A powerful and inspiring landscape, the Grand Canyon overwhelms our senses through its immense size; 277 river miles (446km) long, up to 18 miles (29km) wide, and a mile (1.6km) deep.
A much smaller number of people see the Canyon from the North Rim, which lies just 10 miles / 16 km (as the condor flies) directly across the Canyon from the South Rim. The North Rim rises a thousand feet higher than the South Rim, and is much less accessible. Heavy snows close the road to the North Rim from late October to mid May of each year. Even in good weather it's harder to get to. It is 220 miles / 354 km by car from the South Rim, or 21 miles / 34 km by foot across the Canyon by way of the North and South Kaibab Trails.
The South Rim: Open All Year
The South Rim is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. All visitor services camping, lodging and restaurants are available year round. Reservations are strongly recommended during the busy summer season. Some facilities are closed during the winter.
A free shuttle bus system operates in the Grand Canyon Village area. Make your visit easier by parking your car and using the shuttle to get around. Make sure you stop at the park's visitor center at Canyon View Information Plaza, which are reached only by shuttle.
The North Rim: Mid-May to Mid-October
North Rim lodging and camping along with all other visitor services and facilities are only open from mid-May to mid-October. Reservations are strongly recommended. Additional facilities are available in the surrounding Kaibab National Forest, the Kaibab Lodge area, and Jacob Lake.
During winter months, the road to the North Rim, Highway 67, is often closed due to snow. After the close of visitor facilities in mid-October, there may be a period when the North Rim is open for day use only. (before the snow comes) During this time there are no services or overnight facilities available inside the park. The road from Jacob Lake to the North Rim (Highway 67) is subject to closure due to snow with little or no notice during this interval and then remains closed until mid-May.
Entrance Fees and Recreational Passes
Admission to Grand Canyon National Park is for seven days
and includes both the North Rim and South Rim.
No refunds are given due to inclement weather.
Grand Canyon National Park Vehicle Permit- $25.00 (U.S. Dollars)
Admits one single, private, non-commercial vehicle and all its passengers. Organized groups are not eligible for the vehicle permit.
Grand Canyon National Park Individual Permit - $12.00/person (U.S. Dollars)
Admits one individual when entering by foot, bicycle or motorcycle. Individuals 15 years old and younger are admitted free of charge.
Visitors to the South Rim can purchase entrance permits at the park entrance stations - or at select locations prior to entry.
Grand Canyon National Park Annual Pass - $50.00
Valid for twelve months from the date of purchase, for unlimited visits to Grand Canyon National Park. It admits the purchaser and any accompanying persons in a single, private, non-commercial vehicle, or the purchaser and accompanying immediate family (spouse, children, parents) when entry is by other means (train, shuttle, bicycle, and foot). This passport covers entrance fees only and is not refundable and/or transferable. Purchase at the park entrance station.
America the Beautiful - 2010 Annual Pass - Cost $80.
National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass
This pass is available to the general public and provides access to, and use of, Federal recreation sites that charge an Entrance or Standard Amenity Fee for a year, beginning from the date of sale.
Replaces: Golden Eagle Passport and National Parks Pass and Golden Eagle Hologram.
The pass admits the pass holder/s and passengers in a non-commercial vehicle at per vehicle fee areas and pass holder + 3 adults, not to exceed 4 adults, at per person fee areas. (children under 16 are admitted free) The pass can be obtained in person at the park, by calling 1-888-ASK USGS, Ext. 1, or via the Internet at http://store.usgs.gov/pass.
Colorado River Trips / Permits
There are three different river trip opportunities through Grand Canyon National Park.
1 Day Commercial River Trips – Half-day and full-day whitewater and smooth water trips on the Colorado River. Some take place between Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry (northeastern end of Grand Canyon), and others launch from Quartermaster or Diamond Creek (western end of Grand Canyon).
2 to 5 Day Non Commercial River Trips – Noncommercial trips that launch from Diamond Creek and takeout at Lake Mead typically are 2 to 5 days in length. Permits for these whitewater trips are available to the public starting one year in advance and are distributed on a first-come first-served basis.
Lees Ferry to Diamond Creek River Trips – Motorized and non-motorized whitewater rafting trips which launch from Lees Ferry and take-out at Diamond Creek vary greatly in length. Motor trips usually take a minimum of 7 days to reach Diamond Creek, but half trip options are available for those who wish to hike in or out at Phantom Ranch. Individuals can choose between commercial and noncommercial trips.
3 to 18 day Commercial River Trips. These are professionally guided raft trips, available to the public and often reserved a year or two in advance.
12 to 25 Day Non Commercial River Trips. These are self-guided raft trips, sometimes referred to as private river trips. Permits for these trips are made available to the public through a weighted lottery.
River and Weighted Lottery FAQ
The River and Weighted Lottery FAQ's are available as a PDF file and can be viewed with Adobe Acrobat.
PDF file - River and Weighted Lottery FAQ's (last updated Jun/7/2010)
Going on a hike is wonderful way to experience some of the canyon’s rich natural beauty and immense size. However, even if you are an avid hiker, hiking the Grand Canyon is very different from most other hiking experiences.
Mental attitude and adequate water and food consumption are absolutely essential to the success of any Grand Canyon hike, particularly in summer. The day hiker and the overnight backpacker must be equally prepared for the lack of water, extreme heat and cold, and isolation characteristic of the Grand Canyon.
Hiking in the Grand Canyon is so demanding that even people in excellent condition often emerge sore and fatigued. Yet small children, senior citizens, and people with physical disabilities have successfully hiked the canyon.
A hike into the Grand Canyon will test your physical and mental endurance. Know and respect your limitations. Moderation is the key to an enjoyable hike.
For More information, visit the Hiking FAQ