The beautiful Grand Canyon, widely considered to be one of the Natural Wonders of the World, really needs no introduction. If you want to travel to the Grand Canyon from Los Angeles, you might be tempted to catch a plane to Phoenix, but you should consider driving instead.
The road trip from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon is about 8 hours without stops. Extend the trip over at least 2 days and check out landmarks like Joshua Tree State Park, Bearizona, and stretches of the Historic Highway 66 in Kingman and Williams.
You'll have plenty to see and do on the way, so continue reading to familiarize yourself with your itinerary.
How far is Grand Canyon from Los Angeles and how long will the road trip take?
The road trip from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon National Park covers about 510 miles and takes about 8 hours of driving. The route starts off along the I-10 and eventually winds its way to the I-40 at the border with Arizona.
A great feature of this route is the lack of traffic – once you've made it out of Los Angeles, you'll mostly just be driving through the open desert, and even the bigger towns you'll be passing through shouldn't be congested in the slightest.
You could leave Los Angeles via the I-40 directly and shave about 45 minutes off your drive, but this makes the opening stretch of the drive significantly less scenic and doesn't really save you enough time to justify taking this route.
In theory, it's possible to reach the Grand Canyon in a single day if you take off early and keep you breaks short. However, a better course of action would be to take a few days to admire the beautiful nature along the way. Despite the predominance of desert terrain, the route outlined below passes through some truly one-of-a-kind places.
Best road trip route from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon
The best route from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon is reasonably short and features incredibly scenic landscapes and a few notable towns throughout.
By leaving L.A. via the I-10, you slightly extend the trip and miss out on driving by Mojave National Preserve in favor of seeing Salton Sea and Joshua Tree NP up close – this is a non-issue, since you can very easily backtrack a few miles to get to the preserve once you connect to the I-40 down the line.
Road trip route from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon
Follow the I-10 out of Los Angeles, past Mt San Jacinto State Park and along the edge of Palm Springs. Continue along Coachella Valley Preserve and Joshua Tree National Park, and take Exit 192 just past the park into SR 177.
From this route, segue into SR 62 and follow it east until Vital Junction, then take US 95 north into the I-40. From here, either follow the interstate back west for a few miles to check out Mojave National Preserve, or continue east through Havasu National Wildlife Refuge and past the border with Arizona.
Soon after that comes your first encounter with Route 66 – drive across the historic road through the city of Kingman and back onto the I-40. After passing through Ash Fork and entering Williams, get on the Hwy 66 again and follow it through Bearizona Wildlife Park – from here, either take a detour east to Flagstaff or stay on track by going north on SR 64.
Continue along the state route past Kaibab Lake Campground – all you need to do is follow it north through Valle, and you'll eventually reach Kaibab National Forest and Grand Canyon Village.
Best places to stop between Los Angeles and Grand Canyon
You should probably split the journey into a at least a couple of days so you don't have to make the drive in one day. You can use your hotel or rental as a base of operations when planning which amazing landscapes in the area you want to check out. Below are some of the area's best hotels for your consideration:
Explore and rest at Flagstaff
Although Flagstaff deviates slightly from your route, it's a popular stop for visitors of Grand Canyon and is well-connected to it. On top of that, there are plenty of interesting things to do in and around town, so you should consider looking for a hotel here – the best one would have to be Flagstaff Little America Hotel.
Thanks to its fashionable lounge area, large outdoor swimming pool, and incredible on-site restaurant and bar, this hotel is the gift that keeps on giving. Prepare yourself for a long day of hiking by strolling around the 500-acre ponderosa forest, and if braving the cliffs hasn't tuckered you out, hit the fitness center for a real challenge.
If all you want to do is just sit down and relax, grab a cup of coffee or a board game from the gift shop and sit down in the communal area outside. Speaking of the outside, that view of the sunset and surrounding greenery from the comfort of the hot tub never gets old either!
This is definitely more expensive than your run-of-the-mill hotel in a small town, but considering the high-quality accommodation and how close it is to the Grand Canyon (and other landmarks), it's absolutely worth it.
