Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip

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A Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip showcases some of the world’s most iconic scenery. Most of all, gazing out over the rim of Grand Canyon is an experience you never forget — it’s really that great. But to make the most of the drive, this Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip is a loop that captures several other breathtaking gems in the American Southwest.

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  • Total distance: 839 mi / 1,350 km
  • Total driving time: 15.5 h

North Rim or South Rim?

One of the biggest natural wonders of the world, Grand Canyon is a mind-bending destination with two rims: North Rim and South Rim. Although both are great, this drive primarily targets Grand Canyon South Rim.

Why is that?

Grand Canyon South Rim has lots of convenient Grand Canyon lodging just steps from the edge of the rim. In addition, South Rim is open year round, while North Rim closes for winter.

But if you drive this route in summer, you can easily switch from South Rim to North Rim. Or for the ultimate Las Vegas to Grand Canyon combo, hit both rims and see which one you like better.

Top off the drive with other unique spots in the American Southwest. Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Bryce, Zion — yes, this Las Vegas to Grand Canyon itinerary is truly loaded with memorable experiences.

1. Las Vegas, NV

Make acquaintance with the sprawling casino resorts and bright neon lights in Las Vegas before setting off for Grand Canyon.

The legendary Las Vegas Strip is the busiest part of Las Vegas Boulevard South. Here, you find an in particular high concentration of luxury casinos and attractions.

It’s the epicenter of the entertainment hub that Las Vegas is.

Caesars Palace is a Greco-Roman themed institution along the Strip. Just wandering through all its grandeur, including extravagant statues and columns, is an experience on its own.

For pure Italian vibes, the Venetian demands your attention. The hotel, which replicates the city of Venice, gives you a unique opportunity to add a memorable gondola ride to the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon itinerary.

Bellagio is another Las Vegas crowd pleaser. Its frequently running musical fountain shows, with water soaring up as high as 460 feet (140 m) into the air, is the perfect end to a day in Las Vegas.

Rising Statue of Liberty at New York Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, or is it New York?

2. Hoover Dam

  • Driving distance: 33 mi / 53 km
  • Driving time: 0.5 h

Where Nevada and Arizona collide, the Hoover Dam is a monumental structure. No matter if you just take a quick break or stay for hours, the Hoover Dam is a rewarding stop between Las Vegas and Grand Canyon National Park.

Just 33 miles (53 km) from the bright lights of Las Vegas, the Hoover Dam is located. On the border between Nevada and Arizona, it’s a National Historic Landmark that represents engineering at its finest.

Even though the Hoover Dam was completed already in the 1930s, it’s as fascinating today as it was then.

The amount of concrete used in building the Hoover Dam would be enough to pave a road from San Francisco to New York City. That’s how huge the structure is.

When visiting on the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip, it’s a must to walk across the dam. The 1,244 feet (370 m) from one side to the other fully lets you capture its grandness.

The Hoover Dam on the border between Arizona and Nevada
The Hoover Dam.

3. Grand Canyon, AZ

  • Driving distance: 248 mi / 399 km
  • Driving time: 4 h

After 4 more hours on the road, you arrive in Grand Canyon Village at Grand Canyon’s South Rim. It’s open year round and offers a good selection of lodging within Grand Canyon National Park.

Are you ready for some jaw-dropping views?

Take in the world wonder

As you get to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, an exceptional landscape awaits. Only steps from where you park your car, you find the natural wonder that you came for.

Grand Canyon is a huge American attraction. The world-famous Arizona wonder is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and more than a mile (1,847 m) deep.

The easily accessible Rim Trail follows the rim from the Grand Canyon Village area to a point called Hermit’s Rest. Along the walk you find one majestic viewpoint after another.

Mile after mile. Rock layer after rock layer. When you visit the overlooks, it’s like the Grand Canyon never ends.

The convenient vistas offer sights that you never forget. With so much to take in, many visitors don’t go past the sweeping viewpoints on the rim of the Grand Canyon.

Step into the Grand Canyon

If you like what you see from the edge of the rim but want more, it’s time to put on your hiking boots and head into the Grand Canyon. The deeper you go, the more there’s to explore.

On many bucket lists, and an iconic hike for the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip, is the Bright Angel Trail.

It’s an out-and-back trail that really takes you to the depths of Grand Canyon.

