Best Things To Do At The Grand Canyon South Rim

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyons is one of the most beautiful natural wonders in the entire world. It took the Colorado River millions of years to carve this canyon into what it is today, and it is still carving it as we speak. Once you come here, you will see why it is called the “Grand” Canyon. No words can describe what it is like to view the Grand Canyon in all its glory.

When visiting the Grand Canyon, one of the most popular things to do is to look of the canyon cliffs from the Visitor Center. However, there is more to the canyon than just looking over the cliffs. You can walk along the rim, view the sunrise, ride a bicycle along the canyon, take a helicopter ride, or even hike the canyon from down below.

The possibilities are endless.

After all, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is one of the most accessible and popular sections of the canyon for you to visit.

In this post, we’ll be discussing the best things for you to see and do at the Grand Canyon South Rim. As well as some tips that can make your experience a lot more enjoyable.

So lets get started!

Best Things To See And Do At The Grand Canyon South Rim

Here are the best things for you to see and do during your visit at the Grand Canyon.

Check Out The South Rim View Points

Grand Canyon

As you know, the Grand Canyon is a huge canyon that stretches out for hundreds of miles. Which is why it is to be expected for there to be many view points all along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Each one of these view points will offer a fantastic view of the canyon. However not all view points are the same, in fact some are vastly better than the others.

Some view points you might find offer beautiful picturesque views of the canyon, some might be less crowded with people, and some make for a fantastic area to catch the sunrise or sunset.

There are currently three sections for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon that you can choose to visit.

They are the Desert View Road, Grand Canyon village and Hermit Rest Road.

Each one of these sections offer different views and experiences of the Grand Canyon.

Here are some of the best view points from each section.

Desert View

Grand View Point – This is the southernmost point of the entire South Rim Canyon. The views here are fabulous because it is one of the highest points in the South Rim.

Moran Point – This view point is named after Thomas Moran, a painter who traveled to the Grand Canyon with John Wesley Powell in 1873. So if you are a fan of his paintings, than this place is definitely for you.

Desert View Point – This view point is the highest viewpoint in the Grand Canyon South Rim with an elevation of about 7,438 feet.

Hermit Rest Road

Mather Point – Mather Point is the most popular point in the entire South Rim. It offers picturesque views of the canyon but you’ll have to fight your way through to see it.

Yavapai Point – Here you will get the best view of the famous three points: Cape Royal, Wotans Throne, and Vishnu Temple. Not only that, but the Colorado River is right below you!

Grand Canyon Village

Maricopa Point – The vistas towards the east and west side of the canyon are excellent here. Not only that, but the views extend all the way to the North Rim.

Hopi Point – Hopi Point is one of the best all-around viewpoints in the Grand Canyon. Also it is a very popular spot for many people to come and watch the sunset.

Mohave Point – Here you’ll be able to see some fabulous vistas. Not only that but you’ll also get some amazing views of the river and rapids down below.

The Abyss -The Abyss sits sits very close to the edge of the canyon and is one of the best places to see exactly down below you into the canyon.

Pima Point – This view point offers one of the best views of the canyon as well as a glimpse of the Colorado River and rapids.

Walk Along The South Rim Trail

Hiking Along Grand Canyon

Walking along the South Rim Trail is one of the best things you can do. This trail stretches for about 13 miles long from Hermit’s Rest to the South Kaibab Trailhead.

It is a mostly flat trail with amazing views of the Grand Canyon. Plus along the way you’ll encounter a lot of wild life and plants that make for amazing pictures to take.

Do know that you don’t necessarily have to walk the entire 13 miles. There are points along the trail that has a shuttle come by every once in a while. So if you are tired from walking or just want to relax a bit, hop on the shuttle to the next destination.

Go Hiking On The Grand Canyon Floor

Hiking on the grand canyon floor

If you love hikes then you’ll definitely love the hikes you get at the Grand canyon.

Here you’ll be able to find a variety of hikes from short distances to long distances.

Heck, if you are a more experienced hiker you can even try to hike from one end to the enter but it’ll take you a few days.

One of the hikes for instance is the Bright Angels Trail. It is 9.5 miles long and descends about 4380 feet. This trail starts on the rim and ends at the Bright Angel Campground near the Colorado River.

Another trail you might be interested in is the South Kaibab Trail. It is shorter than the Bright Angels Trail and in my opinion a much better trail to hike for beautiful views. ThisTrail also starts on the rim and ends at the Colorado River. It is about 7 miles long with about a 4800 feet of elevation loss.

There are many other hikes you can do so do some research before you head to the Grand Canyon so that you can get the best experience possible.

Do know that for the longer hikes, the National Park services actually discourage people from doing them in 1 day. Mainly because it can get extremely hot and dangerous, so if the hike is too long, try to go slow and take multiple days if needed.

Riding A Bike Along Hermit Road

riding a bike

A fun thing you might be interested in doing is to ride a bike along the path of the Grand Canyon.

And one place you can do this is at the section of Hermit Road. This area stretches for about 7 miles long starting at the Grand Canyon Village and ending at Hermit’s Rest.

Although there are many possible ways for you to travel along this path like riding a shuttle or walking, riding a bike seems to be the most pleasant. This allows you to view the view points on your own schedule without having to wait for a bus or spend a bunch of time just walking around.

Bright Angle Bicycles has a special package where you can rent a bike for one day. Plus they even have a shuttle that transports you back from Hermits point to the Grand Canyon village so that you won’t have to ride a bike back and fourth which is about 14 miles round trip.

