Grand Canyon Itineraries

48 Hours in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

Only have two days to spend at the Grand Canyon? Here are our picks for activities.

Get ready for adventure. Here are some of our favorite things to do while at the South Rim from biking in solitude to exploring some of the rim’s most historic treasures. It’s the perfect two-day Grand Canyon vacation.

Day 1

Watch the Sunrise

Sunrise at Hopi Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Sunrise at Hopi Point on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (Photo: Depositphotos)

Take a shuttle and watch the sunrise from Hopi Point, which extends farther out than any other point.

El Tovar Breakfast

Breakfast at El Tovar Hotel on the Grand Canyon's South Rim
Breakfast at El Tovar Hotel on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim (Photo: Xanterra Parks and Resorts)

Head to El Tovar Hotel, built in 1905, to eat an incredible breakfast in a rustic but elegant setting. Breakfast is served from 6:30-10:45 a.m. No reservations are necessary.

Bright Angel Trail

Hiking the Jacob's Ladder section of the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon
Hiking the Jacob’s Ladder section of the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon (Photo: NPS/Michael Quinn)

Hike down Bright Angel Trail before it gets hot. This incredible trail stretches 9.9 miles down the canyon, eventually reaching Phantom Ranch and the Colorado River. For a three-mile roundtrip hike, walk down to 1.5-Mile Resthouse and then retrace your steps.

Yavapai Geology Museum

Yavapai Museum of Geology
Yavapai Museum of Geology (Photo: NPS/Michael Quinn)

Head to the Yavapai Geology Museum, a small building with large windows facing the North Rim. This gem presents a fascinating geological history of the canyon.

Day 2

Bike along the Rim

Biking along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Biking along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (Photo: Courtesy Bright Angel Bicycles)

Rent a bike at Bright Angel Bicycles and ride Hermit Road, which is closed to all traffic, except shuttles and official park vehicles. An alternative is to bike near Grand Canyon Village on the Rim Trail with views of Yavapai Point. Visit bikegrandcanyon.com for more information about bike rentals and tours.

Desert View Watchtower

The sunrise behind Desert View Watchtower at Grand Canyon National Park
The sunrise behind Desert View Watchtower at Grand Canyon National Park (Photo: Depositphotos)

Head to the east side of the park and climb Desert View Watchtower. As you climb four flights of stairs to the top of the 70-foot tower, check out the Hopi murals decorating the walls.

South Rim Architecture Tour

Lookout Studio on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Lookout Studio on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (Photo: Grant Ordelheide)

Take a self-guided architectural tour of the South Rim’s incredible historic buildings. Start with Kolb Studio and end at the Hopi House.

Watch the Sun Set

Sunset at the Grand Canyon's South Rim
Sunset at the Grand Canyon’s South Rim (Photo: Grant Ordelheide)

Watch the Grand Canyon change colors as the sun begins to set.

Dinner at a Historic Lodge

Bright Angel Lodge at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Bright Angel Lodge at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon (Photo: Grant Ordelheide)

Enjoy dinner at Arizona Room in the Bright Angel Lodge.


And if you need a detailed map to help you plan and visualize where you want to go, you can buy one of three Grand Canyon maps made by Trails Illustrated at REI.com.