Las Vegas-Grand Canyon: The Perfect Itinerary

how many days to travel las vegas and grand canyon

The Grand Canyon is a popular tourist destination for those visiting Las Vegas. The canyon is a few hours' drive from the city, depending on which area of the canyon you visit: the West Rim, South Rim, or North Rim. The West Rim is the closest area to Las Vegas, at roughly 130 miles (210 km) away, and can be visited on a day trip. The South Rim is the furthest from Las Vegas, at 275 miles (440 km) away, and the North Rim is the most difficult to access, at 260 miles (420 km) away and closed during winter months. There are various ways to visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, including by car, bus, helicopter, or small plane, with many tours available.

Characteristics Values
Distance from Las Vegas to the West Rim 130 miles (210 km)
Drive time to the West Rim 2 to 2.5 hours
Distance from Las Vegas to the South Rim 275 miles (440 km)
Drive time to the South Rim 4 to 4.5 hours
Distance from Las Vegas to the North Rim 260 miles (420 km)
Drive time to the North Rim 4 to 4.5 hours

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Travel by car

The Grand Canyon is a popular destination for those visiting Las Vegas. The closest part of the canyon is a two-and-a-half-hour drive each way from Las Vegas, but other locations within the 1,900-square-mile National Park can be up to four and a half hours' drive away. The drive is absolutely doable, but it can be a bit difficult depending on which rim you visit.

Grand Canyon West Rim

The West Rim is the closest rim of the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas. It is located about 130 miles from the city, which takes about two and a half hours to drive. The route is rather simple: take Interstate 215/11 to the southwest, and you’ll come to the Hoover Dam. After crossing over the dam, you’ll reach Arizona via Highway 93. Follow that to Dolan Springs, turn left onto Pierce Ferry Road, then right onto Diamond Bar Road and drive for around 22 miles. Finally, turn right onto Eagle Point Service Road and you'll arrive at the West Rim.

Grand Canyon South Rim

The South Rim is the most popular of the Grand Canyon's three rims but it's also the furthest from Las Vegas. The drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon South Rim is approximately 280 miles and takes about four and a half hours. You'll travel over Route 66 and pass Hoover Dam, Kingman, Arizona, and historic Williams, Arizona. The route is full of sweeping Mojave desert landscapes and rises up into high mountain vistas of the Kaibab National Forest.

Grand Canyon North Rim

The North Rim is the most difficult area of the Grand Canyon to drive to. It is roughly 260 miles from Las Vegas and takes about four to four and a half hours to drive to. The rim and the road leading to it are closed for half the year, from late fall to early spring, due to snowfall.

Tips for Driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon

When driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, it's important to keep in mind that the canyon is vast, and the distances between different areas can be quite far. If you want to visit multiple areas of the canyon, it may be worth considering an overnight stay. Additionally, there aren't many services along the road, so make sure to prepare and plan your trip thoroughly. Finally, keep your eyes open for wildlife such as coyotes, desert bighorn sheep, cows, horses, mountain lions, elk, and deer along the way!

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Travel by bus

Travelling from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon by Bus

The Grand Canyon is a popular day trip from Las Vegas, with the drive taking anywhere from two and a half to four and a half hours, depending on which location you visit. The Grand Canyon's South Rim is the farthest destination, located about five hours from Las Vegas, while the West Rim is closer, at only two and a half hours away.

Bus Tours

Grand Canyon bus tours are a convenient and affordable way to travel from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. These tours typically include round-trip transportation, meals, and photo stops at various attractions along the way. Some companies offer deluxe upgrades that include airplane flights, helicopter tours, and river cruises. Bus tours are ideal for groups without time constraints and budget travellers who want to see different attractions along the way.

A typical bus tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon will include the following:

  • Air-conditioned luxury motorcoach with panoramic windows and restrooms
  • Onboard entertainment, such as movies
  • Knowledgeable and friendly tour guide
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off
  • Breakfast snacks, lunch, and unlimited bottled water
  • Comfort stops for restrooms and meals
  • Photo stops at various attractions, such as Route 66, Hoover Dam, and Joshua Tree Forest
  • Three to three and a half hours of exploration time at the Grand Canyon

Booking a Bus Tour

When booking a bus tour, it is important to consider the company's reputation, the inclusions and exclusions of the tour, and the pick-up and drop-off locations. It is also essential to read reviews from previous customers to get an idea of their experience. Additionally, some companies offer the option to upgrade to a VIP experience, which may include smaller groups and more customisation.

Travel Time

The travel time for a bus tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon can vary depending on the company and the destinations included in the tour. On average, a day trip to the Grand Canyon by bus can take around 10 to 12 hours, including travel time and exploration time at the canyon.

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Travel by helicopter

Helicopter tours are a great way to see the Grand Canyon if you're short on time or are looking for a luxurious experience. The Grand Canyon West Rim, the nearest region of the park to Las Vegas, is about 130 miles away, which takes around 5 hours to drive round trip. However, you can reach the West Rim in just over 30 minutes by helicopter. Not only do helicopter tours save time, but they also offer unparalleled aerial views of the Grand Canyon and the surrounding desert scenery.

There are a variety of helicopter tour companies operating in Las Vegas, including Papillon and Maverick Helicopters, with tours starting at $195. The tours typically depart daily from the Las Vegas Strip and can be easily combined with bus, boat, and airplane tours. Some tours include limousine pickup and drop-off at hotels on the Strip.

