Bus from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

Ultimate Day Trip: Taking the Bus from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

Are you ready for the experience of a lifetime? Join me on a thrilling trip by bus from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, where you’ll explore awe-inspiring landscapes, visit iconic landmarks, and create unforgettable memories. In this review, I will take you through every step of the adventure as experienced by me. I did this trip solo, but it can be done with anyone else, including children.

If you are planning to spend a weekend in Vegas or maybe longer, this day trip can be added onto any Vegas itinerary. If you are an outdoor lover, then doing some hikes near Vegas is another way to explore the outdoors while you are visiting Sin City.

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Don’t have time to read the whole article? No worries! This Grand Canyon West Rim tour was what I did and highly recommend. Sit back and enjoy the experience!

History of the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon, one of the world’s most breathtaking natural wonders, boasts a rich geological history that spans millions of years. Its formation can be traced back to the Colorado River’s relentless erosion, which gradually carved out the immense structures you see today.

The process began around six million years ago when the river started cutting through layers of sedimentary rock in the Colorado Plateau, exposing a cross-section of Earth’s geological history. Native American tribes have inhabited the area for thousands of years, and Spanish explorers were among the first Europeans to document its existence in the 16th century. In the 19th century, expeditions and surveys by American explorers and scientists brought widespread attention to the Grand Canyon, leading to its eventual designation as a national park in 1919.

Sections of the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon encompasses several rims, each offering a unique perspective of this natural marvel. 

The South Rim, located within the Grand Canyon National Park, is the most visited and easily accessible rim. It features numerous viewpoints and is approximately a 4.5-hour drive from Las Vegas. 

The North Rim, also within the Grand Canyon National Park, offers a more remote and tranquil experience, with stunning vistas and a cooler climate. It is about a 5.5-hour drive from Las Vegas. 

The West Rim is situated on the Hualapai Indian Reservation and is the closest rim to Las Vegas, at around a 2.5 hour drive, thus making it a popular day trip. Note that if you choose to visit the West Rim on your own, you will have to pay to access this part of the Grand Canyon. It is not considered part of the Grand Canyon National Park, so if you have a National Parks Pass, it cannot be used here. 

This post will discuss accessing the Grand Canyon West Rim from Las Vegas.

Grand Canyon View

History of the Hualapai Tribe and the West Rim

The Hualapai Tribe, a Native American group indigenous to the southwestern United States, has a rich history intertwined with the Grand Canyon. For centuries, the Hualapai people have inhabited the region surrounding the Grand Canyon, known as Hualapai Tribal Lands. They have a deep cultural connection to the canyon, holding significant spiritual and historical importance in their traditions. 

The Hualapai people took over control of the Grand Canyon West Rim side through a significant land settlement in 1988, which granted them ownership and management rights over approximately one million acres of ancestral land, including the Grand Canyon West Rim.

This landmark agreement allowed the Hualapai Tribe to assert their sovereignty and develop tourism initiatives in the area, leading to the establishment of the Hualapai Tourism enterprise and the transformation of the Grand Canyon West Rim into a culturally significant and economically viable destination. The development of tourism activities on their lands, including the famous Skywalk, offers visitors a unique perspective of the Grand Canyon.

Planning Your Trip to the Grand Canyon West Rim

When visiting Las Vegas, there are so many things to do to keep you busy that many people do not think of going to the Grand Canyon as an option. I have visited Las Vegas many times and I decided that this time, I was going to check the Grand Canyon off of my bucket list. Is it worth going to the Grand Canyon from Vegas? Absolutely! It was definitely worth the day trip, 

I looked into whether I wanted to rent a car and do the drive myself, or take a bus tour. Renting a car meant the cost for at least a two day rental, filling the tank with gas, paying for parking at the hotel, driving along the Las Vegas Strip and not to mention a very long 10 hours in a vehicle. I also discovered that personal vehicles are not allowed onto the West Rim. So once you park and buy your pass, you line up to take a shuttle to visit the park. If you do decide to drive on your own, make sure you arrive early to avoid the crowds.

Taking a bus from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon meant I personally did not have to worry about any of those things above – other than being on the bus. Having an informative guide and being able to relax and admire the views was worth every penny. And the cost of the tour was less than what it would have cost to rent a car.

Bus Tour from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

I booked the Las Vegas: Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Lunch tour, which I highly recommend. It was well worth the time and money spent! The tour is 10 hours and is operated by National Park Express. They provided great communication ahead of time and provided reminders, what to bring and where to meet.

Starting Point

There are many places to stay in Las Vegas, and most tourists stay on the Las Vegas Strip. However, if your accommodations are not on the Las Vegas strip, then you will have to find your own way to the meeting point for 6:40am. The pick up spot was in the parking lots between the Treasure Island and Mirage on the Las Vegas strip. It is a major pick up spot, so there will be lots of buses and people there. Make sure you pay attention and get on the correct bus. Tour leaves at 7am sharp!

They provide bottles of water and granola bars as snacks as part of your trip. You will also receive your voucher for the Grand Canyon as well as for the Skywalk, if you purchased that as part of your ticket. More on that later.

