GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — Grand Canyon National Park has seen a 20 percent increase in visitation this year compared to 2014. As a result, traffic regularly backs up at all entrance stations, with the longest wait time between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Waits during those times can last 30 minutes or more, particularly on weekends. Once in the park, visitors can also expect parking lots, especially at Grand Canyon Visitor Center, to start reaching capacity by 10 a.m.
Typically, July is the busiest month of the year at Grand Canyon, and with Independence Day falling on Saturday this year park officials expect a heavy weekend.
“We are expecting record-shattering numbers Thursday through Monday that weekend,” Revenue and Fee Business Manager Marlon Avantyr said, adding “thanks for being patient with the rangers working the entrance stations.”
To reduce some of the wait time at the South Rim Entrance Station, and for stress-free parking, the park encourages visitors to leave their vehicles in Tusayan and use the park and ride shuttle. The Tusayan Route provides shuttle service between the gateway community of Tusayan and the national park.
Leaving every 20 minutes from 8 a.m. to 9:45 p.m., the bus makes four stops in Tusayan before dropping passengers off at Grand Canyon Visitor Center, where visitors can then access trails, viewpoints and in-park shuttle bus routes. Visitors riding the Tusayan Route must present a valid park entrance pass when boarding the bus and can purchase passes at six locations in Tusayan.
Once in the park, visitors riding the shuttle bus on the Hermits Rest (Red) Route will also experience long waits from late morning until sunset, waiting in line for two or three buses.
Concessions Program Analyst Pamela Edwards suggests utilizing the Kaibab Rim (Orange) Route in the morning, driving along scenic Desert View Drive any time of the day and walking or cycling along the rim-based trails system to leave some of the crowds behind, allowing for a more personal connection with Grand Canyon.
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