Everyone always asks, "What's the best way to see the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas?" This is such an open ended question, however. What does the Grand Canyon mean to you? Are you talking about the National Parks or just the gaping hole in the earth's surface? There are so many options and I'm here to break it down for you!
If you're here, I'm going to assume you already know what the Grand Canyon is and it's general location in Northern Arizona, USA. I'm sure there are a ton of resources for you to check out if you want to know more about how it was formed and so forth, so I'm not going down that road today.
Options for seeing the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas:
+ Grand Canyon National Park
+ North Rim
+ South Rim
+ Grand Canyon West
+ Drive into the Grand Canyon
+ Helicopter Flight into the Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon National Park | North Rim
5.5 hour drive from Las Vegas
If you're looking to experience the actual National Park, and you also plan to visit other National Parks on your trip like Zion and Bryce Canyon, the North Rim may be the right option for you. The drive to the North Rim is 5.5 hours from Las Vegas. This is not a day trip. However if you have camping gear (or a camper) there is plenty of boondocking options in the area. There are also limited cabins and motel rooms available in the area. My preference for the North Rim is sunsets and solitude. I find it to be more quiet of the 2 National Park options. More information on the North Rim can be found on the NPS website.
Grand Canyon National Park | South Rim
4.5 hour drive from Las Vegas
If you're looking for classic Grand Canyon experience that folks seem to be thinking about when they say, "I wanna go to the Grand Canyon." - this is it. About a 4.5 hour drive from Las Vegas, this is also not recommended as a day trip. The South Rim is the most touristy portion of the Grand Canyon, but also has a lot of wonderful history to explore. Hotels and cabins book out very early in season, to book far in advance if you're hoping to stay over in or close to the park. Otherwise, Flagstaff, AZ has the usual run of motels and hotels and often there is not a lot of issues with availability. Additionally, there is a shuttle bus that takes you around the sites of the South Rim because it can become so crowded, personal vehicles are not allowed. More information on planning a trip the South Rim can be found on the NPS website.
Grand Canyon West
2 hour drive from Las Vegas
Grand Canyon West is on Hualapai Native Land. The entire experience is owned and operated by the Hualapai Native Americans. This experience also includes the use of shuttle buses. They have built a mock old west town for demonstrations, offer horse drawn rides, and have the famous Skywalk - a glass walkway over the Grand Canyon. Their packages can include a meal and the time you spend at each stop is up to you. It can be a wonderful way to experience the Grand Canyon at your own pace without big crowds. Additionally, the Hualapai do offer river excursions on the Colorado River in the GC and helicopter tours from this locations. At only 2 hours from the Las Vegas strip, this is a great option for a day trip from Las Vegas to experience the canyon. Find out more by visiting their website.
Drive into the Grand Canyon
3 hour drive from Las Vegas
This may be the only option to drive INTO the Grand Canyon in your own vehicle! If there is another, please let me know. It is a 3 hour drive to Peach Springs, AZ from which you take a 20 mile dirt road to the Colorado River, inside the Grand Canyon. This drive is on Hualapai Native American land and requires the purchase of a $30 permit per vehicle to enter. The permit can be purchased in person in Peach Springs. You can find out all of the details on my blog about this specific option HERE.
Fly into the Grand Canyon
40 minute flight from Las Vegas
Maverick Helicopter offers a flight/visit into the Grand Canyon. You will land on a ledge, partway down into the Grand Canyon and experience a picnic or a champagne toast. This is by far the quickest way to see the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, but also may be the most expensive. The flight does include a view of Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, the Las Vegas strip and other cool stuff in the region. If you're just wanting to do something cool - like ride in a helicopter - this is a great way to kill 2 birds with one stone. But if you want to be able to explore a bit, this won't give you the time in the canyon to do so. You can learn more on the Maverick website.
My blog is mostly personal photos and musings of hikes and adventures I have taken.