As we mentioned before, driving yourself is our preference because you get to control your itinerary and make changes along the way.
Driving to the West Rim (5001 Diamond Bar Rd, Peach Springs, AZ 86434, map) is the shortest trip at roughly 2 hours each way. Once you arrive, there is a free parking lot where they will have shuttle buses to take you to different points. To access anything else you will have to purchase a ticket.
The drive to the South Rim (S Entrance Rd, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, map) takes roughly 4.5 hours each way. You are driving on major highways or roads the whole way making it an easy drive. When you arrive, you pass through a pay station, where you can either use your Annual National Parks Pass ($80) or purchase a vehicle pass ($30). Once you pay, you can park in the village and take a shuttle, or park directly at specific viewpoints. Keep in mind that during the busy season, parking is hard to find at viewpoints.
The North Rim (AZ-67, North Rim, AZ 86023, map) is the longest drive at roughly 5 hours. It’s slightly closer distance-wise, but towards the end of your drive, you’ll be driving through smaller, windy roads in Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. Similar to the South Rim, you’ll pass a pay station then you can park in any of the designated spots.