Are you looking for Grand Canyon helicopter tours? Here you can find a comprehensive guide regarding everything you should know, including:
Which rim of the Grand Canyon can be visited with a helicopter tour?
The Grand Canyon is an overwhelming experience, so choosing which part is best to visit is an essential factor. Here we are reporting some brief information about each Rim, while you can read more extended information in the section: What to see in each Rim?.
The Grand Canyon can be mainly divided in four sections:
The South Rim is the most popular of the Grand Canyon because it is the most easily accessible and where the main facilities are based. This section offers impressive views over the Canyon and the possibility to trek down to the River. The South Rim is situated near the city of Tusayan, in which the airport/heliport is located. Many helicopter tours land on the South Rim or depart from it (Tusayan).
The North Rim is one of the wildest section of the Grand Canyon. It is not very well connected to the cities and it must be reached by your private vehicles. Almost all helicopter tours don’t go there.
The West Rim is the second most visited section of the Canyon. Here is located the famous Skywalk. Several helicopter tours from Las Vegas fly to the West Rim, sometimes also stopping at the Hoover Dam, which is located on the western side of the Canyon, not so far from Las Vegas.
The eastern side of the Grand Canyon includes the famous Horseshoe Bend, which is located not far from the Antelope Canyon. Helicopter tours usually don’t fly to this side of the Canyon, because it is far from the main cities. However, there are bus/minivan tours from Las Vegas going to the Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
Where do Grand Canyon helicopter tours start from?
You may want to find out where the Helicopter Tours start from to plan your itinerary.
From Las Vegas
Due to the Grand Canyon’s proximity to the city of Las Vegas, a lot of the Helicopter Tours depart from there. This may be the best idea due to the long distance between Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and with the helicopter you would get there much quicker.
From Grand Canyon South Rim (Tusayan)
You can always start the Helicopter Tour from the Grand Canyon if you would like to cut down on the price. There are shuttle buses that take around 6 to 7 hours from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon National Park or you can catch a flight. Public transport is non-existent to the Grand Canyon from the Las Vegas.
Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours can also start from Phoenix, which is relatively close to the Grand Canyon National Park. The transport from Phoenix does exist; you either can go by bus, train or plane.
Do get ready for long distances by using territorial transport. That is one of the main reasons Helicopter Tours are so famous – apart from having amazing views and a bird’s eye perspective, saving up time is a significant value to take into consideration.
How much do Grand Canyon helicopter tours cost?
Grand Canyon helicopter tours cost between $190 and $600. If the tour is private, it can be more expensive.
The price depends mainly on:
- the duration of the flight
- the departing location. Helicopter tours departing from the Grand Canyon (South Rim) are cheaper than the one departing from Las Vegas, because they are usually shorter. On the other hand, you will need to reach the South Rim by your own means.
- additional services included such as breakfast, lunch, Skywalk access, etc.
- combo tours, which include boat tours, rafting, horse riding, etc.
It’s also important to know several providers are offering these tours so making a decision can be tough. All of the companies have very similar reviews and tours, which is good as most people seem to be happy with their experiences. However, you can compare tours and prices on TourScanner to help you decide better.
Here is a list of the companies who offer the Grand Canyon helicopter tours: Papillon, Sundance helicopters, Maverick Helicopters, Mustang Helicopters and Serenity Helicopters. There are also many websites such as Viator, Getyourguide or Headout selling helicopter tours. Compare the deals to make sure to find the cheapest price available online.
When is the best time to fly?
The best time to do the Grand Canyon helicopter tour is going to depend on which part of the Grand Canyon you would like to visit. In spring and summer, as the good weather starts getting better, it also tends to be the busiest time to visit. Luckily, the North Rim is more isolated than the South Rim, which makes it an ideal destination during the high season. However, the North Rim is usually the coolest stretch of the Grand Canyon and it shuts down during the winter.
Towards the Grand Canyon West, where you can visit the Skywalk you will find that winter is the least popular time to visit the area, and therefore the most peaceful time. It is a very famous site and it is open every day of the year so consider visiting this area of the Grand Canyon. Do check the weather conditions if you want to visit during the winter!
