Because this area is so popular, you need to reserve accommodations and guide services well in advance of your trip. Lodging facilities and campgrounds are usually booked solid from late spring through early fall. Most group tours to Grand Canyon's South Rim original in Las Vegas. The fill up fast and so you need to book early.
Elevations here average about 7,000 feet above sea level, and that can be a concern for people with respiratory or heart ailments. Because of the high altitude, summer temperatures on the rim are not usually oppressive. However, if you hike down into the canyon temperatures can be very hot. (On the river, it may be above 100 F several days in a row).
Winter is usually a pleasant time to visit the South Rim. The area receives occasional snow but crews are able to keep facilities open most of the time. Hiking can be enjoyable during mild periods. However, large storms can temporarily close roads and trails. Trails are extremely hazardous when icy.
A free shuttle service operates at the South Rim, providing convenient transportation around Grand Canyon Village and to popular viewpoints and trailheads. From March 1 to November 30, Hermit Road and the road out to Yaki Point/South Kaibab are closed to private automobiles. You will need to ride a shuttle bus to access those destinations. (Vehicles with accessibility permits are allowed to operate on these roads.)
Excellent viewpoints can be found adjacent to the road and can be accessed by park shuttle or private vehicle; many visitors have an enjoyable visit without hiking. However, to really experience the canyon we recommend you get out and hike.
The South Rim offers excellent day hikes to vistas never seen by the tourists who stay on the rim. Most hikes are out and back, so you can adjust the length of the hike to suite your interests and abilities.
South Kaibab Trail offers the best views for people desiring a relatively short hike. It is well maintained but steep in spots. Water is not available along the trail and there is little shade. Day hikes can range up to 12 miles (round trip).
Bright Angel Trail is also popular for day hikes. It offers shade in some spots, and water is usually available (the pipe breaks occasionally). Day hikes here can also range up to 12 miles (round trip), along the well maintained but steep trail.
The Rim Trail offers easy hiking with little elevation change; it does not drop into the canyon.
Other trails are more difficult, with sections that are not maintained. Obtain info on them at the Visitor Center.
Photography: Everyone wants to get a classic Grand Canyon photo. Remember, colors are more pleasing during early morning and late evening hours. Plan to be at a scenic viewpoint well before the time you want to shoot.
Ranger Programs & Walks: Check at the Visitor Center for schedules.
Mule and Horseback: Mule rides from the South Rim can be reserved through Xanterra Parks & Resorts. Call (888) 297-2757. For waiting list information, call (928) 638-2631 or contact the Bright Angel Lodge transportation desk inside the park.
One, two, and four-hour horseback trail rides and twilight campfire and wagon rides are available from Apache Stables, located outside of Grand Canyon National Park at the north end of Tusayan. For information and reservations call (928) 638-2891.
Scenic Flights: Air tours of the canyon and other nearby attractions are available from companies located just outside the park. The Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce provides information.