Located near scenic Mather Point, Grand Canyon Visitor Center is basically the best place to start your visit to Grand Canyon National Park. Here you will find everything you need to begin your journey through this remarkable natural wonder. Helpful National Park Service Park Rangers are always on hand to answer any questions you might have, or to guide you in the right direction. The Grand Canyon Visitor Center is also where you can watch the acclaimed film Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder. Meanwhile, Mather Point is a pleasant and straightforward 10-minute walk from the Visitor Center.
Grand Canyon Visitor Center History and Background
Grand Canyon Visitor Center is conveniently located just off South Entrance Road, which leads visitors into Grand Canyon National Park via the South Entrance Station. This outstanding National Park Service facility is a superb resource for those individuals new to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Here you can go on a guided tour, watch an informative orientation video, purchase food and drink, or catch a shuttle bus to elsewhere in the Park. Mather Point is only 10-minutes away from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. To the west you will find the Yavapai Geology Museum, while to the east lies such places as Yaki Point, Lipan Point, and Navajo Point.
What’s at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Grand Canyon Visitor Center is a clean, modern facility that provides you a number of services that will help ensure your trip to Grand Canyon National Park is a well-informed and successful one. Here is where you can learn all about the many hiking trails on offer along the South Rim, while also discovering the time-schedule for Park Ranger-guided tours and lectures. While you are here, you will also want to make time to watch Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder. This 20-minute movie runs all-day long on the hour and half-hour, and grants you a terrific glimpse into the Grand Canyon’s many glories.
Inside the Grand Canyon Visitor Center you will also find several different interactive exhibits, including the ever-helpful “interactive trip planner”—which is a fun way to scope out ahead of time everywhere you want to explore while in Grand Canyon National Park—and many displays containing historic artifacts from the area.
Nearby the Grand Canyon National Park Store sells a lovely collection of books and other Grand Canyon-themed gift items, while a local coffee bar sells drinks and a selection of ready-made sandwiches and snacks. Between the months of March and October you can also rent a bicycle at the nearby Bright Angel Bikes to ride throughout the Park. If you’re so inclined, you can even participate in a guided bike tour! Picnic tables are located throughout the area, too, and Mather Point is only a 10-minute walk away.
Tips for Visiting the Grand Canyon Visitor Center
- Hours at Grand Canyon Visitor Center vary seasonally, so make sure to check the National Park Service website before your visit in order to find the most up-to-date information.
- As you plan your visit, keep in mind that when Grand Canyon National Park is at its busiest—broadly speaking, this means spring, summer, and holiday weekends during the fall—it is common for the parking lots closest to the Visitor Center to become full by 10:00am. There is other parking available in the general area, but it is farther away.
- Because there are a number of parking lots near Grand Canyon Visitor Center, it is a great spot to park your car (when you first arrive at Grand Canyon National Park) and catch the free shuttle that the National Park Service runs. This free shuttle service runs frequently, and will take you to the majority of the Park’s most significant landmarks.
- If you are traveling to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center via recreational vehicle (or are carrying with you any sort of trailer) then the best bet for parking in the area is Lot 1. Lots 2, 3, and 4 do not have spots available for such vehicles.