The Grand Canyon South Rim

The Grand Canyon South Rim is the most popular side of the chasm, attracting almost 90 percent of the canyon’s visitors every year. Standing 7,000 feet (2134 m) above sea level, the South Rim and all its facilities are open to visitors year round.

Grand Canyon South Rim hotels, lodging and lodges

The South Rim offers visitors all the amenities they could ever need; filled with restaurants, lodges and shops, this side of the canyon simply hums with activity during the busy summer months. If you’re looking for South Rim hotels, you have a wide variety to choose from; try the luxurious El Tovar Hotel on the canyon’s rim or go rustic with a rented cabin among the pines. All South Rim lodges and lodging are open year round.

Easy highway accessibility from Flagstaff and Williams, AZ brings plenty of visitors to the South Rim, which is also home to the scattered stores, hotels and restaurants of Grand Canyon Village. This side of the canyon is so popular with tourists that reservations are mandatory for camping and hotel accommodation. The rim is at its most crowded during the summer months; expect traffic jams and difficulty parking. November through February is less busy though winter weather can cause road closures and obstruct canyon views.

Visitor’s facilities

The Grand Canyon South Rim houses its tourist facilities in Canyon View Information Plaza, which contains restrooms, a full size bookstore and the Canyon View visitor’s information centre. You cannot reach the Plaza by automobile; park your car and take the free shuttle or follow the short walking trail from Mather Point.

Scenic South Rim

It’s easier to spot the Colorado River from the South Rim than it is from the much higher North Rim; however, the best views are still limited to certain points along the rim. Try the Yavapai Observation Station (open year round) for its panoramic views of the Canyon, River and Phantom Ranch.

On foot

A number of trails are appropriate for every fitness level; maps are available from the Canyon View Center. Expect any hike to the Colorado River and back to take two days from the Grand Canyon South Rim; park officials discourage any hiker from attempting to make the challenging journey in one day.

If you prefer an easier route, the Rim Trail provides a moderate hike along the rim from Mather Point to Hermits Rest. The trail is paved and wheelchair friendly from Maricopa to Yavapai points.

Bright Angel Trail is more strenuous, descending into the canyon from Bright Angel Lodge then detouring onto Plateau Point Trail before heading east along the river. This hike measures 19 miles round trip and descends 4,400 feet. Allot two days time.

South Kaibab trail is ‘very strenuous,’ dropping 5,000 feet within 6.3 miles. This 12.6 mile round trip hike follows ridge lines to bring you amazing views of the gorge. You must be sure to carry an adequate water supply for this exposed trail has no available water. Begins at Yaki Point.

By car

Visitors may drive to the river from the South Rim; expect a two and a half hour drive to Lees Ferry, which recognizes the official beginning of the Grand Canyon.

Drive along the canyon rim for scenic 26 miles on Desert View Drive. Simply head east on Highway 64 from the Village to the Desert View entrance of the park. Open to vehicles year round.

Hermits Road lets you drive along the rim for eight miles from the Village to Hermits Rest overlook. A shuttle bus is available when the road is closed.