Grand Canyon- South Rim (question & general info)

My family is going to the Grand Canyon in June and I have a few questions and want some advice. First, we are coming from the east side and I’m wondering if the east entrance is less crowded than the south entrance. I was looking at the south entrance webcam and the line looks pretty long. Second, the NPS website says that 3 of the shuttle bus routes are not in service due to Covid. Does anyone have any insight on if they’ll open back up after Memorial Day? If not, I am thinking about renting bikes for 2-3 days to get around. Any thoughts on if the bike rentals would be worth it? Lastly, any tips or general information about the park we need to know? We are tent camping in Mather campground. My kids are 13 and 7 so we probably won’t hike much further than 1.5 miles into the canyon.

Thanks everyone!

We camped at mather a few years ago and loved it. I think that bikes are a great shuttle alternative, there are so many great stops that I wouldn’t want to have to walk to with kids. Be prepared for the no shower situation, I generally camp where water is plentiful so that was an oversight on my part. If I go again I’m definitely bringing a shower bag. Our biggest hike was the south kaibib trail, loved it and totally think that going down partway would be doable with kids. I would suggest watching the sunrise from the visitor center, I am not a sunrise person and loved it. We also chased the sunset to the end of the shuttle line and it was awesome, which might be hard to do depending on if the shuttles are operating or not, maybe bring some bike lights/reflective gear so you can catch some sunsets at different points.

We arrived at the south entrance in the evening, so it wasn’t crazy. We left out of the east entrance and there was noticeably less traffic. However, we arrived June 1, so summer tourism wasn’t at full throttle yet. The view at the east entrance watch tower park was beautiful, even just sitting on the ground.

good info, thank you Krista

The east side entrance is usually way less crowded. Make sure you check the National Park Service website for the Grand Canyon, as the alerts tell you whether the entrances are open. Currently, the east side entrance IS open. As for the shuttle situation, the website currently says that the Blue Route (the one that goes to the village) is not in operation March 1 through May 28, 2021. The way it is worded indicates that the route MAY be open after May 28. Your chances are good, as Grand Canyon is a serious moneymaker for the area and the state, and June through November is prime traveling time.

Drink lots of water. Don’t get dehydrated. Rest during the heat of the day. Also, the heat gets higher as you go lower into the canyon. The bottom of Grand Canyon can be as much as 10-15 degrees higher than where the viewpoints are.

That’s good info. I think we’ll use the east entrance and I went ahead and reserved bikes for two of the days we’ll be there. And a good reminder to stay hydrated. Thanks for the advice.

That reminds me that I bought a big sun hat from coolibar that I would drench in water to help keep me cool. There are brands that make hats specifically for soaking. Definitely worth looking into.

I just got back from there, like today. We came in from the east side. It was not busy at all. My daughter met us there and she came in from the south and had to wait in line. We camped at Mather Saturday-and left Thursday. The showers were not open yet. They said because of covid. We took the red and the orange bus. To see the west edge and did a little of hermits trail. Also the east route to see all the points/ overlooks. Definitely take the bus. Not crowded during the week. The parking lots are good if you get up and go before 8-9. We were on central time so had not problem doing that. Was getting very hot. Drink lots of water. We hiked to skeleton point one day and plateau point the next day and the thermostat at Indian campground said 100