Although virtually everyone has heard of the Grand Canyon, they may not know exactly how to get there. At 280 miles in length, the Grand Canyon runs from the junction of the Paria River and Colorado River to the border of Arizona and Nevada. It is in northern Arizona, 70 miles from Flagstaff, which is the largest city nearby.
Visitors typically go to the North Rim or the South Rim; however, the North Rim opens only from the middle of May to the middle of November, depending on the weather. Additionally, the South Rim is more accessible, particularly in the winter months due to milder weather and better roads than the North Rim. Many times roads leading to the North Rim are closed during the winter due to weather conditions.
This is one of the areas of the United States that is visited by approximately 5 million people yearly. The Grand Canyon has been visited for many years, but did not become a national park until 1919. One of the enticements of the area is the size, which is overwhelming as well as the rocks, some of which are millions of years old. They are visible in the walls of the canyon and a prime example of erosion as it was carved over the years by the Colorado River.
Visiting the Grand Canyon from Southern California and Elsewhere
Traveling from areas in southern California, such as Los Angeles, drivers can reach the Grand Canyon by traveling north on Interstate 15 to Barstow. From Barstow, they will travel east on Interstate 40 until they reach the city of Williams, Arizona. Continuing from Williams on Route 64 north, they will reach the Grand Canyon.
If vacationers are visiting Flagstaff, Arizona, they are in a city that is considered the gateway to the Grand Canyon. Driving directions from here include two options. Motorists can drive north on U.S. Route 89 to Arizona 64 west to Desert View and the east entrance to the Grand Canyon. Another choice is to drive north on U.S. Route 180 to Arizona 64 north to the south entrance of the Grand Canyon. Visitors to the Phoenix area, can drive north on Interstate 17 until they reach Flagstaff and use one of two options above to get to the Grand Canyon.
How to visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas
For visitors to Las Vegas, it is possible to take U.S. Route 93 southeast to Kingman. From here travel east on Interstate 40 to Williams and when drive north on Arizona Route 64 to the Grand Canyon. Those who are in an eastern area of the U.S., can travel west on Interstate 40 to Flagstaff and choose U.S. Route 89 or U.S. Route 180, depending on which entrance of the Grand Canyon they choose.
Take a Plane or a Train to the Grand Canyon
There are a number of ways to travel to the Grand Canyon if driving is not an option. Airlines in Las Vegas and Phoenix, Arizona offer limited flights to Flagstaff and it is possible to rent a car to continue to the Grand Canyon. Shuttles may also be reserved in Phoenix or Flagstaff for transportation to the Grand Canyon. Those who are in Las Vegas can catch a flight in nearby Boulder City to the Grand Canyon Airport and take a taxi or a shuttle to the South Rim of the canyon.
If an aerial view of the Grand Canyon is desired, this is possible by contacting the Grand Canyon Airlines. They offer hourly tours from the airport to the Grand Canyon and can be chartered from nearby cities. The train is another choice for travelers who want to visit the 7th Wonder of the World. Amtrak has service in Flagstaff and Williams, Arizona to the South Rim of the canyon. The Grand Canyon Railway has departures and return trips daily from Williams, Arizona. This is 65 miles from the Grand Canyon off Interstate 40. It is only 32 miles from Flagstaff. They also offer several touring packages that visitors will enjoy.
The North and South Rim
Most of the travel options are for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. The North Rim does not include nearly as many choices. This is because there is not public transportation available to the North Rim. There are a few companies that offer shuttle service such as Grand Canyon Shuttle Service, which provides an on demand shuttle between the North Rim and the South Rim. The Trans Canyon Shuttle is another. If driving to the North Rim is a choice, taking State Route 389 or U.S. Highway 89A to Jacob Lake and Highway 67 from here will lead to the North Rim.
There are several choices available to those who are ready to enjoy the adventure of visiting the Grand Canyon. It is accessible from many places and the majority of people come to see the beautiful views. There are other activities available for all ages including backpacking, hiking, horseback riding, rafting, camping and the chance to see history preserved.