Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Road Trip

written by local expert Anna Faustino

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years. She has spent time living in Thailand, Mexico, Indonesia, and Spain and is our local expert in these areas. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Yahoo Travel, and more.

If you’re planning a trip to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, look no further as I lay down my carefully planned itinerary, taking you to all the BEST spots between these two iconic locations! 

While you can easily drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon in five hours or so, why not make a road trip out of it and see other national parks along the way?

Although the itinerary I’m about to share with you spans out to 7 days, you can easily customize it and make it your own by adding (or removing) certain stops.

Before I get down to the juicy details, we did do this road trip with a campervan which we rented from Travellers Autobarn. If you ask me, doing this by van is the best way to do it.

Hands down. 

Not only did we get to stay in some pretty awesome campsites along the way, we also got to spend TONS of time in nature and the outdoors which is always a big plus.

I will give you more details about traveling this route in a campervan but wanted to say that I will also be sharing options on where to stay for those who are opting to travel from Vegas to the Grand Canyon via a car.

Apart from sharing my itinerary, I will also include detailed maps to help make this epic road trip easy and fuss free!

travellers autobarn campervan rental

7 Day Itinerary Las Vegas to Grand Canyon (with Map)

The best part about this road trip is that it takes you to so many awesome places along the way. Listed below are just a few of the stops we made during this trip. So if you’re interested in visiting some of these places, keep on reading!

Day 1: Las Vegas – Valley of Fire State Park – Zion National Park Campsite

Day 2: Zion National Park – Wild Camping site near Bryce Canyon

Day 3: Bryce Canyon – Wild Camping site near Bryce Canyon

Day 4: Campsite to Antelope Canyon

Day 5: Horseshoe Bend- Grand Canyon

Day 6: Grand Canyon

Day 7: Grand Canyon to Las Vegas

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Map

✨The 1 Thing We Never Leave Home Without…

Travel Insurance

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Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Distance 

Total Distance: If you’re driving from Las Vegas directly to the Grand Canyon (South Rim), the driving distance is around 280 miles. However, if you opt to visit other national parks along the way, it’s around 900 miles. 

Personally, for us, between all the stops and day hikes that we did, our total road trip length was around 980 miles.

Recommended Trip Length: 7 days 

To be honest, we could have spent longer on this road trip as there was just so much to see and do! However, we were in a bit of a time crunch as we had flights heading to Europe. 

You could easily follow this itinerary and extend it to 10 or 12 days!

Campervan Rental in Las Vegas

As mentioned earlier, we opted to do this Grand Canyon road trip via a campervan which we rented from Travellers Autobarn in Las Vegas. We’ve done campervan rentals in Iceland, and Scotland and love the experience of traveling around in a little home on wheels.

We rented the Kuga campervan and couldn’t be happier with our choice. It was spacious enough for a long van trip (and the fact that you can stand up while cooking is a huge plus!) 

The van itself was equipped with a solar powered fridge, microwave, gas cooker, sink, 120V usb plugs, and a table area which converted to a bed. The kuga can sleep 2-3 people and was surprisingly super comfortable during the nights!

We absolutely loved our campervan and would rent from these guys again in a heartbeat. We had everything we needed for a comfortable road trip. They also have depots available in LA and San Francisco.

If you are interested in doing a campervan roadtrip, click the button below to check out prices.

View Campervan Rentals Here

campervan rental las vegas

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Vegas to Grand Canyon Itinerary:

Day 1: Las Vegas – Valley of Fire State Park – Zion National Park

Campsite: Zion River Resort

Recommended Hotels: View Hotels in Springdale

If you drive 50 minutes away from Las Vegas, you will end up in one of the coolest natural attractions in the Nevada Desert. 

Composed of nearly 46,000 acres of public recreation land, this state park got its name from its distinctive red sandstone formations. When we first arrived, I couldn’t believe how close this place was to Las Vegas City!

There are a ton of hiking trails around the area which are worth doing! We left Las Vegas a little late and had a lot of ground to cover as we wanted to get to a campsite closer to Zion National Park so we only drove around.

If you are planning on hitting any of the trails, definitely plan ahead as you want to get there early morning or late afternoon due to the desert heat!

