Which Rim Should You Visit?

It's the question most asked at the outset of Grand Canyon vacation planning: Which rim should I visit? Without knowing anything about your travel plans, personality, budget or time table, we recommend the South Rim. Hands down, the South Rim is THE place to visit at the Grand Canyon. It's often described as "the real Grand Canyon" and it's the part of the National Park that you've undoubtedly seen in movies, photographs and magazines. Truth be told, we might recommend the South Rim even if we DID know your travel plans, personality, budget and time table, but since we can't get to know all 5+ million visitors the Grand Canyon attracts each year, we've put together this handy comparison chart of the South, West and North Rims side by side.

It may help you to narrow your options just by knowing which city you'll be starting from. If you're starting in Phoenix, you're most likely to choose the South Rim for your trip. Likewise, if your visit will originate in Las Vegas, it'd certainly make sense to consider the West Rim. Of course, there are other variables that may influence your decision in the end. For example, if you have your heart set on taking a helicopter and landing on the floor of the Canyon, then the West Rim is right for you. On the other hand, if you're really into camping, hiking and near solitude, then be sure to choose the North Rim. Finally, if you want to see other attractions and activities besides the Grand Canyon, then the South Rim is right up your alley. Only you know what your needs and priorities are, so check out the criteria and available options to help you decide which rim to visit.

Best Known For
Best For
Number of Annual Visitors
Distance from Las Vegas
Drive time from Las Vegas
Distance from Phoenix
Drive time from Phoenix
Admission Cost
Open Hours
Peak Season
Best Time to Visit
Ease of Access
Tours Available…
Helicopter Fly Over Tours
Ground/Air Combination Tours
Helicopter Tours with Canyon Floor Landing
Airplane Tours
River Rafting (multi-day)
River Rafting (one-day)
Smooth Water Float Trip (one-day)
Railroad Tours
Ground Tours (van, bus)
Half-Day Tours (6 hours or fewer)
Full-Day Tours (15-18 hours)
Horseback Riding on the Rim
Mule Trips into the Canyon
Best Way to Get There
Shuttle to the Rim
Lodging Within 1 Hour of the Rim
Also Available Nearby
Must Dos
South Rim
Most popular spot; National Park; hiking, viewpoints and ranger talks
First-time visitors; all ages; all abilities
277 miles
4h 15m
228 miles
3h 27m
$24 per vehicle
Scenic, lush, classic and familiar
Year round, 24 hours
Pleasant in summer, cold in winter
Late spring/early fall
Very easy; all highway; any vehicle
from Tusayan
from Las Vegas, Phoenix
from Las Vegas, Phoenix
from the South Rim
from Williams
from Las Vegas, Phoenix
by airplane from Las Vegas, Phoenix
by ground from Las Vegas, Phoenix
from the South Rim
Guided or self-guided
Self drive; ground, train or air tours
from Phoenix, Flagstaff
Additional attractions, gas, food and services
Ranger talks; walking the Rim Trail; sunrise/sunset photos
West Rim
Grand Canyon Skywalk; being a paid attraction vs. a National Park; lots of available add-on tour activities
Returning area visitors; adults; able-bodied
126 miles
2h 32m
257 miles
4h 43m
Typically $79.99 per person
Deep, narrow, barren and rugged
Year round, sunrise to sunset
Hot in summer, warm in winter
Moderate; some highway and primitive roads; high clearance vehicles recommended
from Las Vegas
from Las Vegas
from Las Vegas
from Las Vegas
from Peach Springs
as part of a tour package from Las Vegas
from Las Vegas
by airplane from Las Vegas, Phoenix
by ground from Las Vegas
as part of a tour package from Las Vegas
Ground or air tour
Almost none
Almost nothing
Grand Canyon Skywalk; be prepared for extra costs in cash; choose your activity add-ons ahead of time
North Rim
Remote beauty; seasonal hours; fewer crowds; outstanding hiking, camping and summer weather
Outdoor enthusiasts; adults; able-bodied
228 miles
6h 16m
420 miles
9h 30m
$24 per vehicle
Vast, verdant, spectacular and layered
mid-May through mid-October, 24 hours
Cool-to-warm in summer, snowy in winter
Easy but slow; all highway; remote location; any vehicle
from Las Vegas, but lands at Bar 10 Ranch, outside the NP
from Lees Ferry
from Lees Ferry
from the North Rim
from the North Rim
Guided or self-guided
Self drive
from the South Rim (rim-to-rim); custom from Sedona, Flagstaff, Williams
Almost none
Almost nothing
Stay overnight in the Lodge or campground; relax in the rocking chairs on the Lodge deck overlooking the Rim
Written by:

