At 18 miles wide, 1 mile deep and 277 miles long, the Grand Canyon is, without a doubt, one of the world’s most recognizable geological wonders. A two billion-year-old gorge eroded slowly by wind and the Colorado River, the canyon attracts a staggering five million visitors each year. More than just a sight to behold, the cascading colors and impressive rock layers evoke an emotion that everyone should feel at least once in their lifetime.
Situated just 125 miles from Las Vegas, a visit to the Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s Vegas bucket list. Just a 2.5 hour drive or a 35 minute flight away, there are several options to choose from when planning your journey from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.
One of the largest helicopter sightseeing destinations in the world, nothing compares to a heli tour over the Grand Canyon. In fact, helicopter tours aren’t just the fastest way to get to the Grand Canyon, but also the only way to reach the canyon floor on a day trip! Soar over the Colorado River, take in the views of the Kaibab National Forest and dive into the canyon’s narrow corridors. With helicopter tours, you have the option to simply fly over the canyon and take in the view, land at the canyon and enjoy the surrounding sights and trails or land at the bottom of the canyon floor, next to the gushing Colorado river.
Airplane tours of the Grand Canyon, especially to the South Rim, is another preferred way to experience this majestic natural wonder. Capture postcard worthy photos from your window as you float over the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Pass over the rugged wilderness of the desert on your way to the West Rim, or catch panoramic views of Mather Point and Bright Angel Point as you fly from the South to the North Rim.
While hopping on a plane or helicopter from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon will certainly save you time, there are several perks to traveling by road. On a luxury coach tour, you can sit back, relax, and take in the sights from your window. Stop at the O’Callaghan - Tillman Bridge – the new Hoover Dam bypass which gives you magnificent views of the Dam. Travel through the Colorado River Valley and the Mojave Desert as you make your way towards Arizona. And experience a taste of culture at Joshua Tree Forest.
The West Rim is the most popular section of the Grand Canyon and the only one where you can fly down to the canyon floor via helicopter. As you fly in to West Rim from Las Vegas, your helicopter will take you over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the vast Mojave Desert before making the exhilarating 4,000 ft descent to the canyon floor.
After returning to the rim, you can experience the West Rim’s thrilling Skywalk - a tremendous, U-shaped glass bridge that juts out 70 feet from the canyon’s rim. Venture down the suspended platform and feel the adrenaline rush as you are suspended above the canyon floor and the rushing Colorado River a mile below.
The South Rim is one of the most beautiful sections of the park, with a reputation for having the most quintessential Grand Canyon views. It’s also home to the deepest part of the canyon, accessible only by foot.
Further away from Las Vegas than the West Rim, the South Rim is accessible by plane, coach or personal car. While you cannot take a helicopter from Las Vegas to the South Rim, you can board one from the Grand Canyon Airport, located just 10 minutes south of the park’s main gate. Soar over Kaibab Plateau to the rim, then straight into the Dragoon Corridor, the widest, deepest part of the canyon and take in stunning sights from the window of your luxury helicopter.
The North Rim, considered the ‘quiet’ rim, receives a tenth of the visitors as the South Rim, owing to its distance from Las Vegas. But don’t let this fool you into thinking it’s any less grand.
Home to two of the park’s most popular viewpoints, the North Rim offers a more intimate Grand Canyon experience. With dozens of photo ops and no crowds, you’re guaranteed the perfect shot. Swing by the 8,803-foot Point Imperial, the rims highest point, and head to Bright Angel Point for stunning views of the Roaring Springs.
While most Grand Canyon helicopter and airplane tours departing from Las Vegas offer hotel pickup and drop-off, some require you to make your own way to the airport. There are three airports typically used for air tours from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon:
April - August: 7 am - 7 pm
September - March: 8 am - 6 pm
Open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Open from May 15 - October 15.
Closed during the winter.
One of the wonderful things about the Grand Canyon is that it can be visited any day of the year. While weather conditions vary considerably, each season presents the canyon in its own unique way.
In terms of weather, March to May and September to November are the best time to visit the Grand Canyon. Temperatures are pleasant, precipitation is light and the crowds are manageable. Spring is also wildflower season, although the blooms are dependant upon the amount of rainfall during the preceding winter months. Spring temperatures range between 60 - 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Fall daytime temperatures average 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The North Rim is always the coolest, followed by the South Rim. Grand Canyon West weather is very similar to that of Las Vegas, averaging 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit during spring and fall months.
The park’s peak season is summer, making it the most crowded time to visit especially at the South Rim. From mid-May to mid-September, you can expect long, sunny days with temperatures hovering anywhere between 40 and 85 degrees. Be sure to wear sunscreen; canyon breezes can disguise the sun's rays, making it difficult to tell if you're getting burned.
Heavy snow and low temperatures tend to scare visitors away during winter; however, December, January, and February are perhaps the most underrated months to visit the canyon. Sure, you’ll need to bundle up a little, but the Grand Canyon covered in snow is an absolutely beautiful sight. You can expect daytime temperatures to float in the 40’s; it’s only at night that temperatures fall to freezing.
Keep in mind, the North Rim has a relatively short season. Open from mid-May through mid-October, the North Rim typically runs 10 degrees cooler than the South Rim. It’s the only rim that completely closes during the winter. The South Rim and West Rim can be visited year-round.
Refer to this sun chart for Grand Canyon sunrise and sunset times.
If your flight is cancelled due to bad weather, you will have the option to reschedule without any extra fee. If you do not live in the area and rescheduling is not an option, you can receive a full refund.
In addition to the pilot, helicopters seat 6 or 7 people, depending on the type of aircraft.
Helicopters have a very strict weight limit policy. To ensure safety, all passengers must get weighed before boarding the aircraft. Keep in mind, your weight will be taken with whatever else you wish to bring onboard with you. This includes camera equipment.
Unfortunately, no. To protect the glass paneling from scratches, personal items including cameras and cellphones are not allowed on the Skywalk. But, you can purchase a souvenir photo from a professional photographer. You’ll also be required to wear fabric shoe covers to prevent scratching.
Children under 2 years can sit on the lap of an adult during all helicopter tours. You will be required to present a birth certificate for confirmation.
Only small bags are allowed on helicopter tours. Most heliports offer lockers if you need to leave bags behind.
Yes, pregnant women are permitted to fly; however, consult with your doctor before.
Helicopters can accommodate a wheelchair for flights. However, you will need to have a collapsible wheelchair, as well as someone can assist with boarding.
Passengers under 18 years of age are required to fly with an adult.