What to See and Do
The South Rim’s hub is Grand Canyon Village, home to a visitor center, lodges, restaurants, shops, museums and stunning canyon viewpoints. It’s also the start of the 13-mile Rim Trail, which winds west and offers several impressive overlooks. If you don’t want to hike the whole stretch of this mostly flat, predominantly paved trail, you can get on and off the park’s free shuttle on nearby Hermit Road — nine stops allow you to cover as much of the Rim Trail as you’d like. (You can also drive Hermit Road from Dec. 1 to Feb. 28, weather permitting.)
For more breathtaking views, hop in your rental car and head east from the village along Desert View Drive (25 miles one way). You’ll find six developed viewpoints and five unmarked pullouts, including Grandview and Navajo points, which offer particularly impressive panoramas. The grand finale is Desert View Watchtower — this circular, 70-foot-high stone structure, built in 1932, is just a quarter-mile walk from the parking lot; climb the spiral staircase inside to the observation deck, the highest point at the South Rim.
Ready for a hike? The South Kaibab Trail — a steep, 3-mile round trip to Cedar Ridge, past the aptly named Ooh Aah Point — is a terrific choice. Be sure to bring water with you, as there is none on the trail, and give plenty of space to mules. (A mule ride is a unique way to experience the Grand Canyon, too.)
Biking is also popular at the South Rim. Rent a cruiser from Bright Angel Bicycles and explore miles of paved bicycle paths at your leisure, or sign up for a guided tour.
For more family adventure, download this Grand Canyon scavenger hunt activity sheet to help your kids keep track of everything they see during your trip.