Maverick Helicopters provides helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon. Maverick brings VIP and first-class service to the Grand Canyon. Ma...  More
  • (888) 261-4414
  • 6075 South Las Vegas Boulevard
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • 89119
We have a trip finder that is unique and works much like Expedia, but for Grand Canyon Rafting Trips. With filters to narrow down options based on your preferences whether it is traveling within a certain date range, by raft type, by canyon route or trip duration, our Trip Finder can help you easily explore the different options!

As a central reservation service for all 16 Grand Canyon Rafting Outfitters, we can help you find your ideal adventure, at no additional cos...  More
  • (888) 244-2224
  • 7707 East Acoma Drive
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • 85260

Ideally situated in the center of Tusayan, a small town one mile from the south entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park, this Grand Canyo...  More
  • (928) 638-2414
  • 300 Highway 64
  • Tusayan, AZ
  • 86023
  • $96.00 - $200.00

The Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world, and what better way to see it than from its heart, on a Colorado river rafting trip? Th...  More
  • (800) 544-2691
  • Lees Ferry
  • Kanab, UT

Tour Grand Canyon with the \"World\'s Largest and Most Experienced Helicopter Sightseeing Company!\" Only Papillon is a recipient of the 5-s...  More
  • (800) 528-2418
  • 1265 Airport Road
  • Boulder City, NV
  • 89005

Every sightseeing and adventure tour of the Grand Canyon imaginable - from Las Vegas hotels to Grand Canyon National Park. Book a Grand Cany...  More
  • (800) 566-5868
  • 2730 Airport Drive
  • North Las Vegas, NV
  • 89032

Enjoy first-class comfort with a passionate tour guide to the Grand Canyon’s stunning West Rim. Travel by Tour Trekker and transform your ...  More
  • (888) 900-4480
  • 3629 W Hacienda Ave
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • 89118
  • $69.00 - $475.00

Join The Wildland Trekking Co. on an epic journey to the Grand Canyon! Services include 1 to 8 day hiking adventures, tasty backcountry cui...  More
  • (800) 715-4453
  • 4025 East Huntington Drive
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 86004
  • $110.00 - $1500.00

Don\'t just view the Canyon from the rim when you can fly the Grand Canyon with a legend! Since 1927, Grand Canyon Airlines has been the pre...  More
  • (928) 638-2463
  • Grand Canyon National Park Airport
  • Tusayan, AZ

Visit the official website for Grand Canyon Railway. Book your reservation online for a train tour on one of five classes of service on our ...  More
  • (303) 843-8724
  • 233 North Grand Canyon Boulevard
  • Williams, AZ
  • 86046
  • $75.00 - $132.00

The Sedona and Grand Canyon Specialists! Enjoy the scenic views of Sedona on our Sedona tours and learn all about the geology and history th...  More
  • (877) 367-2383
  • Sedona
  • Sedona, AZ
  • 86336

Got just one day to see the Grand Canyon West Rim? Book one of our West Rim Tours from Las Vegas and experience everything there is to see ...  More
  • (702) 749-5664
  • 8525 Edna Avenue
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • 89117
  • $129.00 - $649.00


Most visitors fly into Phoenix or Las Vegas and drive to the Grand Canyon. Learn how: See All Nearby Grand Canyon Airports »


Drive yourself or take a shuttle? Learn the transportation options for each Grand Canyon rim. See All Grand Canyon Transportation »


Roll the dice on a grand vacation, and add Las Vegas to your Grand Canyon trip itinerary. See All Las Vegas Hotels »


Venture out to Grand Canyon West by helicopter, airplane or bus; take a walk on the glass Grand Canyon Skywalk. See All West Rim Tours »