Dear Arizona Travel:
We are looking to tour the west side of the Canyon and would actually like to go down in. Are SUV’s allowed to be driven down in to tour? Do these have to be guided or can we tour ourselves.
Yes, but very few people actually make the trek. If you’re so inclined, you can take Indian Reservation Route 6, also known as Diamond Creek Road, a bumpy, unpaved 19 miles track from Peach Springs (about 90 minutes from Grand Canyon West) down to the Colorado River. Diamond Creek Road is the only road down to the Grand Canyon accessible by private vehicle. The journey takes about 2 hours and requires a $16.00 permit (purchased at the Hualapai Lodge in Peach Springs at the head of Diamond Creek Road at Historic Route 66.) Be prepared that you’ll need a well-tuned vehicle with high clearance such as the SUV you mentioned, and you need to understand that there are no gas stations, no services, no cell phone coverage… and likely, very few other people besides guided tour participants… on this road. But the trek is well worth it!
If you don’t want to drive yourself to the bottom, or you’re starting your trip from the South Rim instead of Las Vegas, take a guided Jeep tour down Diamond Creek Road with Grand Canyon Jeep Tours. Grand Canyon Jeep Tours Inner Canyon tour is their most popular, and includes a stop at the fascinating Grand Canyon Caverns, a boxed lunch, and knowledgeable friendly tour guides. This tour is a great winter activity because temperatures at the West Rim and the inner gorge at Diamond Creek are a pleasant 20 degrees warmer than the South Rim.
Another popular way to get to the bottom of the Grand Canyon at the West Rim is by helicopter. Helicopter tours are available at Grand Canyon West. Check out tours like this one: Grand Canyon West Rim VIP Helicopter Tour from Las Vegas.