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The Grand Canyon has a very well-thought-out shuttle bus service. Even more, the shuttle bus service is included in your Grand Canyon entrance ticket.
You can use the Grand Canyon shuttle bus service as many times as you need. Simply hop on and hop off at any of the bus stops.
I hope this Grand Canyon shuttle bus guide will help you navigate through the Grand Canyon National Park like a pro! Plus, you will save money on gas, and not be stuck in traffic. In addition, it will take all the stress of finding a parking spot.
Grand Canyon National Park at Sunset / Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Guide
Grand Canyon National Park At-A-Glance
Before diving in, here are a few Grand Canyon National Park highlights to help you plan your trip:
- How to Get to Grand Canyon National Park
The Grand Canyon South Rim is located 60 miles north of Williams, Arizona (via route 64 from Interstate 40) and 80 miles northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona (via route 180). The closest major airport is in Flagstaff, AZ (86 miles from the park). It takes about 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach Grand Canyon from Flagstaff.
In addition, there is limited air service to Grand Canyon Airport
- Best Time to Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon National Park is a great destination to visit at any time of the year. And, it is open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. I have visited Grand Canyon so many times at different times of the year and I have to honestly say that it is an excellent place to see no matter what month you visit!
Spring, specifically – March, April, and May, is the best time to visit the Grand Canyon. The temperatures are mild and range from about 50F to 70F. However, be prepared for occasional showers and even snow. By the same token, you will see fewer crowds and have some serene experiences.
Summer, namely – June, July, and August, is the high season. It is the busiest time of the year. In addition, it is the hottest time of the year with temperatures ranging from 80F at the rim and climbing above 100F below the rim.
Fall, specifically – September, October, and November, is my favorite time to visit the Grand Canyon. The temperatures range from 50F to 70F and the crowds are low!
December, January, and February are good months to visit the Grand Canyon. First of all, the huge tourist crowds are practically gone. However, the temperatures are usually about 40F or below with plenty of snowfall.
- Where to Stay When Visiting Grand Canyon National Park
Hands down, nothing beats staying inside the park! However, accommodations inside the park are very limited and you will need to make reservations way in advance.
My top choice is El Tovar Hotel. It is a historic hotel located directly on the rim of the Grand Canyon. Katchina Lodge and Thunderbird Lodge are my two personal favorites. They both sit along the Rim Trail in the National Landmark Historic District. Above all, they are practically a stone’s throw from the canyon abyss.
If everything is booked inside the park, then the following are some of the places just outside the park that I stayed at before. They are no frills type of accommodations, but they work just fine:
Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon
Best Western Canyon Squire Inn
The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon
- How Much Does It Cost to Vist Grand Canyon National Park
In order to visit Grand Canyon National Park, you need to purchase a recreational day-use pass, which costs $35 per vehicle and is good for 7 consecutive days. You can buy the pass right at the entrance to the park. If you are visiting several national parks then make sure to get America the Beautiful National Park Pass. This $80 pass is valid for 12 months and gets you into all 400+ national park sites!
- Check Grand Canyon National Park Website for Trail Closures and Changes to Shuttle Operations
It is important that you check Grand Canyon National Park Website for any trail or road closures (usually due to rock slides) prior to going to the park. You can check for updates HERE.
Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Map
Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Routes
There are five routes covered by the Grand Canyon shuttle bus service:
- Blue Route/Village Route
- Orange Route/Kaibab Rim Route
- Red Route/Hermits Rest Road Route
- Purple Route/Tusayan Route (operates in summer)
- Hiker’s Express Route
Blue Route (Village Route)
Blue Route (Village Route) is a loop that is about 50 minutes long. It operates year-round and provides transportation between Grand Canyon Visitor Center, campgrounds, lodges, restaurants, and Market Plaza where you can find a market, post office, and a bank.
