The Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular natural areas in the world! If you’re planning a visit to Las Vegas and you have the time, it’s something you should take a day to go see because it’s not very far away. To do that, you’ll first need to know which rim of the Grand Canyon you want to visit and how long it will take to get there from Las Vegas.
The Grand Canyon’s West Rim is the closest point of entry from Las Vegas. The West Rim is 128 miles from the Las Vegas Strip and will take approximately 2.5 hours of driving time to get there. The North and South Rims are both accessible from Las Vegas as well, but will take longer to reach.
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How Long is the Drive From Las Vegas to Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon has three distinct rims with easy visitor access. These are:
- West Rim
- South Rim
- North Rim
Let me tell you a little about each rim, how long it takes to drive there from Las Vegas, and some alternative ways to get there.
West Rim Grand Canyon From Las Vegas
The West Rim of the Grand Canyon can easily be reached from Las Vegas by car or bus in just under two and a half hours without stops but I recommend that you don’t rush the trip. There are a few interesting stops along the way to and from the West Rim when coming from Las Vegas. The main points of interest are all located in the same general area, and are more or less along the way (about 40 minutes outside of Vegas).
Points of interest along the way to the West Rim include:
- Boulder City
- Lake Mead
- Hoover Dam (You can see our article here about visiting Hoover Dam)
The map above is showing you the route through Boulder City with stops at the Lake Mead Visitor Center and Hoover Dam.
Of course, these stops will add some extra time to the journey. If you don’t have a lot of extra time and just want to go straight to Grand Canyon West, make sure when you’re approaching Boulder City on Interstate 11 that you stay on the main highway rather than cut off to Boulder City.
This will take you over the Mike O’Callaghan – Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, bypassing Boulder City/Hoover Dam and saving you a lot of time.
Things to Do at Grand Canyon West
The entire West Rim area of the Grand Canyon is owned and operated by the Native American Hualapai Tribe. Being Hualapai Nation land, this area of the Grand Canyon is not part of Grand Canyon National Park but you will find the views no less amazing!
There are several things to do and see at Grand Canyon West, including:
- Grand Canyon Skywalk – The highlight of Grand Canyon West is the clear glass skywalk at Eagle Point that extends out over the edge of the canyon providing amazing views all the way down to the bottom.
- Guano Point – One of the best viewpoints overlooking the Grand Canyon. You won’t believe the views!
- Hualapai Ranch – An old west style town with lodging, recreational activities, and gift shop. You can even ride a zip line over part of the canyon from here! Hualapai Ranch is also the perfect place to begin a white water rafting trip through the canyon.
Grand Canyon West Entrance Fee
There is a $56 admission fee per person to enter Grand Canyon West and it will give you access to all of the viewpoints and areas mentioned above.
Grand Canyon West Tours From Last Vegas
If you’d rather avoid driving and just enjoy the journey you may find it easier and a whole lot more fun to take one of the many guided tours from Las Vegas. One of these full-day tours will get you exactly where you want to go without the stress of driving, parking, figuring out how to get places, etc.
Here are the top rated tours from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West:
Grand Canyon West Rim 5 in 1 – Travel by Luxury SUV or Mini Coach to the West Rim. You’ll experience the Skywalk, Eagle Point, Guano Point, Hualapai Ranch, Joshua Tree Forest, and Hoover Dam. Breakfast, lunch and snacks included.
Grand Canyon West Rim Classic – Travel by SUV to the West Rim. In addition to all the sights at Grand Canyon West, you’ll make stops at the desert town of Dolan Springs, the Colorado River, and the Joshua Tree Forest. Lunch is included.
Grand Canyon West Rim & Helicopter 6 in 1 – If you really want to take it up a notch you’ll want to hop on this tour. In addition to the many sites and experiences you’ll have in Grand Canyon West, this tour also includes a 15-minute helicopter ride complete with amazing aerial views of the canyon and southwest desert landscape!
No matter how you choose to get there, the West Rim of the Grand Canyon is not to be missed and it’s easily accessible from Las Vegas.
South Rim Grand Canyon From Las Vegas
When people talk about the Grand Canyon or Grand Canyon National Park, it’s generally the South Rim they’re talking about. Doing a day trip from Las Vegas to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is possible just know that it will be a very long day if you’re driving or taking a ground tour.
A one way trip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas will take a little over 4.5 hours (292 miles). If you want to do this in a day, there won’t be much time for stopping along the way but if you can make it a two-day trip or more, there are a couple of interesting stops in addition to the ones I talked about above for the West Rim. They are:
- Kingman, Arizona (website) – Kingman is a city along historic Route 66. It’s where you’ll find the Route 66 Museum, Mohave Museum of History and Arts as well as Locomotive Park and the Kingman Railroad Museum.
- Seligman, Arizona (website) – You may have heard about famous Route 66 in songs (“Get Your Kicks on Route 66”) and seen it in movies, well Seligman, AZ is the place they’re talking about! The Birthplace of Route 66, Seligman was originally a railroad town but is now a tourist town extraordinaire. It’s a very small detour off the route to the Grand Canyon but well worth it! You can check out our full article about Seligman and Route 66 here.
