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South Rim of Grand Canyon

The South Rim of Grand Canyon is a steep-sided gorge carved by the Colorado River in Arizona and the most visited area among other Rims.

It offers stunning views of the canyon from the top of the canyon rim, with several overlooks and trails that lead down into the canyon.

The South Rim of Grand Canyon is open year-round and is easily accessible from Phoenix or Las Vegas. 

There are a variety of trails that vary in length, difficulty and scenery, so there’s something for everyone.

No matter how you explore the Grand Canyon South Rim, you will surely be enticed by its beauty and grandeur.

Best Grand Canyon tickets

Where is the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon South Rim lies east of Las Vegas, Nevada.  

It is 60 miles north of Williams, Arizona and 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff. 

Grand Canyon lies within the state of Arizona. 

The closest commercial and international airports are Phoenix, Flagstaff and Las Vegas. 

The Grand Canyon Airport is 7 miles (11 km) from the South Rim.

Map of Grand Canyon South Rim

A Map of the Grand Canyon is essential when visiting. 

Find out the best viewpoints, campgrounds, service stations and more from the map. 

The map provides information about shuttle routes, trails, roadways, parking spaces and ranger programs.

How to Reach Grand Canyon South Rim 

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon can be accessed by car, bus, train, plane, helicopter, or via tour. 

The most common way for people to travel to the Grand Canyon is to drive there, usually as part of a road trip around the American Southwest. 

The distances and estimated times from nearby locations are listed below: 

RoutDistanceTime
Phoenix230 miles3.5 hours
Las Vegas280 miles4.5 hours
Page, Arizona133 miles2.5 hours
Flagstaff, Arizona80 miles1.5 hours
Monument Valley176 miles3 hours
Zion National Park240 miles4.25 hours

You can travel to the Grand Canyon Village by plane or helicopter, arriving at Tusayan airport 15 minutes south of the destination. 

Alternatively, you can also take a bus or a train.

Distance between North and South Rim of Grand Canyon 

The South Rim and North Rim of the Grand Canyon are 20 miles from each other. 

However, A drive to the other side of the canyon would take 5 hours and 220 miles to reach.  

Hiking trails to North Rim are 21 miles long. 

It would take 8 to 14 hours to hike to the North rim from the South Rim of Grand Canyon and vice versa. 

South Rim weather 

The elevation of South Rim Grand Canyon is 7000 feet (2135 m), resulting in pleasant weather compared to the North Rim. 

The temperature in South Rim generally ranges from 80°Fs (27°C to 32°C) during the Summers. 

The overnight low can reach about 40°F to 50°F (4°C to 15°C). 

Thunderstorms are frequent during July, August and early September. 

Note: Tourists who plan to hike during these months should watch out for torrential rain, lightning and sudden flash floods. 

Winters in South Rim is less rough than in North Rim. 

However, there is a little snowfall and roads, and trails become icy. 

Significant snowfall is received along the Rim. 

Spring is pleasant and one of the best times to visit the South Rim. 

It is breezy with pleasant to warm temperatures throughout the summer. 

South Rim receives an average of 2.25″ (August) to 0.42″ (June) precipitation. 

Temperature at South Rim of Grand Canyon

The maximum temperature at South Rim of Grand Canyon is 84°F (29°C) during July.

the lowest average temperature drops to 41°F (-8°C) in the month of January. 

The average temperature of South Rim by month is given below. 

MonthTemperature
January 41°F (-8°C) 
February 45°F (-6°C) 
March 51°F (-4°C) 
April60°F (0°C)
May 70°F (4°C)
June81°F (8°C)
July 84°F (12°C)
August82°F (12°C)
September 76°F (8°C)
October 65°F (2°C)
November 53°F (-3°C)
December42°F (-7°C)

Viewpoints in South Rim 

With dozens of viewpoints along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, visitors are sure to be overwhelmed by the stunning vistas each one offers. 

While some provide expansive panoramas, others may be less crowded, making them ideal for watching the sunrise or sunset. 

The South Rim is divided into three sections: Desert View Drive, Grand Canyon Village and Hermit Road, each offering a unique experience for visitors. 

