||The South Rim
The traditional Grand Canyon trip. It’s crowded and hot in the summer, make reservations far in advance.
If you’ve just spent several days in the North Rim, you may wonder if the South Rim is worth the visit. It is different, you get a better feel for the canyon’s length as you traverse the East and West Rim Drives. But a day or a day and a half will probably be enough time here.
Getting to The South Rim from the North Rim
Take AZ-67 north out of the park, go east on US-89 ALT to US-89 south, then west on AZ-64 to Grand Canyon Village. Allow six to eight hours with stops.
Stops And Sights Along The Way
|The Vermillion Cliffs, notable for their color and rock formations, run along the north side of US-89 ALT. |
|Marble Canyon is the geographical beginning of the Grand Canyon. It’s just south of US-89 ALT, shortly before it turns south into US-89.|
|Marble Canyon Lodge has good food and a nice gift shop.|
|Lees Ferry is a short drive (about 15 minutes) off US-89 ALT, on the north side. (Watch for the sign just past Marble Canyon Lodge.) It’s considered mile zero of the Colorado River and most of the Grand Canyon river rafts launch from here. The water is amazingly green and is refreshing (and COLD) to wade in.|
|The Navajo Bridge, built in 1929, is now used only for pedestrian traffic. It’s right after the Lees Ferry cutoff and you can park and walk
across. It affords good views of the Colorado River and Marble Canyon.|
South Rim Accommodations
There are a number of options, El Tovar Hotel and Bright Angel Lodge are probably the
best.&mbsp; We stayed at El Tovar, see Rooms With A View and How To Book.
We had room service from the El Tovar dining room and ate on our deck, watching the sunset over the canyon. We thought the food at El Tovar was several notches above that at the North Rim
|While dining on our deck at the El Tovar, we spotted what looked like a cross between a cat and a raccoon stealing cheese and crackers off a plate we had set on the ground. When we inquired the next day, the bellhop told us it was a ring-tailed cat, also called a miners cat. He said they often play across the rafters in the dining room ceiling and are vicious when cornered. The hotel tries to trap and relocate them.|
|From our deck, we watched a herd of mule deer graze on the lawn below, barely visible in the night darkness, but well-illuminated by frequent flare of flashbulbs as passers-by and guests gathered to take pictures.|
|Ravens soaring at dusk. One hung out and posed on a low branch near a snack shop, no doubt hoping to snag a tidbit or two.|
What to do at the South Rim
- The East Rim Drive proceeds east from Grand Canyon Village along AZ-64 for about twenty-five miles to Desert View. The various points – Mather, Yaki, Grandview, Moran, Tusayan, Lipton, and the Watchtower – each offer different views of the canyon and are connected by a paved path.
- The West Rim Drive has eight overlooks spread over eight miles and all of them are worth a visit: Trailview, Maricopa Point , Powell Memorial, Hopi Point, Mohave Point, The Abyss, Pima Point, and Hermits Rest. The West Rim Drive is closed to auto traffic from Memorial Day to October 1, but a free shuttle bus operates and is quite convenient.
Caution: When we were there, the bus stopped at all of the points on the way in, but at only some on the way out. So if you want to return to the village from one of the “inbound-only” points, you either have to take the bus farther in or walk to an outbound point.
Cell Phone Woes
Frank's Nextel had no service in the South Rim. My Cingular service worked fine!