ALL HIKERS

SOUTH RIM VISITOR INFORMATION

 

The south entrance to the south rim is about one mile north of Tusayan. The entrance fee is $25 per car for a seven day period. An America the Beautiful Annual Pass, which may be purchased at the park, costs $80 and is good for admission to any national park or national monument for one calendar year from the date of purchase. This is the replacement for the old Golden Eagle and National Parks Pass. United States residents age 62 years or older may purchase an America the Beautiful Senior Pass for $10, which grants them free admission for life to all National Parks and Monuments. This is the replacement for the old Golden Access pass.  An America the Beautiful Access Pass may be obtained free of charge by any United States resident who has a permanent physical, mental or sensory impairment. This is the replacement for the old Golden Access Passport.  You should use the far left lane if you have already paid or have a pass.

 

The new Visitor Center at the Canyon View Information Plaza is a great place to start your visit to the Grand Canyon.  You can park your car in brand new parking lots next to the Visitor Center or ride the free shuttle there from anywhere in the park.  The Visitor Center is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  The Bookstore is run by the Grand Canyon Association with all profits returned for the benefit of the Canyon.  The Bookstore is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

 

The Santa Fe Railroad commissioned construction of the El Tovar in 1902.  Originally it was to be named the "Bright Angel Tavern."  By the time it was completed on January 14, 1905, it had been renamed El Tovar in honor of Pedro de Tovar, of the Coronado Expedition.  It cost $250,000 to construct and was considered by many to be the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi.  The first floor has log slab siding with corners carefully notched to give it the appearance of solid logs.  Electric lights were powered by the hotel's coal-fired generator.  It had its own greenhouse for vegetables, chicken house for eggs, and dairy herd for fresh milk.  Parking is limited, so you may have to park in the street and walk up the hill to the hotel.  The building was extensively remodeled in 2005.  The El Tovar is listed as a National Historic Landmark.  Rooms vary in price from $183-440 per night.  Call Xanterra at 888-297-2757 for reservations.

 

The Hopi House was completed on January 1, 1905, just weeks before the El Tovar.  Designed by Mary Jane Colter, the Hopi House started an association with the Fred Harvey Company that spanned more than 40 years.  It is a multi-story structure of stone and adobe masonry typical of the Pueblo buildings in Old Oraibi.  The ceilings on the inside are thatched with successive layers of saplings and timbers.  It also features wall niches, corner fireplaces, and adobe walls similar to Hopi pueblos.  Even the construction was done mainly by Hopi Indians.  The Hopi House serves as a gift shop and is currently being restored.  It is located on the east side of the El Tovar and has very limited parking.  The Hopi House is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

 

Verkamp's was the first curio shop to open at the Grand Canyon in 1898.  John G. Verkamp sold Indian crafts and curios for Babbit Brothers' Trading Company in a rented tent.  When business was poor, he sold out to the Bright Angel Hotel.  In 1905 he returned to the Grand Canyon to build Verkamp's Curios at its present location just east of the Hopi House.  Verkamp's is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Verkamp's closed for good on September 18, 2008, a sad ending to this long-standing historic business at the South Rim.  On November 26, 2008, the National Park Service reopened Verkamp's Curios as a combination visitor center and retail outlet operated by the Grand Canyon Association.

 

Ellsworth L. Kolb and Emery C. Kolb played an important role in the early development of visitor services to the Grand Canyon.  They brought their photographic equipment from Williams, Arizona, to the Canyon in 1902.  Their business started out by photographing parties going down the Bright Angel Trail.  Because water supplies were limited on the rim, they would photograph the mule passengers, then run the 4 1/2 miles to Indian Garden where they had set up a photographic lab.  Water was available there for processing the film.  They then returned to the rim with the processed pictures ready for the mule passengers on their return.  The Kolb Studio was constructed from 1904 to 1926.  The Grand Canyon Association is in the process of renovating the building and currently operates a book store in the front room.  All proceeds from sales made here go directly to restoration costs for the studio.  In the basement auditorium, you will normally find some sort of exhibit relating to the cultural and/or geological history of the Grand Canyon.  Kolb Studio is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