Map of Blue Route (Village Route) Shuttle Bus in Grand Canyon National Park. Image Credit: NPS / Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Guide
Blue Route (Village Route) operates year-round and provides transportation between Grand Canyon Visitor Center, campgrounds, lodges, restaurants, and Market Plaza / Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Guide
What you need to know about Village Route (Blue Route):
- Blue Route (Village Route) is a loop.
- Shuttle buses run counterclockwise on this loop.
- Shuttle buses start operating at 4:30 am from Grand Canyon Visitor Center in summer and 6 am in winter.
- The last shuttle bus leaves Grand Canyon Village at 9:30 pm (summer) and 8;30 pm (winter). If you are dining in Grand Canyon Village, make sure to get to the shuttle bus stop before 9:30 pm.
- Blue Route (Village Route) shuttle buses run every 30 minutes between 4:30 and 6:30 am, every 15 minutes between 6:30 pm and 7:30 pm, and every 30 minutes between 7:30 pm and 10 pm.
- Important: if you are transferring to Red Route (Hermits Rest Road Route), then make sure to get off at Hermits Rest Route Transfer. This is stop number 5 on Blue Route(Village Route).
- Important: if you are transferring to Orange Route( Kaibab Rim Route), then get off at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center stop.
Orange Route(Kaibab Rim Route)
Orange Route (Kaibab Rim Route) is a figure 8 loop. It is about 50 minutes long. It provides transportation between the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and some of the most spectacular viewpoints on Grand Canyon South Rim including:
- Mather Point
- Yavapai Point
- South Kaibab Trailhead
- Yaki Point
- Pipe Creek Vista
Map of Orange Route (Kaibab Rim Route) in Grand Canyon National Park. Image Credit: NPS / Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Guide
Kaibab Rim Route (Orange Route) provides transportation between the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and some of the most spectacular viewpoints on the Grand Canyon South Rim / Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Guide
Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Guide
What you need to know about Orange Route (Kaibab Rim Route):
- Orange Route (Kaibab Rim Route) is the figure 8 loop and shuttle buses run counterclockwise on this loop.
- Orange Route (Kaibab Rim Route) and the morning Hiker’s Express shuttle bus offer only motorized access to South Kaibab Trailhead.
- Keep in mind, that the road to South Kaibab Trailhead and Yaki Point is closed to private vehicles. To get to South Kaibab Trailhead or Yaki Point, you need to take a shuttle bus or you will have to walk.
- The first shuttle bus leaves Grand Canyon Visitor Center at 4:30 am.
- Shuttle buses run every 30 minutes between 4:30 am to 6:30 am and every 15 minutes between 6:30 am and 1 hour after sunset.
- Make sure to be at the bus stop no later than 30 minutes after sunset.
Red Route (Hermits Rest Road Route)
Map of Red Route (Hermits Rest Road Route) in Grand Canyon National Park. Image Credit: NPS / Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Guide
Red Route (Hermits Rest Road Route) shuttle bus provides transportation between Grand Canyon Village and Hermits Rest. It runs along the rim of the canyon for 7 miles and stops at some of the most breathtaking overlooks!
The outbound shuttle bus stops at nine scenic overlooks including:
- Trailview Overlook
- Maricopa Point
- Powell Point
- Hopi Point
- Mohave Point
- The Abyss
- Monument Creek Vista
- Pima Point
- Hermits Rest
The return shuttle bus has four stops including:
- Hermits Rest
- Pima Point
- Mohave Point
- Powell Point
Red Route (Hermits Rest Road Route) shuttle bus provides transportation between Grand Canyon Village and Hermits Rest / Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Guide
What you need to know about Red Route (Hermits Rest Road Route):
- Important: Between March 1, and November 30, Hermits Rest Road can only be accessed by Hermits Rest Road shuttle bus, commercial tour, on foot, or by bicycle.
- Important: Hermit Road is only open to private vehicles during December, January, and February, and make a note that there is no shuttle service during that time.
- Hermits Rest Road (Red Route) is in operation from 4:30 am until one hour after sunset each day
- Shuttle buses run every 30 minutes between 4:30 and 6:30 am, every 10 to 15 minutes between 6:30 am to sunset and every 30 minutes between sunset to an hour after sunset.
