Photo from North Rim

Grand Canyon Hotels, Driving and Parking

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We have four cars driving from San Diego County to the Grand Canyon, with two people making their way to the south rim separately and one more being picked up at the Ontario airport. Our outbound count is as follows:

  • South-rim minivan: four leaving from San Diego, picking one up in Ontario
  • South-rim passenger car: two leaving from San Diego
  • One to the south rim via Phoenix (getting a ride with another group)
  • One to the south rim via Flagstaff airport (taking a shuttle)
  • North-rim minivan: five leaving from San Diego
  • North-rim passenger car: two leaving from San Diego

Our post-hike count is as follows:

  • North-rim minivan: six leaving from Jacob Lake, dropping one off in Las Vegas
  • North-rim passenger car: three leaving from Kaibab Lodge, dropping one off in Las Vegas
  • South-rim minivan: five leaving for San Diego
  • South-rim passenger car: two leaving for a tour of the western U.S.

We'll plan on meeting in advance to exchange car keys and overnight bags. (You'll want to leave one bag behind when you hike across the canyon and have another one waiting for you on the other side.)

I've provided a map of the Grand Canyon area and a detailed maps of the North Rim. This is a map of the South Rim, but the map in the Grand Canyon Guide Newspaper is better and there's also good current information like shuttle schedules.

Our main North Rim hotel is the Jacob Lake Inn at the intersection of Alt Route 89 and Route 67. The best route is Route 9 to Route 59 to Route 389, rather than Route 9 to Route 89 to Alt Route 89.

Jacob Lake Inn
HWY 89A & AZ-67
Jacob Lake, AZ 86022

We have one group of three who is staying at the Kaibab Lodge on Route 67 after the hike.

Kaibab Lodge
AZ-67, 26 mi south of Jacob Lake and 18 mi north of the North Rim
928-638-9866 front desk 4-10 PM
928-638-2389 reservations/cancellations 8 AM-4 PM

We have three different South Rim hotels; two inside the park on Friday night:

Yavapai Lodge
928-638-2631 (main switchboard)
Inside the Park near the Visitor Center


Maswik Lodge
928-638-2631 (main switchboard)
Inside the Park near the Backcountry information center

For Saturday night, we have rooms at the Canyon Plaza Resort in town:

Canyon Plaza Resort
406 Canyon Plaza Lane
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
(928) 638-2673

The Jacob Lake Inn is about 44 miles north of the North Kaibab trailhead, but it is on the way to everywhere, so there are no miles lost. Plan on an hour from hotel to trailhead. So a 6:00 AM start means a 5:00 departure from the hotel.

The parking lot at the North Kaibab trailhead is not too large and it's easy to find.

The Yavapai Lodge is near the Vistor Center in the main part of the park (near the entrance, not in the old village). It is less than a mile from the hotel to the shuttle bus stop for the North Kaibab trailhead. (There is no parking or vehicle access to that trailhead.)

The group leaving the South Rim will park the cars near the Bright Angel trailhead. The group coming up that afternoon can freely choose either trail for the ascent, but you'll want to catch the bus from the South Kaibab trailhead back to the village. Visitors are instructed to be waiting for the last bus no later than 30 minutes after sunset. That is 6:38 PM on October 4. If you come up the South Kaibab trail and miss that bus, then it's an extra two miles back to the village (but not uphill).

You should use the Grand Canyon Guide Newspaper for parking. The groups departing from the South Rim will park as close to the Bright Angel trailhead as possible. In order, the candidate lots are:

  • The small parking lots near the Bright Angel trailhead and Bright Angel Lodge. These are shown on the detail map on page 5 of the Guide Newspaper, but they are not listed in the answer to "Where can I park?"
  • Lot D near the Backcountry Information Center and Maswik Lodge
  • Lot C on the Loop Drive near Center Road
  • The parking area at Verkamp's Visitor Center (also not listed in the answer to "Where can I park?"
  • At the Grand Canyon visitor center. This is a last resort that should not be needed. It would mean a shuttle ride at the end of the hike for the southbound hikers

After parking, take one or more pictures of the parking location, or a screenshot of your location using your smartphone. Then text the information to the other group. Even though they probably won't have cell reception until they finish the hike, they can still get the text when they get out. The plan is still to exchange car keys and parking information when we pass each other on the trail, but the text message is a cheap form of insurance for anything unforeseen.

The group staying at Maswik Lodge will probably want to find a final parking space for the car on Friday night, then catch a shuttle bus as a group to the Kaibab trailhead. (See pages 4 and 5 of the Guide Newspaper.) There are two choices:

  • Catch the Hiker's Express at the Backcountry Information Center. That bus leaves Bright Angel campground at 6 AM and again at 7 AM.
  • Catch the Village Route bus sometime after 5 AM at the Backcountry Information Center. Buses run every 30 minutes early in the morning. It's about a 25-minute ride to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. There you can catch the Kaibab/Rim Route bus to the Kaibab trailhead. Those buses run every 15-20 minutes early in the morning and it's about a 15-minute ride.

Someone from the group staying at the Yavapai Lodge may drop the car off at night or in the morning. It's a leisurely walk of about 0.8 miles from the Lodge to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to catch a bus sometime after 5 AM. It's also possible to catch the Village Route bus (eastbound) right outside the Yavapai Lodge sometime after 5:00 and take the five-minute ride to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

Valid HTML 4.01! Steve Schaefer
Last modified: Date: 2003/09/16