About Grand Canyon Tours

The Grand Canyon is unique; there’s nowhere else quite like it. And every year, millions of visitors – including me – are amazed by its sheer magnificence.

Discovery!

I’ve made a lot of trips to Grand Canyon National Park, and I’m always glad I did. There’s just something special about the place that makes travelers want to come back. Each time I go there, I see something new. The Grand Canyon is an exhilarating, inspirational place and I’m always enthusiastic about visiting – I never know what I’m going to find!

The canyon was gouged out of solid rock by the waters of the Colorado River. At 18 miles wide, 277 miles long and a mile deep, it took the river hundreds of millions of years. The canyon’s so immense, it’s almost overwhelming.

That’s one of the main reasons why organized Grand Canyon trips are so terrific. The National Park is immense, and with all the things to see and do there, Grand Canyon tours are the best way to go.

The Rims

The Park’s most popular areas are the West and South Rims. The West Rim is where you’ll find several exciting experiences, including the famous “Glass Bridge” (the Grand Canyon Skywalk), the Indian Cultural Center, and Hualapai Ranch. Visitors at this rim are also able to take a ‘copter down to the bottom and then embark on a smooth-water rafting trip. The South Rim is a little different and is mainly known for its spectacular natural scenery.

Both rims offer more than enough to keep you busy. You’ll probably visit the rim that’s closest to where you’re starting from, but how much time and money you have available might also affect your choice. Grand Canyon tours to the West Rim are convenient for travelers coming from Las Vegas because the rim is only 120 miles away. People coming from Scottsdale, Phoenix or Sedona, Arizona usually take trips to the South Rim because it’s closer. That rim is almost 300 miles away from Vegas.

You’ll see several options when you look into canyon tours. Trip operators offer trips by helicopter (landing and air-only), bus, and airplane. Which type you choose will probably depend on your available funds and how much time you have available. Each type of Grand Canyon tour has its advantages, although you’d see magnificent geological formations during all of them.

Helicopters

Helicopter tours, for example, are exciting and exhilarating. Air-only flights are a popular choice. But, if you’ll be visiting the West Rim, I strongly suggest that you choose a tour that lands on the canyon floor (unfortunately, this option isn’t possible at the South Rim). Once you’re at the bottom, you can take a smooth-water rafting trip, enjoy a picnic lunch, or simply walk around and see the sights.

Canyon tours by bus are relatively cheap, and the motor coaches they use are comfortable and designed for sightseeing. Bus tours are convenient, too, because most include free shuttle service at the Vegas Strip hotels.

Many travelers choose airplane tours because the views are amazing and the flights don’t need to take all day. The time-savings can be important if you’re coming from Las Vegas, because you’ll probably want to do a lot of things while you’re staying there.

Conclusion

Organized Grand Canyon tours are the best way to see the wonders of the National Park. They’re also cheaper than many people think, especially if you book your trip on the Internet. Don’t miss out on what could be the experience of a lifetime!

Explore the West Rim With a Grand Canyon Coach Tour

West Rim bus tours give you a convenient, inexpensive way to explore Grand Canyon West and the nearby areas. In addition to Grand Canyon National Park, a number of other impressive landmarks are close to Las Vegas, and bus tours are a great way to see them. The canyon’s beautiful colors, amazing geology and spectacular rock formations make the area one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Grand Canyon Skywalk

The fabulous Grand Canyon Skywalk is the big attraction at Grand Canyon West. Shaped like a “U,” the Skywalk is a glass bridge that lets visitors walk more than 70 feet out past the canyon’s rim, more than 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. Nothing compares with the views of the canyon you’ll witness as you’re standing at the apex of the glass walkway.

The Skywalk has been engineered to be strong, capable of withstanding magnitude 8 earthquakes and winds over 100 mph. Although no more than 120 people are allowed on the walkway at any one time, it’s actually capable of supporting the weight of as many as 70 fully-loaded jumbo jets.

The Colorado River snakes its way through the canyon for 277 miles, and you’ll be able to look down at it from the top of the West Rim. The river’s headwaters are in the foothills of the Colorado Rockies, and it passes through the Grand Canyon on its way to its mouth in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez.

Helicopter Descent

The canyon floor is almost a mile beneath you as you’re standing on the West Rim, but you can take an exhilarating 10-minute chopper flight down to the bottom. In fact, the West Rim is the only place you can take a helicopter flight that actually lands on the canyon floor. Once you’re there, you can even take a float tour on a pontoon boat down the Colorado River.

