It somehow makes sense that Grand Canyon Arizona was one of the last places in the continental United States to be properly mapped. That may explain why, even in this age of Garmin, GPS and the myriad other automated navigational aids, the exact location of the Grand Canyon remains elusive to those trying to get directions to the popular Northern Arizona park. Much of this has to do with the fact that Grand Canyon Arizona businesses and residents do not receive direct mail delivery. Mail is retrieved by post office boxes. It is not uncommon to see everyone and his brother list “#1 Main Street” or “#1 Highway 64,” Grand Canyon Arizona, as their physical address.
This somewhat frustrating facet of life in the Grand Canyon Park area does underscore a very serious safety concern for those traveling here: DO NOT rely 100% on GPS, MapQuest and other automated navigational tools when planning your vacation to the American Southwest. Horror stories abound of travelers inadvertently routed down unpaved roads and becoming mired in sand for days at a time. In a small Southern Utah town, a local towing company does rather brisk business hauling semi trucks off one such road that time and time again is suggested as a valid travel route by present-day directional aids.
All that said, here are a few pointers we here at GrandCanyon.com have picked up about looking up the various Grand Canyon park areas online:
For Grand Canyon South Rim, use one of the following:
- Grand Canyon AZ 86023 or
- The airport locator code for Grand Canyon National Park Airport, which is “GCN.” The entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is 2 miles due North of the airport, and the rim is a further 5 miles from the gate.
For Grand Canyon North Rim, some mapping sites will allow the use of “Grand Canyon National Park North Rim,” but we have found that results can be quite vague. The reference point that seems to yield the best results is:
- Jacob Lake AZ. The Grand Canyon National Park North Rim entrance is approximately 50 miles due South of Jacob Lake via Highway 67. Reminder: Highway 67 to Grand Canyon North Rim is closed during the winter months.
For Grand Canyon West, the Hualapai Indians’ Grand Canyon Park, again, some online mapping sites will yield accurate results for “Grand Canyon West, Arizona,” but many will not. At GrandCanyon.com, we prefer to use the following reference point for Grand Canyon West:
- Meadview AZ. Grand Canyon West is approximately 15 miles due East of this town. The Grand Canyon West Welcome Center is located here as is the turn-off to the unpaved access road to Grand Canyon West, where the park and ride shuttles to the park can be picked up.
A good rule of thumb to remember when traveling in this large and remote part of the country is “when in doubt, check it out.” Always inquire with a local before heading off down a particular road, even if it’s been suggested by your GPS, Google Maps or the like. Verify road conditions in questionable weather. Not all of Arizona is desert. It snows in the Grand Canyon park area, and some roads, particularly Highway 67 to Grand Canyon North Rim is subject to seasonal closure due to heavy snowfall. The official website of the Arizona Department of Transportation is www.az511.com. This is an excellent resource that provides up to the minute information on road closures, construction and other restrictions that may be in place at the time of your Grand Canyon vacation. If you don’t have internet access, ask at your hotel or consult the local phone book for contact information.