Which is the Best One-Day Bus Tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon?

December 14, 2020 /
grand-canyon-bus-tour

Warning: Due to COVID 19 some information in this article (e.g. operating hours) may not be up-to-date.

If the more demanding long drives on road trips are not for you or you simply don’t have enough time to plan a fulfilling itinerary from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, then you’re probably considering going on one of the many organized tours in order to visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas and return to the city on the same day. Among them, the lion’s share is taken by the helicopter tours, to which we have dedicated more than one article on this website, but today I would like to focus on another type of tour: the bus tours.

There are many tourists who take the bus tours and, while on one hand they allow you to cover a distance in many cases would be prohibitive if you travel on your own, on the other hand they are often tiring, because of the long hours spent on the bus. In reality, as we will see, not all these tours have this problem. So let’s figure out which bus tours take you from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, which agencies provide them and which tour you should book (at least from my point of view).

Which is the Best Rim for a Grand Canyon Bus Tour?

Grand Canyon Bus Tour in 1 day

First of all, let’s start with a brief introduction. As you know, there are at least 3 areas of the Grand Canyon, which are the South Rim, the most popular, the North Rim, which is quieter and not as crowded by tourists, and the West Rim, run by the Hualapai Tribe and known worldwide for the Skywalk. Which of these areas have bus tours? Only the South Rim and West Rim.

There are major differences between these two areas. Let’s take a close look at the Grand Canyon tours available:

Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tours from Las Vegas

Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tours from Las Vegas
Grand Canyon South Rim

The South Rim (the southern edge of the Grand Canyon) is at least 4.5 hours from Las Vegas. This means that by traveling to and from the canyon you’ll have to spend most of your time on the bus, which will only be partially mitigated by the pleasantness of some scenic views, a few stops along the way (for example, the Hoover Dam) and the entertainment provided by the tour agency (for example, TV and WiFi). Usually, this type of tour lasts around 14-15 hours, but you can still count on the convenience of the transportation to and from the hotel in Las Vegas.

The South Rim area has its pros and cons. You will be able to see the impressive views of the immense canyon, which is probably the most popular attraction in all of Arizona, and consequently, you will likely be in the company of many other tourists.

Pros and Cons Summary

  • You will be able to admire the Grand Canyon in all its vastness.
  • When we generally talk about Grand Canyon we are referring to the South Rim.
  • Tours to the South Rim are generally cheaper than tours to the West Rim.
  • The long distance from Las Vegas will force you to be on the bus most of the tour.
  • The presence of many tourists can annoy those who like to contemplate natural beauty in silence.

Best South Rim Tours from Las Vegas

Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tours from Las Vegas

Grand Canyon West Rim Bus Tours from Las Vegas

Grand Canyon West may not be as well known as the South Rim and it may not have the same variety and number of overlooks, but it can boast the Skywalk, the viewing platform suspended over the canyon, which is the main reason people go to the West Rim.

In addition, the western edge of the canyon has another significant advantage, which is the shorther distance from Las Vegas. The Grand Canyon can be reached in about half the time it takes to reach the South Rim, which should not be underestimated when considering a 1-day tour. Here you probably won’t find the same large crowds found in the South Rim, even if to tell the truth the tourists come here in large numbers, so from this point of view the difference is not so relevant.

As for the cost, instead, expect to spend a bit more for the West Rim tours. The reason is largely due to the price of the Grand Canyon West ticket, managed by the Hualapai Tribe, who charge a higher rate than the National Park Service, which manages the South Rim entrance prices.

Pros and Cons Summary

  • Bus travel time is much more reasonable, making the trip more pleasant and relaxing.
  • You get to access the Skywalk, a main attraction of Grand Canyon West.
  • Although it is still a major tourist destination, it is usually less crowded than the South Rim.
  • The views, though spectacular, are not as vast as those of the South Rim.
  • Tours to the West Rim cost more than tours to the South Rim.

Best Grand Canyon West Rim Tours from Las Vegas

So Which Rim Should You Choose?

tour-hummer-grand-canyon
Hummer tour of the West Rim

Looking at the list of tours provided above, you can see that before you select the tour, you will have to choose which Rim to visit. It is true that the South Rim definitely offers a more classic experience of the Grand Canyon and the possibility to enjoy more beautiful views (but this may actually depend on your taste). However, traveling to and from the Grand Canyon in a single day is quite burdensome, especially for those who cannot stand the long trips.

This problem is solved by opting for the West Rim tours, with a travel time that is much more manageable. You may not see the boundless views of the South Rim, but you can somehow “make up for it” with the Skywalk and 2 other viewpoints, which are Guano Point and Eagle Point (where the Skywalk itself is actually located).

The only real drawback, which I have already mentioned, could be the price. The cost of these tours, combined with the Skywalk (I strongly advise against booking tours without the entrance to the platform), is on average $50-$60 higher than the South Rim tours. However, the investment should be considered seriously, since it will save you at least 4 hours of bus time. In brief, this is the main reason why I suggest to opt for the West Rim rather than the South Rim.

Both tours available to visit the West Rim, namely, the most expensive hummer tour and the cheapest bus tour, boast excellent reviews and, if it’s within your budget, there’s nothing to stop you from combining one of these tours with a scenic helicopter tour, which will give you a more complete and unforgettable experience of the Grand Canyon (if you are interested in an overview of this type of tour you can also read our guide Grand Canyon by helicopter: how to choose between the available flights? ).

If, on the other hand, so many hours of bus travel are not such a big problem for you, then you can certainly re-evaluate the South Rim option, and, among the many tours available on this side of the Grand Canyon (listed above), you can easily choose the one that convinces you the most based on the tourists’ reviews and whether or not you find the tour to be thorough.

lorenzo puliti
lorenzo puliti

I am fascinated by the wonders of the world I never tire of going in search of them.

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