1 Day Trip to Grand Canyon, South Rim with family

Which are the places you want to visit before you say bye to the world? Is Grand Canyon a part of your Wishlist? If Not, then you are missing something.

Visiting Grand Canyon is an experience of a lifetime. No matter how many times you have seen it in videos, travel shows, or movies, witnessing this mighty and magnificent natural wonder live, is something that cannot be described in words. During our visit to the USA, we spent 3 days in Grand Canyon and explored the locations in and around. Do check out more details in my next Blog.

If you have a day to spend in Grand Canyon, This one-day itinerary covers all the information required to plan a perfect family trip.

Grand Canyon, National Park, Arizona 

Mile deep gorge, layered in different shades of red, brown, orange. It’s hard to believe that creation of this spectacular natural wonder is the work of a river. Can the water be that powerful?

5-6 million years ago, the Colorado River and its tributaries started to cut channels through the rocks layer by layer mending their way into the mountain, resulting in what we see like the Grand Canyon today.

This natural wonder is around 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters).

1 day trip to Grand Canyon with family
Grand Canyon, South Rim, Arizona

Grand Canyon: Best Rim to visit

Grand Canyon can be visited at 4 destinations. The North Rim, South Rim, Grand Canyon West, and Grand Canyon East. North Rim and South Rim are the two areas managed by Canyon National Park services. Grand Canyon West is managed by the Hualapai Indian tribe.

South Rim is considered to be the best for its panoramic vistas of the Grand Canyon and Colorado river. If you are a first time visitor, it’s a good idea to start your exploration from South Rim. Each viewpoint in South rim has its unique feature to amaze you. The south rim is open all year round and offers more facilities while traveling with family.

Perfect itinerary to Grand Canyon, South Rim
Grand Canyon, Arizona

How much time is enough to visit Grand Canyon, South Rim?

  1. 1 day –  If you are planning to visit only the viewpoints (main attractions)
  2. 3 -4 days – If hiking some of the popular trails is what you have in mind. Hiking was not in our itinerary, instead, we visited Horseshoe Bend and Antelope canyon.
  3. Recommended: Minimum 3 days to cover viewpoints in South Rim along with Horseshoe bend and Antelope canyon.

How to reach Grand Canyon South Rim – Best mode of transport

The south rim is around 5 hours away from Phoenix or Las Vegas and is easily accessible from most of the major cities.

Buses, trains, airplanes, helicopter rides, and rental cars available. Check out more details here How to reach South Rim from Las Vegas

During our trip, we traveled from San Francisco to Las Vegas. From Vegas, we rented a car.  Renting the car is the best option for flexibility and comfort it offers when traveling with kids.

1 Day trip to Grand Canyon National Park

Timings: The entrance to Grand Canyon National park is open 24 hours, all round the year. But the Visitor Centre is open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. during peak months of May to  September and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from October -April.

Entrance Fee: Private & non-commercial vehicle and all its passengers -$35       Motorcycle – $30, Bicycle, On Foot, or Shuttle – $20. Annual passes are also available.

1 Day trip to Grand Canyon South Rim
Grand Canyon National Park Entrance

Commuting within the Grand Canyon National Park

Free Shuttle services are available between the Grand Canyon village to different viewpoints. The free Shuttle operates on 4 routes,

1.The Village Route (Blue)

2.The Kaibab Rim Route (Orange)

3.Hermit Road Route (Red)

4.Tusayan Route (Purple)

Note that there is no shuttle service available from Grand Canyon Village to Desert view.

Now that you have all the necessary information. Let’s get started and explore the magnificent wonder – the Grand Canyon south rim

We stayed during the night in Williams, a small city around 1 hour away from Grand Canyon National Park. The next morning after breakfast, we started our journey to Grand Canyon national park.

In about 1.5 hours we were at the entrance of the park, which was not very crowded yet.

1. Grand Canyon Visitor Centre

The first stop for all travelers entering from the southern entrance is the visitor center. One-stop for all the information regarding the park, hiking trails, free shuttle services, etc. The visitor center also has the number of exhibits including historical artifact’s, trail details which helps you to understand the Grand Canyon and its offering better.

The visitor center also has 4 parking facilities. However, during vacations and public holidays, parking gets filled faster so make sure to reach early.

1 day trip to South Rim, Grand Canyon
Visitor Center, South Rim, Grand Canyon
1 day trip to Grand Canyon
Trail information at Visitor Center, Grand Canyon

2. Enjoy the first view of Canyon from Mather Point

The wait was not too long, just a few minutes’ walk from the visitor center, we had our first encounter of the Grand Canyon. The Mather Point is the most popular viewpoint & crowded too. But nothing like having the first glimpse of this magnificent wonder, especially when you are visiting it for the first time. Although, Colorado river is not visible scenic vistas will captivate you.

