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Which Side of the Grand Canyon Is Best to Visit?

Last Update on May 18, 2022 by Matthew Meier
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The Grand Canyon is one of the most popular natural attractions in the US. At 18 miles wide and 277 miles long, the Grand Canyon is quite expansive, with entry points at the canyon's north, east, south, and west sides. However, the South and West Rims are among the most popular spots for exploring this natural attraction. Both are massive, open year-round, and offer inspiring, adventurous, and breathtaking views. For a Grand Canyon tour, click here.

The South Rim 

Many people consider the South Rim to be the “true Grand Canyon.” This is because this region features the expansive views often seen in movies, magazines, TV, and various travel websites.

You can experience the Grand Canyon from two dozen viewpoints from the South, each with its unique attributes. Many of these viewpoints allow you to look down into the heart of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. 

The Grand Canyon South region is a five-hour drive from Las Vegas or Phoenix, and is easily accessible from many major Western cities. First-time visitors to the area often choose the Grand Canyon’s South Rim because of its beautiful views and abundance of family-oriented activities and visitor services. How many days should you stay at the Grand Canyon? Click here to read our latest article.

The West Rim

The Hualapai Native Americans own and manage the western region of the Grand Canyon. With just two million visitors every year, this area is quieter than the Grand Canyon South Rim, which welcomes five million visitors per year. While the Grand Canyon West isn’t as bustling as the South Rim, it offers unique attractions, such as the Grand Canyon Skywalk. The West Rim is the most convenient side of the Grand Canyon if you’re driving from Las Vegas, as it’s just a two-hour drive from Las Vegas and a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Flagstaff, Arizona. Is it worth going to the Grand Canyon from Vegas? Check out this recent article.

At the West Rim, you can experience the Hualapai culture, enjoy some cowboy entertainment, and even learn how to rope. Other beautiful attractions at the West Rim include Guano Point and Hualapai Ranch. 

The North Rim

The southern and western regions are the most visited areas of the Grand Canyon, primarily because of their accessibility from urban centers; however, there are more stunning areas to explore.

The North Rim is perfect for outdoor-minded families and couples looking for a quiet getaway; it’s also an excellent alternative for those who’ve already visited the South Rim. You’ll love the North Rim if you’re a photographer, hiker, or nature enthusiast. In addition, if you’re visiting the Grand Canyon in the fall–especially in late September–consider at least a brief visit to the North Rim to see the gorgeous colors of the Kaibab National Forest. 

The East Rim

The Horseshoe Bend is an area within the Grand Canyon East Rim that’s becoming quite popular, and is certainly worth visiting if you have a bit of extra time on your trip. At the East Rim, crowds are smaller, and even though there are fewer viewpoints than on the West Rim, the views are equally breathtaking.

Final Thoughts

The West Rim is the choice for visitors looking to tour the Grand Canyon in a day. Unlike the South Rim, where you’ll need a several-day trip to see every attraction, you can experience all the activities and viewpoints in the West Rim in a day! Additionally, you should explore the West Rim if you’re interested in the Grand Canyon Skywalk, as there is no attraction at the East Rim, North Rim, or South Rim that compares to the breathtaking skywalk.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matthew Meier

World Traveler. Mandarin Speaker. Founder of MaxTour.
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