Riding A Mule Into The Grand Canyon

riding a mule

If hiking doesn’t sound like the most pleasant idea for you to go down into the canyon, do know that there are other options. For instance, you can ride a mule straight into the canyon.

Xanterra is a place which offers mule rides on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is a very popular thing to do and many people often do it. The only downside is that the tickets to do this are only offered by lottery.

Ride A Helicopter Over The Canyon

If you want an experience like no other, then riding a helicopter is definitely the thing to do. It is thrilling and provides you with amazing views and stunning beauty of the Grand Canyon. It also lets you see many places which are not see=able from the South Rim view points.

The only downside is that this can be a bit costly.

But it is totally worth it!

Watch The Sunset Or Sunrise At The Grand Canyon

sunrise grand canyon

Love the sunset? What about a sunrise?

Here at the Grand Canyon, you’ll be able to see some of the most spectacular sunrise/sunsets at many of the view points.

Watch as the sun rises over the canyon lighting it up in beautiful hues of red and orange, or wait till the end of the day and watch as the sun climbs down the horizon leaving warm light and making the canyon glow in beautiful colors.

Now selecting which view point to go watch this event at may be tricky. Fortunately enough there are guides posted all over that tell you which points are the most popular to see these at.

Do note that you want to come early to the view point you want to see the sunrise/sunset because if you come late, it will be crowded with all sorts of people.

Visit The Yavapai Museum Of Geology

Yavapai Museum Of Geology

A fun thing that not many people know about is that there is a place where you can learn about the history and formation of the Grand Canyon. Located at the Yavapai Museum of Geology, you can learn all sorts of amazing things as well as see stunning views across the Grand Canyon.

Have A Park Ranger Guided Tour

Grand Canyon Picture

For those that don’t know, the Grand Canyon offers guided tours from park rangers daily at the South Rim.

The park rangers will be able to give you a geology lesson as well as information about the animals and plants that live in the Grand Canyon.

It is a fun activity to do especially if you have young kids who are fascinated with nature.

Interesting Facts

Grand Canyon
  • Did you know the Grand Canyon is the second most visited park in the United States? It is a very popular place where many people love to visit. It comes in second only to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park which gets about 11.4 million visitors, compared to the Grand Canyon which saw around 6.4 million visitors.
  • The Grand Canyon is a vast canyon that stretches for about 277 miles long. It has been estimated that the Colorado River took about 5 to 6 million years to carve out the canyon that you see today.
  • The Grand Canyon is about 6,000 feet deep.
  • The Grand Canyon officially became a national park in February 26, 1919.
  • It was the 17th national park to be established in the United States.
  • The rock found at the bottom of the Grand Canyon (schist) is around 2 billion years old.
  • The rock found on the upper rim (limestone) is around 230 million years old.

How To Get To The Grand Canyon South Rim

driving to the grand canyon

Getting to the Grand Canyon South Rim is actually a pretty simple thing to do. You can get here either by bus, car, train, plane, helicopter or even a tour.

However most people usually come here by driving a car which is pretty straight forward.

The distances for driving from the nearby areas are as follows:

  • Las Vegas: 280 miles, 4.5 hours
  • Page, Arizona: 133 miles, 2.5 hours
  • Flagstaff, Arizona: 80 miles, 1.5 hours
  • Phoenix: 230 miles, 3.5 hours

The other common options people usually do is to either fly in here by plane or take a tour.

If you’re going by plane, you can fly directly into Tusayan airport which is a small town located about 15 minutes away from the Grand Canyon.

If you’re going by tour, there are many places that offer tours to the Grand Canyon. For instance, in Las Vegas you can take a tour which takes about 5 hours to drive here.

Hours Of Operation And Cost

the grand canyon

You’ll be happy to know that the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

The only exception to this is if you want to visit the North Rim, which is only open from mid-May through mid-October.

The entrance fee for the Grand Canyon National Park costs about $35 dollars and is valid for 7 days. This fee also lets you visit the North Rim if you want.

But do note that if you want to visit the North Rim also, it will take you about 4 to 5 hours to drive there from the South Rim.

Where To Stay

Inside The Grand Canyon

Staying at the Grand Canyon is a very pleasant experience.

There are 5 lodges you can find inside the Grand Canyon Village which consists of (El Tovar, Thunderbird Lodge, Bright Angel Lodge, Kachina Lodge, and Maswick Lodge).

Staying at the lodges inside the Grand Canyon gives you the ease of access for shuttles and allows you to do things on your own schedule. No need to drive back and forth to park each and every day.

The only downside is that the lodges can be quite expensive and there isn’t really anything too special about them.

For a list of prices for the lodges, you can click this link here. Do know that the lodges get booked pretty fast so if you are going to be booking a lodge, try to do it many months in advance.

Outside The Grand Canyon

However if you don’t want to pay so much for a place to stay, you’ll be happy to know that there are plenty of places for you nearby the Grand Canyon.

For instance, you can stay in Tusayan which is about 15 minutes away from the canyon. Here you can find multiple hotels to stay at that are all excellent quality and at an affordable cost.

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If you ever get a chance, I highly recommend you to come visit the Grand Canyon.

It is a fascinating place in which everybody will love once they get a chance to see it.

Hopefully this post was able to show you all the things you can do at the Grand Canyon as well as some other information to help you make your trip more enjoyable.

Also, if you are going to be visiting Arizona, you might be interested in some of my other Arizona posts. You can check them out here.