The map above shows the most direct route to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. If you zoom in a bit you’ll see the famous section of Route 66 in between Kingman and Seligman. If you’re not in a hurry, you really should consider taking this detour.
Things to Do at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the most developed of the three rims. Here you’ll find Grand Canyon Village that contains shops, lodging, restaurants, campgrounds and more. From here you can experience all that the Grand Canyon has to offer including:
- Mather Point – One of the most popular viewpoints looking into the canyon.
- Yaki Point – A great remote overlook to experience sunrise or sunset.
- Hopi Point – A spectacular view can be had from here. Not to be missed!
- Rim Trail – A well-defined trail along the rim. Some sections are paved.
- Bright Angel Trail – This is considered the park’s best hiking trail through the canyon. This is a safe, well-graded trail and has potable water along the way.
- South Kaibab Trail – A slightly more rugged trail that traverses the canyon floor.
Grand Canyon South Rim Entrance Fee
The entire South Rim is a National Park area and as such the following entrance fees apply:
- $35 for a private vehicle and everyone in the car (valid for 7 days)
- $30 for a motorcycle (valid for 7 days)
- Hiking, biking or walking in is $20 per individual (valid for 7 days)
Grand Canyon South Rim Tours From Las Vegas
While not plentiful, there are ground tour options to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. Here’s one that includes everything you’ll want to see:
Grand Canyon South Rim – Travel by luxury SUV to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. A professional tour guide will keep you comfortable and tell you all about the things you are seeing. With stops at Mather Point, Bright Angel Trail, and Yavapai Point you get to see the best of the best viewpoints overlooking the canyon. A boxed lunch is included.
There are also several flight options to the South Rim via jet helicopters (how cool does that sound!). You can read all about these tours plus what you’ll want to look out for when choosing a safe helicopter tour company in our article here.
North Rim Grand Canyon From Las Vegas
Finally, let’s talk about visiting the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. The North Rim is the least developed rim of the Grand Canyon and as such holds somewhat of a pristine charm.
A drive to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas will take over 4.5 hours (268 miles) so you’ll want to spread it out over at least a couple of days so you have time to explore once you get there. The quickest route is to approach it from the North West rather than try to get at it from the southern route.
Note: The North Rim of the Grand Canyon experiences severe winter weather and is usually closed from the middle of October until it reopens on or around May 15th.
This map above shows the most direct route to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas and approximately how long it will take. But there are a couple of awesome stops along the way if you’re interested!
Zion National Park (website) – By taking a detour with just about an additional hour of driving, you can take a route that will take you through part of Zion National Park (see the route here). A beautiful national park, Zion is well worth the side trip!
Vermilion Cliffs National Monument (website) – This one you’ll drive right by whether you take a detour to Zion or not. Here you’ll see beautiful waves of red rock formations.
Things to Do at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
As I mentioned previously, the rim of the canyon has very little development. As such, it is less crowded and much quieter here. It’s a great place to commune with nature. The things to do at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon include:
- Visitor Center – The visitor center has trail maps, ranger programs, shop, bookstore, and exhibits.
- North Rim Scenic Drive – This scenic drive through the remote wilds of the North Rim shouldn’t be missed. There are pull-outs along the way at various viewpoints and photo stops.
- Grand Canyon Lodge – A historic 1927 lodge built from timber and natural stone fit right in with the rustic beauty of the North Rim.
- Bright Angel Point Trail – A very popular trail, it’s a short 1-mile round-trip on a paved trail that leads to an overlook called Bright Angel Point. A favorite of photographers!
- A whole bunch of hiking trails – There are a lot of hiking trails to choose from on the North Rim. These trails all have various degrees of difficulty and views. Check with a ranger at the Visitor Center to help you choose the ones for you.
Grand Canyon North Rim Entrance Fee
The North Rim is still part of the national park so the fees are the same as the South Rim.
$35 per car (valid for 7 days, includes all passengers, $30 per motorcycle, and $20 per individual if entering the park another way (hike, bike, walk).
Grand Canyon North Rim Tours From Las Vegas
Day tours to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas are much harder to come by due to the distance and the limited seasonality. There is, however, a tour from Vegas that offers a flight to the North Rim.
Grand Canyon North Rim Airplane & Ground Tour – As the title says, this tour provides a complete North Rim experience via airplane. Fly over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam and land at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon where you’ll jump on a 4×4 Polaris Ranger. Your guide will take you deep into areas with limited access for some totally exclusive views of the Grand Canyon.
Final Grand Canyon Thoughts
Thousands of people visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas each year. Now that you know how far the Grand Canyon is from Las Vegas you’ll be able plan an excursion that makes the best use of your time.
Because of the close distance and convenience factor many visitors to Las Vegas choose to visit the West Rim as it can be accomplished comfortably as a day trip. Whether you choose to drive yourself or take a tour, I’m sure you’ll be happy that you took this opportunity to visit the magnificent Grand Canyon!