After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, and just ahead of the crush of summer visitors, Grand Canyon National Park will bring back its popular park and ride shuttle service from the community of Tusayan, located just outside its gates. 

Starting May 28, the park will resume the Purple Route which runs between Grand Canyon National Park Visitor Center at the South Rim and the gateway community of Tusayan, Arizona.

The shuttle will depart every 20 minutes between the hours of 8 am and 9:30 pm daily until September 9. 

As crowds descend on the park during the summer travel months, the park said visitors can expect waits of “up to two-hour wait times at the South Entrance Station between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and parking lots can reach capacity as early as 12 p.m.” (You can monitor traffic at the South Entrance on the park's webcam.)

The park urged visitors who are not staying inside the park to consider this shuttle to avoid long lines as well as frustration over parking. 

“Riding the shuttles helps protect resources, reduces crowding on park roadways, and reduces our carbon footprint. The Tusayan Route has not operated since the start of the pandemic in 2020, so we hope visitors and residents will use and enjoy it this year.” said Ed Keable, superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park. 

The Tusayan shuttle (Purple Route) drives through a roundabout in Tusayan. © NPS Photo/M. Quinn

How to use the shuttle from Tusayan 

Along with costing a premium, lodging inside the park often sells out months in advance. 

That makes Tusayan, located just outside the gates of the entrance to the South Rim, an attractive option for those who waited to book or need affordable accommodations to stay on a budget, especially since the shuttle provides convenient access into the park. 

Visitors who wish to use the shuttle must have a daily park entry pass, a lifetime or an annual pass before boarding.

Those can be purchased in three ways:

In-person at the IMAX, Canyon Plaza Resort, Red Feather Lodge or the Westwind Air Service at the Grand Canyon Airport.

Through the automated machines located at The Grand Hotel or the IMAX

Or online by purchasing through

According to the park’s website, “passengers should have their own face mask/covering” when they board the bus.

Hiker shuttle from North to South Rim returns 

By direct distance, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the South Rim are just 10 miles apart. To hike from one rim down to the bottom and back up to the other side, is approximately 24 miles. 

But to go by vehicle is a 220-mile (approximately 5 hours) drive as you must go around the edge of the canyon.  There is a shuttle that will transport hikers who want to leave their vehicles on one side. 

The Trans-Canyon Shuttle, the private shuttle service that transports hikers who want to hike rim-to-rim of the canyon to the other side to begin their treks, will reopen for the season on May 15. 

Reservations are recommended and the fare cost $90 one way. 

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