Moreover, the South Rim is easily the most popular area of the Grand Canyon. The best time to visit when you can still catch good weather and avoid crowds is during the fall/autumn. Temperatures can drop drastically in September so make sure you dress up warm.
In general the weather in the Grand Canyon is best between April and June, when it stops raining and temperatures don’t get to an extreme.
What to see in each Rim?
The South Rim is considered the jewel of the American Southwest for its picturesque views from every viewpoint. It is also the lushest region of the canyon and its rippling rock walls that stretch out for miles create a massive gorge that is famous around the world.
Often considered as the “true Grand Canyon” as it features the typical photos you come across on the internet, TV, travel magazines, etc.
The South Rim is open 24 hours a day all year round, for that it is the busiest and most developed area of the Grand Canyon National Park. You can find six hotels bordering the rim and five more in the nearby town of Tusayan, Arizona.
- Mather Point. Located at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, it is one of the most visited spots. It overlooks the majestic Canyon, and its display has two railed viewpoints that are near the Rim Trail which connect Mather and Yavapai points.
- Dragon Corridor. The most profound and widest area of the Grand Canyon. If you take the helicopter tour, this area is a worth visiting. You can also witness the Tower of Ra, which is the oldest rock formation in the whole of the Grand Canyon.
- Grand View point. The most southern point of the South Rim which sits on an elevation of 7400 feet. You can get a bird’s eye view of the breath-taking views and paths from up there.
The North Rim is more remote than the South Rim and only opens from mid-May to mid-October. Note that the facilities in this area close around 15th of October, regardless of the weather. The North Rim has far fewer visitors, which is excellent to enjoy the peace and majesty of the canyon. It only has one lodge (The Grand Canyon Lodge), where visitors can spend the night. Booking in advance is recommended here.
The best spots for seeing the North Rim of the Grand Canyon are:
- Bright Angel Point. From here you can see and hear Roaring Springs, which is 3,600 feet beneath the rim and it’s the North Rim’s only water source.
- Point Imperial. The highest point in the North Rim where you can see the Colorado River far below and in the east the Painted Desert is visible.
- Cape Royal. As it sounds by its name, this site is the most spectacular setting overlooking the North Rim. Also, on the way to this viewpoint, you can find other scenic lookouts; Walhalla Overlook and Angel’s Window Overlook.
West Rim or Grand Canyon West
Whereas in the North and South rims you can hike along the canyon, the West Rim is famous for its main attraction: the Skywalk. It is a glass bridge that is 100 feet wide and stretches 70 feet over the Grand Canyon in a horseshoe shape.
Other interesting spots are:
- the Hualapai history exhibit inside the Skywalk building. It gives you a real sense of the Hualapai people and their traditions.
- Eagle Point Viewpoint. A native American village walking tour with replicas from American Indian tribes. There is an amphitheater there where they do performances representing many different tribes throughout the day.
- Guano Point. A pyramid point made of rock that has beautiful views of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. Be careful with the rough terrain at the highpoint hike.
- Hualapai Ranch. A western-style ranch with cowboy entertainment, with roping and wagon rides.
- Hoover Dam and O’Callaghan-Tillman Bridge. This impressive dam holds back the Colorado River which forms the Lake Mead. Just around 30 miles from Las Vegas. You can find the dam in the Black Canyon of the Colorado River and the bridge lies in the Lake Mead National Recreational Area – it is one of the highest bridges in the United States and highest concrete bridge in the world.
East Rim or Grand Canyon East
The East Rim is the most challenging part of the Canyon to access. It stands outside the Grand Canyon National Park region. The Little Colorado River forms the walls and the region is known for landmarks such as:
- The Horseshoe Bend. Its characteristic shape is why it receives the name of “horseshoe”. This natural and unique formation has beckoned many visitors and is getting more popular.
- Antelope Canyon. Unusual carved rock that looks like it flows like water and it is one of the most fascinating sites you can see in the East Rim. Read more in our guide about Antelope Canyon tours from Las Vegas.