Top Tip: We use the app All Trails to find hikes near us. The app gives you a ton of info on hike length, difficulty, and more. Highly recommend it.

valley of fire national park
Valley of Fire National Park felt like I was walking on Mars

After we explored the park, we made our way to Zion River Resort. As we were arriving quite late, we wanted to stay in a campsite where we could plug our van and get everything charged before the week. 

We were pretty spontaneous with this trip and didn’t have enough time to reserve in other campgrounds. While the place was nice, next time, I would opt to stay in the campgrounds inside Zion National Park itself. They were all full during our visit so we stayed in one located around 20 minutes away.

Insider’s Tip: Because you will be visiting quite a few National Parks during this road trip, I recommend that you pick up an Annual Interagency Pass which gives you access to all the national parks in the US for 1 year.

While you usually have to order this in advance, we were able to buy it at the counterbooth of Zion National Park. The pass costs $80 and is valid for 1 full year. Considering entrance to most parks are $35 per vehicle, the pass definitely ended up saving us a few $$!

Valley of Fire Tour Option

If you are short on time but still want to visit Valley of Fire, there are several day trip options from Las Vegas.

Day 2: Hiking in Zion National Park

Campsite: Dispersed Camping Dixie National Forest

Recommended Hotels: View Hotels Near Bryce Canyon

Depending on your level of fitness, Zion National Park offers multiple day hikes which are doable for all age and fitness levels. 

A few of the most popular ones are Angel’s Landing and the Narrows. We initially planned on doing the Narrows but had intense flash flood warnings the days leading up to our trek so we opted for a few of the smaller hikes instead.

Here’s a list of the shorter hikes in Zion National Park if you are pressed on time:

  • Canyon Overlook Trail – 1 mile or 1.6km offers incredible views of the park (this combined with the Emerald Pool Trails is a great way to spend a couple of hours.
  • Emerald Pool Trails – 3 miles or 4.8 km This trail was pretty fun to do! You can customize it to your liking by doing only portions of it. The path has a lot of signs making it pretty easy to navigate. I recommend doing Kayenta to Lower Emerald Pool trails.
  • Pa’rus Trail – 3.5 miles or 5.6km roundtrip from the South Campground to Canyon Junction, following the Virgin River. This is a heavily trafficked trail which is both dog and wheelchair friendly.
  • Riverside Walk – 2.2 miles or 3.5km beginning at the Temple of Sinawa, following the Virgin River through a narrow canyon. This trail is also paved and is heavily trafficked as some portions of the path is also the same trail as the ones for the Narrows.

We enjoyed Zion National Park but there were A LOT of people. We felt it was very busy! Regardless of this, if you get there early enough, there are plenty of parking spots near the two campgrounds.

After you secure a spot, you can just hop on their free shuttle bus which can take you around different points of the park where you can start your hike. 

zion national park After your hike, we hopped back on our campervan and drove the scenic Mount Carmel Highway which connects the South and East Entrance of the National Park. This highway was SO beautiful and scenic! Highly recommend going this route!

After this, we headed towards Bryce Canyon where we would spend two nights dispersed camping in Dixie National Forest.

The spot we found was SO sweet. It was truly in the middle of nowhere and had tons of shade and trees. We had an awesome time chilling, cooking some food, playing games, and just being around nature.

driving through rock arches

Day 3: Hiking and Exploring Bryce Canyon

Campsite: Dispersed Camping Dixie National Forest

Out of all the national parks that we visited, Bryce Canyon was the one that probably blew us away! Not only is the scenery pretty out of this world but the entire place felt a lot more low key compared to Zion National Park.

We got to the park ready for a day of hiking and were pretty much in awe of the scenery! Seriously one of the coolest places that we’ve been to in the US.

We opted to do the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden Trail but actually ended up hiking for longer as the scenery was just too beautiful! If you head there early, you might even get some of the trails all to yourself.

bryce canyon

Top Tip: While none of the hikes that we did were too strenuous, we do recommend making sure you have the right hiking shoes! We also take hiking poles as us the descents can be hard on your knees (Yes, I know I sound like an old person right now!)

After our hike, we headed back to the dispersed camping site. We actually ended up switching camp as we found some tracks right outside our campsite when we woke up the next morning.

