Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon by car – Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Road Trip
One of the best day trips from Las Vegas is to head to the Grand Canyon. Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon by car is a great short road trip you can do in one day or stay overnight and spend a bit more time at stops along the way.
Wanting to take a day trip from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon south rim by car? Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas by car is a great day trip. Here’s how to get to the Grand Canyon, where to stop along the way, and what to do once you get there!
Drive to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas – Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Road Trip
1. What is the distance from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon?
The approximate driving time from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon is 4.5 hours, and that would depend on how you want to kick-off your adventure.
The distance from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon is approximately 275 miles. It is a 9 hours round trip but it depends how many stops you make along the way.
2. Directions to Drive Las Vegas to Grand Canyon
Leaving Las Vegas, Driving to Grand Canyon – The easiest way is to head from Las Vegas to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is as follows:
Follow US-93 South to Kingsman
In Kingsman Head on I-40 east to Williams
– Head north on Interstate 17 towards Flagstaff
– Then merge onto I-40 West towards Williams
– At State Route 64 (Exit 164), go north towards the tiny town of Tusayan.
3. Where to stop along the way when visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas by car
A. Hoover Dam – 40 Miles from Las Vegas
Hoover Dam is located in the Black Canyon area of the Colorado River on the border between Nevada and Arizona. It was built in the 1930s and commissioned by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
You can take a guided tour of the structure for $30. I visited the Lake Mead Recreational Area and we jet-skied across the lake to the back of the dam. There is security on the dam who will tell you to move back if you get too close but you can still see the structure.
Very close to this area is the Arizona Hot Springs. Arizona Hot Spring is considered as the most famous hot spring in the state. It is a great place to relax and unwind especially if you are having a rough week. It has a sizzling temperature of 85 to 120 degrees year-round. The spring itself forms several pools that are located about 1,000 feet from the river.
B. Williams, Arizona – 220 miles
Williams is known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon. This mountainous town is very cute and a great stop before you head to the Grand Canyon. You are also extremely close to the Kaibab National Forest and the city is forested in ponderosa pines.
Even though Williams is less than an hour away from the Grand Canyon there is actually an option to take the train to the Grand Canyon from Williams. The train ride lasts two hours and takes you straight to the Grand Canyon National Park.
Williams is a vibrant small town located on the Historic Route 66. This town has interesting shops and delicious cafes.
C. Tusayan, Arizona – 275 miles
Tusayan is located on the doorstep of the Grand Canyon – just six miles away.Its a great place to stay near the Grand Canyon as it is so close and from March-September there are shuttles from Tusayan to the Grand Canyon.
The local airport is also located in Tusayan and this is where most of the Grand Canyon helicopter flights take off from. You can also visit the Tusayan Ruins museum or the IMax theatre here.
The Imax Theater at Tusayan features a giant six-story movies screen and over 12,000 watts of digital surround sound. It lets you experience the history of the Grand Canyon while sitting comfortably in the theater.
The Yavapai Museum of Geology features a bookstore and museum shop where you can buy memorabilia to make your trip to the Grand Canyon truly unforgettable
Another side trip would be to Kaibab National Forest. This forest is 1.6 million acres and has the largest forest of ponderosa pines.
To visit any of the National Parks in the USA, I recommend buying a National Park Pass. The America the Beautiful Pass is valid for one year and costs $80. Plus 10% of sale proceeds go to the National Park Foundation.
Best Things to do in the Grand Canyon on your Grand Canyon day trip from Las Vegas:
The Main Visitor Center
The Grand Canyon Visitor Center is a great starting point to begin your journey to the Grand Canyon National Park. It is situated at the South Rim and it offers an interesting and educational overview of Arizona’s famous landmarks. You will be guided by their knowledgeable local representatives, as well as their helpful staff who will provide you with information about hotels and restaurants near Grand Canyon.
You can also stop-by at Grand Canyon Conservancy’s Park Store, just across the plaza from the Visitor Center. It showcases a wide variety of books, maps, DVDs and gifts to make your trip to the Grand Canyon more memorable.
Rim Trail – Visitors Centre to Village
The Rim Trail offers hikers the chance to see the Main Amphitheater from above and its extends from Fairyland Point to Bryce Point. It has a one way distance of 5.5 miles and has several steep elevation changes.
Walk the Trail of Time
The trail of time is an interpretative walking timeline trail that is focused on showcasing Grand Canyon vistas and rocks so that visitors can explore and understand the vastness of geologic time, as well as the stories captured by Grand Canyon rock layers and landscapes. The objective of the Trail of Time is for visitors to have a grasp of the vast geologic history of the Grand Canyon by utilizing a section of the existing South Rim trail.
The trail stretches from Yavapai Observation Station to Verkamps’s Visitor Center. And as you stroll down the trail, you will encounter 24×36 inch information panels that document important events such as the Cambrian explosion, the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, and other topics.
Take a Shuttle Bus to Viewpoints
The shuttle buses at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon are one of the newest services offered in the area. Currently, there are five routes covered by the Grand Canyon shuttle bus service. The buses run every 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the season. And as a tip, make sure to check the maps at each bus stop to avoid confusion and getting lost.
