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Tusayan shuttle route opens March 1 for spring break crowds

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. — In anticipation of large spring break crowds, the National Park Service will open its Tusayan shuttle route March 1. The purple route shuttle will run at 20-minute intervals between 8 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. daily.

In 2017, Grand Canyon reached an all-time high of more than six million visitors, 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., parking lots can reach capacity as early as 11 a.m. and ongoing road construction in the park can add to the overall vehicle congestion. Riding the shuttle from Tusayan into the park can help visitors avoid entrance station lines, parking frustrations, and road construction.

Visitors must have a valid park pass to board the shuttle in Tusayan. Visitors can purchase park passes, including lifetime and annual passes, at the National Geographic IMAX Visitor Center. RP’s Stage Stop, Canyon Plaza Resort and Red Feather Lodge also sell the standard Grand Canyon entrance passes for vehicles, individuals, and motorcycles.

Once visitors have a valid pass, they can park anywhere in Tusayan, including the Best Western Squire Inn, Grand Hotel, Big E’s Steakhouse, IMAX, RP’s Stage Stop and the park-and-ride lot on the north end of town by the second roundabout. This lot works especially well for trailers and RVs, which will have limited parking options inside the park.

The first bus into the park leaves Tusayan at 8 a.m. daily from the National Geographic IMAX Visitor Center. The first bus from the park to Tusayan departs the Grand Canyon Visitor Center at 8:25 am. The last buses leave IMAX at 9:45 pm and Grand Canyon Visitor Center at 9:30 pm 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 makes its way to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, where visitors can access trails, scenic viewpoints, park orientation 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.

“We are pleased to provide this service to park visitors and local residents,” said Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Chris Lehnertz. "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 2017, there were approximately 211,000 visitors boarding the Tusayan Route, which represents a reduction of about 35,000 vehicles entering the park. Last year, there were approximately 7.8 million rides on the park’s shuttle system, representing a reduction of about 2.6 million short in-park vehicle trips.

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