We also saw what we thought to be a black bear-no joke. Needless to say, we packed up VERY quickly. (P.S. Bears in Bryce Canyon is very uncommon but there were a few camping grounds where people have spotted them)

Because of the bear scare, we ended up switching locations (still within the same campsite) and found a site that overlooked the whole forest thanks to the recommendation of another friendly camper.

campervan mornings

Tour Option

Again, if you are short on time but still want to squeeze in a short trip to Zion and Bryce National Park, you can check out this day trip option.

Day 4: Bryce Canyon to Antelope Canyon

Campsite: Waheap RV park

Recommended Hotels: View Hotels Near Page Arizona

After two nights in one campsite (we often tend to plan our trips so we don’t have to move around too much), we packed up and made our way to Antelope Canyon. As the Antelope Slot canyons are located in Navajo lands, you are required to get a guided tour.

After doing a lot of research, I decided to book a tour to the Lower Canyon. As mentioned, the entire trip was planned last minute and all of the Upper Canyon tours were all booked out.

We went with a company called Ken’s Lower Canyon Tours and couldn’t be happier with our decision. Because of Covid, they had smaller groups which gave it a more intimate feel as I think they usually have larger groups.

Our guide was incredible and gave us a ton of tips on how to take photos of the canyon with our smartphones!

Antelope Canyon After our tour, we decided to stay in a campsite to plug in, have a shower, and charge up the rest of our electronics. Although you don’t have to always stay in campsites, the guys over at Traveller’s Autobarn recommend that you plug up every 3 days or so.

We headed to Waheap RV park which was located by the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area by Lake Powell. We had an awesome night’s sleep in the van and also saw an incredible sunrise right by the lake.

campervan overlooking lake powell

Day 5: Horseshoe Bend to Grand Canyon

Campsite: Desert View Campground

Recommended Hotels: View Hotels Near Grand Canyon South Rim

Next up on this epic Vegas to Grand Canyon Itinerary was the famous Horseshoe Bend. Based from experience, I do recommend checking when to best go based on the season/ month you are visiting! 

I had a crazy idea of waking up early and watching the sunrise from here but was a little bit disappointed as half of the canyon was lit up while the other half was hidden by the shadow.

But, we found an awesome shaded spot by the rocks and ended up waiting around which ended up being pretty spectacular.

After we visited Horseshoe bend, we hopped back on our campervan and headed towards the Grand Canyon! 

We drove through A LOT of empty spaces and were in awe by the sheer size of the Grand Canyon (and the areas leading up to it!)

Although there were larger campsites closer to the South Rim entrance of the Canyon, we decided to stay at the Desert View Campgrounds which was located 45 minutes away. By the time we got to our campsite, we knew we made the right decision!

Compared to the larger campgrounds, Desert View was a lot more intimate and had a ton of open spaces. We had bonfires and bbqs each night and felt like we were the only ones there. Minutes away from the campsite is also a pathway leading to an incredible spot where you can watch the sunrise! 

Reservations are a must when it comes to this campsite so if you’re planning on going, definitely plan in advance. We made a booking around a week before and managed to snag a great spot! 

If you’re driving a regular car, keep heading towards the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where you will find a ton of options on where to stay.

View Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Tour

Day 6: Hiking Around the Grand Canyon

Campsite: Desert View Campground

The next day, we woke up early and walked to the sunrise spot right outside our campgrounds. There was no one else but us as we sat by the ridge, watching the sun come up and slowly illuminate the canyon.

It was honestly one of the most MAGICAL moments of the entire trip. 

sunrise over grand canyon

After that, we hopped on our van and headed towards the South Kaibab Trail. As we really only had a day of hiking, we wanted to do something relatively easy so we could explore the rest of the park.

We made our way to the trailhead where we found a nearby picnic area where we parked our car. The picnic area only had a limited number of parking spots so we definitely lucked out by getting there early.

Otherwise, we would have had to drive to the South Rim visitors center where we would need to catch the shuttle to the trailhead.

It was around 7:30 AM when we started the trail and the place was still relatively quiet. We wanted to head down and make our way to Cedar Ridge, passing Ooh Ahh Point along the way!

