south rimGRAND CANYON VILLAGE

Grand Canyon Village

Grand Canyon Village

Grand Canyon Village is the most-visited part of Grand Canyon, not only because of its incredible views and historic buildings, but also because most of the park’s visitor services are offered here. In Grand Canyon Village you can talk to a park ranger at one of the Village’s many Visitor Centers, grab a bite to eat at anything from a grab-n-go deli to a fine dining restaurant overlooking Grand Canyon, and stay in style at one of the area’s many hotels. The South Rim’s two most famous trails (also called “corridor trails”) are here as well: Bright Angel Trail and South Kaibab Trail. Located an hour north of Interstate 40, this is the place that most visitors come to grab a few quick photos of the canyon or to take in a sunset before continuing on their road trips. Because of Grand Canyon Village’s popularity, it is almost always crowded and parking is difficult; to avoid the frustration of circling around crowded parking lots, use the park’s two free shuttle bus routes to explore the area instead (the Village/Blue Route and Kaibab Rim/Orange Route).

The historic portion of Grand Canyon Village extends along the South Rim from Verkamp’s Visitor Center to the east to the Bright Angel Trailhead to the west. In between, some of the park’s most famous Mary Jane Colter buildings can be visited including El Tovar Hotel (Colter did the interior design but not the architecture), Hopi House, Bright Angel Lodge and Lookout Studio. Each building is unique in its design and style but highlights include the rustic western feel of the El Tovar Hotel Dining Room and the grand fireplace in the Bright Angel Lodge History Room that features an accurate depiction of the canyon's layers, using actual rocks from each layer. Read the guide below to learn more.

Learn more about Grand Canyon Village

The hub of action in Grand Canyon Village is the Grand Canyon Visitor Center Plaza, which is the first stop for most visitors coming from the South Entrance/Tusayan. The Visitor Center features educational exhibits and the park’s free movie and there are always rangers on staff to answer questions and give advice. Also in the plaza you will find a Grand Canyon Association Park Store (gift shop) and Bright Angel Bicycles where you rent a bike on your own or join a two-wheeled tour of the canyon rim. The Shuttle Bus Plaza is also here and you can catch the Village/Blue Route, Kaibab Rim/Orange Route, or Tusayan/Purple Route every 15-30 minutes, depending on time of day. The famous Mather Point Overlook is a short 10-minute walk from the Plaza.

The two hiking trails in this area are popular and crowded, but for good reason: they are the only two “maintained” trails on the South Rim which means that they offer better footing and more forgiving, switch-backed grades. The Bright Angel Trail starts in the historic Grand Canyon Village area and is popular because it has seasonal water bottle filling stations every 1.5 miles as well as shaded rest stops. The South Kaibab Trail, however, offers better views than the Bright Angel but its hot, exposed trail and lack of water stations make it more challenging on hot summer days. On both trails you might have to stop and give way to some of the most famous Grand Canyon celebrities, the mules, as they haul visitors and supplies between the rim and Phantom Ranch.

Grand Canyon Village Hotels, Activities and Services

Take a look at our list of Grand Canyon Village hotels, tour guides, activities, restaurants, shopping and services on our Map and Listing Guide at the bottom of this page or get even more detailed information by following the links below.

Grand Canyon Village Shuttle Guide

Even though this shuttle does not offer any scenic views of the canyon, most Grand Canyon South Rim visitors end up taking the Village/Blue Route shuttle bus to access restaurants, gift shops and visitor centers, or to connect to one of the park’s scenic shuttle bus routes. Because South Rim parking is so limited, the Village Route can save you a lot of time and stress rather than circling around to find multiple parking spots. Some of the most accessed points on the route are Market Plaza (grocery store, gift shop and deli with to-go food options) and the restaurants, hotels and gifts shops in historic Grand Canyon Village including El Tovar Hotel, Bright Angel Lodge and Hopi House. The incredibly popular Bright Angel Trail is most easily accessed using the Village Route as well.

