One day in Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is a mile-deep gorge in northern Arizona. Scientists estimate the canyon may have formed 5 to 6 million years ago when the Colorado River began to cut a channel through layers of rock. Humans have inhabited the area in and around the canyon since the last Ice Age.

Grand Canyon South Rim
Grand Canyon South Rim

The Grand Canyon is located in northern Arizona. The canyon measures over 270 miles long, up to 18 miles wide and a mile deep, making it one of the biggest canyons in the world. We visited Grand Canyon for 2 days on our vacation to Las Vegas, Nevada. If you only have one day to see Grand Canyon, use this guide of the best view points with an easy-to-follow One day in Grand Canyon itinerary. You can use America the Beautiful pass for entry or pay an entry fee which gives you entry for 7 days.

Grand Canyon South Rim is the most popular rim at Grand Canyon National Park. The South Rim offers the National Park experience with convenient visitor services like a hop-on-hop-off shuttle bus service, concierge and food services, and a wide range of hotel options within minutes of the park entrance gate.

Just me really happy at my first Grand Canyon stop. This is Pipe Creek Vista viewpoint.

South Rim view points can be accessed by car or you can choose to use free National Park buses. Some visitors choose to hike or rent a bicycle available at the Visitor Center. We visited the South Rim view points by car and did not choose to hike because of less time.

Best viewpoints for One day in Grand Canyon South Rim:

  1. Mather Point
  2. Pipe Creek Vista View Point
  3. Duck on a Rock View Point
  4. Navajo Point
  5. Moran Point
  6. Grandview Point
  7. Desert View
  8. Watch Tower
  9. Hermit’s Rest
  10. Mohave Point
  11. Hopi Point

The first view point at Grand Canyon South Rim is Mather Point. Reach early to view sunrise at Mather Point; it’s one of the most beautiful sunrise view point in Grand Canyon. During Sunrise and Sunset, Mather Point view at Grand Canyon lights up in bright red color.

Sunset at Mather Point
Sunset at Mather Point

We drove from Vegas to South Rim and so could not view sunrise. But, we were lucky enough to reach at sunset to Mather Point. So if you miss watching sunrise, you should definitely keep some time in your plan to reach Mather Point at Sunset.

Each view points have parking space at front so you can easily park, stop for few minutes to take pictures and get back to start for next view point. The free buses provided by Grand Canyon also stops at every view point for visitors to hop on and off easily. Start your journey to the Desert view road and stop at Pipe Creek Vista view point.

Pipe Creek Vista Point
Pipe Creek Vista Point

Pipe Crista offers spectacular views of Pipe Creek, the major canyon between the Kaibab Trail and Bright Angel Trail. Take next stop at, Duck on a rock view point. It’s name comes from the Kaibab formation to the left side of viewpoint, which resembles a duck on a rock.

Grandview point
Grandview point

Stop next at Navajo point, Moran point, Grandview point, Desert view point and take last stop at Watchtower. The Southern most point on Grand Canyon’s South Rim is Grandview, reached by a one mile road and looking out over a wide bend in Colorado between Desert View and Grand Canyon Village before Watchtower.


Covering all these points will take half of your day. Take a lunch break after last stop. There are restaurants available inside Grand Canyon South Rim area but you need a prior reservation or you will have to wait in a really long line. We brought packaged food with us to save time.

Watchtower view point
Watchtower view point

Spend second half of your day to visit Hermit’s Rest. Private vehicles are not permitted on that route so you will have to take Grand Canyon free shuttle. Park your car and take a shuttle to Hermit’s Rest. Click few pictures and grab a drink.

Hermit's Rest
Hermit’s Rest

Shuttle to the Abyss and walk to Mohave Point. Walk from Mohave Point to Hopi Point stopping along the way for an unforgettable sunset.

Mohave Point
Mohave Point

Hopi and Mojave points are the park’s two most popular sunset destinations. They are easily reached using the park’s shuttle system. The shuttle runs for one hour following sunset. Arrive at least half an hour before sunset to find a good vantage point. The brilliant colors that reflect upon the canyon’s formations are a delightful and iconic experience.

Hopi Point
Hopi Point

Grand Canyon South Rim is open year-round and hosts free Ranger Talks, museums, shops, geological and historical information, as well as the Grand Canyon IMAX Experience, Grand Canyon Railway, and much more.

Sunset at Hopi Point
Sunset at Hopi Point

Grand Canyon makes a great day trip from Vegas, Phoenix and Arizona. It’s pet friendly and kids friendly. Enjoy your time with nature!

What you need to know when visiting the South Rim

Grand Canyon South Rim opening times

The South Rim is open 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year including holidays. The entrance station is open 24 hours but the Park’s Visitor Center and other facilities are open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the peak months of May-September and off-peak of October-April from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

South Rim ticket prices

Ticket prices are at $35 per vehicle / $20 per person.

  Travel Tips

  • Carry ‘America the Beautiful’ pass, if you don’t have it, it’s a good time to buy it. This is an annual pass which gives entry to almost all the National Parks of United States like Grand Canyon, Red Rock Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Antelope Canyon and many more. Individual entry costs $35 per vehicle, on the contrary ‘America the Beautiful’ pass costs just $80 per vehicle for an entire year.
  • If you don’t have a car or don’t  want to drive to Grand Canyon South Rim, book through a tour service provider like Viator. There are different tour services provided by different tour operators at competitive prices, so compare carefully!
  • Start early morning for Grand Canyon South Rim, early morning temperatures are cooler with lesser crowd in buses and at viewpoints. Start at max by 5 am to reach the visitor center by 10 am.
  • Download offline maps as you may not find network at some areas.
  • Carry water and snacks to tackle hunger during the hikes. If you want to enjoy lunch with a view, eat at Sunset Point with spectacular views of Grand Canyon.
  • Carry sunscreen, sun glasses and hats as temperatures during summer months tend to be really high, sometimes around 100 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Wear comfortable clothes and carry first aid.
  • Use ‘All Trails’ app to find details on different hiking routes in the Grand Canyon South Rim to scenic view points.
  • Choose to stay one night at Grand Canyon South Rim if you are visiting Vegas for more than 3 days to get more time to explore.
  • If you don’t want to spend too much at Grand Canyon South Rim inside hotels, stay at the closest town Williams or Flagstaff. These two places are full of restaurants which opens till late night.

We tried to include all the details you need to have an adventurous time at Grand Canyon. If you have any questions, post them in comments on our Facebook page or email us and we will try to answer as soon as we can. Happy Exploring!! 🙂

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