Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park

Activities & Programs

The South Rim of the park is open all year. Each magical season has its own mood and activities.


Spring comes late in the high country, but a trip into the canyon brings desert warmth and colorful wildflowers that bloom as early as March. Warm summer days are busy with excitement as people from every corner of the Earth visit the Grand Canyon. Warm temperatures continue well into fall, but nights are cooler.

Park Programs

The National Park Service offers various day and evening programs year-round. Stop by Canyon View Informa- tion Plaza to get an orientation and view exhibits. Join a park ranger for a nature walk, a fossil hunt or an evening star watch. Please call (928) 638-7888 for a recording of activities or check The Guide for schedules. -

Yavapai Observation Station Programs

The station has great views of the canyon. It also offers fascinating ranger-led programs such as talks about the Grand Canyon's geology and winter season. Be sure to see the new displays explaining the geology of Grand Canyon (scheduled for installation May 2007). -

Tusayan Ruin Self-Guiding Trail

Starting at the museum, either take an entertaining and informative tour with a ranger or follow a self-guiding trail through the 12th-century ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) ruin. -

Grand Canyon Village Shuttle Service

Hop on a free shuttle which is available from Hermits Rest on the west to Yaki Point on the east. Popular sights include Kolb Studio, Hopi House, Lookout Studio and the Grand Canyon Railway Depot; however, it serves most viewpoints, trailheads, businesses, campgrounds and visitor centers in between. The shuttle operates from before sunrise to after sunset and there is frequent service. Parking your car and riding the shuttle is the easiest way to explore the South Rim area. Check the park newspaper, The Guide, for shuttle bus routes, stops, and times.

Harveycar Tours

Xanterra Harveycar Tours has operated sightseeing tours in the Southwest since the early 1900s. Experienced and entertaining guides chauffeur visitors to major viewpoints along the rim of the Grand Canyon in comfortable motor coaches and vans. Wheelchair- accessible motor coaches are available by prior arrangement. Please call (888) 29-PARKS (297-2757) or stop by the transportation desks in the Bright Angel, Maswik and Yavapai lodges, or the concierge desk in El Tovar Hotel. 


Bicycles are allowed on the same roads that are open to other vehicles. By Arizona law, bicyclists must follow the same regulations as other vehicles, and should always ride on the right with the flow of traffic. They are not allowed on pedestrian paths, including the Rim Trail. Bicycles are not available for rent in the park. 

Park roads are narrow and frequently congested, so bicyclists should use caution at all times. Wearing helmets is strongly recommended.

Hermit Road makes a good bicycling adventure during the March through November period when the road is closed to most private vehicles. If a shuttle bus should overtake you, stop alongside the road and dismount.

Greenway Trail

The Greenway Trail leads from Canyon View Information Plaza to the railway depot in the historic Village. This two-mile paved trail, designed to accommodate both pedestrians and bicyclists, parallels the main park road. Coming soon will be another section of the Greenway Trail leading from Can-yon View Information Plaza seven miles to Tusayan. Eventually, many miles of trails will be developed throughout the South Rim area. The Grand Canyon National Park Foundation is seeking volunteers to help with the construction of the Greenway trails. Please call (928) 774-1760 or visit the website at for more information.


The best time of year to fish in the Grand Canyon section of the Colorado River is currently in the fall and winter, although it is a long hike to the river. Large rainbow trout are particularly plentiful at Lees Ferry. Arizona state fishing licenses are required for any fishing in the park. Ask at the General Store in Market Plaza, which also carries trout stamps (required for all trout fishing). For current fees and regulations, please call (928) 638-2262. 

Helicopter and Air Tours

Aerial tours of the Grand Canyon by small plane or helicopter are offered daily by several air tour companies operating out of the Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan. Contact the transportation desks of Bright Angel, Maswik and Yavapai lodges, or the concierge at El Tovar Hotel, or call (928) 638-2631, ext. 6015 for more information or consult the local telephone directory.

Grand Canyon IMAX Theater

National Geographic Theater presents Grand Canyon—The Hidden Secrets, a 34-minute film that takes you on a trip through time. Learn about ancient American Indian inhabitants and Spanish explorers, who were the first Europeans to discover the Grand Canyon; join Major John Wesley Powell on his journey down the Colorado River in 1869; and soar over cliffs and rock for majestic views of the Grand Canyon as we know it today.

Hourly shows run daily year-round: 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m., March through October; 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., November through February. Facilities include the National Geographic giftshop, the National Geographic photo exhibit and the Arizona Office of Tourism, which offers Grand Canyon National Park Passes. The food court offers a Pizza Hut Express. Located on Highway 64 south of the park entrance. For more information, please contact National Geographic Visitor Center—Grand Canyon IMAX Theater, P.O. Box 3309, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023; or call (928) 638-2203.

Smooth Water Raft Trip

Enjoy a float down the Colorado River from below Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry. These trips may originate either from Page or from the South Rim. Call (888) 522-6644 for rafting information and reservations. For round-trip transportation from the South Rim call (866) 235-9422 or (888) 29-PARKS (297-2757).


When the canyon is decorated with a mantle of white, the rim tempts cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts. (Unfortunately, we seldom have sufficient snow for much cross-country skiing or snowshoeing.) Below the rim, adventurous hikers and mule riders enjoy mild weather and empty trails. During winter, park trails are often covered with snow and ice; the NPS recommends using crampons on the first mile or so of trails below the rim.

Visitor Services

All roads to the South Rim remain open, and complete services, activities and tours are available, weather permitting. Advance hotel reservations are still advisable. 

Park Programs

Check The Guide for current schedules and programs.

Christmas & New Year's Festivities

From the ornately decorated, 20-foot-tall Christmas tree rising above the mezzanine level in the El Tovar Hotel lobby, to the roaring fire in the great fireplace at Bright Angel Lodge, the Grand Canyon provides the perfect backdrop for holiday cheer.

El Tovar hosts a New Year's Dinner Dance on New Year's Eve each year. Adventurous visitors may opt for an over-night mule trip to the canyon bottom for a rustic Christmas at Phantom Ranch. Christmas Eve and Christmas night bring out the best in ranch hands, who decorate, cook and cater in the holiday spirit. Call (888) 29-PARKS (297-2757). 


Our compliments to Ranger Will for his excellent talk on the Colorado River on Saturday 7 February. We live in South Africa, and coincidently had recently attended a University of Cape Town Summer School lecture on the effects of large dams on the environment given by water specialist Jackie King. Ranger Will extended our understanding of the subject and greatly enhanced our visit to the Grand Canyon, Hoover and Glen Canyon dams. Thank you for this wonderful service.
We are looking forward to our trip to Grand Canyon in end of February - first of March 2009. I assume from what I read that we will stay in and visit the south rim. Can some one point me to information during winter: 1. public transport inside the partk. 2. Nat. Park Ranger Programs. 3. guided or self-guided walks. 4. information on geology, wildlife and plants / trees. Thank you, JP, Stuttgart, Germany