Exploring these sections is highly recommended for those with the time, as each offers unique beauty.

View Point Near Grand Canyon Village 

You can choose to walk the Rim Trail or take the shuttle (Kaibab Rim Route, orange line) to get to these viewpoints

Mather Point

Grand Canyon South Rim Mather Point
Image: Nps.gov

The most popular viewpoint on the South Rim; you can expect huge crowds and decent views.

This is also the most popular point to get the best views of Grand Canyon South Rim.

Yavapai Point

Grand canyon South Rim Yavapai Point
Image: Nps.gov

You can get panoramic views without the crowds that are at Mather Point.

Yaki Point

Grand Canyon South Rim Yaki Point
Image: Nps.gov

You can marvel at the breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon, with the South Kaibab Trail snaking down to the Colorado River.

Ooh Aah Point 

One of the best short treks near the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is Ooh Aah Point, a 1.8-mile hike that descends below the canyon rim. 

Visitors can see a fresh perspective of the spectacular Grand Canyon below its rim on this quick and easy climb.

Viewpoint Along Hermit Road

The Hermit Road is 7 miles long. From March 1 to November 30, you must take the Grand Canyon Shuttle (red line) to get to the viewpoints. 

You can drive to the viewpoints during winter, although parking can be limited.

Powell Point 

Grand Canyon South Rim Powell Point
Image: Nps.gov

From this point, visitors can observe the Colorado River as it winds through the canyon and take incredible views of the surrounding landscape.

Mohave Point

Grand Canyon South Rim Mohave Point
Image: Nps.gov

Mohave Point is a scenic overlook in the Grand Canyon and is one of the most popular spots to view the canyon’s beauty. 

The Colorado River, Tower of Ra, Vishnu Temple and the Unkar Delta are visible from the point. 

The point offers sunset and sunrise views and is a popular destination for hikers, photographers and sightseers.

Pima Point

Grand Canyon South Rim Pima Point
Image: Nps.gov

Pima Point is a scenic spot located in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. 

It is the highest point in the mountain range, located at 5,346 feet. 

Pima Point offers visitors breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape and is a popular destination for hikers, campers and nature enthusiasts.

Viewpoints Along Desert View Drive

Drive along the scenic routes of Desert View Drive and stop by viewpoints to enjoy the tranquil and serene scenes. 

Furthermore, if you are visiting Page, Arizona, or Monument Valley, you can enjoy these viewpoints as you drive to/from Grand Canyon Village.

Some of the best viewpoints along Desert View Drive are:

Shoshone Point

Grand Canyon South Rim Shoshone Point
Image: Wikipedia.org

Shoshone Point features spectacular views of Desert View, the Colorado River and the canyon’s various rock formations. 

The area is famous for day hikes and camping and is a great place to watch the sunset in the canyon.

Grand View Point 

Grand Canyon South Rim Grand View Point
Image: Nps.gov

It offers stunning views of the canyon, including the Colorado River and breathtaking views of the Redwall Limestone and the Vishnu Schist. 

Visitors can also explore nearby trails like the Grandview and Tanner Trails.

Moran Point 

It provides breathtaking canyon views, with the Colorado River far below and the Painted Desert to the east.

Desert View Point 

Grand Canyon South Rim Desert View point
Image: Nps.gov

It offers breathtaking views of the canyon, with the Colorado River snaking through it and an array of geological formations in various shades of red and orange. 

The watchtower at the point also provides a panoramic view of the surrounding area.

South Rim Grand Canyon activities

The Grand Canyon South Rim is one of the most popular destinations in the United States. 

Visitors can choose from abundant activities when visiting this amazing natural wonder. 

Here is a list of things to do at Grand Canyon South Rim: 

Take a Guided Tour

Various South Rim tours offer visitors the opportunity to experience the canyon with an immersive experience and memory of a lifetime.  

Guided tours typically include a hike along one of the many trails and a visit to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. 

Visit Historic Sites

The Grand Canyon South Rim has many historic sites and landmarks, such as the Hopi House and Yavapai Point. 

Visitors can learn about the history of the park and the cultures that have called it home over the years. 