West Rim bus tours use state-of-the-art, comfortable motor coaches. They need to, because the final ten miles of the drive to the canyon are over a dirt road. Some people think they’d rather drive their own car or a rental vehicle, but I urge you not to do this. Why would you want to drive yourself, considering that these comfortable Grand Canyon coaches are customized to permit spectacular sightseeing? What’s more, the drivers on West Rim bus tours do double-duty as tour guides. In my experience, Grand Canyon coach drivers do a great job of explaining the sights passing by.

Hoover Dam

Your West Rim bus tour will include plenty of stops for photo opportunities. The most popular of these stops is at Hoover Dam, the immense concrete structure that manages the flow of the mighty Colorado River. Most Grand Canyon coach tours limit their time at Hoover Dam to 15 minutes max, so you’ll need to take a separate Hoover Dam tour if you want to see more of this 700-foot-high manmade wonder.

The Best Departure Times for Grand Canyon Helicopter Flights

Grand Canyon flights are a terrific way to see and experience this natural wonder. Helicopter tours aren’t identical, though, especially when it comes to the best time to fly. You’ll want your flight to be as wonderful as possible, so keep reading. You’ll find some helpful information about the best flight departure times below.

Grand Canyon Airport (located in tiny Tusayan, Arizona, about ten minutes from the South Rim’s main entrance) and Las Vegas are the main departure points for Grand Canyon helicopter flights. Unfortunately, Grand Canyon helicopter tours that fly from Las Vegas directly to the South Rim don’t exist. In order to make that particular trip, you’ll need to board a motor coach or plane and then switch to a helicopter.

Which Rim to Visit

Many people consider the South Rim the “official” Grand Canyon. Located about 270 miles from Las Vegas, this rim is popular with travelers coming from Phoenix or central Arizona. Grand Canyon helicopter tours of the South Rim are not permitted to land on the canyon floor or even descend below the rim. But I have to admit that flying through the deepest, widest portion of the canyon (Dragoon Corridor) more than makes up for it.

If you’re interested in adventure and exhilarating experiences, the West Rim would be the best choice. Landing tours at the West Rim let you add optional side trips to your Grand Canyon flight. The possibilities include a pass to the fabulous Grand Canyon Skywalk (the glass bridge that lets you walk 70 feet out past the rim’s edge), a float trip down the Colorado River, and/or a chopper flight down to the canyon floor.

The West Rim’s climate is scorching during the summer, with temperatures routinely soaring above 100 degrees F. That’s why I recommend that people taking Grand Canyon flights bring water and wear sunblock, sunglasses and a hat. Sturdy shoes and a long-sleeved shirt are smart choices because the terrain is rugged and rocky. Winter temperatures are much cooler, so bring gloves, a hat and a medium-weight jacket.

Because the South Rim is more than 6,000 feet above sea level, summer temperatures are more moderate. You should still bring plenty of water and wear sunblock, however. South Rim winters are colder than at the West Rim, and snow is always a possibility. Despite the cooler weather, winter Grand Canyon flights can be a terrific experience because there won’t be many visitors at the park.

Choosing a Flight Time

The specific rim, the season and the climate all play an important role when you’re trying to determine the best departure time for your flight. To beat the summer heat, I recommend Grand Canyon helicopter tours that take off before lunch – the earlier the better if you’re taking a West Rim landing tour. Likewise, morning flights allow you to beat the mid-afternoon thunderstorms that sweep over the area like clockwork between July and September. An afternoon flight during these months could be delayed or even canceled by bad weather.

Two other important factors tilt the scales in favor of morning Grand Canyon flights. For one thing, visibility is better in the morning. A haze in the air often forms in the summer due to pollution, dust and smoke from forest fires. This debris in the air can, however, make sunset flights absolutely spectacular. Second, the air is less turbulent in the morning, especially during the summer when minor afternoon air turbulence is fairly common.

There’s no need to worry if you’re unable to book a morning flight. Although it’s true that mornings are better, a tour by helicopter at any time of day is an amazing experience. You’ll understand what I mean as soon as your tour takes off!

Grand Canyon Helicopters Are a Marvelous Way to See the Sights

One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Grand Canyon National Park encompasses over a million acres. Seeing all of it just isn’t possible, but a flight on one of the canyon’s helicopters will get you close. These helicopter rides cover a terrific amount of ground. By the time your tour’s done, you’ll feel like you’ve seen everything.

