The best light for the visit of the Grand Canyon is the dawn and early morning or late afternoon and sunset.
WHAT TO SEE IN THE SOUTH RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON
Along the South Rim there are numerous viewpoints, accessible by car, which offer spectacular views of the Grand Canyon. Most of these sights are along the Desert View Drive (Highway 64) that follows the edge of the canyon for 26 miles (42 km), this is the road, open all year round, which connects the Grand Canyon Village to the east of the park entrance (Desert View).
Starting from the eastern entrance of the park we find the following viewpoints: Desert View (where there is also the Desert View Information Center, open from 9 am to 5 pm, with the exception of the winter months), Navajo Point, Lipan Point, Tusayan Ruin and Museum, Moran Point, Grandview Point, Yaki Point, Pipe Creek Vista, Mather Point (nearby is the main Visitor Center of the park, the Canyon View Information Plaza (open every day of the year from 8 am to 5 pm, only reachable via the free bus or a short walk), Yavapai Point (from where you can see the Colorado River).
To the west of Grand Canyon Village the Hermit Road follows the canyon rim for 8 miles (13 km) from Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Rest. This road is closed to private traffic, but to visit the viewpoints along the way, you can use a free bus service (free shuttle bus) that stops at all the sights (Trailview Overlook, Maricopa Point, Powell Point, Hopi Point, Pima Point, Hermits Rest).
From Pipe Creek Vista to Hermits Rest a pedestrian path (bicycles are prohibited) follows the edge of the canyon, the part of the path that goes from Pipe Creek Vista to Maricopa Point is paved and largely accessible to wheelchairs, between Maricopa Point and Hermits Rest, the trail is unpaved, narrower and much closer to the edge of the canyon.
The trekking route that leads to the base of the canyon is the Bright Angel Trail, from the South Rim takes about two days of arduous journey to reach the Colorado river and go back, the path from the North Rim is even longer.
WHAT TO SEE IN THE NORTH RIM OF THE GRAND CANYON
Along the North Rim, the highest edge of the canyon, there are several viewpoints, which allow an overview of the vastness of the Grand Canyon. A scenic route (20 miles long), whose detour to the east, we meet just before arriving at the Grand Canyon Lodge, brings to the viewpoints of: Point Imperial (the highest viewpoint of the North Rim at 2,684 meters, allows the views of the Painted Desert and the eastern part of the Grand Canyon), Vista Encantada, Roosevelt Point, Walhalla Overlook, Angels Window and Cape Royal (where the view takes much of the Grand Canyon).
Just beyond the detour to the east, another road to the west, this time dirt and only suitable for vehicles with four-wheel drive, brings in 17 miles (about 2 hours one way) to Point Sublime, the vantage point further west of the North Rim.
Continuing along the main road you will reach the Grand Canyon Lodge, here near the Bright Angel Peninsula car park is the North Rim Visitor Center (open from mid-May to mid-October from 8 am to 6 pm), you can reach from here, with a short walk, the Bright Angel Point, which offers sweeping views of the Bright Angel Canyon.
HOW TO GET TO THE GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
HOW TO GET TO THE SOUTH RIM OF GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Cars: The South Rim is located about 60 miles north of Williams, Arizona (via Route 64 from Interstate 40) and 80 miles north-west of Flagstaff (via route 180).
Bus: Greyhound has a bus service from Flagstaff. Open Road Tours (800-766-7117) and Flagstaff Express Shuttle services (800-563-1980) have the shuttle service between Phoenix and Flagstaff, and between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon Village.
Train: Amtrak has trains that arrive at Flagstaff station with a bus service connecting to the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon Railway has a train service from Williams (1-800-THE-TRAIN).
Air: Several air flights serve the nearby airports of Phoenix, Flagstaff and Las Vegas (Nevada). A small airport (Grand Canyon Airport) is located just south of the park, it has flights from Las Vegas.
HOW TO GET TO THE NORTH RIM OF GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK
Cars: The North Rim (open only from mid-May to mid-October), is located about 30 miles south of Jacob Lake on Highway 67.
Bus: The only public transport that serves the North Rim is the Trans Canyon Shuttle (928-638-2820) that connects it with the South Rim. The service is provided once a day in each direction, the trip takes about 4 hours. The shuttle departs from the North Rim at 7:00 a.m. and arrives at the South Rim at 11:30 a.m.. The bus start again from the South Rim to the North Rim at 1:30 p.m. and arrives at 6:00 p.m.
Air: Several air flights serve the airports of Phoenix, Flagstaff and Las Vegas (Nevada). The small airport of St George, UT has flights from Salt Lake City, UT. (St. George, UT is located at 156 miles / 251 km west of the North Rim).