Most people arrive to the South Rim  in their own vehicle or a rental, but with so many transportation and tour options  available, it’s possible to get here by bus, plane, or train and be blissfully car-free, as long as you plan to focus your visit on the park’s most developed areas. During summer months, you can even arrange for a shuttle to the North Rim .
The nearest major airports to Grand Canyon are in Las Vegas (278 miles) and Phoenix (231 miles). US Airways has continuing service from Phoenix to Pulliam Airport in Flagstaff.
A dizzying variety of Grand Canyon tours and charters—plane, helicopter, bus, van—originate in Las Vegas or Boulder City, Nevada, just outside of Las Vegas. Charter flights to Grand Canyon Airport are available from Phoenix, Sedona, and Page.
Greyhound has bus service to Flagstaff and Williams, but not to the canyon itself. Amtrak provides train service to Flagstaff or Williams, where you can board the Grand Canyon Railway and travel to the historic depot in Grand Canyon village , mere steps away from park lodges.
If you’re driving, note that the road to Hermits Rest  is closed to private vehicles from March through November. Road closures due to construction are possible any time of year, and winter storms occasionally result in the closure of Highway 64 between the South Rim’s main entrance and Desert View. The windswept section of Highway 64 around Valle, 20 miles south of the park entrance, can also be troublesome. The park service website (www.nps.gov/grca ) provides construction updates and current weather reports.
Traffic can be beastly during the high season, with street-parked cars hiding driveways, “deer jams” bringing vehicles to a standstill, pedestrians wandering everywhere, and tempers growing as heated as an Arizona summer afternoon. The best solution is to liberate yourself from your car as quickly as possible.
There’s no getting around it: The South Rim is crowded during the summer, and village-area parking is at a premium. You’ll find it a relief to park your car and rely on the shuttle, which stops near all major parking areas. The good news is that the National Park Service has recently added hundreds of parking spaces near the Grand Canyon Visitors Center and plaza, including spaces large enough to accommodate RVs. It’s possible to leave a vehicle here and avoid entering the traffic swarming around Grand Canyon Village.
If you decide to continue to the village in your vehicle, you’ll find several smaller parking lots—though you may not find a parking space. Lot A is near Shrine of the Ages and Park Headquarters ; this lot often has open spots. Lot B is in Market Plaza, where the bank and general store are located. Lot C is a small lot near the intersection of Center and Village Loop Roads. Lot E is a large paved lot near the Backcountry Information Center. At the south end of this lot, you’ll find spaces big enough to park an RV, but not for camping. Canyon veterans take note: You’ll no longer find parking areas near the railroad tracks or at Mather Point.
Village Loop Road is mostly one-way and runs counterclockwise, which means turning right is the correct choice when you reach the stop sign at the start of the loop. For El Tovar  guests, there’s a small lot east of the hotel, but even if you circle like one of the canyon’s turkey vultures, you may not find a parking place here. If you’re driving an RV or pulling a trailer, don’t even try. Thankfully, El Tovar has a baggage-handling service. The other lodges also have guest parking areas, short-term loading zones, and bell services.
Need gas? Your last chance to fill up is in Tusayan, seven miles south of the village, or at Desert View, just inside the park’s East Entrance, about 30 miles from the village. The pumps at the park’s Desert View Chevron (9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily) have 24-hour credit-card service.
Garage services (926/638-2631, 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. daily, emergency service after hours) are available in Grand Canyon Village east of the train depot. The garage can provide basic repairs, including tires, belts, batteries, and hoses. If more serious repairs are needed, tow service is available to Williams or Flagstaff.
The South Rim’s free shuttle system offers three main routes, encompassing Hermit Road  (the West Rim), Grand Canyon Village , and the Kaibab Trailhead  (Yaki Point). Buses arrive at each shuttle stop every 15-30 minutes. Have faith—the wait is shorter than the time it would take to drive around in search of a parking place. During peak months (June-Aug.), shuttle buses operate from 4:30 a.m. until an hour after sunset.
Route maps are available online or in The Guide,  the park’s newspaper. Color-coding makes finding the right route relatively simple. Look for a colored square by the shuttle’s door or the route name displayed on the front. Routes intersect near the Bright Angel Trailhead and at Grand Canyon Visitors Center.
The Village Route (blue) stops at lodges, restaurants, shops, campgrounds, and Market Plaza, and also travels to Grand Canyon Visitors Center. The round-trip takes an hour, but riders can get on or off at any stop to dine, shop, or stroll in the historic district. The Backcountry Information Center is on the Village Route.
The Hermits Rest Route (red) travels back and forth between the village and Hermits Rest , eight miles away. You can ride the loop, which takes 75 minutes and stops at eight overlooks, or leave the shuttle to spend some time photographing or hiking the Rim Trail , then board another bus. After leaving Hermits Rest, the return (eastbound) route stops only at Pima, Mohave, and Powell Points. The Hermits Rest route is not in service December-February. During these three months only, passenger cars can travel Hermit Road, weather permitting.
The Kaibab Trail Route (green) travels between Grand Canyon Visitors Center and Yaki Point. The bus stops en route at the South Kaibab Trailhead and Pipe Creek Vista. This scenic round-trip takes 30 minutes.
The Hikers’ Express is an early-morning shuttle that stops at Bright Angel Lodge, the Backcountry Information Center, and Grand Canyon Visitors Center before traveling directly to the South Kaibab Trailhead. In May and September, the Hikers’ Express leaves at 5 a.m., 6 a.m., and 7 a.m. daily. June-August it departs at 4 a.m., 5 a.m., and 6 a.m. In October, express shuttles leave at 6 a.m., 7 a.m., and 8 a.m., and in November, 7 a.m., 8 a.m., and 9 a.m. December-February, the Hikers’ Express leaves at 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Pets are not allowed on shuttle buses, except trained service animals. All park shuttle buses are accessible to wheelchairs, and all park shuttles are now equipped with bicycle racks.
Mid-May-mid-September, free shuttle buses travel outside the park to the town of Tusayan. Travelers can leave their cars in Tusayan and shuttle to the park, a trip of about 20 minutes. The shuttles make four stops in Tusayan, including the Grand Canyon Airport. Passengers must present valid park passes to enter the park. This park-and-ride shuttle operates at 15-minute intervals 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
Taxi services (928/638-2822 or 928/638-2631, ext. 6563) are available 24 hours daily year-round. Destinations include Grand Canyon Airport. Taxis will even deliver hikers and backpackers to South Rim trailheads.
The Trans Canyon Shuttle (928/638-2820, www.trans-canyonshuttle.com ) offers daily round-trip van service ($80 one-way, $150 round-trip) between the South Rim and the North Rim May 15-October 15. You can also take the shuttle to the Marble Canyon area ($65 one-way). The shuttle leaves the South Rim at 1:30 p.m., arriving at the North Rim at 6 p.m.; reservations are required. Charter shuttle services can be arranged.
Bright Angel Bicycles (928/814-8704, www.bikegrandcanyon.com ) provides an hourly bicyclists’ shuttle ($6 one-way, $9 round-trip) from the visitors center to Hopi Point, giving pedalers an option for avoiding the congestion around Grand Canyon Village and the first few miles of Hermit Road.