Beautiful colors of sunset over Grand Canyon National Park

Which State Is the Grand Canyon In?

The entire Grand Canyon is located in the state of Arizona.

Heading east to west, the Grand Canyon begins in the Northeast near the town of Page, AZ and continues westward for 277 miles. It curves through Grand Canyon National Park, all of which is located in the state of Arizona as well.

The Grand Canyon is so large, it occupies an area that is larger (1,904 square miles in total) than the entire state of Rhode Island (1,212 square miles).

The canyon was created by the Colorado River and and its many tributaries cutting into the Colorado Plateau as it uplifted, causing the Colorado River system to flow where it does today between sheer 4,000 foot walls of ancient rock. The canyon is so deep, it exposes rocks that date back the earliest parts of Earth's history, rocks as old as 1.8 billion years old.

Page, AZ, which is close to the Utah-Arizona border, is the closest large city to the Grand Canyon. It is also the base for a number of magical Southwest destinations including Antelope Canyon, the most popular and photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest, the Colorado River's famous Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, America's second largest reservoir which is located in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Navajo Nation, Tower Butte, and much more.

Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona

Where is the Grand Canyon Exactly?

Tucked into the northwest corner of the sixth largest state in America, Arizona, the Grand Canyon is also close to the borders of Utah and Nevada and winds through some of the most extremely rugged and beautiful terrain in the entire nation.

It is part of the 130,000 square mile high desert Colorado Plateau, which drains its namesake Colorado River and a number of other tributaries, including the Green River, San Juan River, Little Colorado River, and others.  The Colorado Plateau is full of other famous National Park destinations including Canyonlands, Arches, Mesa Verde, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and Capitol Reef.

Grand Canyon South Rim tour view

Grand Canyon Rims: North and South Rims

Considered one of the Wonders of the World, once you first glimpse the sheer enormity and depth of the Grand Canyon, you'll understand why!

The canyon is about a mile deep and separates two distinct regions of the Colorado Plateau and National Park; the more popular, lower, and warmer South Rim and and more remote, higher elevation, and cooler (so cool snowfall closes the area all winter) North Rim.

The only way to get from the North Rim to South Rim is a nearly five hour drive or an arduous 24-mile hike along the Bright Angel Trail that takes you from the North Rim Village to the South Rim Village.

Tourists visit Grand Canyon West and Colorado River

Grand Canyon West Rim: Hualapai Owned

There are parts of the massive Grand Canyon complex that are not administered by the National Park Service.

The Grand Canyon West Rim, only 125 miles from Las Vegas, is the rugged, less-trafficked alternative to the Grand Canyon National Park.

It is owned and operated by the Hualapai Indian Tribe. This region is the home of breathtaking lookout points such as Eagle Point and Guano Point, the Grand Canyon Skywalk, the Grand Canyon glass bridge, along with the other West Rim attractions.

Grand Canyon Oasis: Havasu Falls

Another part of the Grand Canyon still owned by ancestral Indian Nations is Havasu Falls.

Located on the Havasupai Indian reservation, Havasupai Falls is remote, beautiful, and requires a reservation to access.

Havasupai Falls is the most well known oasis in all of the Grand Canyon. The famous photos of turquoise and blue/green waterfalls spilling over rust red and bright orange cliffs deep in the recesses of America's deepest canyon beckons travelers from all over the world to this amazing site.

Map showing rims of the Grand Canyon and locations in Arizona

Distance from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon

The distance from Las Vegas, NV to the Grand Canyon depends entirely on which part of the canyon you would like to visit.

There are three different and unique rims - two (North Rim and the South Rim) that are part of Grand Canyon National Park and one (West Rim) that is not - that are available for touring, hiking, and other activities.

Here are distances to each rim from Las Vegas:

  • The West Rim is the closest rim to Las Vegas. It is located about 130 miles from the heart of Las Vegas. On average, the drive takes approximately two and a half hours.
  • Both the North Rim and South Rim are located over 270 miles from the Las Vegas Strip. On average, both drives take approximately four and a half hours. The National Park is so massive that if you want to drive from the North Rim to the South Rim, it is a 4.5 hour drive of 220 miles!

How long does it take to get to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas?

The distance from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon depends entirely on which rim of the canyon you are wanting to reach.

  • West Rim: Approximately 130 miles or two and a half hours driving
  • South Rim: Approximately 280 miles or four and a half hours driving
  • North Rim: Approximately 270 miles or four and a half hours driving

How far is the Grand Canyon from Phoenix?

  • The distance from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon depends on which rim you are traveling to. The South Rim, which is part of the Grand Canyon National Park, is the closest location to Phoenix, Arizona. The drive is approximately 224 miles, and takes around three and a half hours.
  • The Grand Canyon West Rim is approximately 260 miles and takes around four and a half hours to drive from Phoenix.