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Drive to Grand Canyon

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posts: 83
reviews: 17
Drive to Grand Canyon

We're leaving on the Wednesday to head to the Grand Canyon from Vegas, and was wondering what time would be an ideal time to depart from the hotel and from the Canyon to ensure we (a) get to the Grand Canyon on time, and spend enough time enjoying the scenary/surroundings, (b) avoid traffic on the way to and on the way back, as well (c) determining when and where would be a good time to stop to eat (ie) if there are rest stops along the way.

We're looking to do this trip in one day, and would like to stop off in downtown Vegas on the way back.

Any suggestions would be truly helpful.


posts: 162
reviews: 3
1. Re: Drive to Grand Canyon

Start early! I'd say leave LV no later than 06:30; that'll get you to the rim by 11 -ish give you time to enjoy the Canyon and still be able to get back at a sensible hour.

Unless you're doing the North Rim, then you'll have to go the length of Vegas to hit downtown later.

We ate at Boulder City; quite a refreshing change from Vegas!

posts: 83
reviews: 17
2. Re: Drive to Grand Canyon

Wow 6:30 seems a little too early for my liking, but I'll take it into consideration. Did you run into any traffic? Do you think there will be more or less traffic on a Wednesday?

Boston, MA
posts: 2,407
3. Re: Drive to Grand Canyon

T-dot, I hate to do this, but you should really reconsider. the only way to make to the Canyon on a one day trip is to leave very early ( which should be illegal in Vegas!). anyway, you'll beat the traffic going out, but the ride is not all that interesting. We decided to get beyond the Hoover Dam before we ate and it was more than an hour before we found a MacDonald's. We tried to do better going back, but had no luck, finally choosing a spot that was pretty bad foodwise. The trip back is much worse because you'll hit traffic as you approach the Dam (its caused by pedestrians crossing the street at the Dam.) You'll spend about 45 minutes crawling about 5 miles through a landscape that looks like hell after the fire went out. Once you get back to Vegas, you'll find that you will need a few days just to recover from your "daytrip" . I suggest that you travel by air.

Newton, New Jersey
posts: 947
reviews: 113
4. Re: Drive to Grand Canyon

You're going to hit rush hour traffic on the freeway from around 7-7:30AM to 9-9:30AM. Once you get to the Boulder City area and head towards the Hoover Dam the traffic should thin out and you'll fly. But honestly, it's a good 4-5 hour drive from Vegas so you'll want an early start.

posts: 83
reviews: 17
5. Re: Drive to Grand Canyon

Do you expect it's 4-5 hours regardless of what time you leave? I have no problem driving 4-5 hours as long as it is constant moving. I hate to deal with stop and go.

It's unfortunate the drive isn't really scenic.

Newton, New Jersey
posts: 947
reviews: 113
6. Re: Drive to Grand Canyon

The drive took me 5 hours (no traffic) and both times I had to stop for gas and something to eat along the way. I consider myself a fast driver, so I don't really think it can be done in under 4 hours, but I'm sure there's someone here who will say they've done it that fast.

I'm not sure what the traffic is like from Vegas to Boulder city, but I do know that anytime I've looked out towards the freeway during rush hour it has been jam packed both ways. Hopefully someone a bit more local can give you a better idea of the traffic patterns.

Las Vegas, Nevada
posts: 3,317
7. Re: Drive to Grand Canyon

Leaving early (6:30) or so, you'll be fine on the freeway, as everyone is heading towards the strip. If you are staying on the strip, I suggest heading down Flamino or Tropicana to the 93/95 to head south. It puts you on the same freeway you would catch close to downtown, but help avoid the traffic around the spaghetti bowl. There is no way to make it in under 4 hours, no matter what anyone says. It's 4.5 to 5 hours, and traffic should be fine. Do it on the Weekdays if possible.

posts: 217
8. Re: Drive to Grand Canyon

Are you going to the West rim where they built the sky bridge or the south rim(Where the National park is) There is a big difference in driving. If you are going to the main part (South Rim) you are probably looking at 10 hours round trip drive time, then at least 2 to3 hours in the park and eating. That is a very big day. There are a couple of small towns on the way 50 miles south of the Canyon where you could get a little room for the night. I`m figurining at least a 14 hour round trip if your traffic is light then downtown too? You have more stamina than Me! LOL

posts: 1,745
reviews: 2
9. Re: Drive to Grand Canyon

Once you leave LV you will hit some traffic by the dam but you will hit the majority of your traffic in the park itself. From the dam to Kingman (Aprox 70mi) you will find very little town-wise. Same with Kingman to Williams (Aprox 110 mi).

It can be done in a day. My wife and I did it. We left at 6am and did not get back till about 10pm. It's a long day but it can be done.

posts: 967
reviews: 138
10. Re: Drive to Grand Canyon

The distance from Vegas to Grand Canyon, south rim is roughly 250 miles, which is about 4 & 1/2 hours drive one way without traffic jam or long pit stops.

You will need to ask yourself what you would like to see in Grand Canyon. If you are interested in seeing the sunrise, an overnight stay will be needed. Sunrise starts around 5am, give & take some depending on season.

If you just want to see the Canyon in one day & dont want to be too tiring (driving 9 hours round trip, assuming no bad traffic jam at Hoover Dam or any construction areas along the route) Helicopter ride may not be a bad choice. Get one of those coupon/brochure/advertising when you are in Vegas, or even google & see what is available. Then the one day trip will become less hurried & you get to sightsee more on the rim.

Yes there are rest stops along the way since that is one of the major attractions towards Arizona, but dont expect 5-stars cuisine. That you can get in Vegas.