The Grand Canyon is a place that conjures up so many images.
To some it is a scar that rends deep into the earth for thousands of miles, for others it is an incredible piece of geographic phenomena that you can see nowhere else on earth, and for others still it is an important piece of cultural and historical beauty that can never be replaced.
Whatever your connection to the Grand Canyon, it is a place that will be forever on people’s bucket lists and that people wistfully dream about.
So, if you plan a hiking trip there, you’ve got to make sure that you bring everything you need with you and prepare what you can for the trip. Boots, bags, passports, water, food, and the airport you will land in.
This last one is particularly essential, as even though the Grand Canyon is huge, it is also isolated. That gives us a little problem, as where should you fly to when visiting the Grand Canyon? Which airport is the best one for this trip?
In this article, we will look at the airports around the Grand Canyon and figure out which one you require.
Where Is The Grand Canyon?
Before going to the Grand Canyon, you have to figure out exactly where it is. The US is an absolutely massive country, with only two to three other countries being potentially bigger than it.
Within the United States, we have 50 other smaller federal states, and within those federal states lies Arizona.
Arizona is in the south-western United States and shares a border with the states of Utah, California Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico as well as a border with the country of Mexico. Arizona is also the 6th largest US state and the 14th most populous.
This combined with the arid desert climate and most of the population living in the southern county of Maricopa means that Arizona is an incredibly rugged and rural state.
The Grand Canyon sits along the Colorado River in the north of the state next to a few national parks and Native American reservations as well as a national monument.
The problem is that most of the urbanization and transport in the state of Arizona is in the highly urbanized south, not necessarily in the north. With the mountainous nature of the area as well, it seems like it will be quite difficult to get to.
However, the Grand Canyon has been a place of fascination, cultural importance, and human exploration for centuries, so there are ways to get there.
Best Airport For The Grand Canyon
So, the closest city to the Grand Canyon is the small settlement of Flagstaff in northern Arizona. This is a city of about 75,000 people in Coconino county, and it is only about 90 to 100 miles away from the natural formation.
From Flagstaff, there is also the option to take a bus to the canyon or drive a car, which takes about two hours.
This has led to a boom in tourism, as people from all walks of life are desperate to see the legendary canyon.
There is also an airport in Flagstaff called Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, which is an added bonus, but being a small city means that the airport doesn’t function as globally as larger ones.
In fact, you can only fly into the airport 3 to 4 times a day and only from one other airport.
The easiest way to reach this airport is to get there by flying from another close airport to the Grand Canyon. This other airport is the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona.
If you decide to fly into Flagstaff, then try to get a US Airways ticket as it offers the best deals.
If you plan to drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, then expect a bit of a haul. It is about 200 to 300 miles from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon and can take you 3 to 4 hours to get there.
The third-closest option as airports go is unfortunately in another state, but it is the best option to see the western rim of the canyon itself. This airport is the Las Vegas McCarran airport in Las Vegas, Nevada.
This airport is the best option for those coming from abroad, as McCarren is a huge airport and the ninth busiest in the United States.
If you planned to drive this route, then it is about 280 to 300 miles, and it will take you about 4 and a half hours, but there are also a few stops that can be had along the way.
The other options you can use – Prescott City Airport and Sedona Airport – have the same problem as the Flagstaff Pulliam Airport in that they are very small and only do a couple of flights from set locations.
Apart from this, the very last option you can use is really only available to the exceedingly wealthy or the owner of their own plan.
This is the Grand Canyon Airport. It is only an 18-minute drive from the canyon or 8 miles, but it will only service private flights or charter flights. This means that you can only really use it if you splash some cash and since there are other options, I wouldn’t advise it.
Best Airport For The Grand Canyon – Final Thoughts
Honestly, the Grand Canyon should be seen by everyone at least once in their lives. It is a majestic natural structure that was so beautiful, unique, and awe-inspiring that it was considered a holy place by Pueblo people for hundreds of years.
Even Teddy Roosevelt fought for its preservation and visited it many times.
Getting to this wonderful place can be a bit tricky, but once you have found your way, through the hours of travel and making your way to different connecting routes, it will all be worth it.
To just stand at the lip of the canyon just once makes you see how small you are to the world and feel a deeper connection than you have to our earth than you have before.