Road Trip from Las Vegas: The Grand Canyon – Hoover Dam – and Route 66

Road Trip Vegas to Grand Canyonn

Road Trip from Las Vegas To The Grand Canyon

After spending a few wonderful fun-filled days in Las Vegas – The City of Lost Wages – in which we explored the casinos and hotels on The Strip and renewed our wedding vows with Elvis on our wedding anniversary at The Graceland Chapel – we booked an amazing road trip from Las Vegas to The South Rim of The Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon The Backpacking Housewife
The Backpacking Housewife and Backpacking Husband at The Grand Canyon

We took a bus tour from Las Vegas to The South Rim of The Grand Canyon

This was a 600-mile one-day return road trip from Las Vegas taking in views of Lake Mead, crossing over the Hoover Dam, and then travelling along the historic heart of the famous Mother Road of Route 66.

The Backpacking Housewife Road Trip
Sitting at the front of the bus we had a great view of the road ahead!

LAS VEGAS TO THE GRAND CANYON

Along the way, we also stopped off at the quirky historic towns of Flagstaff and Seligman and Kingman before we finally got to our destination and walked along The Rim Trail from Mather Point to Bright Angel Lodge taking in the incredible and awe-inspiring views along the South Rim of The Grand Canyon.

The Backpacking Housewife on Route 66
The Backpacking Housewife at Seligman on Route 66

THE EXCURSION

There are many tour operators of tours from Las Vegas to The Grand Canyon. We chose to go to The South Rim with a company called Sweetours who I can personally recommend to you. The bus/coach was large and comfortable and the driver friendly and knowledgeable (note: this is not a paid/affiliated link). The all-day (15 hour) bus tour included pick up and drop off at our hotel in Las Vegas. A continental breakfast. Deli-style lunch. National Park Fees.

The bus was large and comfortable and the driver friendly and knowledgeable

LAKE MEAD

Just outside Las Vegas is Lake Mead. It’s immediately refreshing on the eyes to see its blue waters shimmering in the desert landscape. The lake is the largest man-made reservoir in the United States providing water to farmland and around 20 million people. Worryingly, the lake is now at less than 50 percent of its water capacity due to drought and increased demand.

Lake Mead
The blue waters of Lake Mead shimmering in the desert landscape

THE HOOVER DAM

The first stop on our bus tour from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon was at The Hoover Dam on the border between the states of Nevada and Arizona. The dam was built in the 1930’s, during the time of The Great Depression, to provide power to California, Nevada and Arizona.

The Hoover Dam is an interesting stop off and without a doubt a breath-taking feat of construction and engineering

It was really interesting to travel over the U-shaped concrete construction across the Colorado River. But, once again, we can see how a clear white band betrays the low water levels.

The Hoover Dam is a popular stop off on the way to The Grand Canyon
The Hoover Dam is a popular stop off between Las Vegas and The Grand Canyon

THE MOTHER ROAD – ROUTE 66

The Mother Road Route 66
Get Your Kicks on Route 66!

Route 66 was America’s first continuous stretch of highway. Established in 1926, it stretched almost two and a half thousand miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. These days, it’s mostly been replaced by modern Interstate highways, but it’s legendary status as the most famous road in America still remains.

The historic road can still be seen today where 87 miles of Route 66 passes through the historic towns of Flagstaff , the old Santa-Fe railroad town of Seligman and the old road to Kingman.

Passing through these quirky old historic towns is like travelling back in time

Passing through these quirky old historic towns is like travelling back in time!

THE GRAND CANYON SOUTH RIM

The Grand Canyon can be viewed at four distinct points: The South Rim, Grand Canyon West, Grand Canyon East, and the North Rim.

The South Rim is the most visited and the most popular part of the Grand Canyon National Park. It is open all year and offers various viewing points of the Colorado River far below and the widest and most expansive views of the Grand Canyon.

We chose the South Rim for the world-famous expansive views.

Janice Horton Grand Canyon
The Backpacking Housewife at The Grand Canyon South Rim

The South Rim also offers the visitor various hiking routes for most abilities and The Grand Canyon Village with shops and lodges and visitor facilities. It’s also where you’ll find the iconic and wonderfully rustic looking Bright Angel Lodge.

The Rim Trail Hike Sign
The South Rim offers the visitor various hiking routes and for most abilities

GRAND CANYON HIKES AT THE SOUTH RIM

We had a perfectly sunny and warm day for our visit and for our gentle hike along part of The Rim Trail. We walked for about an hour on an easy paved path and we stopped often to be amazed at the breath-taking views and to take photos.

You can find out more about hiking The Rim Trail HERE and study the destination map HERE.

After spending our allotted time at the Grand Canyon we got back to Angel Lodge in time for a drink at the bar before boarding our bus and heading back to Las Vegas. On the way back, we watched a movie on the TV screen at the front of the bus and then, suddenly feeling exhausted as light faded in the desert along Route 66, we napped until we finally arrived safely back at our hotel very late that evening.

It was a very long day. But it was a wonderful day. It was a big tick off the bucket list for sure and so worth every dollar and every minute we spent that day!

I have to say that I found the exceptional views from Mather Point at the South Rim so stunning and surreal and overwhelming that I experienced sensory overload and regularly had to pinch myself to prove I wasn’t dreaming.

The views were so surreal that I had to pinch myself to prove I wasn’t dreaming

Visiting The Grand Canyon was a dream come true for me and I’m so happy that we decided to tag an extra couple of days onto our Vegas trip to make the excursion possible if only for one day.

