Total trip time depends on your itinerary, but there are so many ways to visit the Grand Canyon. From a few days to a week, there are so many things to do and sights to see. We’ll break down some of the sights by day so you can make an informed decision before you book. We’ll also give you plenty of tips to ensure that your visit goes smoothly, regardless of how many days you spend at the Grand Canyon.
First Day (Entrance Fee, Visitor Center)
If you’re going to take one thing away from a trip to see America’s natural wonder, it should be time. Spare a few hours (or several) of your time to explore some of its points of interest — you won’t regret it. Start by stopping in at Yavapai Observation Station and South Rim Visitor Center, where experts can fill you in on local flora and fauna or give you tips on what not to miss. The main point is that if you want an in-depth Grand Canyon experience, book a night or two for staying near it — and ideally close enough that you don’t have to travel far from location to location during your stay. Another good starting point is to take one of these grand canyon tours from vegas so you can ask for some advice on what to see next.
Second Day (Mather Point, Skywalk, Guano Point)
You’ll start your second day with breakfast overlooking Bright Angel Point, before getting some much-needed sleep. When you are awake, head down to Phantom Ranch for a leisurely breakfast. Once you’re done eating, you can decide whether to set out on an 11-mile hike or just get out on a mule. If hiking sounds like your cup of tea (or coffee), then plan on tackling Hermit Trail, which leads to Dripping Springs and all its geological wonders. Keep an eye out for mushrooms while you’re there! From here, you can head back to Mather Point (your starting point) and check out views from Guano Point if it’s a clear day.
Third Day (Yavapai Geology Museum, Lipan Point)
After you’ve spent a night in Flagstaff, drive a little over two hours down to Tusayan, Arizona, and visit Yavapai Geology Museum. There you can explore unique and diverse rock formations of all shapes and sizes. Stop by Lipan Point after that—it’s an overlook just across from Yavapai Geology Museum where you’ll have great views of majestic red sandstone rocks. Stay overnight in Tusayan or continue on to Grand Canyon Village where there are more lodging options.
Fourth Day (Cape Royal & Desert View Watchtower)
The Grand Canyon is about 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and attains a depth of more than a mile. On your fourth day, you’ll have time to explore all of it. Start by taking in some views from Cape Royal on Hopi Point: get an overview of Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon, then head into Desert View Watchtower where you can see every turn of water in Marble Canyon and also gaze upon ancient ruins carved into many canyon walls. Make sure to pick up your free permit here if you plan on going down into Grand Canyon National Park. If not, just enjoy it from above—you’ll have plenty more opportunities below. (Note: If planning for an overnight trip, start with our first three days.)
Fifth Day (Hermit’s Rest, Bright Angel & South Kaibab Trails)
If you plan to do all three trails on day five, it would be wise to get an early start, as they will take a lot out of you. The day begins with a trip up Hermit’s Rest Trail, which is easy enough. If you’re able to make it as far as Coconino Overlook (halfway), there are ample spots for lunch. If not, food and water can be found along the trail up to Hermit’s Rest proper.
Sixth Day (Bright Angel Campground/Rim Trail Hike)
If you’re spending multiple days in and around Grand Canyon National Park, then you should spend one of those days hiking to either (or both) rims. On our first day, we started with a bang and opted for a three-hour hike from Bright Angel Campground to Indian Garden. We enjoyed views of Roaring Springs and Ribbon Falls along the way; however, it was getting dark by mid-afternoon so we didn’t get very good sunset views from Hopi Point. Still, it was a great way to wake up early on our second day in and around AZ. Then, on our last day before heading back home via Las Vegas, we took an easy hike along portions of Rim Trail.
Spend as much time as you can. The amount of time you need to spend depends on how many things you want to do. Three days is a good starting point if you’re short on time and money, but spending an entire week won’t disappoint.