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How to Tour the Grand Canyon by Car

Last Update on October 01, 2022
by Sunny Samaroo
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As one of the most popular tourist sites in the United States, the Grand Canyon is visited annually by millions of visitors. 

Many choose to drive to the Grand Canyon National Park but once visitors reach the canyon, they typically park their cars and hike through the canyon to see the fascinating geological formations. However, you can tour the Grand Canyon itself by car, too!

There are so many different ways to explore: on foot, by car, by shuttle bus, by helicopter, and even by mule!

Read on to find out how you can tour the Grand Canyon by car, the scenic points accessible by car, and the routes that you can take to explore the park. 

Of course, it’s also important to remember that while you can tour the Grand Canyon on your own, it may be better to book a professional for the best Grand Canyon tours

Car Driving to Grand Canyon
Touring the Grand Canyon by car is fun and allows you to experience the canyon in comfort.

How Much Does It Cost to Go to the Grand Canyon?

Step one to figuring out how to tour the Grand Canyon by car is knowing what it takes to get into the park. 

The Grand Canyon is free for a few holidays throughout the year but, otherwise, you'll have to pay an entrance fee. You can pay either in person or online. Check out the National Park Service's website for in-depth info on fees and dates.

The most basic info you need is that prices vary depending on how you enter the park. If you're entering in a private vehicle, the entrance fee is $35, which includes everyone in the vehicle. This pass is good for 7 days of touring in the park.

If you're on a motorcycle, you would pay $30, which includes a passenger. Pedestrians, cyclists, and people taking public transportation pay $20 individually.

View of Grand Canyon
The entrance fees for the Grand Canyon go towards the upkeep of the Grand Canyon National Park.

Scenic Points You Can Drive To

Luckily, quite a few of the Grand Canyon's best scenic points are accessible by car. 

As a note, we're focusing on the Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim. We'll also mention a few of the best scenic points you can drive to at the Grand Canyon's North Rim. 

Related Reading: Grand Canyon South Rim Versus North Rim 

The West Rim (also known as Grand Canyon West) isn't accesable by car, so we'll be skipping this rim.

Situated at almost 8,000 feet of elevation, the South Rim is the most famous rim at the Grand Canyon National Park. This rim is great for hiking, wildlife viewing, and getting sweeping views of the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon Village

The Grand Canyon Village is a census-designated area at the South Rim of the canyon, with shops, restaurants, and hotels for tourists. It provides easy access to beautiful viewpoints and hiking areas.

Hermits Rest

Hermits Rest is a structure built in 1914 that serves as an entryway to magnificent hiking trails. This structure can be accessed by the seven-mile scenic drive on Hemits Road from Grand Canyon Village. 

Desert View

The 25-mile Desert View drive from Grand Canyon Village takes you to the impeccable Desert View Overlook on the Grand Canyon Park’s southeastern edge. 

North Rim Scenic Points

About four hours from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the less busy North Rim, which also offers scenic views and beautiful trails.

Cape Royal is one of the North Rim's top scenic drives and scenic points. This 30-minute drive is a must-do, as it takes you through a stunning variety of scenery.

Point Imperial is a shorter but just as scenic drive that takes you to the highest overlook you can drive to within the North Rim. Go up there and bask in the full beauty of the Grand Canyon's untouched North Rim.

View of Angels Window at Grand Canyon
This formation, called Angels Window, can be reached by a short and easy trail off the Cape Royal route.

Driving Routes to Tour the Grand Canyon

Beginning at Lees Ferry and ending at the Grand Wash Cliffs, the Grand Canyon boasts a length of about 277 miles with awe-inspiring views, scenic hikes, and camping sites along the way. Some driving routes that can help you explore the Grand Canyon in your car include:

Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Rest

While closed to private cars from March 1st to November 30th, Hermits Road to Hermits Rest offers excellent views of the river, especially from Mohave Point and Pima Point

In addition, you can see views of the beautiful Maricopa Trail and Plateau Point Trail, as well as a memorial to Major John Wessley Powell, a one-armed Major from the Civil War. 

This drive also provides access to Hopi Point, a favorite tourist spot to watch the sunset, and ends at the Hermits Rest, a building designed to look as if built by an isolated mountain man.    

Yavapai Point to Desert View

The drive from Yavapai Point — just around one mile east of Grand Canyon Village — to Desert View near the park’s east entrance affords magnificent views of the central and northeastern canyon. 

The Yavapai Geology Museum, located at the starting point of this drive, features interactive panels showing all the major landmarks in the Grand Canyon. The Yavapai Point also allows views of at least five hiking trails. 

Important points on this route include the Grandview Point, one of the highest points in the South Rim; the Moran Point, the best place to view the rock known as Sinking Ship; and the Navajo Point, offering beautiful views of the Grand Canyon Supergroup. 

You can also watch the sunset at Lipan Point, which gives you an excellent view of the Colorado River below. This drive ends at Desert View, marked with the 70-foot-high stone building called the Watchtower.

Grand Canyon Lodge to Point Imperial (North Rim)

The drive, which offers stunning views of the eastern canyon, is great as it is not as crowded as other areas of the park. 

A few points to enjoy the views include the Walhalla Overlook, which shows the Unkar Creek; the Roosevelt Point, from where you can see the Little Colorado River’s gorge converge into the Grand Canyon; and Point Imperial, which is the North Rim’s highest point. 

View of Yavapai Point at Grand Canyon
Yavapai Point, pictured above, is the start of one of the best Grand Canyon driving routes.


Though there are some things you can only see by hiking, many of the Grand Canyon's most iconic and breathtaking scenic drives and scenic points can be experienced by driving, too.

Plus, you don't have to only think about the South Rim — the quieter and less touristy North Rim offers plenty to the traveler who prefers cars.

With this list in mind, you’re ready for the perfect Grand Canyon tour by car! If you're still undecided about driving to the Grand Canyon, though, be sure to check out our post on whether Grand Canyon bus tours are worth it instead.


Sunny Samaroo

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