All About the Grand Canyon Shuttle Buses
For nearly forty years, the Grand Canyon's South Rim has provided free shuttles to its visitors. These shuttles provide transportation to and from the park as well as within it. While the majority of these services are optional, a few are required during certain seasons and routes. Check out all of the details below.
What shuttle routes are available at the Grand Canyon South Rim?
There are four shuttle routes on the South Rim. They are the:
1. Village Route
Which travels from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to the Grand Canyon Village, the hub of activity in the canyon. The village is where you’ll find the famous Kolb and photography studios, the Hopi House, Verkamp’s Visitor Center, and more.
2. Kaibab Rim Route
which runs from Yaki Point (only accessible via shuttle) to the Yavapai Geology Museum.
3. Hermit's Route
Which follows the scenic Hermit Road all the way down to the iconic Hermit's Rest.
4. Tusayan Route
Which leads from Tusayan town to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Tusayan, also known as the "Gateway to the South Rim," is just a 5-minute drive from the South Entrance Gate.
Are the shuttles optional?
There are two shuttle routes that are required to visit certain park areas. The first shuttle is the Kaibab Rim Shuttle (orange route), which travels from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to Yaki Point. Yaki Point Road is closed to personal vehicles year-round.
The second shuttle route is the Hermit Road Shuttle (red route) which travels to Hermit’s Rest from the western edge of Grand Canyon Village. This shuttle is mandatory from March through November. From December through February, personal vehicles are free to travel down Hermit’s Road.
The Village and Tusayan shuttles are always optional.
What is the shuttle schedule?
Shuttles generally run from about an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset. Shuttle schedules vary by season, and the Tusayan Route closes during the winter months. For the most up-to-date schedule, check out the following NPS links for each shuttle route:
Mandatory Shuttles at Grand Canyon South Rim - What You Need to Know
What is the Kaibab Rim Shuttle?
The Kaibab Rim shuttle service runs from the Grand Canyon Visitor's Center to Yaki Point, with stops at Mather Point, the Yavapai Geology Museum, the South Kaibab Trailhead, and Pipe Creek Vista along the way. This is the only way to get to Yaki Point and the South Kaibab Trailhead without doing a lot of walking. Be sure to check the park schedule for the most up-to-date schedule so you don’t miss your final shuttle out.
Remember, this shuttle is always mandatory to visit these spots unless you want to walk!
How do I board the Kaibab Rim Shuttle?
The most common place to board the Kaibab Rim Shuttle is at the GC Visitor Center. Parking can be found around the center. You can also board at the Yavapai Geology Museum or Pipe Creek Vista, though parking may be more limited.
What is the Hermit’s Shuttle?
The Grand Canyon Hermit Road Shuttle departs from the Grand Canyon Village's western side and travels all the way down Hermit Road. The shuttle makes a total of ten stops.
On the way in, the Hermit Shuttle stops at every point along Hermit Road, including all nine overlooks. On the way out, the shuttle only makes four stops: Hermits Rest, Pima, Mohave, and Powell Point. Before leaving, visitors should verify the current shuttle timetable posted at the NPS website.
How do I board the Hermit’s Shuttle?
Board the Hermit Road Shuttle near the Bright Angel Trailhead on the western end of Grand Canyon Village. Parking can be found throughout the village.
What is the Hikers’ Express Shuttle?
Hikers' Express is a shuttle service that takes hikers to the South Kaibab Trailhead. This morning route is for hikers who want to get an early start on the South Kaibab Trail, and it only runs from about an hour before sunrise to about an hour after sunrise.
The shuttle route begins at Bright Angel Lodge, travels to the Backcountry Information Center, the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, and finally arrives at the South Kaibab Trailhead. You will board this shuttle just as you would the Village Shuttle. Pay attention to the illuminated destination signs at the front of each shuttle to determine which route the shuttle is taking.
The seasonal schedule can be found here. Please note that the Hikers’ Express shuttle is one-way and does not return to the village.
Another option is to take the Kaibab Rim shuttle from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center to the South Kaibab Trailhead, the last stop before Yaki Point.
Is there a shuttle from the South Rim to the North Rim?
Yes, there are shuttles that carry visitors from one rim to another, but there are routes that go across the canyon. The “shuttle route” goes around the Grand Canyon in a 4-hour drive, just as you would by car. For more information on these trans-canyon shuttle routes, check out Trans-Canyon Shuttles or Kaibab Lodge shuttles.
Does my Shaka Guide Tour work on the park shuttles?
Your Shaka Guide tour is primarily a driving tour. While you can shuttle through the park, this tour is designed to be done while driving, not while shuttling. Because shuttles must make stops to pick up passengers, their routes are not always the most direct, and they frequently differ from the route you would take in a car.
The exception is Hermit’s Road, which is off-limits to personal vehicles for most of the year. For this road, your audio tour will work whether you are shuttling or driving. If you choose to shuttle from point to point in the park, we encourage you to drive the recommended route first. That way, you get the most from your Shaka Guide experience.
Note: The Kaibab Rim shuttle route can all be driven by car, except for a final 3-minute section called Yaki Point Road. There is no tour audio for this short section.
What positives come from riding a shuttle?
