Nothing can prepare you for the first glimpse of the Grand Canyon. The deep, rocky abyss, where the earth has just opened, is beyond majestic. There are some key areas of the Grand Canyon that can best be appreciated. The North Rim is generally inaccessible in the winter and the West Rim caters primarily to day trippers from Las Vegas, but the South Rim has the best tourist infrastructure without ever really losing the sense of rural escape. The easiest edge to get to is this one from Phoenix, Arizona, on a bus tour.
It’s impossible to visit the Grand Canyon without a certain amount of transportation. For many people, driving is part of the experience, but the distance between the Grand Canyon and Phoenix is about 230 miles, which can be a pretty exhausting trek. So if you prefer to be driven, then bus tours are one of the most common and valuable ways to get a view of the Grand Canyon and visit as much of the rim as possible along the rim. The tours selected for this list all depart from Phoenix or its adjoining city, Scottsdale, and return to Phoenix, which is located directly east of the city. In bringing this list to you, we have taken many factors into consideration, including itinerary, comfort, value for money and the overall quality of the travel experience.
Day trip to the Grand Canyon
Starting Price: $179/person
Understandably, a round-trip distance of about 460 miles takes quite a chunk of time, which is why you should expect these excellent day trips to run at least 12 or 13 hours. This way, you can expect to spend at least three hours or more exploring Grand Canyon National Park. One of the main benefits of the trip itself is in the passage of the famous Route 66, so this tour effectively combines two of Arizona’s most iconic destinations in one day. Transportation is in a comfortable air-conditioned van that can accommodate up to 13 guests. In time, you can walk parts of the South Rim Trail, from which you can experience the ever-changing magnificent scenery. Meals are not included in the cost.
Sedona and Grand Canyon Mini Tour
One thing that many first-time visitors to this area may not realize is that outside of the Grand Canyon of the United States, there is a natural wonder that pervades the area. This slightly longer tour of the beautiful, barren monoliths around the desert town of Sedona is about halfway through the trip. Continue on the scenic drive through Oak Creek Canyon. There is time to visit two of the best lookout points on the South Rim at the Grand Canyon, and free time for activities at the latter. The guides were friendly, especially knowing some of the best places to take pictures along the way.
Grand Canyon National Park Full Day Tour from Phoenix
When taking a bus tour from Phoenix’s Grand Canyon, there is more than one scenic route that can be taken. This tour squeezes in a true blend of flavors of the American Southwest, combining the natural beauty of the Southern Rim with the pine filled Coconino National Forest, and a little culture at the Cameron Trading Post, located on the Navajo Reservation, where you can eat lunch and buy handmade jewelry. Here, you also get a glimpse of the Little Colorado River Canyon, which makes an impressive impression, but is only the true touchstone of the Grand Canyon. This 13-hour trip can accommodate up to 11 people.
Helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon
To take your Grand Canyon trip from Phoenix to the next level, you must take to the sky and get a bird’s eye view. It’s a great way to better appreciate its grandeur and scale by flying in its deepest and widest parts. The helicopter flight takes 45 minutes of the 13-hour tour, with the rest of the time spent exploring sights like Route 66 and the Grand Canyon itself. Three hours are allotted for ground exploration, along the excellent, 30-mile road to the canyon rim. All transportation costs are included in the ticket price, but meals are not.