Best Route For San Diego To Grand Canyon Road Trip

  • UPDATED Oct 17, 2018
Vast, magnificent and inarguably beautiful, the Grand Canyon is easily Arizona’s most distinguishable landmark and a natural wonder that has people from all over the United States visiting it to believe it! A road trip to this natural wonder is one of the most popular vacations that is widely undertaken in the entire USA. Driving through rural deserts to this Arizona’s most distinguishable landmark might be a little overwhelming and so we bring to you the most popular San Diego  to Grand Canyon routes.  
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The Grand Canyon is located at 550 miles from San Diego.
Time taken:  
8 hours 6 minutes
Best routes:
Keeping in mind that this is a National Park and wilderness area, it is not somewhere you would want to arrive in the dark. Hence, an early start to the journey is advisable. There are three routes that take you to the Grand Canyon from San Diego.
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San Diego - Victorville - Grand Canyon


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The distance from San Diego to Grand Canyon, via this route is 547 miles and takes 8 hours 6 minutes to cover. The following are great pit stops if you plan to choose this route - 
1. Temecula: 
The Temecula Valley in South California is famous for its wineries. So a pit stop here en route is a great idea, for some thirst quenching.
2. Hesperia:
The Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area is a great for a much-needed break from driving. 
3. Kingman:
The Sitgreaves Pass, Arizona Route 66 Museum and the Desert Diamond Distillery are good recreational places.
Here is the best ever USA road trip guide for you

San Diego - Ripley - Grand Canyon


Image source: Fotografia  

You save 47 miles via this route. However, this is comparatively a lesser civilized route, but a more picturesque one. Taking you through rural areas of Arizona and the course is parallel to the canyon. The distance from San Diego to Grand Canyon, via Ripley is 500 miles and takes 8 hours 10 minutes to cover. Following are great pit stops if you plan to choose this route - 
1. El Centro
This place has quite a few churches, some decent eating places, and motels, where you can halt for a while.
2. La Paz County
The Lake Titicaca is a must-see, that will also provide you some relaxation from the lengthy drive. Look forward to great Mexican food joints too.
3. Yavapi County
Once you reach here, the canyon topography starts setting in. With magnificent structures like Sedona, Prescott, and Jerome, driving through this place will get you excited for the Grand Canyon. 
Make your travel experiences count. Plan with travel planner of TripHobo.

San Diego - Palm Desert - Grand Canyon


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Stretching at 543 miles, this route via Palm Desert takes about 8 hours 3 minutes to cover. Geographically, the route lies in the middle of the above-mentioned routes and joins the San Diego Victorville Grand Canyon route at San Bernardino County, CA. 
1. Temecula: 
The Temecula Valley in South California is a popular winery. 
2. Palm Desert:
The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens is a good sightseeing spot if you want to look around. 
3. You will also pass the Joshua National park
The San Diego - Palm Desert - Grand Canyon route meets the San Diego - Victorville - Grand Canyon route at San Bernardino County, which further merges with the San Diego - Ripley - Grand Canyon at the Ash Fork, in Yavapai County, AZ which lies 72 miles before the Grand Canyon (1 hour, 12 minutes).
You may also readHow to Plan a One Day Road Trip
And if you are not a road trip person you have the choice to take a train, a bus or a flight too, however not directly to the canyon. The Grand Canyon Railway operates a train ride from the town of Williams to the Grand Canyon Village, with a travel time of 2.5 hours in each direction. 
The closest airports are the Las Vegas McCarran International Airport  and the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport. 
Whichever route you choose, remember it’s a long journey but totally worth the wait!
Featured image source: Galyonkin
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