The South Rim and the West Rim are the gateways to the Grand Canyon. Flights from Tusayan, Arizona (Grand Canyon National Park Airport, or GCO) service the South Rim, while tours outbound from Vegas do the West (no Vegas helicopters fly directly to the South Rim). No helicopters fly between the West and South Rims.

It’s about a 45-minute helicopter ride from Vegas to the West Rim (a/k/a Grand Canyon West). The route passes over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Grand Wash Cliffs. At Grand Canyon West, choppers are permitted to fly below the level of the rim and land on the canyon floor. Federal regulations prohibit this type of flight at the South Rim.

There are two types of canyon helicopter tours: air-only and landing. Air-only flights are perfect for travelers whose time or budget is limited. They’re also ideal for folks who want to get the flavor of the canyon from a birds’-eye view.

That being said, landing helicopter rides are a big attraction at Grand Canyon West; it’s the only place in the entire canyon where these tours are possible. The most popular landing flight touches down at the bottom of the canyon for a unique champagne picnic. That’s plenty good right there for lots of folks. But for those who want a broader canyon experience, there’s a package that adds a float trip down the Colorado and a landing at the top with VIP access to the Grand Canyon Skywalk – all in addition to landing on the bottom!

Landing at the top allows you to see several canyon highlights, including:

The Skywalk
Hualapai Ranch
The Indian Cultural Center
Guano Point, Eagle Point, and more.

If you’re seeking excitement and adventure, Grand Canyon West would be the right pick. If you get your thrills from seeing awesome natural beauty, the South Rim is the better choice.

The South Rim is perfect for folks setting out from cities in central AZ (Flagstaff, Phoenix, Sedona, or Scottsdale, for example) because it’s in northern Arizona close to the Utah border. I usually suggest renting a car and driving to GCO. It’s just outside the Park’s main gates and it’s where all the South Rim helicopter rides take off.

Tours on South Rim Grand Canyon helicopters are categorized by flight time. The shorter, 30-minute version flies from the South Rim to the North Rim and back. The longer, more comprehensive 50-minute version adds the Park’s eastern boundary. That’s where you’ll see points of interest like the fabulous Painted Desert, Zuni Corridor, the Desert Watchtower and the Colorado Confluence. I urge you to take the longer tour if you can. Once you’re flying over the Park you’ll be glad.

I also urge you to book your flight online. Stay away from street kiosks, hotel concierges and third-party tour brokers – you’ll just pay more that way. Three things are important to remember when you’re buying your tickets online:

Buy direct, right on the tour company’s website;
Reserve your seats at least a week before the tour date you want; and
Complete the entire purchase on the tour company’s site. That way you’ll get the special Internet discount

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.

Should You Choose the West Rim or the South Rim?

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 for the Grand Canyon Skywalk and a thrilling helicopter flight 3,500 feet down to the canyon floor.

The West Rim

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.

Landing Tours

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.

Breathtaking Grand Canyon Airplane Tours Will Stir Your Soul

The Grand Canyon is one of the most spectacular locations on the entire planet – that’s why it’s been named one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Americans are fortunate in that they can go there regularly to recharge their minds and bodies and indulge their senses. Places like the Grand Canyon are capable of doing this for their visitors because the sights are so exhilarating. Grand Canyon airplane tours are the best way for travelers to enjoy the overall experience the canyon provides.

I always suggest that travelers experience the Grand Canyon in as many ways as possible, but strolling along the canyon’s rim just doesn’t give you the same exciting point of view that you get from the air. The fact that you’ll see far more of the National Park from the air is another advantage of Grand Canyon plane rides. You can take a plane to the South Rim or the West Rim, but there aren’t any flights that go to both. As a general rule, tours of the West Rim are best for travelers who are short on free time.

West Rim Grand Canyon plane rides take a little over an hour and fly over Boulder City, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam (a remarkable feat of engineering!), and the Mojave Desert. These flights also provide views of Grand Wash cliffs, Grapevine Mesa and other wonderful sights at the canyon itself. The narration that usually comes with West Rim plane rides provides interesting information about this scenic wonder and its two billion year history.