 

Lookout Studio is another building designed by Mary Jane Colter.  It was completed in 1914, the same year as Hermit's Rest.  In keeping with her style of architecture, it was carefully designed with native stone and an irregular roofline to blend into the rim of the Grand Canyon.  On the porch was a high power telescope, now on display in the History Room of the Bright Angel Lodge.  Here visitors could view the features of the Canyon and watch mule riders descending into the Canyon.  The studio is now a gift shop.  When finishing a hike coming up the Bright Angel Trail, I always stop here for a memento of my trip.  Lookout Studio is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

 

In 1932 Mary Jane Colter started work on the Bright Angel Lodge, completing it on July 22, 1935.  It followed the general theme of the El Tovar, boasting curio shops, a restaurant, and an open-framed lobby with peeled log supports.  With its moderately priced accommodations, it was designed for tourists with moderate incomes.  The color Mary Colter selected for the interior of the lodge was a particular shade of blue.  Her insistence on the right shade prompted the painters to call it "Mary Jane Blue."    Lodge rooms vary in price from $83-188 per night.  Call Xanterra at 888-297-2757 for reservations.  The Bright Angel Fountain is located on the back side of the Bright Angel Lodge.  It offers drinks, ice cream, and walk through food service.  The inner canyon is easily viewed from this area.

 

Next to the Bright Angel Lodge is the Buckey O'Neill cabin.  It is the oldest continuously standing structure on the rim.  It was built in the 1890's by William Owen O'Neill.  Everyone knew him as "Buckey."  He acquired the name by "bucking the odds" in the card game faro.  He became an author, journalist, miner, politician, and judge.  He once made the following entry in the guest book at John Hance's ranch:  "God made the canyon, John Hance made the trails.  Without one, neither would be complete." He was elected mayor of Prescott, Arizona, and soon volunteered to fight in the Spanish American War.  He became one of Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders and lost his life in 1898 during the assault on San Juan Hill. 

 

On September 17, 1901, the first steam-driven train rolled into Grand Canyon Village after a relatively smooth trip from Williams, Arizona.  The 3-hour trip cost $3.95.  At the time, an all day and rather rigorous stage ride to the Village from Flagstaff, Arizona, cost $20.  The Santa Fe Railway station was completed in 1909.  It is one of only three remaining log depots in the country and one of an estimated fourteen log depots ever constructed in the United States.  Train rides are available from Williams, Arizona, to the Canyon.  Call 800-843-8724 or www.thetrain.com for information.  The Grand Canyon Depot is listed as a National Historic Landmark. 

 

Immediately to the east of the Bright Angel Lodge and Bright Angel Fountain is the Arizona Steakhouse, more commonly known as the Arizona Room.  Many people believe it has the finest steaks on the rim.  It is very popular and reservations are not accepted, so get there early.

 

Just to the east of the Arizona Room is the Kachina Lodge.  Rooms vary in price from $180-191 per night.  Call Xanterra at 888-297-2757 for reservations.

 

Immediately to the east of the Kachina Lodge is the Thunderbird Lodge.  Their rooms vary in price from $180-191 per night.  Call Xanterra at 888-297-2757 for reservations.

 

Hermits Rest is at the end of the West Rim Drive.  Here, visitors to the Canyon will find a snack bar, gift shop, restrooms and water.  Named for the French Canadian prospector, Louis Boucher, who lived alone in the area for more than 20 years, the site holds the impressive limestone building also designed by Mary Jane Colter in 1914.  Bikers and hikers find their way to Hermits Rest, as well as those who take the shuttles in the summertime or drive their own vehicles during the rest of the year.  A magnificent fireplace occupies the back side of the building.  Hermit's Rest is listed as a National Historic Landmark.

