TUSAYAN, AZ (KOLD News 13) - The National Park Service is once again offering shuttle bus service between Grand Canyon National Park and the neighboring town of Tusayan in 2019.
NPS is anticipating a large spring break crowd and so will begin service on Thursday, March 1. The Tusayan Route will run at 20-minute intervals between 8 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. daily.
Grand Canyon receives more than six million visitors annually, and spring break can be one of the busiest times of year in the park. Visitors can expect to wait an hour or more at the entrance stations between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and parking lots can reach capacity as early as 11 a.m. Riding the shuttle from Tusayan can help visitors avoid entrance station lines and parking frustrations and reduce vehicular congestion in the park.
"We are pleased to provide this service to park visitors and local residents. Riding the shuttles helps protect resources, reduces crowding on park roadways, and reduces our carbon footprint," said Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Christ Lehnertz, in a recent news release, on the service. "We hope visitors and residents will continue to use and enjoy the Tusayan Route this year."
Visitors must have a valid park pass, including lifetime or annual passes, to board the shuttle in Tusayan. Visitors can purchase park passes, including lifetime and annual, at the IMAX. RP’s Stage Stop, Canyon Plaza Resort, Red Feather Lodge, and the Grand Canyon Chamber & Visitor’s Bureau also sell standard entrance passes for vehicles, individuals and motorcycles. Visitors can park anywhere in Tusayan, including the Best Western Premiere Inn, Grand Hotel, Big E Steakhouse, IMAX/RP’s Stop, and the park-and-ride lot on the north end of town by the second roundabout. The park-and-ride lot works especially well for trailers and RVs, which have limited parking options inside the park.
The first bus into the park leaves Tusayan at 8 a.m. from the IMAX Theater. The first bus from the park to Tusayan departs the Grand Canyon Visitor Center at 8:25 a.m. The last buses leave IMAX at 9:45 p.m. and Grand Canyon Visitor Center at 9:30 p.m. each night.
Shuttle buses make the following stops in Tusayan:
- IMAX Theater/RP’s Stage Stop
- Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn
- The Grand Hotel
- Big E Steakhouse and Saloon
After making four stops in Tusayan, the shuttle bus heads to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, where visitors can access trails, scenic viewpoints, and the free in-park shuttle bus system. Green stripes and NPS arrowheads make all Grand Canyon National Park shuttle buses easily identifiable. Buses are wheelchair accessible, fueled with clean-burning compressed natural gas, and have bike racks that can hold up to three bicycles.
In 2018, there were approximately 221,000 boardings on the Tusayan Route, which represents a reduction of about 37,000 vehicles entering the park. Last year, there were approximately 7.5 million boardings on the park’s shuttle system, representing a reduction of about 2.5 million short in-park vehicle trips.
Additional shuttle bus information is available online at www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/shuttle-buses.htm.
Find parking and road conditions on Twitter @GrandCanyonNPS. And for real-time traffic updates, check out the South Entrance Station webcam at https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams.htm.