Phoenix, Arizona is about four hours from the Grand Canyon and typically the best place to fly into to drive up there.

How Far Is The Grand Canyon From Phoenix Arizona? (+ Things To See On The Way)

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Wondering how far is the Grand Canyon from Phoenix, Arizona and what are the different ways to get there?

Phoenix is the closest major city in Arizona, Nevada, or Utah to the Grand Canyon but it is still about a three and a half hour drive, and that is without stopping at any sights along the way.

There are a few different options for transportation to the Grand Canyon but the best way to experience more of Arizona is to drive yourself.




How Far Is The Grand Canyon From Phoenix, Arizona?

When we lived in Scottsdale, we drove up a couple of times to visit the Grand Canyon. There are technically three different routes you can take from the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas up to the Grand Canyon, but the Interstate 17 route has more sights to see along the way.


Our second visit to the Grand Canyon after driving up with family from Phoenix, Arizona.



What part of Grand Canyon is closest to Phoenix, Arizona? The first thing to know is which part of the Grand Canyon to visit from Phoenix. When visiting from Phoenix, the South Rim is the closest and easiest access point to the Grand Canyon at just under four hours drive time and a little over 230 miles straight through.

The North Rim would require driving out and around the canyon an extra two hours or so (in total close to six hours and 350 miles straight through), but many agree that the higher elevated side of the North Rim is calmer, quieter, and has better temperatures in the summer.

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Is it better to go to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix or Las Vegas? The drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon is known as a more scenic drive compared to the drive from Las Vegas but in distance, they’re fairly similar.

The distance from Las Vegas to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is just under 300 miles with a drive time of about four and a half hours. One interesting stop that is almost on the way to the South Rim is Oatman, Arizona where donkeys roam free and the Wild West is still alive.

To the North Rim from Las Vegas, you’d take a different route through Utah around 260 miles and just under four and a half hours.

The West Rim is also a popular spot for those coming from Las Vegas but it’s not that different in drive time or distance.

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Ways To Get To The Grand Canyon From Phoenix, Arizona

There are a few different ways to get from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon and all of them are worth it to see this natural wonder of the world, but we think the best way to fully experience The Grand Canyon is driving yourself and staying overnight at least one to two nights.



What Airport Do You Fly Into To See The Grand Canyon?



The Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport is the closest large airport in Arizona to the Grand Canyon. If you are visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, you’ll fly into the Harry Reid International Airport.



Is It Easy To Drive From Phoenix, Arizona To The Grand Canyon?



The drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon is the more scenic route and it is a pretty easy drive. But if you’re driving during the winter, you should drive extra carefully if it starts snowing as you head north.

If you can, take your time driving up to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix and stop along the way to break up the drive and make it even easier. There are lots of great sights you can see with some small little detours off the interstate and it makes the drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon worth it.


Views of the Grand Canyon from the sky.



Is A Grand Canyon Tour Worth It?



If you are limited on time but still want to experience the Grand Canyon, a tour is definitely worth it.

A tour is the easiest and most stress free way to get from Phoenix, Arizona up to the Grand Canyon and when you consider the costs of going on your own (rental car, gas, hotels, entrance fee, etc.) the tour cost is pretty reasonable.

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If you are wanting to experience more activities at the Grand Canyon like hiking, a helicopter flight, rafting, riding a mule, or watching the sunset, a tour won’t really give you enough time to do any of these so going on your own and spending a few nights is the better option.



Is There A Train That Runs From Phoenix To The Grand Canyon?



Unfortunately, there is no train that runs from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon but you can take a train from Williams, Arizona up to the canyon.

The historic Grand Canyon Railway vintage train takes you on a two hour ride north to the Grand Canyon with a western atmosphere including music and cowboys. You can also stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel as Williams is one of the closest towns to the Grand Canyon.

Are There Shuttles From Phoenix, Arizona To The Grand Canyon?



