South Rim Viewpoints

Location:    Grand Canyon, South Rim
GPS Coordinates:    N 36 3.558 W 112 6.581
Visitors Information:    No Fee Required

The gorgeous South Rim has so much to offer to its visitors. Basing on what you feel interest in, there are many options of exploring the Grand Canyon from the South Rim. It has totally about 50 viewpoints opening for the visitors magnificent vistas of the canyon (and these are only named viewpoints, without regard to various unnamed pull-outs and viewpoints). Some of them are conveniently located near the trails and roads, with easy access to them, but many need much more efforts to get to them. So if you are an experienced hiker, you may find a peaceful place with serene views and without any tourists around, where you’ll be able to soak in a fantastic sunset or admire some stunning sunrise over the enchanting Grand Canyon. But this probably is the only chance to spend some alone time at a viewpoint of the canyon, as the points and lookouts with an easier access are often fairly crowded.

If you are limited in time, do not get discouraged! The drivable park roads are a wonderful option for you – the Rim Drive runs close to the rim edge and passes about 20 viewpoints. So you may just drive through the South Rim, stopping at the places you are willing to visit, making fantastic photos of the canyon.

There is one more exceptional option to explore the South Rim, developed by the National Park Service and having been provided by it for more than 40 years. This option is a shuttle bus system, which is operating on the South Rim. This service is completely free (a part from the entrance fee cost goes to cover the use of the shuttle bus), and completely accessible (the busses may accommodate most of the wheelchairs). There are also some bicycle racks, allowing the visitors to make, for example, a bicycle ride to the easternmost or westernmost point of the rim and then to use a shuttle bus to get back. You may also combine your hiking with shuttle bus riding, which will give you a chance to visit more places. And it’s really easy to use these busses. They start running about an hour before sunrise and the last bus takes the passengers an hour after the sunset, thus giving you a chance to be in time at the needed place to make your remarkable photos. There are bus stops almost every mile, and the busses are quite frequent, so you will not have to waste time endlessly waiting for a bus. You may go to some point, get off the bus, enjoy the view walking to a viewpoint, or visit other places of interest, and then just take the next but to another point you are interested in.

There are four routs of shuttle buses. Two of them are available year-round, and two are seasonable. You may use “The Guide” upon the arrival to the Grand Canyon Village to learn about the updated schedule and the routes available this year.

Village Route (marked blue on the maps) operates the whole year round, running around the Village area, helping the visitors to get to various stores, restaurants, visitor centers and campgrounds.

Tusayan (marked purple on the maps) operates during the busiest summer months (usually through the end of September). Usually at this period of time the parking lots of the South Rim are extremely busy, that’s why the administration of the Park Service decided to create this route, so that the guests will not waste hours to find a parking spot. The shuttle busses run from the Tusayan village to the visitor Center and back, making several stops in the village.

Hermits Rest Route (marked red on the maps) is reckoned to be the most scenic and prominent route. It is available for the visitors from March till November. The bus runs from the Grand Canyon Village to the Hermits Rest. If you don’t get off the bus, the roundtrip will take about 80 minutes. This route offers the visitors various viewpoints and lookouts with breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon, as well as access to some trails. Among the places of interest to which you may get by this route are the following: Rim Trail, Hopi Point, Greenway Trail, Hermit Trail, Trailview Overlook, Powell Point and Powell Memorial, Mohave Point, The Abyss, Pima Point and the Hermits Rest.

Kaibab Rim Route (marked orange on the maps) is the only vehicular way to get to the South Kaibab Trailhead. The route is available the whole year. It will take you to such fascinating places as Mather Point, Yaki Point, Pipe Creek Vista, you may also get to the Yavapai Geology Museum using this route, and of course, to the South Kaibab Trailhead. The roundtrip on the shuttle bus (without getting off the bus) will last approximately 50 minutes.
So, you may see how easy and convenient the system of shuttle buses is. All you need is just to define what viewpoints/places you want to visit on the South Rim, and look what route will suit for this.

The South Rim has a lot of options and interesting features to offer to its visitors, that’s why, actually, it is so popular among them.

 

Photo: Roman Khomlyak
Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska
Information: Svetlana Baranova

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