South Rim vs. North Rim

South Rim vs. North RimPhoto Credit: gcflight.com

Which should you visit - the South Rim or the North Rim of the Grand Canyon? It's a question more and more visitors are asking each year. The answer depends on several factors and ultimately comes down to whatever makes the most sense for your vacation. Here are some basics to help you figure out what you expect to get out of you Grand Canyon visit, and choose the Rim that's right for you.

The majority of visitors come to the South Rim each year. Compare 5 million annual South Rim visitors to 1 million yearly North Rim visitors and 200,000 annual visitors at the West Rim. There is a good reason people flock to the South Rim; it's part of Grand Canyon National Park; it's stunningly beautiful; it's more developed by way of visitors centers and services; there's more lodging nearby; you can hike, backpack and camp; it's easier to access; it's more centrally located for Arizona visitors; and it offers more activity and tour variety.

The North Rim is a very remote destination there is very limited lodging and services, and one visitors center. There is little variety among the activities and tours offered; there are few if any commercial tours to the North Rim, and once there, activities are typically limited to camping, hiking, walking, mule rides and river rafting. If you're willing to make the trek, the North Rim's beautiful rugged views and trails do offer world-class hiking, backpacking, camping and river rafting opportunities, which makes the North Rim a fantastic choice for visitors who seek a more primeval, natural, quiet and uncrowded Grand Canyon experience.

The South Rim is open year-round. The North Rim is open from mid-May through mid-October. Weather extremes and moderates occur at all three rims at different times of year.

To put it simply, popularity, availability of services, ease of proximity and weather are some of the major considerations when deciding whether the South Rim or the North Rim is right for you.But if you have more detailed questions, or want a more personalized guide to where, when, and how to see the Grand Canyon, take our Grand Canyon Quiz.

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Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tour with Optional Upgrades

Explore the Grand Canyon with this guided, full-day sightseeing adventure around the South Rim. Beginning in Las Vegas, travel to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and the National Geographic Visitor Center. See a number of different panoramic views from various lookout locations while learning about the history and geology of the canyon from the expert tour guide. Upgrade to include an IMAX movie and/or a scenic 2-hour Jeep tour or a breathtaking helicopter flight. Lunch and a Las Vegas hotel pickup and drop-off are included.

Book and save 44% compared to our local operator's price!

Grand Canyon West Rim Luxury Helicopter Tour

Need a break from bustling Las Vegas? Hop on board a helicopter for a luxury sightseeing tour to the Grand Canyon. Listen to informative commentary from your pilot as you get an aerial perspective on the majestic grandeur of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. On the way, you'll also see landmarks such as Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Black Canyon and the Las Vegas strip. Your tour includes a 30-minute stop at the Grand Canyon West airport, with time for some quick shopping at a Native American gift boutique.

Book and save between 23% and 29% compared to the local operator's price!

Deluxe Grand Canyon All American Helicopter Tour

Experience the beauty of one of America’s natural wonders with a scenic helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. This low-level flight takes travelers past the famous Hoover Dam, extinct volcanoes, and stunning Lake Mead., as well as a pass over the glittering Las Vegas Strip. This half-day tour includes a champagne picnic at 3,200 feet (960 meters) below the canyon rim and allows plenty of time for afternoon exploring after your flight concludes.

Book and save 26% compared to another travel site!

Helicopter & Airplane Tours Of Grand Canyon National Park

1. Helicopter & Airplane Tours Of ...

Viator offers air, helicopter & land tours to the Grand Canyon. Book a Grand Canyon helicopter tour or combine a Grand Canyon land & air exp...  More
  • 2730 Airport Drive
  • North Las Vegas,
  • 89032
The Ultimate Off Road Adventure

2. The Ultimate Off Road Adventure

At Guidance Air in Sedona, we fly Robinson helicopters, specifically the R44 and R66, which have unrivaled views. This means clear views fro...  More
  • (928) 351-1000
  • 1200 Airport Rd
  • Sedona, AZ
  • 86336
Great West Adventure Tours

3. Great West Adventure Tours

The Sedona and Grand Canyon Specialists! Enjoy the scenic views of Sedona on our Sedona tours and learn all about the geology and history th...  More
  • (877) 367-2383
  • Sedona
  • Sedona, AZ
  • 86336
Red Feather Lodge

4. Red Feather Lodge

Ideally situated in the center of Tusayan, a small town one mile from the south entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park, this Grand Canyo...  More
  • (928) 638-2414
  • 300 Highway 64
  • Tusayan, AZ
  • 86023
  • $96.00 - $200.00

We have a trip finder that is unique and works much like Expedia, but for Grand Canyon Rafting Trips. With filters to narrow down options based on your preferences whether it is traveling within a certain date range, by raft type, by canyon route or trip duration, our Trip Finder can help you easily explore the different options!