The Bright Angel Trailhead is located at a formidable elevation of 6,850 feet (2,088 m). At Indian Garden 4.5 miles (7.2 km) from the trailhead, where many day hikers choose to turn back, you’re already down at 3,800 feet (1,158 m).

That’s a huge elevation loss.

So when you decide to return back to the rim, you have hardly done half of the job. The national park service recommends that you allow twice as much time for the way back up as it took for you to hike down.

Hiking into the Grand Canyon is truly a spectacular activity. However, it’s also a demanding activity that takes you far away from the comforts of Grand Canyon Village.

Where to stay at the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Village, located inside Grand Canyon National Park, is the prime option for where to stay at Grand Canyon. However, just outside the park you find more hotels and amenities in the town Tusayan.

Vista in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, displaying layer after layer of rock
Visiting Grand Canyon is something you never forget.

4. Horseshoe Bend, AZ

  • Driving distance: 135 mi / 217 km
  • Driving time: 2.5 h

Although Horseshoe Bend is located a few miles outside Grand Canyon National Park, the scenery certainly continues here. Welcome to a unique bend of the Colorado River, also known as an incised meander.

With the Colorado River flowing roughly 1,000 feet (300 m) below you, the Horseshoe Bend overlook is remarkable. Nowhere within Grand Canyon National Park you find such an intimate Colorado River vista.

At Horseshoe Bend, sometimes referred to as the east rim of the Grand Canyon, the steep cliffs and reflecting Colorado River are beautiful contrasts. It’s a unique Las Vegas to Grand Canyon photo opportunity.

Horseshoe Bend is also easily accessible. From its parking lot it’s a walk of 0.75 miles (1.2 km) to the viewpoint. Just pay attention to that the heat during the warmer half of the year often gets intense.

Hot or not, Horseshoe Bend is a great morning or sunset activity on the LV to Grand Canyon itinerary. Early morning the sun is behind you at the overlook, while in the evening it sets in front of you.

Colorado River snaking around a huge snow-dusted cliff, forming the Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
Horseshoe Bend in winter.

5. Antelope Canyon, AZ

  • Driving distance: 7 mi / 11 km
  • Driving time: 0.5 h

You really go from one natural wonder to another on the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park road trip. Near the Utah-Arizona border, within Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park, the fabulous Antelope Canyon is situated.

Antelope Canyon is defined by its wavy sandstone walls. Around the year its shapes make people’s jaws drop, but its mystique peaks during the months when beams of sunshine cut into the canyon.

While Antelope Canyon is one slot canyon, there are two different sections that you can visit.

Upper Antelope Canyon is the most popular section. This also is where the famous light beams occur at midday from the second half of March until mid October.

Lower Antelope Canyon has its own entrance point and is not as visited. Although you don’t find any light beams here, its shapes are as great as the ones on offer in Upper Antelope Canyon.

No matter which section you go for, you need a reservation with an authorized guide. Especially during the summer season the tours tend to book up early in advance.

Light beam reaching the floor in wavy Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Antelope Canyon, AZ.

6. Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

  • Driving distance: 157 mi / 253 km
  • Driving time: 3 h

Bryce Canyon National Park is the second out of three national parks on the LV to Grand Canyon itinerary. It’s a place filled with peculiar rock formations, including the park’s signature spires called hoodoos.

Over millions of years, a natural amphitheater, called the Bryce Amphitheater, has been carved out by Mother Nature. The Bryce Amphitheater is the park’s main area, where you find its greatest concentrations of hoodoos.

From the road through Bryce Canyon, it’s just steps to some of the park’s most iconic overlooks. Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset Point and Sunrise Point are such points that all are easy to reach from the park road.

However, during the busy summer season it’s a good to consider the park’s shuttle. If you explore the park by shuttle, your car gets some well deserved rest before the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon loop continues.

Hikers surrounded by rising red cliffs in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah
Bryce Canyon — a rocky LV to GC wonderland.

7. Zion, UT

  • Driving distance: 73 mi / 117 km
  • Driving time: 1.5 h

Colorful red sandstone cliffs, blue skies and evergreen canyons — don’t miss Zion National Park in Utah on your Las Vegas to Grand Canyon National Park road trip.

Although it isn’t the itinerary’s main focus, Zion is a side attraction like no other. When it comes to visitors per year, Zion is up there with Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and the other big boys.

