. It’s amazing!
Sunrise along the South Kaibab Trail!
The ‘Ooh Aah Point’ is an interesting place to stop on the way down, and as the name suggests, there are breathtaking views from there.
Cedar Ridge is a great photography spot, with views of the vast canyon and the colorful canyon walls. Typically, it takes twice as much time to hike up a trail than down a trail in the Grand Canyon, so give yourself plenty of time to hike back up!
Rim Trail – Easiest Hike at the Grand Canyon
If you’re not up for a rigorous hike, take the flat Rim Trail running along the top of the canyon for spectacular views with occasional benches along the way. This trail spans 13 miles of the South Rim, from the South Kaibab trailhead to Hermit’s Rest. It runs through the Grand Canyon Village, where you can find water, food, and other amenities.
Best Viewpoint at the Grand Canyon
As I mentioned, seeing sunrise at the Grand Canyon is seriously amazing! Yaki Point (which is located near the South Kaibab Trailhead) offers a great view of the sunrise. The sunset there is awesome, too!
To get there you can take the bus from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, or, you can park your car at a small dirt parking lot immediately west of the Yaki Point Road turnoff on the Southern side of Desert View Drive. Then, you can walk for 0.8 miles up to Yaki Point along the Yaki Point Road.
Day Trips from Grand Canyon:
There are so many interesting and scenic places to visit in northern Arizona… many of which are close to the Grand Canyon! Check out these top day trips below…
Sedona via Oak Creek Canyon (2 Hours 10 Minutes to Sedona, add 40 minutes for Montezuma Castle)
Sedona, a quaint city amid huge red cliffs, is one of Arizona’s most famous and beautiful destinations! A fun way to enter this red rock wonderland is through Oak Creek Canyon. Some points of interest in Sedona include:
Red Rock State Park for historic mining buildings, access to Oak Creek, and amazing views of Cathedral Rock! Address: 4050 Red Rock Loop Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336
The Cathedral Rock Hike for a fun hike/rock scramble to a point between humongous stone towers! There are great views of Sedona, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, and the San Francisco Peaks! Address: 500 Back O Beyond Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336
Chapel of the Holy Cross. An amazing feat of architecture, this modern Roman Catholic church was built into the red rock! Address: 780 Chapel Rd, Sedona, AZ 86336
Montezuma Castle, about 40 minutes south of Sedona, is a huge cliff dwelling that is definitely worth the visit! From here, you can take I-17 back to Flagstaff, then take U.S. 180 to Highway 64 to Grand Canyon Village. It’ll be about 2 hours and 20 minutes!
Wupatki, Sunset Crater Volcano, and Walnut Canyon National Monuments (2 Hours 45 Minutes)
If an epic combo of native American pueblo ruins, cinder cone volcanoes, and historic cliff dwellings calls your name, this day trip is for you!
You start out by visiting Wupatki National Monument, home to a handful of historic pueblos dotting the painted desert landscape. The two best pueblos to visit are…
Wupatki Pueblo, a ginormous 100 room pueblo! There is a trail that goes all the way around it, starting at the Wupatki visitor center.
Wukoki Pueblo, which sits above a dry riverbed and offers tremendous views over the empty desert landscape! You can also go inside of this one, too!
Wupatki Pueblo. See the little cinder cone volcanoes behind it??
Wukoki Pueblo. This is my favorite pueblo in Wupatki!
After Wupatki, you can drive through the unique terrain of Sunset Crater Volcano. With an innumerable amount of cinder cone volcanoes all around you, with the San Francisco Peaks looming in the distance, this is seriously a unique place that shouldn’t be missed!
Next up, Walnut Canyon! This unique park is home to cliff dwellings that can be reached by a 1 mile, 180 ft elevation change trail. Along the way, you’ll pass by about 20 0r s0 cliff dwellings.
After Walnut Canyon, you can drive back to Flagstaff, about 15 minutes away, and grab dinner. Flagstaff is 1 hour 30 minutes away from Grand Canyon Village, if you take U.S Route 180 to State Route 64.
Entrance + Things to Know
Entrance is $30. (Or you can also check out the Free National Park Days 2017 for a free entrance to the Grand Canyon).
The South Rim is a 1 1/2 hour drive from Flagstaff, a 3 1/2 hour drive from Phoenix, and a 4 1/4 hour drive from Las Vegas.
To get from point to point, hop on the free buses that drop you off throughout the park.
What to wear and bring to the Grand Canyon
Hiking shoes are a must if you want to do any hiking into the Grand Canyon. Be sure to bring mud and waterproof shoes, because the trails can become muddy after a rainstorm or snowfall. If you plan on visiting during Utah’s monsoon season (August and early September), waterproof shoes are a must with unpredictable thunderstorms. After all, you don’t want wet feet and blisters from hiking! And one more thing: try to wear your hiking shoes for several weeks, or months, before going on your trip to break them in. That way, they will be much more comfortable!
The temperature changes fast at the Grand Canyon, so bringing a fleece along to stay warm is a good idea! Also, if you hike down into the canyon, the temperature does change with the elevation.
My rain jacket came in handy at Grand Canyon! Like the rest of Arizona and Utah’s Canyon Country, there are many thunderstorms that come quickly through the park, so it’s best to be prepared with the right clothing before you go!
The Grand Canyon is really one of the most spectacular places to visit in Arizona. When you go, don’t forget to take your best camera and a good pair of broken-in hiking shoes or boots!
Now that you’ve read these Arizona Grand Canyon Travel Tips, don’t stop now! Keep planning your next road trip with these National Park travel tips below…
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