Make the most of your visit at Grand Canyon
You'll want your stay at the Grand Canyon to be as comfortable as possible, in order to keep you rested and in good spirits, and the Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon is by and large the best resort in the area.
Design-wise, everything about this hotel is astonishing. The beautifully furnished and decorated lounge area oozes with character and spirit, and the stunning bedrooms come equipped with everything you could possibly need (and are stylish to boot).
Energize yourself before a big day at the bar or restaurant, and rest your tired feet in the swimming pool or hot tub after a long day. If you have any energy left by the end of the day, exercise in the fitness area or check the gift shop for a wholesome Grand Canyon souvenir.
The hotel is located in Tusayan, meaning you'll be around 7 miles from Grand Canyon Village and Bright Angel Trail. It's on the expensive side, but that's to be expected given the quality of the service and the high demand for accommodation in the Grand Canyon area.
Things to see on a road trip from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon
To truly appreciate each and every landmark along the way, try to dedicate at least one week to traveling this route. The Grand Canyon National Park alone has countless spots that are worth your time, but these are some of the places to look out for on the drive there:
- Mt San Jacinto State Park – this beautiful park houses the 10,000 ft-tall San Jacinto Peak, one of America's most prominent peaks
- Joshua Tree National Park – the park's stony terrain and beautiful Joshua trees make this a popular hiking location
- Salton Sea – with waters saltier than those of the Pacific Ocean, this ever-shrinking lake stands out as one of America's biggest environmental anomalies
- Mojave National Preserve – characterized by wildflowers, Joshua trees, and countless sand dunes and canyons
- Lake Mead (Southern leg) – providing the elusive water/desert combo, this reservoir is perfect for water-based outdoor activities
- Havasu National Wildlife Refuge – a beautiful pocket of nature frequented by several rare or endangered animals
- Kingman – this city is referred to as the heart of the historic Highway 66, as it houses the largest remaining stretch of the original road in its downtown area
- Delgadillo's Snow Cap – located in Seligman, this roadside attraction was built from scrap wood and stand as a time capsule for the Mother Road
- Bearizona Wildlife Park – a ponderosa forest where one can expect to see a variety of wild animals
- Grand Canyon Deer Farm – exactly what it says on the box – 10 acres of adorable animals raised from infancy, and they're all yours for the petting
- Flagstaff – the closest major city to the Grand Canyon's South Rim, this city is flanked by mountains, forests, and monuments from all sides
- Kaibab National Forest – a breathtaking forest featuring ponderosa pines, aspen trees, and a wide assortment of wild animals
- Grand Canyon National Park – the road trip's crowning attraction – experts believe the Colorado River has been ‘digging' these canyons for millions of years
Best time to go on a road trip from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon
You can do the road trip from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon anytime between early spring and late fall – you'll want the weather to be as nice as possible as you'll be spending most of your time hiking, camping, biking, or driving around the park.
The first thing to consider is the drive – as the majority of the California stretch is desert terrain, driving in the summer can be difficult when the temperatures peak in July and August
As for Grand Canyon itself, visiting in winter will guarantee you plenty of peace and quiet, but the North Rim would be entirely closed off due to heavy snow(as it averages nearly 12 feet of snow every year!) , and temperatures would be extremely low. For this reason, visits in the winter are generally ill-advised.
On top of summer being peak season, temperatures at the bottom of the Canyon can often exceed 100 degrees, making hikes here practically impossible. If you don't plan on hiking, temperatures at the South Rim tend to cap out at around a pleasant 80 degrees.
Picking the best months to visit is a toss-up – both March to May and September to November are great options. Although always prone to fluctuations, temperatures tend to be more pleasant on average than in the summer, and the park isn't quite as congested during spring and fall.
With that said, fall just barely wins out over spring. Due to the dramatic terrain shifts and climate differences, there will often be lingering snow in certain areas in spring, which could potentially mean the North Rim would be off-limits.
Where should I stop between the Grand Canyon and Los Angeles? ›
- Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, United States.
- Williams, Arizona, United States.
- Flagstaff, Arizona, United States.
- Kingman, Arizona, United States.