Hit the dramatic Angels Landing

Zion National Park offers truly jaw-dropping hiking opportunities. So of course the best things to do in Zion National Park include exploring the various world-class trails.

For the experienced hiker, Angels Landing might be the hike on top of the list on the the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip. It’s a trail that is known for its thrilling climbs.

At 5 miles (8 km) the trail’s length maybe doesn’t sound like a challenge. However, the trail has an elevation change of 1,488 feet (453 m), and some stretches are just a few scary feets wide.

If you’re up for the task, just pay attention to that you because of its popularity need a special Angels Landing hiking permit.

Relax with a quiet Riverside Walk

Even though you find dramatic hikes like Angels Landing in Zion, it’s also a place that caters to every traveler on the LV to Grand Canyon drive. So if you look for something less challenging, don’t despair.

The Riverside Walk is 2.2 miles (3.5 km) long both ways. It’s a perfect trail for a more casual stroll.

Along Virgin River, in the heart of Zion National Park, the Riverside Walk is flat and easy. The hike ends where the canyon gets so narrow that only the river fits. There a more demanding Zion hike, the Narrows, begins.

Reddish Zion Canyon framed by towering cliffs and dotted with lush vegetation under a blue sky
Zion National Park, a hiker’s paradise.

8. Valley of Fire

  • Driving distance: 133 mi / 214 km
  • Driving time: 2.5 h

Valley of Fire State Park is situated right along the route from Zion National Park to Las Vegas. The Nevada state park lures visitors in with its never ending landscape of reddish rocks.

Established in 1935, Valley of Fire State Park is the oldest and largest state park in Nevada. Although covering almost 46,000 acres, it’s one of those parks that you don’t need to hike to enjoy.

After all the previous hiking on the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon itinerary, it’s appreciated that you can witness much of its grand scenery from the comfort of your own car.

So enjoy the beautiful landscape as you cruise through the Nevada valley. Just make sure to watch out for moving objects, wildlife including big horn sheep enjoy the park as much as human visitors.

Gathering of big horn sheep in Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Watch out for big horn sheep in Valley of Fire.

9. Las Vegas

  • Driving distance: 53 mi / 85 km
  • Driving time: 1 h

Time has come to complete the spectacular Las Vegas to Grand Canyon loop. After 53 more miles on the road, you’re back on the sprawling Strip in Las Vegas.

Green Las Vegas Boulevard South sign under purple sky
Welcome back to Vegas!

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip FAQ

How long is the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip?

This ultimate Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip loop is 839 miles (1,350 km) long. Driving it takes about 15.5 hours, not including any stops along the way.

In contrast, the shortest possible out-and-back route from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim is 558 miles (898 km). With a driving time of 8.5 hours, it saves you 7 hours, compared to this packed LV to Grand Canyon loop.

Think a Las Vegas to Grand Canyon loop sounds awesome but want to shave the travel time a little bit? If you skip Valley of Fire State Park on the way back to Las Vegas, you save one hour.

Where should I stop between Las Vegas and Grand Canyon?

The main stops on the ultimate Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Valley of Fire.

If you don’t travel during the winter months, consider adding Grand Canyon North Rim to the itinerary. You can relatively easily squeeze Grand Canyon North Rim in between Antelope Canyon and Bryce Canyon.

When is the best time to take the road trip from LV to Grand Canyon?

A road trip from LV to Grand Canyon is a great experience every month of the year. All the attractions on the LV to Grand Canyon itinerary, including Grand Canyon South Rim, are open year round.

Summer, when the temperatures are as hottest, is the peak period of the year. Then the visitor counts skyrocket at all the natural attractions along the route from LV to Grand Canyon.

Spring and autumn are shoulder seasons for the parks on the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon itinerary. This period, with comfortable average temperatures, is ideal if you plan demanding hikes, including Grand Canyon’s renowned Bright Angel Trail.

Winter, when the rim gets covered in snow, is a special time of the year to visit the Grand Canyon. But pay attention to that the low temperatures make the trails within Grand Canyon National Park more challenging.

How many days do I need to take the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip?

For the most rewarding experience, we recommend setting aside at least a week. With so many top sights, you certainly don’t want to rush through the itinerary.

But if you have less time, you can take a pacier road trip with less time at each stop. Or you could, of course, take a less loaded in-and-out Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip.

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