Wild Canyons Self-guided tours by Grand Canyon Guru

Hand-Crafted One-Day South Rim Tour

All of our Wild Canyons Tours are custom trips, designed by our destination experts and trip coaches. Read on to check out this sample itinerary for a 1-Day Self-Guided South Rim Tour. Grand Canyon’s South Rim is best experienced from the park’s scenic Desert View Drive (Hwy 64). Driving this 26-mile long route will give you access to some of the canyon’s most famous overlooks including the Desert View Watchtower, Grandview Point, Mather Point and Grand Canyon Village, with convenience of driving your own vehicle. There are multiple options for short hikes throughout this itinerary that will get you to even better viewpoints if you’re willing to put in a little work to get there. This itinerary is best started from Flagstaff, Sedona, Williams, or Tusayan, AZ and will take you from Desert View to Grand Canyon Village. Read the full one day itinerary below to learn more or book a custom self-guided or fully guided Grand Canyon tour.

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Grand Canyon South Rim One Day Itinerary

One-Day South Rim Tour Itinerary 

The best locations to begin this trip from are Flagstaff, Sedona Williams, Tusayan or Grand Canyon Village (South Rim), but you can also start from place like Phoenix or Las Vegas if you don't mind a longer day. Once you're on the road and ready to explore, you can begin this itinerary from either the South Entrance station and head toward Desert View or you can start at the East Entrance station and head toward Grand Canyon Village. If you want to do a self-guided trip you can follow the itinerary below, or book a custom private tour with a private vehicle and guide to take care or everything for and create a bespoke Grand Canyon experience.

  • We’ll assume that you’re entering from the South Entrance where you will then follow signs and park at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. A short walk will take you to the first breathtaking view of the canyon at Mather Point.
  • From there, you can either choose to walk along the easy, paved Rim Trail (.7 miles) or take the park’s free Orange/Kaibab shuttle bus to the Yavapai Geology Museum. Yavapai Geology Museum includes in-depth exhibits about how Grand Canyon formed, but most people just marvel at the view through the incredible windows that look right down at the bottom of the canyon. Looks closely and you’ll be able to spot two small glimpses of the Colorado River below you.
  • From the museum, hop onto the park’s free Orange/Kaibab shuttle bus and explore the other canyon overlooks including Pipe Creek Vista, South Kaibab Trailhead and Yaki Point.
  • Hop back in your car and head east along Hwy 64/Desert View Drive. Keep a close eye on the mile makers and a little past mile marker 246 you’ll see a small dirt parking lot on the left side of the road with a locked metal gate that leads down an old dirt road. This is the unmarked trailhead to Shoshone Point, one of the best views of Grand Canyon and well worth the flat and east 2-mile hike that it requires. This is great place to escape the crowds and have a relaxing few minutes to yourself and makes for a great picnic lunch on the rim.
  • Once you’re done hiking, continue to drive east. Honestly, you’ll want to stop at all of the signed overlooks including Grandview Point, Moran Point, Lipan Point and Navajo Point. If you have enough time, you will also want to check out the Tusayan Ruins and Museum, where you’ll see the ancient stone ruins of the ancestral Puebloan people who inhabited Grand Canyon hundreds of years ago.
  • The last stop is at the world-famous Desert View Watchtower, perhaps architect Mary Jane Colter’s best masterpiece sitting at the edge if Grand Canyon. Soaring 70 feet above the canyon rim, you can ascend the watch tower stairs and enjoy incredible paintings by famous Hopi artist Fred Kabotie throughout the different levels. Standing at the top of the watch tower, you’ll look down at a large expanse of the Colorado River below you as well as a vast view of the Painted Desert and the Navajo Indian Reservation to the east. If you can time seeing the sunset at Desert View, you’ll certainly be glad that you did!
  • Both guided and self-guided tours have the option to add helicopter flights, mule rides, hikes and jeep rides to the tour.

Design your custom tour

Custom Wild Canyon's Tour

Have our Destination Experts design your tour, so you can have a unique and hassle-free experience. Each tour itinerary is a hand-crafted journey designed specifically for the way you like to travel. Not only will custom tours include your wish list for activities, destinations, lodging and meals, but you can also make changes on the fly during your trip based on what you and your group want to do each day.

  •  Free consultation with the Guru, no credit card required
  •  Custom Trip Design with a Destination Expert
  •  Fully guided tours with local guides
  •  Options for private tours and charters
  •  The freedom to change your plans on the fly 
  •  Bespoke recommendations, itineraries, lodging and experiences
  •  Insider tips and local knowledge 
  •  Phone and email support from Grand Canyon experts
  •  Great for Families, Groups, Special Occasions, Luxury and Adventure Travel
  •  Have questions? Schedule a free consultation today

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Custom Self-Guided Tour

Have our Trip Coaches design a custom itinerary that will be your roadmap for a self-guided adventure. Each itinerary is a bespoke travel guide designed for the type of experience you want to have and includes options for activities, destinations, lodging and meals. With a Trip Coach you’ll get insider tips and local knowledge, save time and money, avoid common pitfalls, and plan a better trip.

  •  Free consultation with the Guru, no credit card required
  •  Private 30-minute trip review session with your Trip Coach
  •  Guru Lodging and Experience availability search for your trip
  •  Custom Trip Recommendation Guide and Itinerary
  •  30-minute Private Coaching Session with your trip coach
  •  30-days email support from Grand Canyon experts
  •  Profession Grand Canyon Trip Coach with extensive experience
  •  Insider tips, local knowledge and bespoke recommendations
  •  Great for DIY, FIT, Solo, Independent and Budget Travelers
  •  Have questions? Schedule a free consultation today

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Add-On Tours and Lodging Options

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Grand Canyon Discovery Air Tour

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Rating: 4.6 out of 5
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Rating: 3.75 out of 5
from $14 on Viator

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Grand Canyon Signature Hummer Tour

Grand Canyon Signature Hummer Tour

Duration: 2 hours
Rating: 5 out of 5
from $108 on Scenic Airlines

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Grand Canyon South Rim Lodging

Grand Canyon South Rim Lodging

Location: Grand Canyon Village
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
from $80 a night

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