Top Tip: If you want to go hiking in the Grand Canyon during the summer, starting early is a must as the temperatures down the canyon are no joke. The camp ranger we met recommended being at the trailhead by 5:30 if we wanted to do a longer hike!

Hiking in the Grand Canyon

If you are looking for other hikes to do while in the area, here are some of the most popular trails in the Grand Canyon:

  • South Kaibab to Ooh Aah Point (1.7 miles)- this hike is considered the halfway point to Cedar Ridge. Stunning viewpoint!
  • South Kaibab to Cedar Ridge (2.8 miles)- Again if you are looking for a short hike, this and the one above are my main recommendations. The rim trail can get super busy so these two hikes are great alternatives.

From Cedar Ridge, you can also continue hiking down to Skeleton Point (5.8 miles) which will take you right to the bottom area of the Canyon. 

  • Three-Mile Resthouse Bright Angel Trail (6 miles)- If you’re looking for something challenging that won’t take you the whole day, this is a great alternative as well.

Naturally, there are longer, more strenuous hikes that you can do and if we were here for a couple more days, we would definitely tackle a few of the others. After our hike, we headed towards the Visitor’s Center but ended up stopping along multiple viewpoints along the way.

One of the BEST things about having a campervan is you literally have your home on two wheels. We decided to stop by one viewpoint where we had breakfast sandwiches and coffee while looking out onto the canyon. So priceless.

The closer we got to the Visitor’s Center, the more crowded the area got. The rim trail was full of people so after walking around for a few minutes, we decided to head back to our campgrounds which felt so much more remote than the main area!

After an afternoon of chilling and relaxing, we walked to the Desert View Watchtower which was right by our campsite. Here, we sat down by the benches, eating an icecream and watched the sun go down. 

We then headed back to our campsite to have another bonfire evening and bbq. It was the perfect last night in our van!

hiking grand canyon

Day 7: Grand Canyon to Las Vegas

We woke up on Day 7 and DID NOT want to leave. Honestly, we could have stayed for longer but we were in a bit of a time crunch as we were flying off to Europe. 

We packed up our campsite, had one last breakfast and coffee, and hit the road.

TIP: For coffee addicts like us, we brought with us a portable espresso maker and couldn’t be happier with our pick! We got the Wacaco Nanopresso and it hands down is one of our best purchases all year! We also bought the Nespresso pod extension and it made the entire process so easy. If you’re looking for other options check out our article on portable coffee makers.

Although the entire week was already insanely epic and fun, we decided to splash out and do a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. SO.WORTH.IT.

View Grand Canyon Helicopter Ride Options

It was the perfect way to end our van trip and will be a memory that we will always remember. After the helicopter ride, we hopped on our van and headed back to Las Vegas. This day was pretty much the longest out of our trip and was all on one straight highway.

grand canyon from a helicopter

Travellers Autobarn Kuga Campers

If you’re thinking of doing this Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip, I HIGHLY recommend that you do it in a campervan. 

Living in a campervan just adds a completely different layer of fun to the trip! While I didn’t run the exact numbers, hotels, especially around the National Parks can get pricey so it is definitely worth checking comparing both if budget is an issue.

As mentioned earlier, we opted for the Kuga Campervan and absolutely loved it! It’s retro look just added to the overall fun factor.

Having rented multiple campervans before, sleeping on a converted bed can be a hit or miss but both my partner and I slept SO soundly each night! The fact that you can stand up while cooking and making coffee makes a HUGE difference.

You can rent additional items like a sleeping bag, beddings, pillows, outdoor chairs and table, and more!

We were traveling in the middle of summer so we picked up a $15 battery operated fan from Amazon and it was a lifesaver. Funny enough, in places like Bryce and the Grand Canyon, I was pretty cold during the nights.

kuga campervan

Overall Thoughts on this Grand Canyon Road Trip

Overall, this road trip was amazing! If you’re planning a trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, this route is definitely worth considering. It was one of our best van adventures to date and has definitely made us want to travel around the US more.

If you have any comments or questions about the route comment below and I will do my best to get back to you.

Travel Must: At the risk of sounding like your parents, make sure you get travel insurance before hitting the road. Trust us, it’s one of those things you don’t want to leave home without. We recommend either World Nomads or Safety Wing, depending on the type of traveler you are.

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