There are a few shuttle services from the Phoenix area or the Phoenix airport up to the Grand Canyon. Groome Transportation and Airport Shuttle Of Phoenix are the two most popular options for shuttle services in between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon.



Can You Fly From Phoenix, Arizona To The Grand Canyon?



There are other small airports around the Grand Canyon that you could find flights to but they are typically pretty expensive.

There is also a flight tour from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon but it is also pretty pricey.

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Stops Along The Way To The Grand Canyon From Phoenix, Arizona

Depending on which route you take from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, there are multiple great stops to see along the way.



Sedona

Sedona is by far the most popular stop along the way to the Grand Canyon or even just as a day trip from the Phoenix and Scottsdale areas for its beautiful Red Rock scenery. There are Day Trip Tours to Sedona and even a Grand Canyon Tour With Sedona included.

You do have to take a small detour off of Interstate 17 to visit Sedona but after, you’ll get to go on the Oak Creek Canyon scenic drive from Sedona up towards Flagstaff.

Williams

Known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon”, Williams, Arizona is a historic town along Route 66 and the last stop in between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon. You can continue driving north towards the Grand Canyon or you can take the historic Grand Canyon Railway vintage train from Williams.

Montezuma Castle National Monument

The Montezuma Castle is the easiest stop to make on the way from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon because it sits right off of Interstate 17 just outside of Camp Verde, Arizona (just south of the exit for Sedona).

The prehistoric “home” built high into the rocks was falsely named by Europeans as it did not belong to the Aztecs but to the Sinagua Indians.


The drive from Phoenix, Arizona to the Grand Canyon has some great stops to visit along the way like Sedona.
Sedona



Prescott

Prescott is known for its nature, museums, art, Whiskey Row, cowboys, live music, and more. To visit Prescott, you would take a different route from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon that sticks more to the west and does not pass by Sedona or Flagstaff.

Arcosanti

Arcosanti is an experimental town testing life with a low environmental impact and what is called arcology (architecture and ecology). Arcosanti is also an easy detour right off of Interstate 17 about halfway in between Phoenix and Sedona.



Flagstaff

Flagstaff is the largest city in Northern Arizona and is only about an hour and a half from the Grand Canyon. If you decide to stay in Flagstaff, there are lots of tours and ways to explore more of Northern Arizona from this city.



Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

The Sunset Crater Volcano is just outside of Flagstaff and if you decide to visit on your way to The Grand Canyon, you’ll continue north on Highway 89 to reach the South or North Rim of the canyon and you will not go through Williams, Arizona.

The Sunset Crater Volcano is no longer considered active but you can still see the crater and lava flow from its last eruption nearly 1,000 years ago approximately in the year 1085.

Meteor Crater Natural Landmark

The Meteor Crater is located east of Flagstaff and will detour you by about an hour each way but you can visit the very unique aftermath of a 30 to 50 meter asteroid that crashed into earth over 50,000 years ago. The crater is nearly one mile across and it is almost 600 feet deep.




Can You Do A Day Trip To The Grand Canyon From Scottsdale Or Phoenix, Arizona?

The drive from Scottsdale or Phoenix, Arizona up to the Grand Canyon takes around four hours so it technically can be done on a day trip, but it would be a very long and pretty rushed day.

One day really isn’t enough time to thoroughly visit and enjoy the Grand Canyon as well as see some of the other notable sights along the drive up.


It's best to spend a few extra days at the Grand Canyon, rather than rushing through on a day trip.



That being said, if you really only have time for a day trip up to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix, Arizona, then go for it. It’s one of the seven natural wonders of the world, so if you can only get a quick glimpse and maybe a sunset view of the canyon, it’s worth it.

The easiest and most stress free way to visit the Grand Canyon in one day is definitely on a tour, that way you don’t have to worry about directions or driving, and stops along the way might be included in your tour.

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What Is The Best Month To Go To The Grand Canyon?