Mather viewpoint, Grand Canyon
Mather viewpoint, Grand Canyon

3. Walk till Yavapai Point

Yavapai Point is 0.9 miles away from Mather point. A short and easy walk towards the west from Mather point takes you to Yavapai’s point. There are a geology museum and observation station at Yavapai point. Here you can learn about the history of the Canyon, its layers and also enjoy a better view, away from the crowd. Yavapai point provides the best view among all viewpoints in this section

South Rim, Grand Canyon
Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon

4. Explore the gift shop at the visitor center

While returning to the visitor center, drop into the gift shop and check out some cool Grand Canyon themed souvenirs.

5. Enjoy a quick lunch at the Mexican Food Truck

By the time we walked back to the visitor center, it was noon & we were hungry. We stopped by at the only food truck available there and enjoyed a quick delicious Mexican meal. After filling our tummies with sumptuous tacos and burritos, it was time to amaze ourselves and explore the viewpoints.

6. Admire the Canyon layers at Moran View Point

A popular spot on the South Rim, Moran viewpoint is situated near the visitor center a few miles east of the Grand Canyon Village. This lookout offers the accentuated layers of the canyon with its tapestry of colors. the fascinating channel of the gorge along with the entire vista appears to be a painting on a large canvas.

Moran view point, Grand Canyon
View from Moran Point, Grand Canyon
Moran point, Grand Canyon
Moran Point, Grand Canyon

7. Soak in the tranquility at Lipan View Point

Located 20 miles east of Grand Canyon Village, a little off from the scenic Desert view drive is the Lipan point. From here you can enjoy one of the most spectacular views of the Canyon. This was our favorite lookout. On one side you can witness the spacious panorama featuring formations resembling temple peaks, on the other hand, the Colorado river curving into the inner gorge. The river cuts through the deepest part of the Canyon here. Far below the rim is the Unkar Delta, which supported the farming efforts by Native Americans. Hance Rapid, one of the most hazardous rapid of Colorado river can also be seen from here. Compared to other popular viewpoints, Lipan’s point is less crowded and lets you connect with nature.

The Lipan Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon
The Lipan Point, South Rim, Grand Canyon
The Lipan Point,South Rim Grand Canyon
The Lipan Point, Grand Canyon
The Lipan Point, Grand Canyon
The Lipan Point, Grand Canyon

Screenshot 2020-04-23 at 5.51.34 PM

8. Walk the trail at Grand Viewpoint

The southernmost viewpoint on the South rim, at an elevation of 7400 ft the Grand viewpoint provides a grand view of the Canyon. Right next to the main lookout, is Grand view trail which dates back to 1898, we walked for half a mile along the trail and came across mesmerizing vistas of the canyon.

From Grand Viewpoint, you can see prominent buttes like Rama Shrine, Krishna Shrine, Vishnu Shrine, and Shiva Temple. You can also get a glimpse of the Colorado River.

The Grand viewpoint, Grand Canyon
The Grand viewpoint, Grand Canyon
Grand viewpoint Grand Canyon
History of the Grand viewpoint, South Rim, Grand Canyon
The Grand View trail, South rim, Grand Canyon
The Grand View trail, South rim, Grand Canyon

9. Sunset at Desert viewpoint watchtower

The last spot in our itinerary and we choose it to enjoy the sunset. Desert viewpoint is located 25 miles east of Grand Canyon Village near the eastern edge of the Canyon. Desert View is a scenic drive that offers several panoramic vistas and viewpoints including the Lipan point and Grand viewpoints. Apart from a breath-taking view of the Grand Canyon, Desert View is popular for the watchtower. Build by Mary Colter’s in 1932 as a replica of a prehistoric Indian tower, the Desert View Watchtower aimed at providing the widest view of the Grand Canyon while maintaining the natural harmony. Build with stones, at 70 feet the watchtower is the highest point on the South Rim.Witnessing the sunset from this point was a great experience.At the desert viewpoint, you can find facilities like the Gas station, washrooms, camping ground, Restaurants, and gift shop.

Watchtower Kiva Shop 9 am to 5 pm, Watchtower stairs: 9 am to 4:30 pm.