- Needles, California, United States.
- Palm Springs, California, United States.
- Los Angeles, California, United States.
The top stops along the way from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon National Park (with short detours) are Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, Calico, and Bearizona Wildlife Park. Other popular stops include Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, Don Laughlin's Classic Car Museum, and Watson Lake.What is halfway between Los Angeles and Grand Canyon? ›
The city at the geographic halfway point from Los Angeles, CA to Grand Canyon is Lanfair, California.How long is it from LA to the Grand Canyon? ›
How long is Grand Canyon from Los Angeles? The Grand Canyon is 480 miles away from L.A. The drive takes about eight hours, depending on traffic.Is it better to drive or take shuttle at Grand Canyon? ›
The best way to get around the Grand Canyon is by shuttle bus. Operated by the National Park Service, these free shuttles will take you all around the South Rim.Which side of the Grand Canyon is less touristy? ›
Most Grand Canyon visitors arrive via the south entrance near the town of Tusayan. Those who drive to the eastern entrance at Desert View will enjoy fewer crowds and a stunning scenic drive dotted with canyon overlooks.How much time is enough for the Grand Canyon? ›
We recommend spending at least one full day at the Grand Canyon South Rim and ideally two if time permits. One full day will allow time to explore some of the best viewpoints at the Grand Canyon, hike a portion of the Rim Trail, and maybe catch a sunrise and sunset.How many days do you need to explore the Grand Canyon? ›
How Many Days at the Grand Canyon? We recommend between one to three days at the Grand Canyon, though you could stay for longer for a relaxed visit. With only one day at the Grand Canyon, you can check out a few viewpoints, hike into the canyon or on the Rim Trail, and catch the sunset.Is 2 days enough for Grand Canyon? ›
There is no such thing as enough time for the Grand Canyon but you can see quite a bit in two days. You will be able to visit almost all of the famous views and do a few shorter hikes. It would be very difficult to visit the North and South Rims in two days though because they are so far apart.What town is closest to the Grand Canyon? ›
Tusayan is the closest town to Grand Canyon Village and also has a small public airport. Other towns in Arizona that are close to various areas with the Canyon are Sedona, Seligman, Peach Springs, Meadview, Marble Canyon, Fredonia and Jacob lake.
What is the best time to visit the Grand Canyon? ›
Spring and fall (the “shoulder seasons”) are often considered the best times of year to visit the Grand Canyon because daytime temperatures are typically lower and crowds are generally thinner.
Though you can't actually drive through the Grand Canyon as each part of the structure has to be conserved, you can drive to and around the region, as well as to the entrances to the North and South Rims.Is the Grand Canyon worth the drive? ›
Worth it? Absolutely. However, to make a visit to the South Rim worthwhile, you need to plan to spend at least a few hours here. It can be done as a day trip from Las Vegas, but you will spend most of the day in your car (it takes 4.5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon).Can you self drive to Grand Canyon? ›
Grand Canyon National Park South Rim is a “Do it Yourself” place for visitors. And she's right. The majority of Grand Canyon park overlooks, particularly those on the Desert View/East Rim Drive, are open to private vehicles.What not to miss when visiting the Grand Canyon? ›
- Watch the Grand Canyon IMAX Movie. Location: Tusayan, Arizona (South Rim) ...
- Drive Hermit Road (West Rim Road) Location: West Rim. ...
- Visit the Yavapai Geology Museum. Location: South Rim. ...
- Walk the Trail of Time. Location: South Rim. ...
- Experience the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
At 277 miles long and 18 miles wide, the Grand Canyon is expansive with entry points at the North, South and West rims of the canyon. By far, the two most popular spots for exploring this natural wonder are the South and West Rim.What is the nicest part of the Grand Canyon? ›
The South Rim is the choice for visitors looking for the classic Grand Canyon experience. It has the best views, the best transportation, the best tours, the best activities, and the best lodging and dining.Are there free shuttles at the Grand Canyon? ›
Ride Free Shuttle Buses
Grand Canyon National Park's free Shuttle buses operate in and around the South Rim. Shuttles can take you to out to exceptional scenic overlooks and they also provide transportation between the Visitor Center, lodges, campgrounds and other services and attractions.
