By Shuttle, Grand Canyon
I used Arizona Shuttle in November 2011 to transfer from Phoenix, via Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Village and then returned to Flagstaff.
Pick-up at Grand Canyon Village is from Mawick Lodge. A return ticket from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Village and back cost me US$56.00 - which I thought very reasonable.
A shuttle bus would pick you up from your hotel or next door hotel in the Las Vegas but do not get too cumfy there - it takes you for a briefing, wrist bands and passes for your tour and breakfast, where you'll get danish and juice.
Then a luxury double-decker bus will take you to a point sky-station (after the Joshua Tree Forest) where you again will change buses and board a a dirt old bus due to 10-15 mile stretch of unpaved road.
Be prepared for a hair raising bumpy ride.
At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at a different location to the pickup in the morning.
You need to take the shuttle bus to the different viewing areas of the Grand Canyon. It actually has several shuttle buses going through different routes. If you are like us who are just there for a day, it is a must to get on the red route which offers the most scenic view of the Canyon. You can park at the visitor's center and get yourself to the Village Route Transfer Station using the Blue route shuttle bus. Then you can transfer to the Red route shuttle bus going to Hermit's rest which offers nine stops offering different views of the canyon. Please note that the stops going from Hermit's rest are fewer than the stops going there.
To make your stay at Grand Canyon National Park less hectic and to reduce traffic congestion the advice is to use the free shuttle buses. The shuttles operate from before sunrise to after sunset. They come by frequently and the drivers never get lost.
We parked up on the central car park and used this great service.
If you don't feel the drive-stop-park-drive-stop-park routine, then the shuttle is the best to go. From every important look-out point the shuttle will drop or pick up passengers. It will tour you around the grand canyon village where shopping and dining are and then right back to the points of interest.
The road to Hermit's Rest is partially closed as of April. It will be completely closed coming up - road construction to widen the road due to safety concerns. If you are planning on using the shuttle check with the park at nps.gov. - that site indicates the road will reopen in November, 2008.
The shuttles are not running to Hermits Rest due to the road closure. I will find out more information. There are 9 different stops at overlooks, so it is popular to say the least.
A great way to see different views from the rim is to take the shuttle bus the park provides. There are three different color of buses that take you to different places.The blue arond the park. The green takes you to South Kaibab Trail.The red shuttle bus takes you to Hermit's rest and other points and views. You can see the river at a few of the points. There are two rapids to see. Hermit's rest has a restroom and snack shack to get water and ice cream. It also has a big Indian fire place.
The shuttle system in Grand Canyon Village is excellent and FREE. They cover just about everywhere you want to go along the rim along a stretch probably 15 miles long. They cover the obsrvation points on the rim as well as the Market Plaza and some locations just south of the rim like our hotel, the Maswik Lodge. There are 3 routs designated by blue, red and green and stops are clearly marked. The schedules vary from every 30 minutes early and late to every 15 minutes during most of the day.
If you need a good reason to use the shuttle instead of your car, some of the more interesting view points west of the village are not open to private vehicles. You can walk if you are up for hike of up to 14 miles.
You can pick up at least a couple of free guides at the park entrance or at most of the hotels or info center - in other words you can't miss getting one. In them is a good map of, and info about, the shuttles. They are pretty easy to read and if you have any doubts the shuttle routes, stops or schedules, drivers are very helpful.
To access the free shuttle buses, you'll need to find a spot in one of the parking areas mentioned in an earlier tip and make your way to the stop. Buses come by every 15-30 minutes.
The free shuttle buses operate along three routes at the Grand Canyon:
Hermits Rest Route (red)
Village Route (blue)
Kaibab Trail Route (green)
Each route has a different color code, which can be seen when it pulls up to the shuttle stop. There is no charge for the bus and stops are easily found throughout the park by signs marked with the appropriate color code.
Keep an eye on the weather, because service can be halted due to deteriorating conditions.
The Park provides a free shuttle bus that runs every 15 minutes along the rim. It stops numerous times so that you can get off and stay awhile, reboarding the next buses to go on. The driver will talk about the canyon while you wander along the road. Be sure and go all the way to the end.
You catch the bus by going down the hill from Bright Angel Lodge. There you will see a bus stop for buses that go on a route through the park. Walk 100 more feet and just past the barrier will be this bus.
Best times---sunrise and sunset. There will be a sign that will tell you the bus to take for that.
The buses are natural gas driven.
The NPS operates a free shuttle service around all the publicly accessible areas of the South Rim. There are three one-way circuits: The Red Route - out to Hermits Rest; The Blue Route - around the village (but note this travels in one direction only and so if you only have to go a shortish distance against the bus route you may as well walk) and The Green Route - following the Kaibab Trail.
The shuttles stop to pick up and drop off at all the overlooks and other places of interest and you are free to take your time and catch whichever buses suit you. This is a very good service and the buses run very regularly with extra shuttles laid on during busy times such as sunset.
The Hermits Rest and Yaki Point trails are only accessible by the shuttles or on foot.
The website has a link to the map of all three routes.
BTW If you take a trailer bus like the one pictured the trailer can be a bumpy ride!
I was impressesd with the shuttle buses that run on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
Get familiar with what the shuttle buses can do for you! Not only are they envionmentally freindly (running LP) but will take you all around this National Park.
My son and I hiked th South Kaibab Trail and took the bus east to the trailhead. See Scott's picture.
My family and I used the bus to go back and forth from our Lodge to the Canyon and over to Hermits Rest. Look at their map and use this great resource. IT'S FREE TOO!
A great way to see more of the Grand Canyon and you don't even have to drive.
The NPS bus system gets an "A" from me.
We were very impressed with how the bus service was set up.; and it's FREE. Most of the bus drivers are quite friendly and personable, offering a little park info if needed, telling you if you're on the wrong bus, or giving a little friendly patter over the bus PA system. The bus service is essential as part of the park road system is closed to traffic a majority of the time.
There were a fair amount of people at the Grand Canyon when we were there in April, and I could see what a madhouse it could be in summer. We literally left the car in the Yavapai Lodge parking lot for 3 days where we stayed and took the bus everywhere. There are also bus stops at parking lots as well, if you aren't staying in the canyon.
The bus service is divided into three different lines: The Red Line, for Hermit Road; the Blue Line for Grand Canyon Village and area, and the Green Line for a few points on Desert View Drive. For hikers, there are bus stops near the popular trails, such as Hermit's Rest, Bright Angel, and the South Kaibab. It stops at the viewpoints so you can get on and off at your convenience, or if you want to stretch your legs, walk a km or so to the next stop.
It runs a majority of the time every 10-15 minutes (for complete info, read the little park newspaper you get when you go through the gates) and I found it very efficient.
If you are interested in hiking Rim to Rim and need a way to get back to your original starting point, then there is a company that runs a bus between the two. The trip is about 4 hours and the schedule when I went in October, 2003 was that it left once per day. Also, the cost when I went was $65 oneway.
Grand Canyon National Park provides a FREE shuttle bus system on three routes on the South Rim: the Village Route, the Hermit Rest Route, and the Kaibab Trail Route. No tickets are required. Simply board the brown and tan or white buses at any bus stop marked with a bus symbol on the map. The shuttles provide transportation; they are not tour buses. You must get off the bus to see the canyon. Shuttle service is not available on the North Rim. The Hermits Rest Route is NOT in service between December 1 and February 28. During those three months ONLY, Hermit Road and the road out to Yaki Point/South Kaibab are open to private vehicles.