Grand Canyon Village Shuttle Route

Village Bus Route(Blue Route)

Pros

  • Because you can park at Grand Canyon Visitor Center and board the bus at the shuttle plaza there, this is often the simplest option for visitors to find parking on the South Rim.
  • It takes you to all of the major services on the South Rim including hotels, gift shops, restaurants, visitor centers, post office, Grand Canyon Train Depot, and Bright Angel Trail.
  • The Village Route interconnects with both of the South Rim’s scenic shuttle routes, Hermit Road Route and Kaibab Rim Route.

Cons

  • Because Grand Canyon Visitor Center parking lot can fill up by 10am, it can be difficult to find parking to access the Village Route at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center shuttle plaza. Arrive in the park early to both find parking and to enjoy less crowded shuttles.
  • This bus can be very crowded throughout the day, often with standing room only. The most crowded stops are at Grand Canyon Visitor Center shuttle plaza and Hermit Rest Route Transfer and shuttle drivers cannot load more passengers than there are seats at these stops (standing passengers are only allowed to board at other stops along the route). To avoid waiting in long lines, walk from either of these stops to the next stop where you should be able to board much more quickly if you are willing to stand. If you’re at the Hermit Rest Route Transfer, walk 10 minutes south/west to the Maswick Lodge stop. If you’re at Grand Canyon Visitor Center, walk 1 mile west to Market Plaza to avoid long lines. See South Rim Shuttle Guru Tips for more information about how this works.
  • There are no scenic views of the canyon on this route so if you’re trying to enjoy views of the canyon, this is not the right shuttle bus route for you!

Bus Route Origin: The route begins at the shuttle bus plaza at Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

Where to Park: Grand Canyon Visitor Center has the most parking of any location on the South Rim. Despite that, the parking lot can be full as early as 10am from March-October so aim to arrive at the park early. Once you park you will see the shuttle bus plaza adjacent to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and the Grand Canyon Association Park Store; look for the Village Route/Blue shuttle bus stop.

Required or Optional?: While you are allowed to drive and park nearby at all of the stops along the route you might not be able to find a parking spot, especially after 10am. Because of this, most visitors opt to take the Village Route shuttle rather than spend a good chunk of their Grand Canyon vacation driving around trying to find parking at various locations in Grand Canyon Village.

Shuttle Type: Takes you to South Rim park services, no scenic stops.

Shuttle Highlights: The most popular stops on the route are those in historic Grand Canyon Village where you will be able to see El Tovar Hotel, Hopi House Gift Shop, Verkamp’s Visitor Center, the historic Grand Canyon Train Depot, Bright Angel Lodge, Kolb Studio and Bright Angel Trailhead. The other stop that is frequently used is Market Plaza where you will find the General Store (groceries, gift and deli to-go food), Yavapai Lodge (gift shop and restaurant), post office and Chase bank/ATM.

Hours of Operation/Shuttle Frequency

Every 30 minutes 4:30 – 6am
Every 15 minutes 6am – 8:30pm
Every 30 minutes 8:30 – 10pm
Last bus 9:30pm

Total Time for Route: 50-minutes roundtrip if you do not exit the bus.

Shuttle Season: Runs year-round.

Price: Free

Access to Restrooms and Services Along the Route: Restrooms are nearby at almost every stop along the Village Route. Drinking water is available via the park’s free water bottle refill stations or inside hotels at most stops on the route as well. You can buy food and drinks at Market Plaza, throughout Grand Canyon Village and at Maswick Lodge.

Kaibab Rim Route Shuttle Guide

While this scenic shuttle bus route is not as popular as the Hermit Road Route, it will take you to some incredibly photogenic views of Grand Canyon at Mather Point, Yaki Point and the Yavapai Geology Museum. In addition, the Kaibab Rim Route drops hikers off at the South Kaibab Trail where day trippers can do a short hike to Ooh Aah Point or Cedar Ridge while the more adventurous can embark on their rim-to-rim hike. This scenic shuttle route is ideal for those who do not have a lot of time to spend in the park because you can still get some incredible views and photos in less than two hours (versus 4+ hours on the Hermit Route). This scenic route is also more family friendly with regular access to restrooms and drinking water along the way. Like the Hermit Route, you can also walk between shuttle stops along the Rim Trail to get some fresh air and even better views of the canyon on foot.