Explore the Desert View Drive

The Desert View Drive is a scenic route along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

Visitors can get spectacular canyon views from the drive and take in the beauty of the landscape. 

Hike the Trails

There are numerous Grand Canyon South Rim hiking trails

Whether you’re looking for a short, easy hike or a more strenuous trek, there is a trail to suit your needs. 

Watch the Sunset

Watching the sunset at the Grand Canyon is an unforgettable experience. 

Visitors can find a spot along the rim to watch the sun dip below the horizon and enjoy the spectacular colors of the sky. 

Camping on South Rim of Grand Canyon

Camping is a great way to experience the vast lands of the Grand Canyon. 

There are several campgrounds to choose from, all offering stunning canyon views. 

Some of the best South Rim camping sites are Mather Campground, Trailer Village RV Park and Desert View Campground. 

Rafting

Rafting trips are available through the Grand Canyon, which offers an exciting way to explore the canyon and its waters.

Visiting the Grand Canyon South Rim through the gushing waters of the Colorado River is an experience like no other. 

Grand Canyon is the best place to try Whitewater rafting, kayaking and river rafting. 

With a variety of tours that offer tickets for water activities, tourists enjoy the most immersive and adventurous getaway at the Grand Canyon 

Enjoy a Meal

Several restaurants and cafes on the South Rim offer visitors a chance to take a break and refuel. 

Witness the authentic Grand Canyon cuisine and hospitality at the range of restaurants available in South Rim. 

Some of the best restaurants of South Rim include El Tovar, Arizona Room and Maswik Cafe. 

Lodging at the South Rim Grand Canyon

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular areas to stay and explore. 

Enjoy sweeping canyon views and easy access to many park attractions. 

You can stay in a hotel, campground, or cabin depending on your budget. 

Hotels at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Lodging at hotels in the Grand Canyon is the most efficient way to stay, explore the park, and enjoy the Grand Canyon vacation to its fullest. 

Some of the most popular hotels near the South Rim are the Grand Canyon Lodge, the Bright Angel Lodge, the Yavapai Lodge and more. 

All offer convenient on-site amenities, like restaurants and gift shops and access to the rim. 

Campgrounds

There are two campgrounds at the South Rim, Mather Campground and Desert View Campground. 

Both offer tent and RV camping and are located close to the rim. 

Both campgrounds are open year-round, but reservations are recommended as sites fill up quickly during the peak summer months. 

Cabins

For a more rustic experience, visitors can stay in one of the South Rim’s cabins. 

The Bright Angel Lodge offers cozy cabins with private baths and access to the rim and there are many other cabins near South Rim.

The Phantom Ranch, located at the bottom of the canyon, also offers rustic cabins, but they can only be reached via a strenuous hike or mule ride. 

No matter where you choose to stay, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon will surely provide an unforgettable experience.

Exploring South Rim Grand Canyon

Exploring the South Rim is an adventure offering various activities and attractions. These can be enjoyed in the following ways:

Helicopter Tour 

Exploring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon by helicopter is one of the most exciting ways to experience the area. 

A Grand Canyon helicopter tour offers an unparalleled and unobstructed view of the canyon and its many wonders from the air. 

From this perspective, visitors can view the vastness of the canyon, the rugged terrain and the majestic beauty of the Colorado River. 

The helicopter tour has many packages, including a scenic flight and a landing on the canyon floor, giving visitors a bird’s eye view of one canyon. 

Ranger Guided Tour 

The National Park Service offers guided tours of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

Tour participants will learn about the history and geology of the area while being driven along the rim by a knowledgeable park ranger. 

These tours are available year-round. However, the ranger-guided tours are only available during the peak season (April to September). 

Tour participants are also provided insight into the area’s wildlife, flora, fauna and many cultural aspects. 

Mule Ride 

A mule ride is a great way to explore the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Riders can experience the canyon from the back of a mule while taking in the breathtaking vistas. 

The mule rides are available in different packages, providing rides along the canyon’s rim and overnight camping. 

Mule rides offer a unique canyon perspective and are an excellent way for visitors to experience the area more intimately. 

Bike 

Exploring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon by bike is a great way to experience the area actively. 

The South Rim is home to many scenic trails and roads, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore the site in a more hands-on way. 

