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Exploring the South Rim

Canyon View Information Plaza- the main visitor center for the park

Canyon View Information Plaza- the main visitor center for the park
 
 
Canyon View Information Plaza and Mather Point
 
The best place to start your visit to the South Rim is at Canyon View Information Plaza, located at the east end of Grand Canyon Village. Indoor and outdoor exhibits explain the geology and history of the Grand Canyon. You can buy books, DVDs, and souvenirs at the Books and More bookstore located in the plaza.
 
Mather Point
 
From Canyon View Information Plaza, you can follow a handicap-accessible paved trail a quarter mile out to spectacular Mather Point, the most visited and photographed viewpoint at the Grand Canyon. Mather Point is especially scenic at sunrise and sunset.
 
Ranger Programs
 
Free programs led by park rangers are a great way to get to know the canyon. The programs include guided walks, campfire talks, geology, and special subjects. See the Kids and Families page for details.

South Rim

Mather Point on the South Rim

Mather Point on the South Rim
 
Panoramic Map of the South Rim. Zoom in to view details.
 
Yavapai Point Webcam
 
Park Newspapers and Maps
 
Most Grand Canyon visitors go to the South Rim, which includes the village of Tusayan and Grand Canyon National Park Airport outside the park, and Grand Canyon Village and Desert View inside the park. The South Rim also features many rim viewpoints accessible from the Desert View Drive and Hermit Road.
 
Free Shuttle Buses
 
Free shuttle bus service operated by the park provides transportation around Grand Canyon Village, the Hermit Road, to Yaki Point and the Kaibab Trailhead, and to Tusayan and the airport.
 
Amenities
 
The South Rim has most of the Grand Canyon's amenities, including restaurants, lodging, and camping both within the park and outside of the park. Seasonal park shuttles operate between the airport, Tusayan, and Grand Canyon Village, and taxi service is available all year. Market Plaza features a general store which sells groceries as well as camping, hiking, and backpacking equipment. Equipment rentals are also available. There is also a bank and ATM, self-service laundry, showers, and post office.
 
Trails
 
The Grand Canyon's main trails, the Kaibab and Bright Angel, start from the South Rim, as do many of the unmaintained backcountry trails.
 
When to Visit
 
The South Rim is open all year. Summer is the most popular time to visit and the high elevation of the South Rim, 7,000 feet, keeps the weather mild. Days are warm and the nights cool. Late summer typically brings afternoon thunderstorms which often create dramatic skies and stunning sunsets. Fall is the best time to visit- nights are crisp, often dropping below freezing, but the days are pleasant and the weather stable.
 
Winter is the least popular and often the most rewarding time to visit the South Rim, as the occasional snow storm drapes the canyon terraces with snow, emphasizing the colors and forms of the canyon. Winter nights are cold and the days chilly, but there are long sunny periods between the occasional storms. Spring has changeable weather with windy storms and even some snow alternating with calm, mild periods.
 
Getting Around the South Rim
 
Use the Free Shuttles
 
From March through October, roads and parking in the Grand Canyon Village area are congested. The best way to get around the village is via the free shuttle bus, which operates year-round in the village, to the Kaibab Trailhead and Yaki Point, and seasonally along Hermit Road and to Tusayan and the airport.
 
Park Away From the Rim
 
It is easiest to find a parking spot near the Backcountry Information Center at the west end of the village, or near Park Headquarters at the east end of the village. There are also large parking lots at Market Plaza and Canyon View Information Plaza, but these tend to fill early.
 
South Rim Transit Map
 
Download this map, which shows the shuttle bus routes and stops, as well as parking, in relation to the facilities in Grand Canyon Village.
 
 
Exploring the South Rim
 
Grand Canyon Village
 
Hermit Road
 
Desert View Drive
 
Kaibab National Forest- South Rim

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit. -Edward Abbey

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Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument

Waterfall in a side canyon

Waterfall in a side canyon
 
If you want to explore a place that is well off the beaten path, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument is your destination. Encompassing a large portion of the Arizona Strip country north of the Grand Canyon, the monument includes the volcanic Uinkaret Mountains, the dramatic Hurricane Cliffs, and a portion of the northwest rim of the Grand Canyon. Four wilderness areas are included in the national monument; Paiute, Grand Wash Cliffs, Mount Trumbull, and Mount Logan wildernesses.
 
Former Grand Canyon National Monument
 
Not to be confused with the old Grand Canyon National Monument, which was incorporated into Grand Canyon National Park by Act of Congress in 1975, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument was created by presidential proclamation on January 11, 2000. President Theodore Roosevelt first used the Antiquities Act of 1906 to protect wildlife areas, forests, and scenic lands he thought should be preserved for all Americans.
 
Antiquities Act
 
Many of our major national parks and much of the national forest system were first protected by presidents using the Antiquities Act. Although the president and the Congress may both create national monuments, only Congress can create or rescind a national park or rescind a national monument. Presidents have used their power to create national monuments so wisely and effectively that Congress has never rescinded a presidential national monument.
 