  • Golden Eagle Helicopter Tour: This tour is perfect for those short on time, offering beautiful aerial views of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the West Rim. The duration is approximately 3 to 4.5 hours, including hotel pick-up and drop-off.
  • Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour: This tour includes a canyon floor landing with a champagne toast and refreshments. You can also upgrade to a sunset departure to fly over the Las Vegas Strip as the neon lights come on. The duration is approximately 3.5 to 4.5 hours, including hotel pick-up and drop-off.
  • Grand Voyager Helicopter Tour: This comprehensive tour includes an airplane ride to the West Rim, a helicopter ride to the canyon floor, and a pontoon boat ride on the Colorado River. You'll also have the opportunity to explore the West Rim lookouts. The duration is approximately 10 hours, including hotel pick-up and drop-off.
  • Deluxe Tour: This full-day tour is the only one that flies over the Grand Canyon National Park area. It includes an airplane flight to the South Rim, a helicopter ride over the North and South Rims, and a shuttle bus to explore the South Rim lookouts.
  • Private Sunset Strip Tour: This private helicopter tour offers a sunset departure, flying over the West Rim and landing on the canyon floor for a champagne picnic. You'll return to Las Vegas in time to see the Strip's nightlife. The duration is approximately 3.5 to 4 hours, including hotel pick-up and drop-off.

Helicopter tours typically range from 3 to 10 hours, depending on the itinerary and inclusions. Most tours offer stunning aerial views of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Grand Canyon, with some tours also including a descent to the canyon floor. Some tours combine helicopter rides with other activities, such as boat rides on the Colorado River or walking on the Skywalk Bridge.

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Travel by train

The Grand Canyon Railway is a 64-mile heritage railroad that runs between Williams, Arizona, and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It is possible to take a train from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, but it involves taking a bus to Williams, Arizona, first. The bus departs from the Gray Line Tour Center in Las Vegas, and the whole journey takes between 10 and 12 hours each way.

The train itself is an hour-long journey through untouched forests on the outskirts of the canyon. The train usually departs once a day from Williams at 9:30 a.m. from July through October and 8:30 a.m. from November to January. The return journey typically departs from the Grand Canyon at 2:30 or 3:30 p.m. every afternoon.

The cost of the journey is $250 for the bus ticket and two train tickets. The trip is long but is an unforgettable experience, with majestic scenery, particularly on the last leg of the journey. The vintage rail cars date back to 1923, and the journey is an old-fashioned and unique way to travel to the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams is a convenient place to stay the night before or after your train journey. The 298-room property was built to resemble the Fray Marcos Hotel from 1908 and is located directly opposite the train depot.

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Travel by plane

The Grand Canyon is a popular day trip from Las Vegas, with the drive to the West Rim taking around two and a half hours, and the South Rim around four and a half hours. However, if you want to travel by plane, there are a few options to consider.

Firstly, you could take a "flightseeing" tour, which offers bird's-eye views of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Colorado River, in addition to the Grand Canyon. These tours start at $372 and usually take around 9.5 hours from hotel to hotel, including travel time to and from the airport, a lunch break, and time for hiking.

If you're looking for a more private experience, you can book a small plane with a company like Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines. These tours are faster than driving and offer a more traditional experience than a helicopter ride. Prices for private charter plane tours are relatively affordable, ranging from $200 to $600.

Another option is to take a helicopter tour, which is the fastest and most dramatic way to see the Grand Canyon. These tours can take you over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam, stopping at either the Grand Canyon West or the South Rim. Helicopter tours typically start at $200 and average around $450.

When planning your trip, keep in mind that the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon are about 300 miles apart, so choosing which rim to visit will impact your travel time. The South Rim is the most popular destination, with more tourist attractions, while the North Rim is more remote and less frequented by visitors.

Frequently asked questions

The drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon varies depending on which rim you visit. The West Rim is around 130 miles from Las Vegas and takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to drive. The South Rim is approximately 275 miles away and the drive takes around 4 to 4.5 hours. The North Rim is roughly 260 miles from Las Vegas and the drive time is similar to that of the South Rim.

Driving to the Grand Canyon can be a bit challenging depending on the rim you visit, but it's definitely doable. The West Rim is the easiest to access, while the South and North Rims are farther and may require an overnight stop. The roads are well-paved and there's nothing to be afraid of along the way.

Yes, there are several alternative options. You can take a bus tour, which is a leisurely way to travel to the Grand Canyon and offers informative commentary along the way. You can also opt for a helicopter tour, which is the fastest and most dramatic way to see the Grand Canyon. Additionally, small plane tours are available for a more private and traditional experience.

The time needed depends on your preferences and the areas you want to explore. A basic day trip to the West Rim can be done in a day. For the South Rim, it's recommended to spend at least two to three days to fully explore the area. If you plan to visit multiple National Parks in the region, such as Zion or Bryce Canyon, consider allowing for a longer trip of around 5-7 days.

Yes, overnight stays are available at all three rims of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim offers the most options with campgrounds and lodges, while the West Rim has a few choices, including the Hualapai Ranch and cabins. The North Rim has limited options, with the Grand Canyon Lodge being the most popular choice.

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