First, it’s important to mention that these shuttles offer convenient, safe transport to and through the Grand Canyon South Rim. By riding a shuttle instead of driving, you are helping to lower your carbon footprint, ease congestion, and reduce emissions and noise in the park.
What should I expect from my shuttle experience?
When riding the Grand Canyon shuttle, you can expect a fair amount of noise. The majority of the windows are usually open to maintain proper airflow inside the bus, resulting in a ride filled with whooshing and whirring sounds. While this may not be a significant issue if you have headphones, forgetting them can make it challenging to hear the tour commentary.
Additionally, shuttle buses aren't known for being the quietest mode of transportation. With numerous vehicles and a considerable number of passengers, the noise levels can become quite high. If you want to fully experience and hear the details of your tour, it's advisable to bring your headphones along.
Aside from that, each visitor's shuttle experience will be unique because each shuttle driver is unique. Some drivers enjoy telling you about the park's history, the features you’re seeing, and the upcoming stops. Others would rather concentrate on driving and remain mostly silent. And which type of driver you’ll get is mostly luck-of-the-draw.
Enjoying the Freedom of Choice on Your Shaka Guide Tour
This means that there may be times when you prefer to listen to the driver rather than your tour guide. That’s just fine! We'd love for you to enjoy our content throughout your journey, but if you have a driver who you'd like to hear more from, that's also part of the experience. And unlike your driver, you can press pause on your Shaka Guide at any time. So, enjoy your ride however you see fit! After all, that’s part of the freedom of a Shaka tour!
If you’re afraid you missed out on some cool in-tour advice, you can always play the tracks manually when you’re off the shuttle bus. The only crucial thing we ask is that you remember to turn your tour back on before once you leave your shuttle.
So don’t forget, if you stop or pause your tour, be sure to turn your tour audio back on before you reach Grand Canyon Village. We’ll give you directions for getting out of the village, as well as stories and songs for your trip out of the canyon. We don’t want you to miss out!
Shuttle tips/what to bring?
Remember that it may be loud on the shuttle. If you are having trouble hearing, turn up the volume on your headphones.
Also, the Hermit Road Shuttle can get pretty busy. Instead of waiting for the shuttle, you might want to walk along the Rim Trail and play your audio tracks manually. Distances to the next point are indicated at each viewpoint.
And don’t forget, the only sections of the park that require a shuttle are Yaki Point Road and Hermit Road. If you’d rather not hop on a shuttle, stick to the other sections of the park.
Are the park shuttles free?
All Grand Canyon Park shuttles are always free.
Are masks required on the shuttle?
As of April 2022, masks are required on all Grand Canyon shuttles.
Can I bring pets on the shuttle?
No, pets are not allowed on shuttle buses. Service animals, however, are permitted.
Can I bring strollers on the shuttle?
Yes, strollers are allowed. Please collapse strollers before entering the bus.
Is there room for bicycles on the shuttle?
Yes, although space may be limited. Riders need to load and unload their own bicycles.
What stops does the Kaibab Rim Shuttle make?
The stops for the Kaibab Shuttle are the same in each direction. From the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, the shuttle heads west to Mather Point and then the Yavapai Geology Museum. In the eastbound direction, the shuttle stops at the South Kaibab Trailhead, Yaki Point, and Pipe Creek Vista.
What stops does the Hermit Shuttle make?
On the way to Hermit’s Rest, the shuttle stops at every point along the road. These stops are: Trailview Overlook, Maricopa Point, Powell Point, Hopi Point, Mohave Point, The Abyss, Monument Creek Vista, Pima Point, and Hermit’s Rest. On the way out, the bus will only stop at Pima Point, Mohave Point, Powell Point, and the Village Route Transfer.
Where can I check the shuttle schedules?
Check the NPS shuttle page here for the most up-to-date shuttle schedule.
How often do the shuttles stop?
The South Rim shuttles stop every 15-30 minutes.
What happens if the shuttle is full?
If the shuttle is full, you will have to wait for the next shuttle. For popular shuttle routes, like Hermit Road, you may even need to wait for a third shuttle.
What happens if I miss the last shuttle out of Hermit’s Road?
Visitors are strongly discouraged from waiting for the final shuttle. If you miss the final shuttle out of Hermit’s Rest, the Rim Trail hike back to Grand Canyon Village is 8 miles. Additionally, the final shuttle may be full. While the hike itself is relatively flat and easy, it’s best to avoid a long, unexpected hike in the dark.
Driving it Home
To sum it all up, the only essential shuttles on the south rim are the Kaibab Rim shuttle to Yaki Point and the Hermit Road shuttle to Hermit’s Rest (seasonally). For everything else, you can drive your own car at your own pace.
While shuttles are a convenient way to explore the canyon, we recommend exploring the Grand Canyon South Rim by car first to get the most out of your Shaka Guide experience. For the Hermit Rest shuttle (which is required only during the summer months), your tour works just fine whether you are driving or shuttling.
To make your south rim shuttle experience the best it can be, we recommend that you learn the shuttle routes and schedule before heading out and that you check the NPS website for updates on a regular basis. Happy shuttling!
Ready to take a tour? Check out Shaka Guide's Grand Canyon Tour!
We hope that we’ve given you all the information you need to make the most of your day. Your vacation is extremely important to us so if you have any questions feel free to reach out at email@example.com.