Shuttle Buses and Tours
Shuttles and Taxi
The South Rim’s free shuttle system covers the Grand Canyon Village area year-round and Hermit Road from March through November. Shuttle buses stop at parking lots, lodges, visitors centers, and overlooks from Yaki Point west to Hermits Rest. See The Guide the park’s seasonal newspaper, for a map showing routes and schedules, which vary seasonally.
The Hikers’ Express is a morning shuttle that picks up passengers at Bright Angel Lodge and the Backcountry Information Center before traveling to the visitors center and the South Kaibab Trailhead. It makes three departures daily during the high season, and two during the winter.
The Trans Canyon Shuttle (928/638-2820) provides daily round-trip van service between the South Rim and North Rim May 15-October 15. You can also take the shuttle to the Marble Canyon area near Lees Ferry. The shuttle leaves the South Rim at 1:30 p.m., arriving at the North Rim at 6 p.m. Reservations are required.
You can also get around the South Rim’s Grand Canyon Village and Tusayan by taxi (928/638-2822 or 928/638-2631, ext. 6573). Services are available every day, 24 hours a day, and drivers can deliver hikers and backpackers to trailheads.
Xanterra Parks & Resorts offers year-round guided motor coach tours along the South Rim. Call or visit one of the transportation desks (928/638-2631) in Bright Angel Lodge, Maswik Lodge, or Yavapai Lodge for more information, or read about them online (www.grandcanyonlodges.com). Times vary according to the season, but options include sunrise or sunset tours as well as scenic drives along Hermit Road and Desert View Drive.
Grand Canyon Railway (800/843-8724, www.thetrain.com) offers five classes of passenger service from Williams to Grand Canyon’s South Rim. The route passes through ponderosa pine forest, piñon-juniper woodland, and open prairie. Although you won’t get canyon views from the train, you can sign up for a package tour that combines the train ride with lodging and guided rim tours.
For the most complete inner canyon experience, reserve a white-water rafting trip lasting 3-18 days. More than a dozen concessionaires and guides lead commercial rafting tours in Grand Canyon. Outside the park, smooth-water floats from Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry make a pleasant 15-mile, half-day tour. Contact Canyon Discovery (888/522-6244, www.raftthecanyon.com) or visit one of the lodge transportation desks to make arrangements.
Horse and Mule Tours
On the South Rim, Xanterra Parks & Resorts (303/297-2757 or 888/297-2757) offers two options for mule rides into the canyon: a day ride along the rim to the Abyss overlook, and overnight rides with a stay at Phantom Ranch. Reservations can be made up to 13 months in advance, although last-minute cancellations are possible, particularly during the winter.
On the North Rim, Grand Canyon Trail Rides (435/679-8665, www.canyonrides.com) offers one-hour rides along the rim, half-day trips along the rim or partway down the North Kaibab Trail, and full-day trips into the canyon to Roaring Springs.
Horseback tours in Kaibab National Forest are available from concessionaires. These rides stick to forest roads and trails outside the park. Apache Stables (928/638-2891, www.apachestables.com) offers horseback tours and wagon rides near the South Rim, while Allen’s Guided Tours (435/644-8150 or 435/689-1370) leads horseback trips near Jacob Lake.
© Kathleen Bryant from Moon Grand Canyon, 5th Edition