From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon: 4 Best Ways to Get There
If you're looking for an escape or day trip from Las Vegas, a visit to the Grand Canyon can be the perfect destination. The incredible canyon, one of the seven natural wonders of the world, is a four-hour drive or a 45-minute flight from Las Vegas.
The easiest way to do the trip is to take a tour. An organized tour makes it easy, as they handle everything from logistics to a scenic itinerary. Some tours will take you by motor coach (bus), and more expensive tours will take you by helicopter, which only takes about 15 minutes.
You can also make the drive yourself. Most of it is on large, divided highways. Once you arrive at the Grand Canyon National Park, there's a free shuttle bus system that goes throughout the park and surrounding areas.
Greyhound has a bus that goes from Vegas to Flagstaff, and several companies operate regular shuttles between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon.
Here are several options for you to get from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.
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1. From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon by Car
Highlights: A half-day trip that allows you to stop and explore highlights on the way
If you want to drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, it's an easy trip almost completely done on interstate highways. Although the canyon is only 100 miles away as the crow flies, the drive is much less direct and is almost 300 miles. It will take you between four and five hours from Las Vegas.
You start from the Las Vegas Strip near the airport, heading on the I-215 east towards Henderson. You then make your way to the I-11 southbound, which will take you to the border of Arizona. The road is also US-93, and there are some scenic viewpoints of Lake Mead as you leave Henderson and begin to get into the Mojave Desert. You can also make a detour here and visit Hoover Dam and/or the lake.
From here, it's an easy drive through the Arizona desert to the I-40, where you'll take that east for a few hours until Williams, Arizona. That's where you'll get off the big interstate and start on historic Route 66. It's fun to stop in the little town of Seligman, Arizona, which celebrates its location on the famous American route. After a while, you take AZ-64, which is a 50-mile road leading directly to the Grand Canyon National Park. In the winter months, there can be snow in the area (and on the roads) between Flagstaff and the Canyon.
For fun, you may want to drive to Williams, Arizona and then take the Grand Canyon Railway train from here to the canyon. There's free parking at the train depot, and you can use the park shuttle system to move around within the park - you don't need a car.
You can rent a car to drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. Car rental companies like Avis, Budget, Hertz, and National all have locations in Las Vegas. If you are flying into Vegas, you can rent a car at the airport but keep in mind it is usually cheaper to rent from an off-airport location. The big rental car companies have multiple locations throughout the city and at several of the major resorts.
If you are planning to drive to the Grand Canyon, which is in the neighboring state of Arizona, you should rent a car from a large rental company like Sixt, Enterprise, or Thrifty. Small, local car rental agencies may have restrictions that do not allow you to drive the vehicle out of state.
2. From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon on a Tour
Highlights: Affordable, jam-packed sightseeing tour with dedicated guide
If you want an easy, inexpensive way to make the trip to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, try an organized tour. The Grand Canyon National Park Bus Tour is an all-day experience that takes you via motor coach (with a restroom onboard) from the Las Vegas Strip area right to the Grand Canyon.
Most bus tours stop at Hoover Dam, just outside Las Vegas, and on Route 66 in the cool town of Seligman, Arizona. The tours take you to the canyon's South Rim for a stop at the Mather Point overlook and the iconic Bright Angel Lodge.
The experience starts with a 6am departure from Las Vegas and gets you back there around 10pm. The tours include a guide who provides commentary and answers questions during the trip. The tour also includes round-trip transportation from most major Las Vegas hotels.
3. From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon by Helicopter
Highlights: Lux sightseeing opportunity with expansive in-flight views and on-ground exploring
The fastest (and most expensive) way to get from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon is by helicopter. The Grand Canyon West Rim Helicopter Tour from Las Vegas with Optional Skywalk starts with free hotel pickup from your Las Vegas hotel.
After leaving Las Vegas, you pass over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Colorado River and get a truly unique aerial perspective of these sites. You'll also see the natural beauty of the Mojave Desert on the way before arriving at the awe-inspiring location.
Once at the Grand Canyon, you land at the West Rim, where you can admire breathtaking views from the overlooks. From here, you visit Eagle Point. Purchase an upgrade, and you can enjoy views over the canyon from the Skywalk here, a glass walkway suspended 4,000 feet above the canyon floor.
You will then visit Guano Point, where you can view the canyon from atop an old mine. You'll have time to hike to an elevated vantage point with more spectacular views of the canyon. Then it's back into the helicopter for the quick return trip to Las Vegas and drop-off at your hotel. The entire experience will take about seven hours.
4. From Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon by Bus and Train
Highlights: Leisurely paced bus travel with opportunity to ride a historic train
It's possible to get to the Grand Canyon from Vegas by bus, or by a combination of buses and a train. Start in Las Vegas at the Greyhound bus terminal and take the bus to Flagstaff, Arizona, which takes about five hours (there are only two stops made).
You can then take a shuttle bus from Flagstaff for the 90-minute drive directly to the canyon. The shuttles take you from several locations in Flagstaff to Maswik Lodge or the Tusayan IMAX Theater, both inside the park. Once inside the national park, there is a free shuttle that takes you around to various locations.
Alternatively, you can add on a historic train ride to make things interesting. From Flagstaff, you need to get to Williams, Arizona. The best option is another bus service. You could also take a taxi or Uber or Lyft – it's only about 30 miles (48 kilometers).
Once in Williams, you take the iconic Grand Canyon Railway, which takes about two hours and brings you right to the South Rim. The train has different types of rail cars and six different classes of services and ticket prices. You have options, from very basic cars with bench seats to riding in your own private parlor car, the turn-of-the-century version of private jet travel. The trains depart Williams at 8:30 or 9:30am (8:30 am in November and December), and depart from the canyon to return to Williams at 2:30 or 3:30pm (2:30 pm in November and December).
You can even stay overnight at the historic Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, which opened in 1908. Located next to the Williams train depot, the newly refurbished hotel has some fun amenities, like an indoor pool and hot tub.