Check out my post on the Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints along the South Rim
One of the routes available is the Orange Route/Kaibab Rim Route that is about 50 minutes land and it provides transportation between Grand Canyon Visitor Center and the five scenic viewpoints:
This is located on the southernmost point on Grand Canyon’s south rim and this is also the point furthest from the river and with the vastest area of intervening buttes and ravines. It has quite a high elevation point of 7,400 feet, which means it receives more rainfall and the woodland is taller and denser.
Yaki Point is the easternmost stop on the Orange or Kaibab Trail Route that also provides Pipe Creek Vista and the Canyon View Information Plaza at Mather Point. The views at Yaki Point are incomparably different to the popular points. The westward vista surrounds the end of the Bright Angel Trail and a fine view of the South Kaibab Trail as it descends along Cedar Ridge and O’Neille Butte.
A vast majority of visitors to the South Rim first gaze over the Grand Canyon at Mather Point because due to the fact that it is the closest to the entrance station and it is just a short walk from the visitor center. Also, the viewing area here is quite massive and it offers terrific sunset vistas.
Yavapai is just an easy walk west from Mather Point and it has quite excellent views of the Grand Canyon. And just like Mather Point, it also has a Yavapai Observation Station that sells books and displays information about the history of the Grand Canyon. However, the parking area is very limited and vehicles over 22 feet are not allowed.
Nevertheless, Yavapai Point gives the best panoramic views of the three points of the south rim and it is closest to the Colorado River.
Desert View Point and the Watchtower
Desert View is a small settlement on the South Rim just 25 miles east of Grand Canyon Village. If you are visiting the Grand Canyon for the first time, this is a great place to be if you want the first views of the Grand Canyon.
One of the attractions inside the Desert View include the finest view of the Colorado River and canyon geology, park ranger programs and cultural demonstration, and Tusayan Museum that features the story of American Indians of the region.
And one of the facilities in Desert View that guests can take advantage of is the Desert View Watchtower. Since its completion in 1932, the watchtower was a combination of a tourist attraction, curio shop, and museum of Hopi culture and symbolism. Each story of the watchtower has several windows that allow visitors to gain sights of the Canyon and the surrounding areas.
Where to stay near the Grand Canyon
If you can’t make it back from the Grand Canyon to Phoenix and you are wondering where to stay in the Grand Canyon, read my post on the 5 closest cities to the Grand Canyon and where to stay. This is helpful if you are heading onto other locations.
Tusayan is the nearest city to the Grand Canyon. Tusayan is about 5 miles from the South Entrance of the Grand Canyon.
You will find shops and restaurants there, the Grand Canyon IMAX, and the Grand Canyon Airport is about one mile south of town.
Canyon Plaza Premier Studio and Apartments
Views of the valleys and forest areas are featured in select Arizona apartments. Grand Canyon South Rim Entrance is 5 minutes’ drive.
Studios feature a kitchenette and apartments offer a fully equipped kitchen at Canyon Plaza Premier Studio and Apartments. A balcony is provided in each unit.
JJK’s Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Studio and Apartments Canyon Plaza Premier.
Arizona Luxury Expeditions – Grand Canyon
Arizona Luxury Expeditions has tents where you can glamp overnight. This is part of their all inclusive and customized to include 12’x12′ Expedition Tents, all meals freshly prepared daily, and a professional Tour Guide for your stay with us.
The weather at the Grand Canyon during Dec. averages 30-40 degrees Fahrenheit daytime and 20’s degree at nighttime. They provide heaters for inside your sleeping and the private dining tents with plenty of warm heavy wool blankets. Most guests enjoy this time of the year in the Grand Canyon because of less crowds of people and the winter landscape that is incredible to experience.
Best Western Premier Grand Canyon Squire Inn
Located right next to the Holiday Inn Express, the Best Western has 250 rooms. The Best Western has an indoor heated pool, a hot tub, sauna, and fitness center.
There are also two restaurants in the hotel – Coronado Room and the Canyon Room. If you are looking for fast food you can find the McDonalds and Pizza Hut are close.
Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon
The Holiday Inn Express is located just two miles from the South Entrance of the Grand Canyon. The Holiday Inn Express has 164 rooms and is located centrally in Tusayan which means you can walk to the restaurants and shops.
The Holiday Inn Express has an indoor pool, a whirlpool, and a continental breakfast is included.
The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon
The hotel offers 5-star accommodation with a hot tub. All units are equipped with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a microwave, a coffee machine, a shower, a hairdryer and a desk. Guest rooms include a wardrobe.
Featuring a restaurant, bar, shared lounge and free WiFi, The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon is located in Tusayan, 10 km from Mather Campground and 12 km from Bright Angel Trail. This 5-star hotel offers a concierge service and a tour desk. The hotel features an indoor pool, fitness centre, evening entertainment and a 24-hour front desk.
Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel
Canyon Plaza Premier Studio and Apartments is a 3 star hotel located 6 miles from the Grand Canyon.
There are only 10 rooms here and each room has a microwave, a refrigerator, and a coffee maker.
There is one restaurant here called JJK’s restaurant. Close to the hotel is the Plaza Bonita where you can also eat.
Enjoy your trip to the Grand Canyon!
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