- The last bus is scheduled to run 30 minutes after sunset.
Purple Route (Tusayan Route)
Purple Route (Tusayan Route) shuttle bus is a great option, especially during the summer months! The lines at the entrance station to the Grand Canyon National Park could be more than a mile long during that time.
In addition, parking inside the park is usually a challenge. Instead of waiting at the entrance and wasting time trying to find a parking spot, you can park in Tusayan and ride a shuttle bus into the park.
Purple Route (Tusayan Route) shuttle bus is a great option, especially during the summer months / Grand Canyon Shuttle Bus Guide
What you need to know about Purple Route (Tusayan Route):
- Purple Route (Tusayan Route) shuttle buses run every day starting March 1 through November 30.
- Purple Route/Tusayan Route shuttle buses pick up visitors in Tusayan at the following four stops: IMAX Theater/ R.P.’s Stage Stop, Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn, The Grand Hotel, Big E Steakhouse, and Saloon.
- After making four stops in Tusayan, the shuttle bus heads straight to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.
- The shuttle buses run every 20 minutes between 8 am and 9:30 pm. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the Visitor Center.
- To use Purple Route/Tusayan Route shuttle bus, you must present a valid park entrance pass when boarding the bus. It is no big deal, you can buy an entrance pass online before your trip to the Grand Canyon.
- An online pass will admit everyone traveling with you in your car or personal vehicle. In addition, you can purchase an entrance pass in Tusayan at the following locations: National Geographic Visitor Center (IMAX Theater), Grand Canyon South Rim Chamber of Commerce, R.P.’s Stage Stop, Red Feather Lodge, Canyon Plaza Resort
- In addition, if you are visiting a couple of national parks during your vacation, or within a year, consider buying an annual pass. The cost of the annual pass is $80. An annual pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, such as national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, and grasslands.
Hikers Express Shuttle
The Hiker’s Express Shuttle Bus is an early morning bus with service to South Kaibab Trailhead.
Hands down, I highly recommend that you hike below the rim and South Kaibab Trail is the perfect hike to experience Grand Canyon below the rim. In addition, there is nothing better than watching the sunrise while descending into the canyon. It is simply a phenomenal experience!
What you need to know about Hikers Express Shuttle:
The Hiker’s Express Shuttle Bus departs from Bright Angel Lodge bus stop on the hour. The second stop is at Backcountry Information Center. The third stop is at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Finally, the last stop is at South Kaibab Trailhead.
Bus leaves Bright Angel Lodge at:
7 am, 8 am, 9 am in March
6 am, 7 am, 8 am in April
5 am, 6 am, 7 am in May
4 am, 5 am, 6 am in June, July, August
5 am, 6 am, 7 am in September
6 am, 7 am, 8 am in October
7 am, 8 am, 9 am in November
8 am, 9 am in December, January, February
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Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!
Are you planning your trip to Grand Canyon National Park?
Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!
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4 thoughts on “Best GRAND CANYON SHUTTLE BUS GUIDE (Useful Maps+Simple Routes+Schedules)”
Hi we are staying in best western premier squire hotel and I understand the purple line shuttle bus stops at this hotel. May I ask if it’s in service during October?
Tusayan Route Shuttle Bus (Purple) operates from March till September. If you are visiting Grand Canyon in October, then Tusayan Route Shuttle Bus (Purple) will not be operating. It will resume to operate on March 1, 2020 and continue operating till September 27, 2020.
Since you are visiting in October, you will be fine as far as driving into the park and finding a place to park.
It gets very busy during summer months and then the purple route shuttle comes in very handy.
Let me know if I can be of any further assistance.
We are planning our trip to the South Rim on September 13th 2023 . Is the shuttle to the park from Tusayan hotels still operating? If not, how do we get to the park without driving?
No, it is not.
You will need to drive your vehicle to get to the park.