The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, and for good reason. There are so many things to see and do in this natural wonder that it's hard to know where to start.
If you're planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, you have two main options when it comes to Grand Canyon tours—self-guided or professionally-led. So, which is better? Let's take a closer look at both options and see which is the best fit for you.
Pros and Cons of a Self-Guided Tour
As the name suggests, a self-guided tour is one that you complete on your own without the help of a professional guide. This option is less expensive than a guided tour, and it gives you the flexibility to go at your own pace and spend as much or as little time as you want along the way.
The downside of a self-guided tour is that you won't have someone with expert knowledge to help you make the most of your time in the park by sharing some of the history and interesting facts about the Grand Canyon. Without a guide, you’ll also miss out on little-known spots in the Grand Canyon that only professional guides know about.
Pros and Cons of a Professionally Guided Tour
A professionally guided tour is one that's led by an experienced guide who knows the ins and outs of the park. Guided tours typically include transportation to and from the Grand Canyon, as well as entrance fees and other costs. Whether it’s a Grand Canyon West Rim bus tour or a Grand Canyon adventure tour, guided tours offer many benefits.
One of the boons of a guided tour is that you don't have to worry about planning—your guide will take care of all of that for you. Of course, this also means you won’t be able to hike at your own pace or choose your own path.
Perhaps the most important benefit of a professionally-guided tour of the Grand Canyon is the opportunity to learn more about the Grand Canyon and meet new people. Because many tour companies offer small group tours, you'll be sharing your experience with just a handful of other people.
What to Keep In Mind When Going on a Self-Guided Grand Canyon Tour
As you can see, a professionally-guided tour is often better than a self-guided tour of the Grand Canyon–but if you're set on doing a self-guided tour, you might be unsure how to plan a tour itinerary on your own.
There are a few things you'll need to take into account when planning your trip, such as the time of year you're visiting, how many days to go, and what your interests are. You'll also need to make sure you're physically prepared.
Here are a few tips to help you plan the perfect self-guided tour of the Grand Canyon:
- Choose the time of year you want to visit carefully. The weather in the Grand Canyon can be extreme, so you'll need to pick a time of year that's conducive to hiking and being outdoors. It’s best to visit the canyon during April, May, and September, as the weather is mild and the crowds thinner.
- Give yourself enough time. A self-guided tour of the Grand Canyon is not something you can do in a day. You'll need at least a few days to explore the park properly.
- Do your research. There's a lot to see in the Grand Canyon, so do some research ahead of time to figure out what your must-see sights are.
- Be prepared. You'll need to be physically prepared for a challenging hike—make sure you have the proper gear and supplies before you go.
How Much Does It Cost to Take a Self-Guided Tour?
The cost of a self-guided tour of the Grand Canyon varies depending on a number of factors, such as how many people are in your group, the time of year you're visiting, and how long you plan to stay.
Generally speaking, a self-guided tour of the Grand Canyon is less expensive than a professionally-guided tour. However, you'll need to factor in the cost of transportation to and from the park, as well as entrance fees and camping permits.
Entrance ticket details for the Grand Canyon are as follows:
- Private vehicle: $35
- Motorcycle: $30
- Individual: $20
To get an idea of how much a self-guided tour of the Grand Canyon will cost you, you can take quotes from multiple tour operators. The actual cost of your tour will be less than what most operators quote. Professional tours typically start at $60 per person, but this can vary widely depending on a number of factors. If you’re looking to avoid the hassle of planning and paying for all aspects of a canyon tour on your own, MaxTour’s got you covered with a wide range of tour options to fit your needs and budget!