 

Rooms in the Maswik Lodge vary in price from $94-176 per night.  Call Xanterra at 888-297-2757 for reservations.  They have a great walk through dining room and cafeteria with several different food menus.  This is my favorite place to eat at the South Rim.

 

The Backcountry Office is back in their newly refurbished building just east of the Maswik Lodge.  They are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day of the year.  You may call and speak to a Ranger at the Backcountry Office at 928-638-7875 Monday through Friday from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mountain Standard time.

 

The Park Headquarters building is located across the street north of the Village Marketplace in the old visitor center.  The Park research library is inside the headquarters building.  Just outside the headquarters building on the northwest side is the Shrine of the Ages.  The Grand Canyon Cemetery, also called the Grand Canyon Pioneer Cemetery, is located at the west end of the headquarters building parking lot.  Emery Kolb, Ellsworth Kolb, John Hance, Ralph Cameron, Bert Lauzon, and many other people associated with the Grand Canyon are buried there.

 

Walk in medical care is available at the Grand Canyon Clinic Monday - Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Dial 911 for emergency care (9911 from hotel rooms). Phone 928-638-2551

 

If you are only moderately bad and get a ticket or Misdemeanor charge, you will have to face the music here.  Magistrate's Court is located just south and across from the Grand Canyon Depot.  If you are really bad, you will be prosecuted in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.  Cases are heard in Flagstaff.

 

The entrance to Mather Campground is located next to the Village Marketplace.  During the peak season (April to October), the campgrounds are usually full.  Advance reservations are a must this time of year.  You may camp in tents or RV's.  Hookups are not available in the campground, but are in Trailer Village.  The cost is $18 per night (1/2 price for Golden Age or Golden Access cardholders).  Call Spherix at 800-365-2267 for reservations or reserve online at http://www.recreation.gov.  Picnic tables and fire rings are provided at each site.  Bathrooms with flush toilets and running water are close to all sites.  Showers and a laundry are located just outside the campground entrance.

 

Showers and a laundry are located just outside the entrance to Mather Campground.  Showers cost $2.00 (8 quarters only) for a five-to-eight minute shower.  Towels and wash rags are provided.  The attendant will also provide the quarters necessary for the coin operated shower.  You must bring your own soap.  Washers and dryers are available in the same building.  Oddly enough, an internet hookup is also inside the building.  An ice machine is right outside the door.  Located beside the shower and laundry building is an RV dump station. 

 

Trailer Village is adjacent to the Village Marketplace and Mather Campground.  It offers 80 full hookup sites for RV's (30-50 amp service, water, sewer, and cable TV).  Restrooms are located throughout the campground, but do not have showers.  The Grand Canyon is the only national park I am aware of that offers anything other than dry camping, much less a full service campground.  Like Mather Campground, it is usually full during the peak season (April to October), and advance reservations are a must then.  Cost is $32 per night.  Discounts for Golden Age and Golden Access can NOT be used.  Call Xanterra at 877-638-2887 for reservations.

 

Rooms in the Yavapai Lodge vary in price from $125-166 per night.  Call Xanterra at 888-297-2757 for reservations.  They have a walk through dining room and cafeteria with several different food menus.

 

A branch of BanK One is located in the Village Marketplace.  It is open Monday - Thursday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Friday 9:00 to 6:00.  Phone 928-638-2437.  Next to it is the Post Office.  It is open Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Phone 928-638-2512.

 

The General Store is located in the Village Marketplace.  It has a full service grocery store and deli.  The deli offers both hot and cold meals in a walk through line.  The General Store also has one of the finest camping and hiking departments found anywhere.  If you need to buy or rent any camping or hiking gear, chances are they have it.  They also have one of the better gift and curio shops around.  When I am buying gifts or postcards, this is one of the places where I do my shopping.  Phone 928-638-2262.

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