- Marble Canyon & Lee’s Ferry. By its name, you would think this place is made of marble, but in fact, it is made of limestone. It is so colorful it resembles marble with shades of pink, grey and purple. Also historically crucial as it was the only way to cross the Colorado River several hundred years ago. There was a ferry built there to help travelers in crossing the river.
- Rainbow Bridge. Considered the world’s highest natural bridge, it is part of the Lake Powell recreational area. It is a viral site even though it is quite remote.
Are there any shared or private tours?
Yes! There are shared tours and private tours available for doing the Grand Canyon helicopter tours.
The shared tours are usually less expensive than the private ones. The main drawback about sharing the helicopter ride with many people is the fact that people sitting in the middle don’t get such great views as the ones sitting by the window.
On the other hand, even though private tours are a little pricier, you get to have many advantages that you don’t usually get in shared tours!
What else can you do apart from helicopter tours?
If you’re feeling more adventurous and you’re looking for more than just visiting the Grand Canyon, scroll down and read more about the many tours that offer combined tickets.
• Grand Canyon helicopter tours including Boat ride. Helicopter tour which lands on the Canyon floor and once there, you can enjoy a 15-minute boat ride along the Colorado River.
• Grand Canyon helicopter tours including Skywalk Admission. Helicopter tour from Las Vegas with optional landing to explore the area and then visit the Skywalk and float 70 feet beyond the edge of the canyon.
• Grand Canyon helicopter tours including lunch. Helicopter tour from Las Vegas where you can enjoy some champagne and a picnic lunch at a plateau overlooking the Colorado River.
• Grand Canyon helicopter tours including Rafting. Helicopter tour from Las Vegas to the West Rim and after exploring the canyon floor, board a coach to the Hoover Dam. There you can enjoy an 11-mile float trip down the Colorado River. Read about 6 amazing Grand Canyon rafting trips.
• Grand Canyon helicopter tours including Horseback riding. Helicopter tour Grand Canyon West from Las Vegas with a horseback ride experience along the Canyon floor.
• Grand Canyon helicopter tours at Sunset. Helicopter tour Grand Canyon at sunset with landing, where you can experience one of nature’s wonders while having a spectacular view of the canyon.
• Grand Canyon helicopter tours including Gourmet breakfast. Helicopter tour to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas with a gourmet breakfast. Once landing in the Grand Canyon West Rim, you can enjoy an all-out breakfast with fine china, table linens and flower decorations with breath-taking views over the Grand Canyon.
• Grand Canyon helicopter tours including Quad tour. Grand Canyon helicopter tour with Quad tour through the Mead National Park to the Colorado River.
• Grand Canyon helicopter tours including a Wedding ceremony. For the couples, make your special day even more memorable by flying from Las Vegas to the Canyon and have all the wedding arrangements taken care of. You can also have an Elvis or Johnny Cash impersonator perform the ceremony.
For traveling to the Grand Canyon, there are a few things you should be aware of or be advised to take with you. Although there are some well-equipped areas at the Grand Canyon Park, I’m sure the company with whom you’re doing the tour will inform you of some things; it’s always important to be prepared.
- Book your trip as soon as possible! – Tours tend to sell out fast.
- Don’t forget to bring your camera – this is something you do not want to miss bringing with you. The Grand Canyon is one of the most breath-taking experiences you will ever have so you will want to capture as much as possible.
- Bring your valid ID or Passport – Especially for booking tours. If you’re from an international destination, it’s better to bring your passport.
- Wear comfortable clothes and shoes – although you’re going to be on a very comfortable helicopter, it’s best to wear comfortable shoes and clothes if you want to do a hike, horseback ride, rafting, etc.
- Wear sunscreen and keep hydrated – If you decide to visit the Grand Canyon during the summer, be sure to wear sunscreen as this area is very dry. It also gets boiling in the helicopter and at the floor of the Canyon so remember to keep hydrated also!
- If you are hiking, be careful with high altitudes, Grand Canyon North Rim is not recommended for those with cardiac or respiratory problems. It is also not recommended for families traveling with younger children.
I hope this comprehensive guide is useful for planning your itinerary, if you have any questions or queries, please do not hesitate in commenting below.
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