Places to stay near Grand Canyon
South Rim - Grand Canyon Village & Tusayan
The South Rim features the expansive views seen on TV and in magazines and is how most people picture the Grand Canyon. From the South Rim you can get to experience those stunning views from around two dozen different viewpoints, from many of which you can peer thousands of metres below down to the Colorado River. The South Rim is open all the year round and is usually chosen by first time visitors.
The original Grand Canyon Village is home to several hotels, restaurants, souvenir and gift shops, museums and other tourist related businesses. The visitor centre at Mather Point is a mine of information about the best way to spend your time in the park with a bookshop, information desks about tours, a theatre where you can learn the history of the canyon and interactive trip planning tools.
The town of Tusayan a few kilometres away is home to Arizona’s second busiest airport and where many helicopter and airplane tours, jeep tours and rafting tours start from.
Hotels in Grand Canyon Village are nearly all situated on the edge of the South Rim and range from wooden lodge style buildings to more contemporary motels. There are several camp sites along the South Rim including Mather Campground, Trailer Village, and Desert View Campground. Some sites accept RV’s as well. Close by in Tusayan the big name brand hotels can be found with all the associated amenities.
Grand Canyon West
For adventurous types this is the rim of the Grand Canyon where you can experience the exhilarating Grand Canyon Skywalk at the Hualapai Indian Reservation. With a glass floor and 600 metres of nothingness below you this is an experience not to be missed. As well as the Skywalk there is a chance to see Native American dwellings at Eagle Point and be entertained by the local tribes.
Most people that visit the West Rim only come for a few hours and arrive in organised tours from Las Vegas. There are no general stores, fast food outlets or petrol stations at Grand Canyon West so independent travel is not advisable.
Located between the South Rim and Grand Canyon West are the famous blue-green waterfalls of Havasu Canyon; Mooney Falls, Havasu Falls and Navajo Falls. Advance planning is essential as the Havasu Canyon can only be accessed by horseback, helicopter or on foot. Reservations must be made for lodging which is in Supai Village where there are limited facilities including a general store and a post office.
The Havasu Falls are only accessible via a 20 odd kilometre trek and are should only be attempted if you are fit and healthy. The only accommodation in Grand Canyon West is for anyone wanting to visit the Havasu Falls and comprises of a small hotel and a camp site.
Grand Canyon East AKA Desert View
Less crowded than the more popular South Rim this is a good choice for a second time around visit to the Grand Canyon. Some of the views from here can be just as good as the South Rim and from the top of the Historic Watchtower they are just superb. At the Desert View Visitor Centre there is plenty of parking and facilities include a restaurant, petrol station, picnic area and camp site.
Grand Canyon East is where visitors can find the Little Colorado River Tribal Park and Horseshoe Bend. If you opt to drive the one hundred or so kilometres from Desert View past Marble Canyon up towards Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell there is a good chance of spotting elk and deer as you make the journey. The small town of Page is approximately 10 kilometres from Horseshoe Bend and offers a good range of accommodation.
The North Rim season is relatively short from mid-May until mid–October and it is also far less accessible than the South Rim. The views from the North Rim are more focused on the width of the canyon rather than the depth and there are far less viewpoints than on the south side. This is an area of the Grand Canyon where many of the tours are ranger-led with hiking and sightseeing being the primary activities. The visitor centre here is based at the park rangers desk and has a few maps and vital trail information such as the weather and water supplies.
North Rim accommodation that is actually inside the park itself consists of one lodge. There are a couple of hundred cabins as well as a motel style building that has a restaurant, a deli, a camp site and a gift shop. Outside of the park there is another lodge a few kilometres away, then Jacob Lake is about 40 kilometres from the North Rim and has a small motel, general store and petrol station. After than it is a good 90 minutes to the next biggest town at Fredonia.