If you’re planning a road trip from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, you have a few options to consider.
There are three ways to reach the South Rim and one way to get to the North Rim, each with its own unique attractions and varying drive times.
Depending on your chosen route, you could explore the charming Route 66 town of Williams, take in the beautiful forest and mountain scenery north of Flagstaff, or witness the stark beauty of the Navajo Nation with the Painted Desert in the distance.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that estimated drive times do not account for traffic slowdowns, inclement weather, or stops for food or gas.
With these factors in mind, these tips will help you decide which route is best for you.
And if you’re looking for a luxurious stay, be sure to check out the biggest hotel openings and renovations in Arizona in 2023 and beyond, including a Vegas-style resort.
Driving from Phoenix to Grand Canyon South Rim
If you’re planning to visit Grand Canyon South Rim from Phoenix, there are three main routes you can take.
Keep in mind that the estimated drive times may vary due to traffic or weather conditions.
- Via Williams
This route takes you from Phoenix to Flagstaff via Interstate 17, then west on Interstate 40 to Williams.
From there, you’ll take State Route 64 north to the park entrance near Tusayan, which is the closest town to the South Rim.
The total distance is around 230 miles and the estimated driving time is 3 hours and 40 minutes.
- Via Flagstaff
Another option is to take Interstate 17 north to Flagstaff and continue straight through town to the turnoff for U.S. 180.
From there, you’ll head northwest to Valle and then turn right on State Route 64 to reach the park entrance.
This route is also about 230 miles, but the estimated driving time is around 4 hours.
- Via Cameron
The third route takes you from Phoenix to Flagstaff via Interstate 17, then east on Interstate 40 to Cameron.
From there, you’ll take U.S. 89 north to the roundabout and head west on State Route 64 to reach the park’s eastern entrance at Desert View.
It’s another 26 miles on the winding park road to reach Grand Canyon Village, where the hotels, restaurants, and shops are located.
This route is also about 230 miles, with a little over 4 hours of driving time.
No matter which route you choose, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the Grand Canyon once you arrive.
If you’re looking for things to do once you get there, check out our guide to seven easy hikes on the North and South rims.
So what’s the best driving route to see the Grand Canyon?
When planning your trip to the Grand Canyon, choosing the right driving route is essential.
Here are some options to consider:
- Williams Route: If you enjoy highway driving, this route is for you. It offers a smooth ride and beautiful views along the way.
- Flagstaff Route: For those who prefer forest scenery, this route is a perfect choice. Keep in mind that U.S. 180 can be icy during winter.
- Cameron Route: If you’re interested in desert scenery and Native American culture, this route is a must-see. It passes through the Navajo Reservation.
Consider your preferences and the time of year when choosing your driving route.
Regardless of which route you choose, the Grand Canyon is sure to impress.
Driving from Phoenix to Grand Canyon North Rim
To reach the North Rim of the Grand Canyon from Phoenix, you will need to take a seven-hour drive covering approximately 350 miles.
Follow these steps:
- Take I-17 north to Flagstaff.
- Go east on I-40 and exit at 201.
- Head north on U.S. 89 to Bitter Springs.
- Take a left on U.S. 89A to Jacob Lake.
- Follow State Route 67 south to the North Rim.
It’s important to note that lodging inside the park at the North Rim is limited.
If you plan to stay there, make sure to reserve your spot in advance and check what services and amenities are available during the summer season.
Keep in mind that the season for the North Rim is short, with lodging and services only available from mid-May through mid-October.
Additionally, State Route 67 closes in winter, usually around mid-November.
Along the way, you may want to explore Sedona, which offers new luxury hotels and outdoor guides in 2023.