Kaibab Rim Orange Shuttle Route

Kaibab Rim (Orange Route)

Pros

  • Less crowded than the Hermit Road Route but still takes you to beautiful views of Grand Canyon; you’ll spend less time waiting to board a shuttle and more time enjoying the views!
  • Only takes 2 hours so it’s a great option for visitors that don’t have all day to see the canyon.
  • Kaibab Rim Route shuttle starts at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center shuttle plaza which is convenient since most visitors start their park visit at the Visitor Center so you do not have to transfer between shuttle routes.
  • Connects with the easy, paved Rim Trail so you can get off the bus at any point and walk along the rim until you decide to hop back on the bus. This is a great way to escape the crowds and take some truly amazing photos as you enjoy an easy walk!
  • Takes you to the Yavapai Geology Museum where you can not only take in incredible views of Grand Canyon’s famous rock layers, but you can also view park exhibits to learn more about how the canyon formed. You can also get a couple of tiny glimpses of the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon.

Cons

  • Because Grand Canyon Visitor Center parking lot can fill up by 10am, it can be difficult to find parking to access the Kaibab Route at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center shuttle plaza. Arrive in the park early to both find parking and to enjoy less crowded shuttles.
  • Doesn’t offer good views of the Colorado River like the Hermit Road Route does.
  • Does not offer good views of the canyon from the shuttle bus like Hermit Road Route does.

Bus Route Origin: The route begins at the shuttle bus plaza at Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

Where to Park: Grand Canyon Visitor Center has the most parking of any location on the South Rim. Despite that, the parking lot can be full as early as 10am from March-October so aim to arrive at the park early. Once you park you will see the shuttle bus plaza adjacent to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and the Grand Canyon Association Park Store; look for the Kaibab Rim Route/Orange shuttle bus stop.

Required or Optional?: The eastern portion of the shuttle route is shuttle bus only year-round and personal vehicles are never allowed to drive to the South Kaibab Trailhead or Yaki Point. The western portion of the shuttle bus route can be accessed via personal vehicle including Pipe Creek Vista, Mather Point and Yavapai Geology Museum. Even though you are allowed to drive your vehicle to these locations, it doesn’t mean that you will be able to find parking; riding the shuttle bus or walking is highly recommended for any stop along this route. Remember: the park does offer a Scenic Drive Accessibility Permit, which allow visitors with mobility issues to drive their own vehicle through some areas closed to public traffic. The permit is available, free of charge, at entrance gates and National Park Service visitor centers.

Shuttle Type: Scenic

Shuttle Highlights: The most popular scenic stops are Mather and Yaki Points. South Kaibab Trailhead is one of the most popular hiking trails in the park so many Kaibab Route shuttle riders are accessing this stop. Yavapai Geology Museum has great views and wonderful exhibits to learn about the canyon.

Hours of Operation/Shuttle Frequency

Every 30 minutes 4:30 - 6am
Every 15 minutes 6am to one hour after sunset
Last bus 30 minutes after sunset

Total Time for Route: 50-minutes roundtrip if you do not exit the bus; roughly 2 hours roundtrip if you get on and off the bus to take photos at the scenic overlooks.

Shuttle Season: Runs year-round.

Price: Free

Access to Restrooms and Services Along the Route: Restrooms are located at Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Yavapai Geology Museum and South Kaibab Trailhead. Drinking water along the route is available via the park’s free water bottle refill stations at Grand Canyon Visitor Center, Yavapai Geology Museum and South Kaibab Trail. You can buy food and drinks at Grand Canyon Visitor Center where you will find vending machines for quick to-go snacks and drinks or you can buy espresso drinks or pre-made sandwiches and snacks at Bright Angel Bicycles.

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