When you think of visiting Grand Canyon, the South Rim is most likely the picture that comes to your mind: standing on the edge of the vast Canyon overlooking what seems like an eternity of ancient rock carved by the incredible force of water. If you’re just visiting Grand Canyon for a day, this is where you want to be! You’ve got the visitor center, lodging, bike rentals, hiking opportunities, shopping, dining, great viewpoints and the Grand Canyon Imax in Tusayan – just outside the park.
If you are on one of Grand Canyon Whitewater’s lower canyon river trips, this is your starting point. The day before your trip begins with a tough hike into Grand Canyon, you’ll need to get yourself to the South Rim and spend a restful night at one of the lodges. At the end of your trip, we’ll return you EITHER to South Rim or to Flagstaff. Which brings me to the point of this blog … how to get to South Rim (aka Grand Canyon Village).
DRIVE: If you live in the Southwest, you may want to drive yourself to the South Rim. You can leave your car in the backcountry parking lot for the duration of your trip at no per-night cost, just the cost of entry into the park. GCW would then drop you back off at South Rim after your trip. OR, you may opt to drive to Flagstaff, AZ, leave your car at our designated hotel and take the shuttle to South Rim. That way, upon return from your trip, you can get off the bus in Flagstaff without having to go all the way back to South Rim. This works well for many people as Flagstaff is closer to Phoenix and Sky Harbor Airport and cuts off some driving time.
FLY: Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX) is the closest major airport to South Rim. Many people opt to fly into Phoenix and take the shuttle up through Flagstaff and on to South Rim. There is a small airport in Flagstaff (FLG) with just a couple flights daily; if not too expensive this may be a good option over Phoenix. Alternatively, McCarran International in Las Vegas (LAS) is a bit further but is also an option. From Las Vegas, you could rent a car, fly* (see below) or take a bus to the South Rim. However, remember that at the end of your trip GCW will be picking you up near Peach Springs, AZ and bringing you back to either Flagstaff or South Rim, both of which are in the opposite driving direction from Las Vegas. There are no great options to get yourself from Peach Springs straight to Las Vegas. Contact Grand Canyon Whitewater for further information.
*There are couple private/charter flights daily from Las Vegas, NV into the Grand Canyon Airport located in Tusayan, AZ just outside of South Rim. Check the transportation schedule on Bar 10’s website for pricing and timetable.