There are no rules against visiting the Grand Canyon without a tour service. There also aren't any significant barriers to doing so. So, yes, you absolutely can tour the Grand Canyon independently! To learn specifically how to do this by driving, check out our post on how to tour the Grand Canyon by car.What times do the shuttles run at Grand Canyon? ›
After making four stops in Tusayan, the bus travels 6.8 miles/11 km to the South Rim Visitor Center inside the park. The buses run every 20 minutes between 8 am and 9:30 pm. A round trip takes 40 minutes.
What is the busiest month at Grand Canyon? ›
July and August are the hottest, rainiest, and busiest months in the park, making them far less ideal times to explore the Grand Canyon than spring or fall.What can you not do at the Grand Canyon? ›
- Grand Canyon: What Not to Do. ...
- Timing is Everything: Don't Arrive at Peak Times. ...
- Liquid Assets: Don't Neglect to Stay Hydrated. ...
- Get an Altitude Adjustment: Don't Underestimate the Elevation. ...
- Weather or Not: Don't Forget to Pack for Changing Conditions.
Not surprisingly, the weekends are the busiest times at the Grand Canyon, so it's best to go during the week. Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be the least crowded days of the week.How long is the walk down into the Grand Canyon? ›
Q: How long will it take to get to the bottom from the South Rim? A: The South Kaibab Trail is 6.8 miles to Bright Angel Campground and the Bright Angel Trail is 9.3 miles. It will take most hikers between 4 and 5 hours to get to the campground on either trail.Is the South Rim Grand Canyon worth seeing? ›
Because it's home to many of the most memorable viewpoints, the South Rim is the ideal destination for first-time Grand Canyon Visitors. If you have small children, you may prefer to visit the South Rim for its many amenities and activities.How long does it take to drive around the entire Grand Canyon? ›
As the crow flies, Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim and the lodge on the North Rim are only about 10 miles apart. However, to drive between them through the park, over the Colorado River and loop around the canyon, you have to travel 215 miles or about 5 hours.Can you just walk around the Grand Canyon? ›
You can do it by foot, following the many inner-canyon trails including the popular Kaibab or Bright Angel trails from the South Rim (note that Kaibab has a North Rim trailhead as well).How much walking do you do at the Grand Canyon? ›
The hike across the canyon from South Rim to North Rim is 21 miles (34 km). However, driving from the South Rim to the North Rim by automobile requires a five-hour drive of 220 miles (354 km). Most people visit Grand Canyon National Park's South Rim.Can you go up and down the Grand Canyon in one day? ›
Grand Canyon National Park is huge and it would take days to explore all four rims and do some hiking inside the canyon. That being said, one day is enough for the main highlights of the Grand Canyon.How many days do you need in Sedona? ›
Don't make the mistake of taking a trip to Sedona for a night or two, three to five days is the time needed to see Sedona, the Grand Canyon and beyond. Red Rock Country has numerous things to do for pet owners that can be enjoyed any time of year.