Since the watchtower closes by 4.30. make sure to reach the spot before time

Desert view, Grand Canyon
Desert View, Grand Canyon
View from the Watch Tower, Grand Canyon
View from the Watch Tower, Grand Canyon
Watchtower, Desert Viewpoint, Grand Canyon
Watchtower, Desert Viewpoint, Grand Canyon
Desert view point, Grand Canyon
Desert viewpoint, Grand Canyon
Desert Viewpoint , Grand Canyon
Desert Viewpoint, Grand Canyon

Some Quick Tips:

1) Do carry a map with you as most of the times your phone will not have any      signals

2) Keep a stock of water and snacks, you won’t find any stores inside the park( except for one in the visitor center and Desert viewpoint)

3) Do carry your hat & sunscreen along

4) Check out the Sunset time, so you don’t miss out on the right moment.

Every spot in Grand Canyon National park is worth stopping by, it’s hard to decide which one to skip. With just one day in hand, we could visit the locations that give the very essence of the Canyon. Although someday I would like to go back and explore the trails too.

Have you taken any trail in Grand Canyon? Do share your experiences.

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1 day itinrary for Grand Canyon with family

1 day trip to Grand Canyon south Rim with Family

58 thoughts on “1 Day Trip to Grand Canyon, South Rim with family

  1. I’ve always been fascinated by the grand canyon and I’d love to take my family there too!

  2. Great post (and beautiful photos!). I haven’t been to the Grand Canyon since I was a kid, but I wasn’t old enough to appreciate it. You’ve officially inspired a return visit! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Yes the Grand Canyon is indeed one of a kind and surely should be a must visit. It must have been an exhausting one day trip haha, given the fact that it’s so vast. I am sure the experience must have been awesome. Hope to visit someday soon.

  4. I’ve always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon but have barely travelled in the USA at all. Maybe once things settle down I’ll start planning a trip!

  5. Grand Canyon and Phoenix is on my bucket list Good to know! Great post and very detailed! The photos are breathtaking!

  6. We are supposed to be in Grand Canyon in September. Fingers crossed it won’t get cancelled. Thanks for all the great tips.

  7. The crazy thing is that I have never been to the Grand Canyon National Park even though I do not live that far from it. I have been to the Grand Canyon West, which is tribal land. That was spectacular and I am sure the park is in some ways more amazing. Since this year international travel is kind of on hold, a road trip around Arizona sounds like a good option.

    1. I would have loved to visit Grand Canyon West too, but had limited time.you must plan a road trip to Grand canyon National park..it’s lovely 😊

  8. What a great day trip! The only thing I’d add is to stick around to watch the sunset as it really brings out the colors of the canyon and is incredible!

  9. The Grand Canyon is on my bucket list! If we are able to travel this year I hope to fly out to Vegas and make a day trip out of it. Great tips here!

  10. This is perfect! I had to postpone my trip to the Grand Canyon, but I’m hoping to go this summer. This is super helpful and I will definitely keep it handy. Also, your photos are so beautiful. 🙂

  11. Great detailed guide! Thanks a lot for sharing. I hope we’ll be able to travel soon and see such beautiful places again.

  12. I’d love to visit the Grand Canyon. Now I want to go to that sunset view point.

  13. Great guide!! I don’t think I’ve seen all of these, but there are so many viewpoints it’s hard to choose which ones will be best (especially for sunset when you only get “one chance”!). Some of the trails are incredible too. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I just can’t wait to hike rim to rim on an overnight adventure! Thanks for the tips on the South Rim!

  15. It is such a dream of mine to visit the Grand Canyon.. Hopefully, all this unpleasant situation will soon be over and we all will be able to travel again. Thank you for all the priceless tips

  16. I’ve wanted to visit the Grand Canyon for a long time, and on my next trip to Vegas I plan to do it. Good info for pricing etc too as this is not something I really thought of before, I was more concerned about car or tour. Looks like driving is better to be able to go at your own pace

  17. The grand canyon seems to be such an experience to have in a lifetime,I can wait to plan a trip there!

  18. The different viewpoints are absolutely beautiful! I’ve been wanting to visit the Grand Canyon for years, it’s just so far from the East Coast. You’ve definitely motivated me to get my things together and make my way over by Fall!

  19. This is truly an experience of a lifetime! I love it that you’ve written such a detailed guide about spending a day at the Grand Canyon. So useful for first-time visitors!

  20. I would like to visit the Grand Canyon one day. Your guide is really helpful with all the information anyone would need for visiting. I never really thought about needing to decide which rim to visit, but it makes sense with how huge it is!

  21. I haven’t been to the Grand Canyon in years and we keep meaning to go back (I mean it’s been like 20 years at this point). Your pictures make me so envious. great post.

  22. The Grand Canyon is high up on my bucket list and after seeing your post I will try to visit as soon as I can!

  23. Awesome post! My friend and I are going on a road trip next month and we are planning to hit the Grand Canyon. We will be visiting the South Rim as well

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