Park and Ride: Tusayan area shuttle route opens March 1

Grand Canyon National Park’s Tusayan Shuttle unloads at the Imax Theater/ RP’s stop, the first inbound stop in the community of Tusayan. (Loretta Yerian/WGCN)

Grand Canyon National Park’s Tusayan Shuttle unloads at the Imax Theater/ RP’s stop, the first inbound stop in the community of Tusayan. (Loretta Yerian/WGCN)

TUSAYAN, Ariz. — The National Park Service (NPS) will again offer shuttle bus service between Grand Canyon National Park and the neighboring town of Tusayan in 2019.

In anticipation of large spring break crowds, the route will begin 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.

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 bus stops in Tusayan

Shuttles stop at IMAX/RP’s Stage Stop, Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn, The Grand Hotel and Big E’s 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.

Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Christ Lehnertz said the park was pleased to offer the service.

“Riding the shuttles helps protect resources, reduces crowding on park roadways, and reduces our carbon footprint. We hope visitors and residents will continue to use and enjoy the Tusayan Route this year.”

In 2018, there were about 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.

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