Driving in the Grand Canyon area can be a spectacle unto itself. Before listing specific itineraries, here are some general notes about driving in and around the national park.
The South Rim is easily accessible by car off Highway 64, which connects Williams and Cameron. Inside the park's southern gate, South Entrance Road diverges from Highway 64 and leads to Grand Canyon Village. A National Historic District, the village feels like a small town, with hotels, restaurants, shops, and a train depot. The loop road can be confusing, so take your time, watch carefully for signs, and use the village map in the park newspaper, The Guide.
Scenic drives hug the canyon rim on either side of the village. Hermit Road (closed to private vehicles during high season) traverses west for 7 miles from Grand Canyon Village to its terminus at Hermits Rest. Desert View Drive covers 25 miles between Grand Canyon Village and the Desert View overlook on the park's southeastern edge. The two scenic drives have numerous pull-offs with views of the canyon, some also with views of the river. The shuttle bus along Hermit Road makes nine stops on the way from Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Rest, and three stops on the way back.
Some 210 highway miles (4 driving hr.) separate the North Rim from the South Rim. On the way, Highway 89A crosses the Colorado River near the canyon's northeastern tip, where the river begins cutting down into the rocks of the Marble Platform. This is where the Grand Canyon begins. As you drive west from Lees Ferry, you'll see where rocks make a single fold along a fault line and rise more than 4,000 feet from the Marble Platform to the level of the Kaibab Plateau -- the canyon's North Rim.
The North Rim stretches more than 1,000 feet above the busier South Rim. Highway 67 travels south 44 miles from Highway 89A (at Jacob Lake) to where it dead-ends at Bright Angel Point, site of Grand Canyon Lodge. A 23-mile-long paved scenic drive spans from Highway 67 southeast to the tip of the Walhalla Plateau, a peninsula east of Bright Angel Point. This drive, which ends at Cape Royal, includes stops from which to view the eastern Grand Canyon. On this curvy road, signs appear quickly. Pay attention, as there aren't many places to turn around. The 3-mile-long spur road to Point Imperial, the Grand Canyon's highest point (8,803 ft.), forks to the northeast off this road.
The rims at the canyon's western end are lower, rockier, and more remote than those in the central canyon. Only a few roads cross these lands. The canyon ends abruptly at the Grand Wash cliffs, where the Colorado River flows out of the Grand Canyon and into Lake Mead. To drive from rim to rim around the western end of the canyon, cross the Colorado River at Hoover Dam, near Las Vegas.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.