The vast, desolate Mojave Desert covers almost 60,000 square miles and is surrounded by mountains. A small portion of it, aptly called Death Valley, is both the hottest and the lowest-lying region in all of North America. Temperatures there often soar over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Colorado River is the enduring waterway that carved out the Grand Canyon, but it also created Arizona’s Grand Wash cliffs about 20 miles away. If you take this short trip you’ll probably also want to go on the longer tour of the South Rim, which can take up to seven hours from start to finish (you’ll be picked up and dropped off at your Las Vegas hotel). This particular tour allows you to stop periodically and enjoy the marvelous views.

This tour combines the best of narrated land-based tours and a plane ride over the region. You’ll see views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the mighty Colorado River along the way, but you’ll also stop at especially scenic spots, enjoy lunch in the canyon and take a guided motor coach tour that lasts several hours.

Just knowing that you’re at the best of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World can be incredibly uplifting. You’ll be able to see Zuni Corridor, Zuni Point and the Painted Desert. Once you arrive at the North corridor, you’ll see what many consider the most spectacular sight in the entire canyon – the legendary Dragoon Corridor, which is the widest and deepest part of the Grand Canyon.

It’s impossible to see all of this from the ground – there simply isn’t enough time. Grand Canyon airplane tours are the best way to experience as much of the canyon as possible. If you’re still not a believer, look online for some of the special deals that reduce the price by thirty-five percent or even more. I find these online discounts on a regular basis, and you can, too. So don’t let money hold you back from taking one of these fantastic flights. Hop on a plane and see exactly why the Grand Canyon has more than five million visitors every year!

Grand Canyon’s Best Airplane Tours From Vegas

Lots of vacationers don’t know about the terrific Grand Canyon airplane tours that fly out of Vegas every day. Scheduled all day long, some are air-only flights; others are landing tours (my personal favorites). Landing tours give you a more in-depth experience, but you can only do them at the West Rim (also called Grand Canyon West).

The Rims

The West Rim is about 120 miles east of Sin City, and the flight there arrives in about 20 minutes. In contrast, the direct plane flight to the South Rim takes a little under 60 minutes – it’s about 275 miles one-way. If you compare those flight times to the 2 ½ hours a bus takes to arrive at the West Rim (5 ½ for the South Rim), you’ll see one of the big advantages of air tours right away. It’s simple: instead of spending all your time getting there, you can focus on the canyon when you take a Grand Canyon airplane tour.

Air-only plane tours of the West Rim fly over scenic Hoover Dam and Lake Mead before entering the canyon’s airspace. Once you arrive, you’ll see major points of interest, including:

The Grand Canyon Skywalk (nicknamed the “Glass Bridge”)
Hualapai Ranch
The Indian Cultural Center
Lookouts like Eagle Point and Guano Point
The mighty Colorado River

For folks whose time or budget is limited, these Grand Canyon air tours are a terrific way to see the highlights.

Landing Trips

That being said, I still prefer the landing tours: they give you a more comprehensive experience at the canyon. These flights touch down at Grand Canyon West’s airport and include amazing excursions like:

VIP access to the Glass Bridge
An exciting chopper flight to the canyon floor, followed by a picnic there
A float trip down the Colorado

You’ll have almost three hours to explore the West Rim from the ground with one of these landing tour packages.

Two particular West Rim landing tours seem to be especially popular:

The package with the chopper flight landing on the bottom;
The package that includes tickets to the Glass Bridge.

Speaking of which, here’s some interesting stuff about the Glass Bridge: it’s constructed entirely of glass (a technological wonder!); at its apex, you’ll be standing 70 feet past the edge of the rim and 4,000 feet above the bottom!

South Rim

South Rim Grand Canyon airplane tours from Vegas are also tremendously popular. They deliver a ton of value and arrive SO much quicker than bus tours (because of the distance, no helicopter tours fly directly from Las Vegas to the South Rim).

Like West Rim air tours, South Rim flights pass over Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, but then the route changes. After landing at Grand Canyon National Park Airport in Tusayan, AZ (just outside the National Park’s main gates), you’ll enjoy a three-hour bus tour of the Park. Stops include major highlights like:

The Rim Trail
Yaki Point, Mather Point and Yavapai Point
Grand Canyon Village

This is a terrific tour and it’s really popular, but the package most folks like best (including me!) is the one that includes an exhilarating rim-to-rim flight through dramatic Dragoon Corridor – the widest, deepest part of the entire canyon. It’s a thrilling experience and you’ll come away knowing just how magnificent the Grand Canyon truly is.

