It must be seen to be appreciated

While the canyon is certainly a geologic wonder that truly must be seen to be appreciated, it is at its best when visitors take time to walk its trails, ride a mule and understand its native peoples. When planning your visit keep in mind that Grand Canyon is heavily visited for most of the year (averaging more than four million visitors each year) and it is imperative to plan ahead for lodging, camping, back-country permits or mule trips.

Suggested Travel Itineraries to Grand Canyon National Park

Not sure how to get the most from your trip to Grand Canyon? We suggest the following itineraries.

Suggested Itinerary One

2 Days, 2 Nights

Day One

  • Arrive at Grand Canyon South Rim.
  • Dinner at a cafeteria (for a quick dinner) or a rim restaurant.
  • See the sunset from rim viewpoint (or take Sunset Tour).
  • Spend the night in a Grand Canyon National Park Lodges accommodation.

Day Two

  • Walk to the rim for sunrise (or take Sunrise Tour).
  • Breakfast at El Tovar Dining Room.
  • Tour the Visitor Center (take the shuttle or walk).
  • Walk to Mather Point; stroll along rim to Yavapai Geologic Museum.
  • Walk or take the shuttle to the village, explore Historic Buildings (Pick up Walking Tour Brochure and other information at any lodge transportation desk).
  • Lunch at Bright Angel Restaurant.
  • Take Hermits Rest motorcoach tour (2 hrs).
  • Stroll along the rim for sunset or dine early at the Arizona Room.
  • Dinner at the Arizona Room.
  • Enjoy a National Park Service evening program or simply stargaze at the dark canyon skies.
  • Spend the night in a Grand Canyon National Park Lodges accommodation.

Day Three

  • Breakfast at Bright Angel Restaurant or cafeteria.
  • Last walk along rim before departing.
  • Visit Imax Theater on way out Highway 64 south or if going out Highway 64 east, stop at Desert View Watchtower for visit and lunch.

Suggested Itinerary Two

3 Nights, 3 Days

Day One

  • Arrive at Grand Canyon South Rim.
  • Walk to the rim for sunset (or take Sunset Tour).
  • Dinner at Arizona Room.
  • Spend the night in a Grand Canyon National Park Lodges accommodation.

Day Two

  • Breakfast at El Tovar Dining Room.
  • Hike along rim trail west to Hermits Rest. Hike out and take the shuttle back, or take the shuttle out and hike back, (you do not have to walk all the way, the shuttle stops at several locations.)
  • Late lunch at Bright Angel Restaurant.
  • Sunset walk or tour at Visitor Center. Pick-up information for tomorrow’s hike.
  • Dinner at a cafeteria or rim restaurant.
  • Enjoy a National Park Service evening program and the night sky.
  • Spend the night in a Grand Canyon National Park Lodges accommodation.

Day Three

  • Breakfast at Maswik Lodge. Pick up box lunch (early!).
  • Hike to Indian Garden and back – or shorter hike on the Bright Angel Trail (Estimated time is 6 hours). Or hike to Cedar Ridge and back on the Kaibab Trail.
  • Dinner at El Tovar Dining Room (reservations recommended).
  • Spend the night in a Grand Canyon National Park Lodges accommodation.

Day Four

  • Depart and visit the Imax Theater if going Route 64 south or stop at Desert View Watchtower if going east.

Suggested Itinerary Three

3 Nights, 3 Days

Day One

  • Arrive at Grand Canyon South Rim.
  • Dinner at a cafeteria or rim restaurant.
  • Spend the night in a Grand Canyon National Park Lodges accommodation.

Day Two

  • Take Sunrise motorcoach tour, or walk to rim for sunrise.
  • Breakfast at El Tovar Dining Room.
  • Walk along the South Rim; shop for Native American Art at Hopi House, El Tovar. (Pick up Walking Tour brochure.) Tour Mary E.J. Colter Buildings and Kolb Studio.
  • Lunch at El Tovar Dining Room.
  • Motorcoach tour-Desert View Watchtower (estimated time is 4 hours, round trip).
  • Watch the sunset at rim viewpoint, or take Sunset Tour.
  • Dinner at Arizona Room or El Tovar Dining Room.
  • Enjoy a National Park Service evening program.
  • Spend the night in a Grand Canyon National Park Lodges accommodation.

Day Three

  • Breakfast at Bright Angel Restaurant.
  • Take Hermits Rest tour (estimated time 2 hours), walk along the rim.
  • Lunch at Bright Angel Restaurant.
  • Drive to the airport to take a helicopter or air tour of Grand Canyon.
  • Shop at Tusayan Trading Post on the drive back into the park.
  • Tour the Visitor Center; walk to Mather Point, 100 yards. Take the shuttle or park at Mather Point.
  • Enjoy the sunset at overlook or Sunset motorcoach tour.
  • Dinner at El Tovar Dining Room.
  • Enjoy stargazing at the dark canyon skies.
  • Overnight at a Grand Canyon National Park Lodges accommodation.

Day Four

  • Enjoy sunrise breakfast at El Tovar Dining Room.
  • Depart.

Grand Canyon Adventure Planners

We suggest ordering a Grand Canyon Adventure Planner at our online gift shop, a must for anybody who is looking forward to an excellent Grand Canyon adventure. We’re confident that by using the resources included in this planner your visit to one of the world’s most famous national parks promises countless and priceless memories.

How to get to the Grand Canyon

Getting here is easier that you might think. You can get to Grand Canyon South Rim by bus, car, plane or train. Get driving directions and information on available transportation.

Consider using the Grand Canyon Railway as an alternative to your automobile when planning your trip to Grand Canyon. Visit the Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel for ideas on how to include this fun, historic mode of transportation in your itinerary.