What town do you stay in to see the Grand Canyon? ›
The only place to stay overnight in the park is Hualapai Ranch, run by the Hualapai, as well as Hualapai Lodge, which is located in Peach Springs, about 90 minutes from the West Rim, along the historic Route 66. A third option is the Grand Canyon Western Ranch Resort (3750 E.What city do you stay in to see the Grand Canyon? ›
South of Grand Canyon Village, accommodations are available in the gateway community of Tusayan, 7 miles (11 km) south of Grand Canyon Village, along Arizona Highway 64. Tusayan (Purple) Route shuttle service has ended for the 2022 season.Is it better to stay in Flagstaff or Sedona? ›
Sedona is the preferred vacation spot with access to all of Northern Arizona tours and attractions within a couple hours drive, at an elevation of 4,000 feet. Compared to Flagstaff, Arizona with an elevation of 7,000 feet, Sedona has the most favorable year round weather conditions.Which is better north or south Grand Canyon? ›
The South Rim is at a lower elevation which allows you to get a better view of the walls of the opposite rim. The sheer magnitude of the Grand Canyon is much more visible from the South Rim. The South Rim is more “user friendly” with paved paths along the rim.Is it worth going down in the Grand Canyon? ›
Visiting the Grand Canyon should be at the top of any traveler's bucket list! With 5.9 million yearly visitors, it's the USA's most famous National Park. The stunning landscape of the Canyon with the Colorado River below will take your breath away and leave you with memories to last a lifetime.What months are the Grand Canyon closed? ›
South Rim: Open all year, is located 60 miles north of Williams, Arizona (via route 64 from Interstate 40) and 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff (via route 180). Grand Canyon lies entirely within the state of Arizona. North Rim: Closed for the Winter between December 1 and May 15.How many days should you plan to spend at the Grand Canyon? ›
We recommend between one to three days at the Grand Canyon, though you could stay for longer for a relaxed visit. With only one day at the Grand Canyon, you can check out a few viewpoints, hike into the canyon or on the Rim Trail, and catch the sunset.Where to stop between LA and Flagstaff? ›
The top stops along the way from Flagstaff to Los Angeles (with short detours) are Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel, Montezuma Castle National Monument, and Calico. Other popular stops include Grand Canyon National Park (West Rim), Bearizona Wildlife Park, and Red Rock State Park.What is the closest big city to the Grand Canyon? ›
The two major cities closest to the Canyon are Phoenix and Las Vegas. Flagstaff, AZ is only 1.5 hours from the South Rim and although it is a smaller city, it does have an international airport. Tusayan is the closest town to Grand Canyon Village and also has a small public airport.What month is best for Grand Canyon? ›
Weather in the Grand Canyon is at its best between April and June, when rainfall averages are low and temperatures have not yet reached their scorching summer highs. The park becomes extremely crowded when school lets out in June, so plan your visit before then, if possible.
When should you not go to the Grand Canyon? ›
July and August are the worst months to visit the Grand Canyon due to larger crowds and hotter, wetter weather. You can get cheaper deals on lodging and activities between November and February.What month should I visit the Grand Canyon? ›
Spring and fall (the “shoulder seasons”) are often considered the best times of year to visit the Grand Canyon because daytime temperatures are typically lower and crowds are generally thinner.
Grand Canyon South Rim is most frequently chosen by first-time visitors to the area not only for its beautiful views, but for its abundance of visitor services and family-oriented activities. The South Rim is open year-round.How long does the average person stay at the Grand Canyon? ›
Most people do it in two days, spending the night at Bright Angel Campground near the Colorado River. Hiking from rim to river to rim in the Grand Canyon is one of my favorite national park experiences of all time.Where should I stop on a road trip from LA to Phoenix? ›
- The Cabazon Dinosaurs.
- Salton Sea State Park.
- Joshua Tree National Park.
- General Patton Memorial Museum.
- Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.
- El Dorado Hot Springs, Tonopah.
Flagstaff is best known as the gateway to the San Francisco Peaks mountain range and the Grand Canyon, but it's worth spending some time exploring the historic town too. On this tour, discover Flagstaff's small-town charms on a guided tour and choose from a variety of options.Is Sedona or Flagstaff closer to Grand Canyon? ›
Flagstaff will put you closer to the Grand Canyon. Easy drive for a day trip to Sedona.What is the most visited area of the Grand Canyon? ›
The South Rim is by far the busiest and most popular section. It is the at the center of Grand Canyon National Park. This is where you will find Grand Canyon Village which was designed to provide amenities to the tourists.Is it better to fly into Las Vegas or Phoenix to go to the Grand Canyon? ›
Is it better to fly into Las Vegas or Phoenix to go to the Grand Canyon? As we mentioned above, for a quick day trip to Grand Canyon National Park, it is better to fly into Phoenix. For longer trips to the Grand Canyon and beyond, or to visit the West or North Rim, you should fly into Las Vegas.What is the name of the only town within the Grand Canyon? ›
If you haven't visited the village of Supai, there's probably a good reason: The only town inside the Grand Canyon, it's located deep inside a 3,000-foot-deep hole.