When you’re planning a visit to the Grand Canyon, you may not be aware of how many areas you can explore. You can wander across the West Rim, explore the North, conquer the heights of the South, or delve deep into the East. The West Rim and South Rim are two of the most popular choices for new and repeat visitors alike. But what are the features and benefits of these two incredible locations, and which one is right for you?
Images, videos, postcards and other graphics that you see of the Grand Canyon are likely to be of the National Park’s South Rim. Often described as the “true Grand Canyon,” there are over twelve unique viewpoints from this area, all of which provide a picturesque unobstructed view of the Canyon itself.
The South Rim even has viewpoints that allow you to stare deep into the void, straight down to the rushing rapids of the Colorado River. The gorgeous views are one of the reasons why new visitors often find themselves drawn to this section of the park, but this is certainly not the only benefit.
When the Southern Rim was first opened to visitors in the 1850s, it would take between one and two days on a bone-shaking stagecoach ride. Today, of course, you can travel in luxury and get a stunning view of the canyon from a lush, luxury coach with panoramic windows.
The Southern Rim is also the home of the Grand Canyon Village. A collection of hotels, gift shops and restaurants—this village began development in 1905 with the El Tovar Hotel which still stands to this day.
The South Rim sits at 7,000’ above sea level. With four separate seasons, spring and fall are the ideal times to visit for the best of the weather. During this time, there are afternoon highs of 75 degrees although in the evening the temperature can drop to the 20s.
While the South Rim in summer is absolutely breathtaking, the South Rim shrouded in a blanket of white looks like a dream. Snow is a possibility all year around but if you want the greatest chance, make sure you take a trip between December and February.
As well as viewing stunning rock walls frozen in time, the Southern Rim will enchant with views of great green forests of Ponderosa Pines. It is this beautiful forestry that has captured the hearts and imagination of photographers and artists alike.
When you gaze across the forestry on your South Rim tour, look out for the eclectic array of wild creatures that live there. From rock squirrels to mule deer and even mountain lions, this part of the park is truly alive with nature. Look up to the skies, and you might even catch a glimpse of a magnificent California Condor.
The South Rim is just five hours away from Phoenix and Las Vegas. As such, it is by far one of the easier areas of the Canyon to visit from any western city.
Book your Grand Canyon South Rim bus tour from Las Vegas today!
The West Rim is perhaps best known for the chance to walk on air. While not literally allowing you to fly, the Grand Canyon Skywalk is one of the most popular experiences and attracts countless visitors every year. One million people visit the West Rim annually, and many are sure to take the walk of faith. The Skywalk stretches seventy feet out over the canyon. When you walk out, you can stare right down and see nothing but the great gorge looming below. The view allows you to look one mile straight down. It’s an exhilarating, breathtaking experience and certainly not recommended for those who fear heights.
As well as the glass walkway, the West Rim is popular due to how close it is to Las Vegas, just two hours away. If you’re exploring America’s playground and you are eager to check out the Grand Canyon, it’s likely this is where you will end up.
The Skywalk isn’t the only attraction visitors cannot resist when they visit the West Rim. Close by is Havasu Canyon, a world-famous group of gorgeous blue-green waterfalls. Often described as a true to life Garden of Eden, you will need to take a 12-mile hike to reach this incredible location.
While the South Rim has seen various developments over the year, aside from the Skywalk, this section has been left undisturbed. As such, it is perfect if you are looking for a quiet, peaceful trip to the Grand Canyon. Make sure to keep an eagle eye out for incredible natural formations of rock such as Eagle Point. This particular structure is admired by the Hualapai tribe who reside in this area. Eagle point also includes an amphitheater and a gift store. This is also where you’ll find the incredible Skywalk.
Another feature not to miss is Guano Point. Discover what remains of a historic tram that used to travel 8,000 feet down into the Guano mine. Here you will also find Highpoint Hike which provides 360 views of the gorgeous Grand Canyon.
The South Rim is known for its stunning forestry. In The West, you will find a vibrant desert environment. Here you will discover scenery not unlike what the first travelers witnessed when they began to explore the great regions of the country and conquered the frontier.
Do make sure that you take the chance to explore the Native American cultural village of the people who once called this land home. The Hualapai Tribal Lands alone make this location worth the trip.
If you take a trip to the West Rim through the summer months, you will find scorching highs up to the low 100s. Similar to the South Rim, the best time to visit is through fall or spring. Ultimately, the West Rim is the ideal choice for those who are looking for an adrenaline rush on the Skywalk and those who love taking trips back to the past, seeing relics from a time long forgotten.
Book your Grand Canyon West Rim bus tour from Las Vegas today!