The Grand Canyon has long been a leading tourist attraction in Arizona, standing its position as one of the most awe-inspiring sceneries one could lay their eyes on. Showcasing millions of years of geological history, the Grand Canyon National Park landmark uniquely portrays the miracles of nature.
Equally distinctive is the Grand Canyon’s location, which is quite remote from the city, with most major airports being a long-distance away.
The closest airport to Grand Canyon is ultimately the Grand Canyon airport, just 7 miles south of the South Rim. But since it’s mainly commercial, the second option would be Flagstaff Pulliam airport, nearly 90 miles south of the South Rim.
If you’re planning to take a trip to stand on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, go rafting in the Colorado River, go on a mule trip into the Grand Canyon, have some Jeep tours, or even take some breathtaking photos during the visit, keep reading for information on the airports closest to Grand Canyon.
The 4 Closest Airports to Grand Canyon
You probably want to choose the closest airport to the Grand Canyon, but your choice of the airport will depend on several factors, like cost, time, the Grand Canyon destinations you intend to visit, and the availability of flights.
Below are the airports near Grand Canyon to consider.
Flagstaff Pulliam Airport
The Flagstaff Pulliam Airport is the closest domestic airport to the Grand Canyon, located approximately 90 miles south of the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, which happens to be the most popular and visited area of the park! Since the airport is a domestic one, it’s only served by American Airlines and United Airlines.
Currently, the airport offers very limited routes. American Airlines only offers flights from and to Phoenix and Flagstaff, but Dallas, Fort Worth, and Los Angeles are in the plans.
Upon reaching the Flagstaff airport, you could either use the Arizona Shuttle or rent a car to get to the Grand Canyon. If you plan to use the shuttle, make sure you reserve a seat in advance to ensure pick up from the airport – reservations are a must.
On average, it takes around a 90-minute drive to get to the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon National Park Airport
Did you know that the Grand Canyon has a dedicated airport? Many people haven’t heard of it because it isn’t easy to access and has only one runway. The Grand Canyon airport is located only 7 miles south of the Rim and mainly supports businesses that conduct aerial tours over the Grand Canyon.
So, suppose you intend on taking a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon to get a matchless overview of this nature’s beauty. In that case, you’ll be departing from and landing at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport. The same applies if you want to tick off skydiving the Grand Canyon off your bucket list!
How so? Most of the air tours come from Las Vegas, so you’d usually shuttle from your hotel to one of the closest airports to the Grand Canyon, be it Las Vegas, NV, or Boulder airports. Then, you take a flight to the GCNP/South Rim.
Alternatively, at a premium, you could take a charter flight from Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Sedona, or Phoenix to the Grand Canyon Airport since the airport is public and allows private flights.
Other than that, you probably won’t be visiting the Grand Canyon airport since it rarely serves commercial flights. And if it did, they’d probably be tremendously expensive.
Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
Phoenix Sky Harbor is one of the closest major airports to the Grand Canyon, situated approximately 223 miles south of the South Rim. Daily, over a handful of major airlines from everywhere in the world, provide flights from and to the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
Once you arrive at the airport, the options are just like that of the Flagstaff airport; you could either opt for the Arizona Shuttle or rent a car instead. On that note, it’s worth mentioning that Arizona Shuttle can take you to other major cities in Arizona, although sometimes you’ll need to switch shuttles in Flagstaff.
In comparison to Flagstaff, Phoenix Sky Harbor isn’t only a couple of hours closer than Las Vegas, but the tickets are also cheaper. Phoenix is located around 3.5 hours away from the South Rim and 5 hours away from the North Rim.
McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas
Like Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the McCarran International Airport is also one of the closest major airports to the Grand Canyon. However, since it’s located in Las Vegas, it’s somewhat farther and falls West of the Grand Canyon, located roughly 270 miles away.
Despite that it’s more distant, the McCarran International Airport is a hub airport that attracts countless international travelers, understandably because they also want to visit Las Vegas itself while on the trip.
To reach the Grand Canyon, you also drive Interstate 40 until you almost reach Flagstaff, where you turn North. In this case, you don’t need to outsource a transportation method unless you aren’t a resident. Certainly, in that case, rent a car to make the most out of the journey and expect the drive to take around four hours.
Tip: As you’re planning for your trip, remember that Las Vegas, Nevada, absorbs daylight saving time while Arizona doesn’t. So, for half of the year, the Grand Canyon is ahead by an hour.
Grand Canyon Airports by Destination
Suppose you already have your vacation itinerary prepared and you know exactly what you want to do when you visit the park. In that case, the only information you need is the closest airport to your destination, and that’s what we’re here to offer. Below are the airports nearest to the Grand Canyon’s popular destinations.
Grand Canyon National Park’s (GC) South Rim
- Flagstaff Pulliam (FLG) Airport – The closest to the South Rim, yet the flight tickets can be quite costly.
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) – The most popular choice by visitors, mainly due to its affordable pricing options and increased flight availability.
- Grand Canyon (GCN) Airport – While this is the closest airport to the Grand Canyon, it’s exclusive to scenic helicopter and airline companies as well as individuals owning private planes.
Grand Canyon National Park’s (GC) North Rim
- Flagstaff Pulliam (FLG) Airport – The closest to the North Rim, although the tickets can be somewhat expensive.
- Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) – If you like to tour around during your trip and plan to explore different parks in Southern Utah along with the North Rim, the Las Vegas McCarran will pave the way for that.
Grand Canyon National Park’s (GC) West Rim
- Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) – Your best option if you’re only planning to visit the West Rim and the Skywalk.
- Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) – Ideal if you plan to visit both the South Rim and the West Rim, leading the way to the Skywalk and the infamous Havasu Falls.
Grand Canyon National Park’s (GC) East Rim
- Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) – The closest to the Lees Ferry on the Colorado river and where you can go for a rafting and Canyon river trip.
- Marble Canyon Airport – This is an airport that, although privately owned, offers public flights for local tour companies, hotels, and the National Park Service on the East Rim.
How Do You Go to the Grand Canyon National Park?
The Grand Canyon National Park is located in the northern part of Arizona, near the Utah borders and Nevada. The Colorado River, which runs within the Grand Canyon National Park boundaries, is split into three parts: the South and North Rims and the Inner Canyon, which is essentially the River Level.
Fun fact: Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
Once you’re at the airport, most people drive for the rest of the way to the Grand Canyon National Park. If not, then you’ll just take a shuttle instead. If you choose to drive, you’ll keep going until you arrive at any of the main park entrances, which is your destination.
If you’re headed to the South Rim, you’ll probably enter the park through Arizona Route 64, while if you’re headed to the North Rim, you’ll take ALT US 89 to arrive at Arizona 67.
Luckily, there are quite a few choices of airports close to the Grand Canyon National Park, so it’s ultimately up to you to decide which is closest to you based on your destination, hotels, the drive, and of course, the cost.
All in all, the closest airports to the Grand Canyon National Park are ultimately the Flagstaff and Grand Canyon airports. Still, since one is exclusive to air tours and helicopter flights and the other is domestic, Phoenix Sky Harbor would make the better choice. Not to mention, it’s the most cost-effective option, and you’ll find a lot of available flights.
Whichever airport you choose, be sure that the distance is absolutely worth it! As Theodore Roosevelt once rightfully said, the Grand Canyon is “the one great sight which every American should see.” We’d make a slight amendment to that – everyone should visit this epic landmark with all its breathtaking views and historic sites!
Related: A Complete US National Park List