Visitors can rent a bike or bring their own and explore the area at their own pace. 

Walk  

Exploring the South Rim of the Grand Canyon by foot is also a great way to experience the area. 

The South Rim offers many scenic trails and routes, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore the site in a more relaxed manner. 

Visitors can stroll along the rim or take a more challenging hike into the canyon. 

Regardless of the route, exploring the South Rim by foot is a great way to experience the area more intimately.

Things to remember when visiting South Rim

  • The South Rim is open year-round, 365 days a year.
  • The best time to visit the South Rim is spring and fall when temperatures are milder and crowds are smaller.
  • Parking is available at the South Rim Visitor Center, Desert View and other viewpoints along the South Rim.
  • Pets are welcome at the South Rim but must be kept on a leash and not allowed on trails.
  • The South Rim is at a high elevation and can be pretty cold, so be sure to dress accordingly.
  • Camping is allowed at the South Rim in designated areas, but backcountry camping requires a permit.
  • Hiking is a popular activity at the South Rim, but check the weather and trail conditions before heading out.
  • South Rim overlooks offer some of the best views of the Grand Canyon, so be sure to take your camera!

South Rim of Grand Canyon FAQs

Is the South Rim Grand Canyon worth seeing?

South Rim is the most visited part of the Grand Canyon, filled with all the famous viewpoints, hiking trails, and camping grounds. 

It provides incredible views of the expansiveness of the canyon as well as its unusual rock formations and vibrant hues.

The South Rim provides a lot of activities like mule riding, horse riding, kayaking, helicopter tours, hiking, camping, stargazing, and White water rafting.

What city is closest to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon’s South Rim is the closest city to Tusayan, Arizona. 

It is situated just beyond the Grand Canyon National Park’s entrance and is close to the South Rim. 

Williams, Arizona and Flagstaff, Arizona, a short drive apart, are other nearby cities.

How long does it take to tour the South Rim of the Grand Canyon?

Most South Rim visitors find a single day sufficient to take pictures and stroll around the rim.

Yet staying in or close to the park is a terrific choice to explore the Grand Canyon more thoroughly.

The authorities advise spending a whole day visiting the rim and admiring the beautiful vistas to gain a good impression of the location.

Can you drive through the Grand Canyon South Rim?

South Rim has one scenic driving route – Desert View Drive

This route is 27 miles long and provides the best views of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River from viewpoints. 

The free shuttle service or alternative modes of transportation like bicycles or walking are also available for visitors inside the South Rim. 

Which is better West Rim or South?

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon offers breathtaking panoramic vistas and hiking paths.

The West Rim offers unique experiences like the Skywalk and helicopter excursions. It is less explored than South Rim.

It depends on the kind of experience you’re searching for, but both are excellent choices.

Which side of Grand Canyon is more popular?

The Grand Canyon’s South and North Rims are well-liked, but the South Rim is busier and more developed. 

The South Rim of Grand Canyon is popular and the most visited since it is open yearly.

This Rim also has well-developed amenities and maintained trials and campgrounds with hookups. 

Do you need a car for Grand Canyon South Rim?

The Grand Canyon South Rim can travel without a car, but having one is more convenient.

Within the park, shuttle buses and tours can take visitors to well-known sights and vantage points.

Is Phoenix or Las Vegas closer to the South Rim Grand Canyon?

Phoenix, Arizona, is 52 miles closer than  Las Vegas, Nevada, to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The distance between Las Vegas and the South Rim is approximately 275 miles, and between Phoenix and the South Rim is about 225 miles.

What is the prettiest rim of the Grand Canyon?

The Grand Canyon’s South Rim is its most gorgeous rim since it provides expansive views of the canyon and has a lot of scenic overlooks and hiking routes.

 Although less well-known and more challenging, the North Rim is equally magnificent.

Can you do South Rim a day?

It is possible to visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon in a day, but it may be challenging to see everything the park offers in such a short amount of time.

Prioritizing which areas and viewpoints you want to visit and plan your time accordingly is recommended.

Additionally, be prepared for much walking and bring plenty of water and snacks.

Feature Image: Sue Cosens Photography / Getty Images

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