If you are on a rafting tour that includes a hike into or out of the Grand Canyon, you will be passing through the South Rim of Grand Canyon.
The South Rim of Grand Canyon (aka Grand Canyon Village) is likely the place that comes to your mind when you think of a visit to the magnificent ditch. While there are two main visitor centers on opposing sides of the Canyon (the North Rim and the South Rim), the South Rim Village is by far the most visited.
All the lodging at South Rim is booked through Xanterra because it is within the National Park boundary. The easiest way to scope out lodging is by going to www.grandcanyonlodges.com. All the lodges, with the exception of Yavapai, are within walking distance of the Bright Angel Trailhead. If your rafting trip requires a night in South Rim, make sure to book your lodging well in advance. If you aren’t able to find lodging at South Rim, Tusayan is a small town right outside of the South Rim entrance that has additional lodging options.
Transportation: There are several options for getting to the South Rim of Grand Canyon.
For those with a vehicle, the South Rim is about 1½ hours north of Flagstaff, AZ, about 4 hours north of Phoenix, AZ or about 4½ hours west of Las Vegas, NV.
There are shuttle options by Groome to the South Rim from the Phoenix Sky Harbor airport as well as Flagstaff.
The other option is to fly to the South Rim from Las Vegas, NV. The route is not with a commercial carrier, rather a charter airline that can be booked by going to the Bar 10 Ranch website.
Within the South Rim are free shuttle buses between the hotels and various viewpoints. Check out the schedules and routes at the National Park Service’s transportation webpage.
If you are looking for a way to get yourself to the South Rim in an adventurous way, you could choose to go with All-Star Grand Canyon Tours. They offer a South Rim tour that includes a small hike and transportation from Flagstaff. It would be a great way to preview the Canyon before your rafting adventure with guides who can show you the best of what South Rim has to offer. Think of it as a great sneak peak and a good chance to test the terrain, your hiking equipment and your stretch your legs!
There is a fee for entering Grand Canyon National Park. If you are entering the South Rim in a personal vehicle, the price is about $30 per vehicle (2017). You can purchase an annual Grand Canyon or National Park Pass that will cover your entrance fees.