☀️ Summer weather in northern Arizona at the Grand Canyon is not quite as extreme as temperatures down in Phoenix, but it does still peak in July over 100 degrees on average.

❄️ Winter temperatures can get pretty chilly, between the 30s and 50s, but the biggest concern during winter is snow storms causing problems for the drive up to the Grand Canyon.

🍁 The fall season sees more rain on average, but it is a very low average, and temperatures can still be quite hot during the first few months of the season.

🌸 Spring temperatures start to warm up in March and rain averages start to go down by April.


The weather in Arizona is typically very hot but it can occasionally snow even all the way south in Phoenix.



✅ Considering northern Arizona temperatures, overall weather, and road conditions, April is the best month to visit the Grand Canyon with Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays being the best and least crowded days to drive up from Phoenix and experience this natural wonder of the world.

Does The Grand Canyon Require Reservations To Visit?

No matter what time of year you visit or what day of the week you drive up, the Grand Canyon does not require or even accept timed reservations to enter the park.

You can wait until you arrive at the park gates to purchase your entrance fee or you can buy it online ahead of time. There are also five days throughout the year where entrance fees to the Grand Canyon are waived and you can enter for free, but these will likely be very busy days.




Best Things To Do At The Grand Canyon

If you are on a day trip or have limited time at the Grand Canyon, you may only get the chance for scenic viewing of this natural wonder.

Although it is still worth visiting even just for a glimpse, there are lots of great activities to experience at the Grand Canyon if you can spend a little more time there.

🚁 A helicopter tour is one of the most popular but pricey activities at the Grand Canyon.

🥾 Hiking is another great activity at the Grand Canyon but you’ll want to take extra precautions to stay safe. There are also Hiking Tours available so you can go with a guide. (For when you’re in Phoenix, the best trail to check out is the Camelback Mountain hike)

🚣‍♂️ White Water Rafting is also available in the Grand Canyon and can be done as a day activity at Hualapai River Runners on the West Side of the Grand Canyon.


Watching the sunset anywhere in Arizona is the perfect thing to do and the best way to end the day.



🐎 Mule rides are available around the rim of the canyon, into the canyon, and down to the bottom of the canyon but this activity is not for the faint of heart.

🌅 Arizona is famous for its beautifully colored sunset skies, and spending the evening watching the sun set over the Grand Canyon is the perfect way to end the day.

🚞 Step back in time on the vintage Grand Canyon Railway train that takes you from Williams, Arizona to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon which was known as the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon”.




Where To Stay At The Grand Canyon

You can stay as close to the Grand Canyon as camping down at the bottom, staying in the Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim, staying near the Grand Canyon Visitors Center, or even staying about an hour away in bigger cities like Williams or Flagstaff.


Although you can technically visit the Grand Canyon on a day trip from Phoenix, Arizona, it is better to spend a little more time and stay a few nights.



➡️ In Tusayan near the Grand Canyon Visitors Center, the two highest rated hotels to stay at are the Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon and The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon.

➡️ Some of the more popular and higher rated hotels in Williams, Arizona are the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, the Red Garter Inn, and the Grand Canyon Hotel.

➡️ Some good options in downtown Flagstaff are the Residence Inn by Marriott Flagstaff, the Country Inn & Suites by Radisson Flagstaff Downtown, and the Little America Hotel Flagstaff.



🍽 There really isn’t a ton of healthy or allergy friendly restaurants up in Northern Arizona, but Flagstaff, although not as abundant as Scottsdale healthy and allergy friendly places, is the best place to stay, shop, and eat for healthier choices.




Wrap Up: The Grand Canyon From Phoenix, Arizona

During your trip to Arizona, however you choose to visit The Grand Canyon from Phoenix, it will be worth it to see one of the incredible natural wonders of the world. If you are visiting during the summer months and have a little extra time, try checking out the less crowded, higher elevated, and just overall calmer North Rim side of The Grand Canyon.