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Getting from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon

grandcanyonAs two of the certain must-visit places in the US, Los Angeles and the Grand Canyon are easily combined in one trip, but getting from one to the other isn’t quite as straightforward as you might expect. There is a small airport at the Grand Canyon, but there aren’t scheduled flights from major airlines, so it can be a little tricky unless you know how to pull this off.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be discussing the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, as this is where the vast majority of the tourist infrastructure and famous views can be found. The North Rim is actually a long drive from the South Rim, and it’s much harder to reach from Los Angeles as well. The South Rim is a far better place to visit for first-timers as well, so forget the North Rim for now.

Los Angeles to Grand Canyon

  • Distance apart: 410 miles / 660 kilometers
  • Driving distance: 502 miles / 808 kilometers

Quick summary

Unless you intend to actually spend some time in either Phoenix or Las Vegas, which isn’t a bad idea now that we mention it, then driving to the Grand Canyon is probably the best bet for most people. You can also fly to one of three airports or take a train or bus, but all of those options won’t get you all the way there.

Flights from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon

This is where it gets complicated. There is a small airport near the Grand Canyon, but it only does charter flights, mostly out of Las Vegas and for aerial tours of the area. This means if you are intent to fly you have 3 options.

Fly into Flagstaff, Arizona (FLG) – This small airport is about 90 miles south of the South Rim, and has a few regular flights that have surprisingly low fares if you book in advance. There’s a bus company called Open Road Tours and they have regular coaches to the Grand Canyon from Flagstaff.

Fly into Phoenix, Arizona (PHX) – This is a huge city and airport about 240 miles south of the South Rim. From here you can rent a car cheaply and it’s a lovely drive as well.

Fly into Las Vegas, Nevada (LAS) – This growing city is about 280 miles from the South Rim, and a bit less to the North Rim. Rental cars tend to be cheap, but then again the drive itself isn’t much farther than driving all the way from Los Angeles.

Trains from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon

You can’t take a train all the way to the Grand Canyon, but you can take it directly to Flagstaff, which is only about 90 miles away. From there you can take the Open Road Tours bus to the Grand Canyon. One tricky thing is the trains usually leave in the evening, so you arrive in Flagstaff the next morning.

Journey time: About 10 hours
Typical price: About $59 each way
>>Amtrak site

Buses from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon

The bus situation is exactly like the train situation, mentioned above. You can take a Greyhound bus to Flagstaff and then the Open Road Tours bus from there. It’s a bit slower, and even a bit more expensive than the train, but at least you have the option of traveling during the day.

Journey time: About 12 hours to Flagstaff
Typical price: $64 one-way if you buy online in advance, and up to $85 if you buy on the day.
>>Greyhound website

Driving from Los Angeles to the Grand Canyon

This might be your best bet, since all the other methods are complicated and indirect anyway. You can get specific directions on any online map site, but the quick version is you find your way to I-40 out of Los Angeles, and then drive about 420 miles to Williams, Arizona, at which point you’ll take AZ-64 north for about 70 miles and you are there.

Journey time: About 8 hours