This 4th of July Expected to be Parks’s Busiest Weekend Ever

2015 has been a great year for the Grand Canyon National Park, but an unfortunate side effect of the park’s popularity is the time spent waiting to enter the park. Visitation is up 20% from 2014, and with so many people trying to make their way through the entrance stations, it’s not unusual for traffic to slow down to a crawl, especially between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Weekends are even worse, and sometime the average wait for admission into the park is 30 minutes or more. That might not seem like the longest wait, but even after you gain access to the park, there’s a high chance that parking lots will be filled to capacity as early as 10 a.m. Combine all of that with the fact that July is the world-famous landmark’s most popular month, and you have a recipe for long wait times and frustration – if you don’t plan ahead, that is.

So between the higher overall popularity of the park and 4th of July weekend right around the corner, how can you beat the waits? What if you can’t find a parking space? Park authorities are suggesting that visitors park their vehicles in Tusayan and use the Park and Ride shuttle system to gain access to the park itself.

“We are expecting record-shattering numbers Thursday through Monday that weekend,” said Marlon Avantyr revenue manager for the Grand Canyon National Park. “Thanks for being patient with the rangers working the entrance stations.”

If the park’s popularity continues to grow at this rate, it might be time to expand!

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Taking the Tusayan Route would alleviate waiting at the main gate and would also make it easier for visitors to access the park if they’re able to leave their car in Tusayan. Shuttles leave Tusayan every 20 minutes between 8 a.m. and 9:45 p.m. with four stops around Tusayan and a final stop at the Grand Canyon National Park Visitor Center – so don’t forget to stop in and say “Hi!” while you’re here!

Once you’ve arrived at the Grand Canyon National Park Visitor Center, your adventure can finally begin! Ride the in-park shuttle system, hike on many of the Grand Canyon’s beautiful trails, and gaze over the edge of the canyon, but be sure to prepare for additional waits if you plan on using park facilities like the in-park shuttle bus. Be sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen – the hot summer sun is one of the most dangerous things at the Grand Canyon.

It also helps to make sure that you’ve prepared ahead of time. Are all of your bags packed? Have your transportation arrangements been made? Have you reserved your Grand Canyon lodging if you’ll be staying more than one night? If not, time is of the essence – make sure it’s not already too late to make the appropriate arrangements and read up on more Grand Canyon information on our website – including how to avoid fatal injuries, how to get your car ready for the trip, and how to save as much money as possible.