Basic Information About Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

If you’ll be traveling to the Grand Canyon, there are two main types of helicopter tours from which you can choose – those that land at the canyon (“landing tours”) and those that do not (“aerial tours”). Both have their advantages, so here’s some basic information about different Grand Canyon helicopter tours to help you choose one.

Grand Canyon helicopter tours take off from one of two places: Grand Canyon National Park Airport (located in Tusayan, Arizona, only 10 minutes from the main entrance) or Las Vegas, Nevada. Flights out of Tusayan only go to the South Rim. Las Vegas chopper tours only fly to the West Rim, about 120 miles away. At a distance of 277 miles from Vegas, the South Rim is too far for helicopters. There aren’t any air tours between the West and South Rims.

As a general rule, you should choose the Grand Canyon South if you’re primarily interested in spectacular natural beauty (most of the photos you see of the canyon were taken from the South Rim). The West Rim is best known kayaking vancouver island for the Grand Canyon Skywalk and a thrilling helicopter flight 3,500 feet down to the canyon floor.

With more than 800,000 visitors every year, the Grand Canyon Skywalk is an extremely popular attraction. That’s not surprising, because the Skywalk allows thrill-seekers to walk 70 feet past the edge of the Rim. At the bridge’s apex, your feet will be 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. West Rim canyon floor landing tours are exciting, too. Participants on these flights enjoy a champagne picnic on the canyon floor and 30 minutes to explore the area and the riverbanks of the mighty Colorado.

Lookouts like Eagle Point and Guano Point, along with the Indian Cultural Center and Hualapai Ranch (where Wild West shootouts are re-enacted every hour) are some of the other highlights at the West Rim. A luxury hotel, several restaurants and a tram to the canyon floor are planned for the future.

The South Rim

Things are a bit calmer at the Grand Canyon South. Every year, visitors from Central Arizona cities like Sedona, Scottsdale and Phoenix, along with hundreds of thousands of others from throughout the world, come here to absorb the magnificent scenery that makes the canyon one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. FCC regulations prohibit any air tours (either by chopper or plane) from flying below the plateau. There are still plenty of spectacular sights, however, including the exciting Dragoon Corridor, the North Rim, the Zuni Corridor and the Desert Watchtower.

A terrific new South Rim landing tour is now being offered. It’s the only one at the South Rim, and it combines a Grand Canyon helicopter tour with a sunset 4×4 ride to Hopi Point – the best place to be as the sun goes down. The experience is wonderful and takes about 3 ½ hours.

West Rim landing tours take longer – between 4 and 7 hours. They’re much more involved than the South Rim landing tour, especially the tour that includes the Grand Canyon Skywalk and a rafting trip down the Colorado. These tours are well worth the additional time because they let you see the Grand Canyon from the bottom up!

Aerial Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

Aerial Grand Canyon helicopter tours are great if you don’t have much free time, and they’re available at both rims. West Rim air tours last about three hours, and you’ll also see Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Two South Rim air tours are available: one flies to the North Rim and back, while the other flies to the park’s eastern boundary, turns north and follows the North Rim to return to the airport. South Rim aerial tours take from 30 to 50 minutes.

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