Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Drive: How to Plan for this Road Trip

A road trip from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon is sure to leave you in wonder. It’s not every day that you get to see magnificent layers of red rocks revealing millions of years of history.

But before you leave Flagstaff, you need to plan your trip to the Grand Canyon. You need to know the best months to visit, things to do, and the time required for driving from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon.

This guide will help you plan for this road trip and make the most of your visit.

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon: South Rim

If you plan a road trip from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon, you will find the South Rim most accessible. Plus, it has numerous viewpoints, each point offering spectacular views of the Canyon.

The South Rim is considered the “true Grand Canyon” as it features all the dramatic views of the location seen in the pictures. Some viewpoints are more crowded, while others are quiet and perfect for watching the sunset.

The South Rim is only 79 miles from Flagstaff. Driving from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon takes about 90 minutes. If you want to take the shorter route, get on the 180 to 64 highway.

While your departure and destination spots will offer beautiful views, the drive from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon is not too exciting. You’ll mainly see the desert and flat land on your way. But, if you prepare a playlist or an audiobook, the road trip won’t bother you at all.

Once you reach the entrance road of South Rim, you’ll find a car park beside the Visitor Center. You can park your car and enjoy a walk along the trail before going to the next viewpoint.

Flagstaff to Grand Canyon: North Rim

The Grand Canyon North Rim is close to the Utah border. While the South Rim is filled with visitors during travel season, the North Rim is quite remote and only opens seasonally.

This location is less accessible and farther away from the highways, about 200 miles from the South Rim. That means it’s an additional four-hour drive from the South of the Canyon.

The distance from Flagstaff to the North Rim is 208 miles, and driving from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon takes about four hours. So this road trip won’t be too exciting either, but there is some wonderful scenery along the way.

Although the North Rim does not experience much crowd, many people prefer it over other locations due to this very reason.

Best Time for this Road Trip

The South Rim is open all year round, while the North Rim is only open half the year. So, you can admire the beauty of the South Rim in any weather— sunny or snowy.

Although the North Rim is not open all year, it is covered with trees and has plenty of natural shade, making it pleasantly cool during summers. The South Rim, however, heats up during the warm months.

The best time to visit the Grand Canyon is in Spring and Fall, when the weather is fine and fairly comfortable. The viewpoints, trails, and parking lots are not crowded during these seasons because the summer vacations have either ended or haven’t started yet.

Preparing for this Road Trip

Every road trip requires some preplanning, and every trip is different depending on its type and the time of the year. There are a few things to keep in mind before driving from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon.

If you plan on hiking, you should pack:

  • A pair of hiking shoes
  • Water bottles
  • Food and snacks
  • First Aid Kit
  • Sunscreen

These items will be especially useful during the summer months. However, if you won’t be hiking and planning to stick to the viewpoint only, then a sturdy pair of standard shoes will work just fine.

Remember to carry plenty of water and your camera with you to get the perfect shots of the road trip and your destination.

Places to Visit in the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon covers about 1900 squre miles and has endless beautiful parts for exploring, hiking, and admiring.

Grand Canyon South Rim is frequently preferred by first-timers who visit this part due to the abundance of viewpoints and family-oriented activities. However, there are quite a few beautiful spots at the North Rim, too, that you might not know of yet.

Here are a few places that can serve as starting points:

  • Mather Point, South Rim: Get a glimpse of the Colorado River, Phantom Ranch, and several trails across the landscape.
  • Hopi Point, South Rim: View the Colorado River to the west and the sunset.
  • Angel’s Window, North Rim: Get an awe-inspiring view of the natural arch and Colorado River through the “window.”
  • Rim Trail, North Rim: Walk along the scenic trail and view the Grand Canyon from the closest locations.


One of the seven Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon is a perfect bucket-list destination. A road trip from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon will be a journey you will never forget.

To get the most out of your visit, plan in advance and carry proper gear with you according to the nature of your visit.

Author Bio: Kyle Kroeger is a travel blogger for his site ViaTravelers.com. ViaTravelers is a modern travel blog providing the best tips, hacks, and itineraries to ensure you have an amazing adventure. Follow us on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube to get our latest travel updates in real-time.