Conclusion

One final note about plane tours: to get the best price you need to buy your tickets online, directly from the tour company. If you complete the entire transaction online, you’ll get a terrific Internet discount. You’ll save a bundle this way, especially if you’re booking seats for more than one traveler.

Grand Canyon Airplane Tour Options

If there’s a place on the planet where nature’s majesty is more spectacular than Arizona’s Grand Canyon, I can’t come up with it. I guess that’s why they call it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

The vistas are incredible and offer a window into the region’s unique geology. The canyon is immense (over a million acres!) and there’s a lot to see. Grand Canyon plane tours are the best way to see a large portion of this magnificent region.

Here are some interesting facts about this fascinating place:

It averages 10 miles wide, but its widest point is 18 miles
277 miles in length
Over a mile deep
It took the Colorado River hundreds of millions of years to create the chasm by eroding the rock of the Kaibab Plateau
There are three main strata in the canyon: the Paleozoic layer, the Supergroup layer, and the Vishnu Basement layer, which consists of some of the oldest exposed rock on Earth.

Flights from Las Vegas

Grand Canyon plane tours fly every day from Las Vegas. Landing tours and air-only tours are offered, so take your pick – both types fly over majestic Hoover Dam and scenic Lake Mead. Air-only tours are terrific for folks who are short on time or have a limited budget. That being said, I have to admit that landing tours are my favorites. There are some great ones out there.

Personally, I think the best of them is the package that includes a chopper flight down to the canyon’s bottom and a float trip down the Colorado. One of the other popular air tours includes VIP access to the amazing Grand Canyon Skywalk. At its apex you’ll be standing 70 feet past the edge of the rim and 4,000 feet above the canyon’s bottom!

One of the other Vegas air tours flies directly to the South Rim in less than 60 minutes. Compare that to the 5 ½-hour bus ride to get to the same place! These Grand Canyon plane tours come with a 2 ½-hour bus tour of the National Park. A fabulous helicopter ride through Dragoon Corridor is an exciting optional add-on.

South Rim Flights

South Rim air tours fly daily out of Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCA) in Tusayan, AZ. They come in two versions: a basic 30-minute flight and a more comprehensive 50-minute version. I strongly recommend the longer tour.

Among other things, you’ll see the eastern portions of the National Park, where Marble Canyon is at. Other sights near the Park’s eastern boundary include the Colorado Confluence (the point where the Colorado and the Little Colorado River come together) and the only bridge connecting the South and North Rims.

Your plane will then head for the pristine wilderness of the North Rim, isolated and closed to the public from November through April. Abundant plants and wildlife (California condors, elk, mountain lions, gray fox, big horn sheep and a variety of hawks) thrive in the North Rim’s stand of Ponderosa Pines, the largest in the country. From there, you’ll fly through dramatic Dragoon Corridor – the deepest, widest part of the entire canyon – on the way back to landing at GCA.

Summing Up

The Grand Canyon is huge, and it’s impossible to see much of it from the ground in just a day or two. It would be a shame to see only a small portion of the National Park while you’re there. A plane tour won’t show you all of it, but it will get you pretty close. That’s why so many people love them!

Tips on Planning a Marvelous Grand Canyon Airplane Tour

Adding a Grand Canyon airplane tour to your trip to Las Vegas or the American Southwest is a terrific idea, but a little advance planning will go a long way toward picking the right one. Here are a few of my best tips:

Departure Points

Grand Canyon air tours fly out of Tusayan, Arizona and Las Vegas, Nevada. Tusayan flights only do the South Rim, while Vegas tours go to the South or the West Rim (also called Grand Canyon West).

To a lot of folks, plane tours are the only way to go. Plus, I highly recommend them if you’ve been unsuccessful trying to book a helicopter tour (chopper tours sell out fast!).

Why do I like Grand Canyon airplane tours so much? Two big reasons: first, they fly the same wonderful routes as helicopter tours but they’re cheaper; and second, they’re less likely to sell out because planes hold 19 people, while choppers only seat 6.

More on Tusayan Flights

My favorite plane tour out of Tusayan gives you about 50 minutes of airtime. Besides the South and North Rims, this flight covers everything up to the National Park’s eastern boundary. By the time you’re done, you’ll see up to ¾ of the entire Park! It’s a mind-boggling experience.

Vegas Tours

The flight from Vegas to Grand Canyon West only takes a half-hour. Landing tours and air-only flights (aerial tours) are available, and both fly over scenic Lake Mead and Hoover Dam en route. Aerial tours will show you all the main highlights, and they’re perfect if you’re short on time. That being said, the landing tours are my personal favorites.