Advantage Grand Canyon

5. Advantage Grand Canyon

As a central reservation service for all 16 Grand Canyon Rafting Outfitters, we can help you find your ideal adventure, at no additional cos...  More
  • (888) 244-2224
  • 7707 East Acoma Drive
  • Scottsdale, AZ
  • 85260
Papillon Helicopters

6. Papillon Helicopters

Tour Grand Canyon with the "World's Largest and Most Experienced Helicopter Sightseeing Company!" Only Papillon is a recipient of the 5-star...  More
  • (800) 528-2418
  • 1265 Airport Road
  • Boulder City, NV
  • 89005
Maverick Helicopter Tours

7. Maverick Helicopter Tours

Maverick Helicopters provides helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon. Maverick brings VIP and first-class service to the Grand Canyon. Ma...  More
  • (888) 261-4414
  • 6075 South Las Vegas Boulevard
  • Las Vegas, AZ
  • 89119
River Rafting Tours From Las Vegas

8. River Rafting Tours From Las Ve...

Every sightseeing and adventure tour of the Grand Canyon imaginable - from Las Vegas hotels to Grand Canyon National Park. Book a Grand Cany...  More
  • 4285 North Rancho Drive
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • 89130
Wildland Trekking

9. Wildland Trekking

Join The Wildland Trekking Co. on an epic journey to the Grand Canyon! Services include 1 to 8 day hiking adventures, tasty backcountry cui...  More
  • (800) 715-4453
  • 4025 East Huntington Drive
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 86004
  • $110.00 - $1500.00
Grand Canyon Railway

10. Grand Canyon Railway

Visit the official website for Grand Canyon Railway. Book your reservation online for a train tour on one of five classes of service on our ...  More
  • (303) 843-8724
  • 233 North Grand Canyon Boulevard
  • Williams, AZ
  • 86046
  • $75.00 - $132.00
Grand Canyon Expeditions

11. Grand Canyon Expeditions

The Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world, and what better way to see it than from its heart, on a Colorado river rafting trip? Th...  More
  • (800) 544-2691
  • Lees Ferry
  • Kanab, UT
Browse, Compare & Reserve West Rim Helicopter, Drive & Rafting Tours

12. Browse, Compare & Reserve West...

Got just one day to see the Grand Canyon West Rim? Book one of our West Rim Tours from Las Vegas and experience everything there is to see ...  More
  • (702) 749-5664
  • 8525 Edna Avenue
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • 89117
  • $114.00 - $660.00
Grand Canyon Tours From Las Vegas  Viator

13. Grand Canyon Tours From Las Ve...

Every sightseeing and adventure tour of the Grand Canyon imaginable - from Las Vegas hotels to Grand Canyon National Park. Book a Grand Cany...  More
  • (800) 566-5868
  • 2730 Airport Drive
  • North Las Vegas, NV
  • 89032
Grand Canyon Airlines

14. Grand Canyon Airlines

Don't just view the Canyon from the rim when you can fly the Grand Canyon with a legend! Since 1927, Grand Canyon Airlines has been the prem...  More
  • (928) 638-2463
  • Fire Road 771
  • Tusayan, AZ

HOTELS IN OR NEAR THE GRAND CANYON

Book Grand Canyon hotels in or near the park. Reservations are often made a year in advance. See All Hotels Near Grand Canyon »

SOUTH RIM TOURS

Fuel your adventure on these Grand Canyon South Rim tours by helicopter, airplane, van or train. See All South Rim Tours »

NORTH RIM HOTELS AND THINGS TO DO

Browse Grand Canyon North Rim hotels in and near the park including the AZ/UT Grand Circle. See All North Rim Hotels & Things to Do »

DRIVING DIRECTIONS TO THE NORTH RIM

The road to the North Rim is remote and beautiful. Get easy-to-follow directions right here. Driving Directions to the North Rim »

A Day At The Canyon from John Burcham Photography. John Burcham is a commercial, editorial photographer based out of Flagstaff, AZ. You can see more of his work at www.johnburcham.com