Location
 
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument lies about 30 miles southwest of St. George, Utah, and is only accessible via long dirt roads. There are no services of any kind within the national monument. Visitors planning to explore the national monument should be experienced and equipped for remote desert travel. Most of the monument's roads are not maintained for passenger cars. It is recommended that you have a high clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle. Carry plenty of food and water.
 
Map
 
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument (NPS website)
 
Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument (BLM website)

The name of my Band is Cedar Band of Paiutes. My last name, Parashonts, means Elk or large deer standing in the water. I think the spelling of the Paiute word goes something like Pah-duee'. That is my family name on my grandparent's and mother's side. She was Paiute from Shivwits, as was my grandmother, Catherine Bonapart was from Shivwits also. My grandfather is Woots Parashonts, a Paiute born in Beaver County and lived in the Cedar area. I am registered under my grandfather's name with the Cedar Band of Paiutes. Our name comes from the newly created Parashonts National Monument down along the BLM Arizona Strip. That’s where my family comes from. That is a little history on my name. Thanks for thinking of me and my family. You have honored me in a good way. -Travis Parashonts

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Grand Canyon National Park

Eastern Grand Canyon

Eastern Grand Canyon
 

Much of the Grand Canyon is protected in Grand Canyon National Park and is managed by the National Park Service, a federal agency within the Department of the Interior. Part of the northwestern Grand Canyon is protected in Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, which is jointly managed by the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management, another agency of the Department of the Interior.
 
Grand Canyon from Space
Grand Canyon National Park News Releases
 
Indian Reservations
 
The southwestern quarter of the Grand Canyon lies within the Hualapai Indian Reservation. Lower Havasu Canyon and Great Thumb Mesa are part of the Havasupai Indian Reservation. The Navajo Indian Reservation lies adjacent to the east boundary of the national park.
 
National Forest
 
Kaibab National Forest covers part of the Coconino Plateau south of the national park and part of the Kaibab Plateau north of the national park. The forest is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, a federal agency of the Department of Agriculture.
 
Wilderness
 
Portions of Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument and the Kaibab National Forest are National Wilderness areas. See the Explore page for more information on the monument and the reservations.
 
Land Management
 
For the visitor to the Grand Canyon, the effect of these different managing agencies is that the rules change as you move into a different jurisdiction. The wilderness areas are managed primarily for preservation, and motorized equipment and permanent man-made structures are not allowed. Most of the national park is managed for preservation, but portions, mainly on the rims and at Phantom Ranch within the canyon, are managed to provide amenities for visitors. The national forest is managed for multiple uses, including logging, mining, and motorized recreation.
 
The two Indian reservations are managed by the tribes for the tribal members, which includes providing some access for visitors. For details on the history of the national park and the other management units, see People and the Canyon.
 
Grand Canyon National Park website
 
Is All of the Grand Canyon in the National Park?
 
Not quite. Grand Canyon National Park covers 1,218,376 acres (493,077 hectares). Grand Canyon runs generally east to west, and is bounded by the north and South Rims. The park includes all of the North Rim and about half of the South Rim, as well as Marble Canyon to the northeast. Most of the park's five million visitors spend their time at the South Rim, at Grand Canyon Village, and on the West Rim and Desert View drives. Despite the names, the Grand Canyon Village area is actually located along the southeast rim of the Grand Canyon.
 
Area Map
 
Visitation and Amenities
 
Each year, four to five million people visit Grand Canyon National Park. Ninety percent of these visitors go to Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim. The South Rim has most of the park's amenities and is easiest to reach. About ten percent of park visitors go to the North Rim. Relatively few get to remote areas of the park, such as Toroweap or Point Sublime.
 
Colorado River
 
Other visitors float down the Colorado River from Lee's Ferry at the head of Marble Canyon on river trips lasting from a few days to several weeks. The river provides the easiest access to the wilderness backcountry of the Grand Canyon.
 
Trails
 
Two maintained trails provide access to the canyon itself from the Grand Canyon Village and North Rim Village areas. Another dozen or so unmaintained trails provide further access to the Grand Canyon's wilderness from points along the South Rim scenic drives, and from remote dirt roads on the North Rim. This trail network covers only a small portion of the park. Away from the trail network, all the hiking is cross-country which requires fitness and experience in desert hiking.
 
Park Backcountry
 
Access to most of the two rims, other than the Grand Canyon Village and North Rim Village areas, is by long, remote dirt roads, most of which are not maintained for passenger cars. Only those visitors who have appropriate high clearance vehicles and are equipped and experienced back-road desert travelers should attempt these roads.
 
Regulations
 
Within the national park, regulations have been designed to protect the park. In general, disturbance or removal of any natural object, plant, animal, or historic object or structure is prohibited, as is the possession of loaded firearms. Camping is allowed only in campgrounds. A permit is required for overnight or longer backpacking trips, for camping in the backcountry, and for river trips. See the Hiking and River Running pages for details.

National parks are the best idea we ever had. Absolutely American, absolutely democratic, they reflect us at our best rather than our worst. -Wallace Stegner

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