My all-time favorite landing tour package includes an exciting chopper flight to the canyon bottom, followed by a smooth-water float trip down the Colorado River. Grand Canyon West is the only place in the Park where helicopters are even allowed to land on the bottom, so this particular package is something extra-special.

The other really popular choice comes with VIP access to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Even if you’ve already been there, it’s an extraordinary experience!

Booking

Air tours should be booked as soon as you decide to go, but the bare minimum is 72 hours before the flight date you want (a week or two ahead would be even better). Grand Canyon airplane tours are popular, and most will be sold out if you wait too long. Plus, the sooner you book, the more choices you’ll have. The prices will be better, too.

You’ll always find the best prices for Grand Canyon air tours online. Over the years, I’ve learned to book direct, right on the tour company websites, because they always have the best deals, discounts and promotional rates. As long as you complete your purchase transaction on the tour company’s website, you’ll qualify for a super Internet rate.

Wrapping Up

Hopefully, this article will help you as you’re planning your marvelous Grand Canyon plane tour. Your first decision is your tour’s departure point: Tusayan or Vegas. If you’ll be flying out of Las Vegas, you also need to choose whether you’ll take a landing tour (yeah!) or an air-only version. If you’ll be taking a Tusayan flight, choose one that gives you 50 minutes of airtime. Then make sure you book your tour at least 72 hours in advance. And here’s my final piece of advice: book it online. You’ll lock in a great price if you complete your transaction there.

Grand Canyon Helicopters Are Very Affordable If You Use Internet Discounts

Practically everyone who takes an aerial tour of the Grand Canyon agrees that is the best way to fully appreciate the beauty of the scenic wonder. Getting a bird’s eye view of the canyon from a chopper is an entirely different experience than viewing the canyon by ground. These tours are not as costly as you probably think they are, especially since it is easy to find special deals and discounts for them.

The Colorado

The Colorado River slowly but steadily carved the Grand Canyon into the Earth over a period of billions of years. At one time the region looked much like the Himalayan Mountains do today. It took millions of years, but the mountains eventually eroded and the region became a plain. Then powerful geological forces deep within the earth caused the land to rise upward once again. Along came the Colorado River, winding itself through the region, carving gouges into the rock as it flowed along.

The Grand Canyon has come to be one of the most popular National Parks in the United States. Thousands of years ago, the area was home to indigenous people who fished, hunted and built their lives there. The Pueblo Indians inhabited the region around the Grand Canyon from about 500 B.C. to around 1150 B.C., and today there is evidence of their ancient ruins. Europeans didn’t arrive on the scene until around 1540 A.D., almost 400 years later.

Francisco Coronado was a Spanish explorer who led an expedition through the American southwest almost 80 years before the Pilgrims even landed on Plymouth Rock many miles away. Coronado sought a great river he heard about from the Hopi Indians, and while searching for it, his expedition became the first non-indigenous people to behold the Grand Canyon. After three days of searching and failing to find a way to cross the huge canyon, they were forced to turn back.

The Expedition

John Wesley Powell led the next major expedition to the Grand Canyon, but it didn’t happen until almost 300 years after Coronado’s attempt. Powell attempted to map out the area as he followed the Colorado River. The expedition eventually made it to the area where the man-made Lake Mead sits today, although they lost three boats and three men along the way. Once Powell published his findings, interest grew and many others went to the region to explore and study the new land.

Soon, the immense geological and historical importance of the area became clear. Flagstaff, Arizona developed into a bustling city since it became a way station for travelers on the way to the canyon by train. Congress made the Grand Canyon into a National Park in 1919. Today, the Grand Canyon remains one of the most spectacular natural wonders of the world and it draws in millions of tourists from all around the globe.

The Rims

Although you can see the canyon from the ground, a better way is to take a helicopter tour out of Las Vegas or from the Grand Canyon National Park airport. Modern sightseeing helicopters are used in tours of the South Rim and these offer the ultimate in comfort and convenience. Because the viewing windows are over-sized, you get an amazing view of the scenery below as you pass over it.

Don’t assume great helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon are too expensive because you can save a lot of money if you use a helicopter discount coupon or special offer. You’ll get the best deals online though if you book and pay for your helicopter tour on the operator’s website. It is a good deal if it saves money and you can spend the cash you have left over on souvenirs, eating out, or gas money.