With seven accommodation options at the South Rim in Grand Canyon National Park, it can be difficult to figure out where you should stay. Do you stay in the historic lodges or modern motels, with or without air conditioning? Follow this guide to find the lodging that best suits your needs. And if you need a park map to get a sense for where everything is, you can purchase a Trails Illustrated one at REI.com.
1. I want to stay on the rim.
Bright Angel Lodge
Rustic cabin or cozy hotel room with no TV
Located just feet from the rim of the Grand Canyon and the South Rim’s famed Bright Angel trailhead, the Bright Angel Lodge is full of character. Architect Mary Jane Colter was hired to refresh the structure to provide travelers with a more affordable alternative to El Tovar Hotel down the path.
At the Bright Angel Lodge, you can choose from 90 lodging units that range from standard lodge rooms to historic cabins to historic units with a shared bath. There are not many rooms with canyons views, which may be architect Mary Jane Colter’s subtle reminder to guests to spend as much time outside as possible to experience the Grand Canyon.
El Tovar Hotel
Elegance with AC and a TV
If El Tovar Hotel’s walls could speak, they would tell stories of presidential visits from President Teddy Roosevelt to President Clinton and some of the greatest thinkers in history like Albert Einstein. Settle into one of the 78 rooms in this elegant hotel right on the rim of the Grand Canyon.
Conveniently located between El Tovar and Bright Angel Lodge, Thunderbird Lodge was built in 1968 and its facade reflects the era. Its location is fantastic as it sits on the canyon rim in the heart of the South Rim's historic district.
Conveniently located between the historic El Tovar Hotel and Bright Angel Lodge, Kachina Lodge does not have deep-rooted histories like its neighbors down the path. But what it lacks in historic depth and charm, it makes up for in location.
Built in the late 1960s, it sits right on the canyon rim, making it easy to explore some of the South Rim's best attractions by foot.
2. I'd rather hike below the rim and stay near the Colorado River.
Historic cabins and dormitories
If you are looking for a unique experience powered by your own feet (or of those of a mule you are riding on top) in the Grand Canyon's South Rim, look no further than Phantom Ranch. There are four dormitories: two for males and two for females. Each dorm has five bunk beds, a restroom and a shower. The ranch provides towels and bedding for each guest. There are cabins you can stay in, as well. While the cabins are variable in size, they can fit between two to 10 people.
3. Take me away from the crowds.
Air conditioned and pet-friendly options
If you are looking for convenience and a reasonably priced room, consider Yavapai Lodge located about a mile from the South Rim. The lodge also stands out in that it has one building with 16 pet-friendly rooms, a major convenience for hotel travelers traveling with their four-legged friends.
Yavapai Lodge West
Rooms are equipped with air-conditioning as of late 2019. Pet-friendly rooms are available. The style is reminiscent of old Route 66 motels.
Yavapai Lodge East
Modern rooms in six two-story buildings where you can cool off in air conditioning.
Air conditioned comfort
Located a quarter of a mile from the edge of the Grand Canyon, Maswik Lodge consists of a north and south lodge. It is nestled in a ponderosa pine forest. In 2019-20, Maswik South is undergoing a $30 million renovation slated to finish by summer 2020. It is the first major lodging improvement to take place in decades at the South Rim.