The Grand Canyon has become a momentous travel destination for as many as 6 million visitors from all over the world. Remote as it is, many people go to great lengths to visit the park, I’m here to suggest you go to different great lengths besides driving…. the Park is limited on parking spaces and it is massively congested. You’ll will buy yourself the old fashioned experience of public transport at it’s finest.
A little history, the Grand Canyon Village began development in the late 1800’s, and predominately in the early 1900’s. Pre-automobile era, the layout didn’t account for the massive flux of cars to frequent the area. Later the area became a National Park, and as visitation soared, the answer to the overcrowded park was either to bulldoze more forest to make way for cars, or give people other ways to reach the park. The former is unacceptable.
So here are my non-driving suggestions for navigating the park.
Grand Canyon by Train ($$$)
Most people are often visiting the Canyon as a part of a larger road trip, one major vein of many road trips is U.S. 40. Which runs through Flagstaff and the small cowboy town of Williams. Of which, both have train stations, and Williams contains the transfer to the Grand Canyon Railway, that will take you into the park. Which ever itinerary works best for you, it’s possible to take an Amtrak train from Flagstaff to Williams, and then board the train for Grand Canyon, or just board in Williams direct. The site for reservations to the railway is here. Grand Canyon Train
Grand Canyon by Bike ($$)
I am currently guiding for Grand Canyon’s only bike route and rental facility, so it goes without saying that I can heartedly recommend this mode of transport . The park is full of greenways and roads specifically catering to bicyclists. It’s a fantastic way to see the Canyon on a budget after you arrive at the Canyon by train. You can park at the visitor center and rent bikes or, preferably ride the NPS shuttle in from Tusayan to the Visitor center and pick up your bikes at www.bikegrandcanyon.com when you get there.
Grand Canyon by NPS Public Transport Bus System (Free)
Presently there are a myriad of alternative travel methods to the Canyon; even if you don’t have the time for one of these methods, keep in mind that the NPS runs a free shuttle service around the park, and a shuttle to the town of Tusayan outside the park to the south. There you can park your car, and take the free shuttle into the park; saving the gas, time, and hassle of bringing your own vehicle. Here is a link of the NPS shuttle routes, and schedules. SHUTTLES Make sure to buy, or have your park pass handy before boarding the shuttle into the park.