Grand Canyon

By | 16th January 2018

Do you need a car in the Grand Canyon?

Do you need a car in Grand Canyon > Should you rent a car in Grand Canyon USA > Grand Canyon ( FLG )
Car: Do you need a car in 2? No car: Is it worth hiring a car in 2? Slider: Should you rent a car in 2? Should you rent a car in 2?

Grand Canyon car hire quick facts

Cheapest rate for one week Based on cheapest economy car hire deal with no added extras. [full notes - basic costs]

185

 #220/300

  • Price alone isn't the only factor in determining whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Grand Canyon but clearly it's an important one. See our "why" section for more figures.
How much should I expect to pay in the peak season? Based on cheapest deal during the summer holiday season. (Unless otherwise noted) [full notes - seasonal variations]

 €

240

 161/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.
Free parking score Based on the number of hotels which offer free parking.Total 146 - of which 103 have free parking. [full notes - parking]

71

%

49/300

  • During the peak holiday season, public transport is often better value, as many train and bus fares are fixed throughout the year. See our "whynot" section for more suggestions.

Grand Canyon public transport quick facts

"Top trumps" train score

Higher scores go to the systems which take you to the most amazing places.

30%

#148/300

  • [full notes - top trumps trains]
  • A good rail system doesn't mean you shouldn't hire a car, but it often means you have a decent range of options.

Overall public transport score {coming shortly}

This is a more practical rating based on bus and rail travel.

--%

#---/300

  • [full notes - overall transit] buses | trams | metro | local & regional rail | national rail
  • Is public transport in Grand Canyon good value, or is it worth hiring a car just because it is cheaper overall?

Walking and Cycling Overview

Active travel score {coming shortly}

This overall rating considers walking and cycling in and around Grand Canyon

--%

#---/300

Need, worth & should!

Whether you have come here asking "do I need a car in Grand Canyon", "is it worth hiring a car in Grand Canyon", or whether or not you "should" hire a car here, these are all slight variations on a similar theme:

Do you need a car in Grand Canyon?

This is essentially based on whether or not public transport and other "non car" options are good enough to get around and beyond the city.

Is it worth hiring a car in Grand Canyon?

Is car hire good value, especially during the peak season? How does this compare with transit fares?

Should you rent a car in Grand Canyon?

Weighing up the above questions, if you are here for the first time AND asking about hiring a car, is it a good idea?

Naturally, this is really going to depend on how you are planning on getting to the Grand Canyon region in the first place. One of the most popular ways to see the Grand Canyon is to do an excursion from Las Vegas, but this can be in a rental car, it might be by tour bus, and some people also take helicopter trips. A shorter day trip from Vegas would be to visit the West Rim and the Grand Canyon Skywalk – but this is very much a packaged attraction, and it’s quite different to the Grand Canyon National Park itself, which is some four hours’ driving to the east.

Do you need a car in Grand Canyon? Introduction

When someone asks "Do you need a car in Grand Canyon?", this often breaks down to two key questions:

  1. Can you actually get around using public transport, or is a car all but essential?
  2. Is it worth hiring a car in Grand Canyon? Is it good value for money, compared with non-car options?

Over the next few sections, we wil look at the pros and cons of driving in Grand Canyon as a tourist, and ultimately weigh these up, so we can answer the key question of Should you rent a car in Grand Canyon?

Why? Why not? Ratings Comments


It is also popular to visit the Grand Canyon from Phoenix, and many people also do this in a tour bus or using a rental car.

This Grand Canyon car advice is based on people who are arriving in the Grand Canyon area by plane, by bus or by train, and who therefore don’t already have their own set of wheels available. In terms of flights, it’s worth pointing out that there are actually many different airports which server the Grand Canyon area, and out of these, there are 2 main airports which are actually billed as serving the Grand Canyon with commercial service. The first of these is simply known as the Grand Canyon airport, and this is the closest to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. From here, a short taxi transfer will take you directly to the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park. Although the Grand Canyon airport is mainly used for sightseeing flights, it’s also possible to get a commercial flight here from Phoenix. Grand Canyon West airport mainly serves the Skywalk, and is not considered in our Grand Canyon car rental advice.

Why should you rent a car in Grand Canyon?

What are the main reasons for hiring a car here? Do you just want to drive locally? Do you want to go further afield, or should you even look at taking a road trip?

In terms of factors like the cost of the hire itself, fuel costs, road tolls and parking charges, is it worth hiring a car in Grand Canyon?


The major airport serving the Grand Canyon is situated just outside the town of Flagstaff, Arizona, and this airport has scheduled service from Phoenix as well as a very small number of other cities in the South West. However, many visitors to Arizona might well prefer just to fly to Phoenix and then pick up a rental car there – this avoids the expense of the flight up to the Grand Canyon, and is also much greater choice of car hire options in Phoenix.

Why not? Visiting Grand Canyon without a car

What is public transport like in Grand Canyon? What about local conditions for walking or cycling? Can you rely on public transport and maybe a few taxis for most or all of your trip? Are there some times of year when it's easier to get by without a car than others? When should you rent a car in Grand Canyon?


So there’s actually quite a good chance that if you arrive in the Grand Canyon area without a car, you might well become by bus, or arriving by Amtrak train. Amtrak provide Thruway coach service from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon National Park, whereas it is also possible to disembark in Williams, Arizona.

In Williams, you will find the boarding point for the Grand Canyon express heritage rail service, which operates direct to the South Rim entrance of the Grand Canyon National Park. For this reason alone, we recommend to visitors that a rental car here really isn’t necessary, although if you don’t fancy the expense of the Grand Canyon Railway (this is a private service and it isn’t cheap), then the bus service will still get you there.

Do you need a car to visit the Grand Canyon? This all adds up to giving you very few reasons to hire a car to visit the Grand Canyon, if you don’t already have one with you in the first place. It’s obviously worth pointing out that the Grand Canyon National Park itself is somewhere that has to be explored on foot (or by raft if you prefer, but no car is needed for this either). If you are looking into visiting the American Southwest and travelling around various different locations, then the chances are that you already would have made the decision to get a rental car by the time you reach the Grand Canyon. For example, we can’t really recommend picking up a hire car in the Grand Canyon and then using it to drive over to Monument Valley, when you make so much more sense to pick up rental car in Phoenix, or if your itinerary prefers it, then in Las Vegas, Albuquerque New Mexico or even Denver, Colorado.

Do you need a car in the Grand Canyon? Therefore, our Grand Canyon car advice can only be not to get one!

Ratings

Our slider ratings range from 0 (it isn't even possible to hire a car, e.g. Hong Kong) through to 10 (you really must rent a car here, e.g. Phoenix, Tampa). However, most places are somewhere inbetween these extremes, and this is where it gets more interesting! Further ratings breakdowns, including a much more detailed public transport rating, are currently being added. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.

Would you hire a car in Grand Canyon?

Have you driven in Grand Canyon? Do you agree with our advice on whether or not it's worth hiring a car in Grand Canyon?

Do you need a car in Grand Canyon? For some or all of the time? 

Tell us what you think using the comments section below:


Category: USA

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