Approximately an hour into your drive out of Las Vegas, the driver will make a stop at a Travel Center where you can use the restrooms or purchase any snacks or breakfast that you want for the next couple of hours. You will also cross into Mountain Standard Time, so note that the time will change forward an hour.

View on the bus from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

Mojave Desert

As you leave Nevada, you enter Arizona and start the drive through the vast Mojave Desert with its unique and stark beauty which is a sight to behold. Joshua trees dot the landscape, creating a unique atmosphere. Enjoy the amazing views along the way on the winding roads in between the mountains and rocky valleys. The Grand Wash Cliffs offer your first glimpse of the Grand Canyon’s dramatic scenery. The sheer drop-offs and layers of colorful rock formations will leave you in awe.

Mojave Desert

Grand Canyon West – Hualapai Reservation

As you travel through the Hualapai Reservation, you will arrive at the Grand Canyon West, and be greeted by breathtaking panoramic views. This is the perfect place for capturing incredible photographs and soaking in the grandeur of the canyon. 

Your bus driver will stop and you will have to exit the bus momentarily to ‘check in’. Once back on the bus, you will be guided through the checkpoint entrance towards your first stop, where you will get 1.5 hour to explore Eagle Point. Taking the bus from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon was definitely the way to go, as we just breezed past all the other people waiting to check in and waiting for shuttles.

Skywalk at Eagle Point

Eagle Point

Your first stop at the West Rim will be at Eagle Point.  It is believed to have gotten its name from a legend that tells of the formation of the canyon. According to Native American folklore, an eagle was sent by the Great Spirit to protect the Hualapai people who lived in the area. The eagle swooped down and spread its wings to shield the tribe, creating the deep chasm of the Grand Canyon.

Eagle Point @ Grand Canyon West Rim

Eagle Point is named in honor of this majestic bird and its role in the creation myth of the canyon. Can you see the eagle formation that was believed to be naturally carved into the stone?

Eagle Point View @ West Rim

Grand Canyon Skywalk

If you are feeling adventurous, you can marvel at the world-famous Grand Canyon Skywalk—a glass bridge that extends over the canyon, at 4,770 ft (1,450 m) above sea level, providing a thrilling experience. The views from here are nothing short of spectacular. If you purchased a ticket for the Skywalk as part of your tour, you can immediately access the Skywalk. If you did not purchase a ticket in advance, you can purchase a ticket there.

Note that you are not allowed to take any of your personal belongings onto the Skywalk, including phones or cameras. There are free lockers to secure your personal items. There is a photographer on the Skywalk that can take your picture for $17.00.

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Lunch at Eagle Point

Part of your tour includes lunch. Once you enter the restaurant, proceed to the counter and hand them your voucher. They will then proceed to seat you. The restaurant runs an efficient process. Your voucher allows you to choose any item off their menu as well as a drink. The options are limited but it was pretty good considering the amount of visitors they have to serve per day. 

Once you have had lunch, roam through the area and enjoy the view from the rim of the Grand Canyon. You can also explore the Native American Village that features authentic housing and sweat lodges.

Grand Canyon West Rim Eagle Point

Guano Point

Back on the bus, you will travel to the next spot, Guano Point, where you will have 1.25 hours to explore the area. In the 1930’s two men were traveling down the river, and discovered a bat cave. When they checked it out, they found bat feces, guano, which was a popular ingredient for fertilizer.

Over the years, attempts were made to create a mining operation and to build a tramway across the canyon. Unfortunately the mine was not successful, and was closed in 1960. Tourists can still see remnants of the old mining operation when they visit Guano Point.

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Guano Point offers another perspective of the canyon. The views are simply mesmerizing, and you can see the Colorado River winding its way through the depths of the canyon. If you are feeling adventurous, you can venture up the hill and climb to the top of the rocks for an even more amazing view.

Grand Canyon view from Guano Point

Arizona Joshua Tree Forest

After you leave the Grand Canyon West Rim, you head back towards Las Vegas, you will drive back through the mesmerizing Joshua Tree Forest. This time you will get time to stop for some pictures. These ancient trees, with their twisted branches and spiky leaves, make for an incredible backdrop of this desolate but amazing scenery.

Joshua Tree Forest

Hoover Dam

On the return journey to Las Vegas, you will make your final stop at the iconic Hoover Dam. This engineering marvel straddles the border of Arizona and Nevada and offers stunning views of Lake Mead. Due to recent climate changes, the water levels have dramatically dropped, so it seems to take away from what used to be the amazement of the Dam. The pictures show just how low the water levels are.

Hoover Dam

Your trip ends with the final hour (or longer depending on the traffic) back to Las Vegas. You will be dropped off back at your starting point with the memories of an amazing trip to the Grand Canyon West from Las Vegas.

Traveling by bus from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon will be an adventure you’ll cherish forever. From the vast deserts to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon and everything in between, this journey is a true bucket-list experience. Book your tour today and prepare to be amazed by one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

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