Seeing and experiencing The Grand Canyon is on most people’s travel wish lists. You can plan your visit and find out more about all four different viewing point locations and decide which part of the Grand Canyon suits you best HERE.

MAKING MEMORIES AT THE GRAND CANYON

You can go hiking at a gentle scenic saunter or you can tackle the Rim To Rim Hike. You can go white water River Rafting on the might Colorado River. You can also take Mule Trips into the Grand Canyon – creating even more memories by riding your mule deep into the Canyon to stay one or two nights at the historic Phantom Lodge Ranch – only to be reached by mule. What an adventure!

GRAND CANYON INTERESTING FACTS

The Grand Canyon is one of the natural wonders of the world.

The Grand Canyon is a natural formation with layered bands of red rock.

The Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 kilometres) long and 6000 feet (1800 metres) deep.

At its widest point the Grand Canyon stretches 18 miles (29 kilometres) across.

Parts of the Grand Canyon are believed to be 70 million years old.

The Grand Canyon creates its own weather. The weather varies significantly and suddenly from one part of the canyon to another.

There are around 1000 caves in the park but only 335 have been explored.

THE BEST TIME TO VISIT THE GRAND CANYON

The best time for visiting the Grand Canyon is often during the ‘shoulder seasons’ between March to May and from September to November when it’s less crowded. In the summer (peak season) you can expect the park to be more crowded and local accommodation scarce (therefore do book ahead).

It’s also worth knowing that much of the park remains closed during the winter months (including the North Rim) although the South Rim can usually be visited in the winter and throughout the year. Indeed, many people think the wintertime and when it’s snowy is the best time to visit the Grand Canyon.

The most popular attraction is The Skywalk which is located at The Grand Canyon West. It’s a horseshoe-shaped steel frame with a glass viewing floor and sides projecting out from the rim of the canyon. The Skywalk is managed by the Hualapai Tribe and is located on tribal lands. The Grand Canyon West is just a two-hour drive out of Las Vegas.

Have you experienced the Grand Canyon?

If not, is it on your Travel Wish List?

Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

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14 comments

Amanda Hill -

Hi Janice we did this trip for my birthday we spent 5 days in vegas and 3 days in the Grand Canyon we past through boulder and then to the hoover dam the most fantastic experience going from a warm place to snow in one day absolutely incredible

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JANICE HORTON -

Hi Amanda – that sounds like an amazing trip with lots of time to spend having fun and adventures! Thanks for your comment and do come back soon. xx

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Alice -

Who did you book the tour through looks amazing!

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JANICE HORTON -

Alice – I can’t remember right now who we booked the bus tour with from Vegas – but it was amazing and I will find out and leave another message here soon.

Alice getting back to you – we used SWEETours for our bus tour trip and you can find them on trip advisor
https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g45963-d11992111-Grand_Canyon_South_Rim_Day_Tour_from_Las_Vegas-Las_Vegas_Nevada.html

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travel His world -

600 miles is no joke! Good thing you took the bus and didn’t drive. I once drove from Chicago to LA in 3 days and I will never do it again!!

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JANICE HORTON -

It was a very early start and a late finish to what was an amazing day. The coach was comfortable – they played a movie – and all we had to do was sit back and relax and enjoy the trip. So glad not to drive actually. I prefer not to drive if possible over long distances. Chicago to LA – wow!

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Sarah -

That looks like quite an amazing trip. I would love to visit the Grand Canyon, but also other places along the way.

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JANICE HORTON -

Hi Sarah – yes the road trip TO the Grand Canyon is fascinating too especially the small towns on route 66! Thank you for leaving a comment. xx

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Natalie -

Wonderful pictures Janice. I really want to do the Grand Canyon, but it’s such a long day trip from Vegas that I think we are going to have to incorporate it into a future road trip. We did the Hoover Dam a few years ago but I would do that again. Did you do all this in a day? How long was the trip?

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JANICE HORTON -

Hi Natalie – thank you for your lovely comment. Yes it was a long 600 mile round trip from Vegas to the canyon and back in one day – taking in the dam and route 66 but – it was so worth it and we actually enjoyed the trip and the views and various stop-offs along the route. I do remember we were up at 5am to meet the bus (we were picked up from our hotel and it was a big comfortable coach) and we got back to Vegas late that night. I would however highly recommend it as I do prefer to sit back and let someone else do the driving!

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Natalie -

I really want to do this. Everytime we go to Vegas, we never find the time for it as the bus trips seem such a long day (13hours, I think?) and I’m too scared to go by helicopter! One day, we will have to just hire a car and do it ourselves. You have some amazing pics here. Love your pages.

Natalie x (backinamerica.co.uk)

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JANICE HORTON -

Natalie – I recommend next time you stay an extra day or two in Vegas to do the Grand Canyon trip – it’s fun and worth the long day. I’ll look forward to seeing your post when you do it! LOVED your Great American Road Trip Mix Tape post btw!

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Jonno -

Great post Janice. We drove the exact same route in our little hire car last year and spent a week or so exploring Seligman, Flagstaff, Sedona, and the Grand Canyon. Wonderful trip and even thinking of going back and doing it again but even slower.

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JANICE HORTON -

It was a great trip Jonno – but a loooong day – as the round trip back to Vegas clocked up 600 miles. It was so worth it – but I’m glad we took the bus and didn’t have to drive ourselves (I get lazy about driving these days). I loved Seligman – the small town that inspired the ‘Cars’ movie!

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