Six million years in the making, the Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most stunning geological wonders. Measuring 18 miles wide, 1 mile deep and 277 miles long, the canyon is insanely huge, breathtakingly gorgeous, and, without doubt, guaranteed to impress. A designated UNESCO World Heritage site, the canyon is America’s second most-visited National Park, attracting over 4.5 million visitors each year – half a million of whom visit on an air tour. With extraordinary rock layers, cascading colors, and sweeping panoramic views, it’s no wonder the Grand Canyon is one of the largest helicopter sightseeing destinations in the world. To help you discover, choose, and save money on the best Grand Canyon helicopter tours from Las Vegas, this guide will tell you everything you need to know about how to pick the best experience.
Choosing Where to Visit
Given its close proximity to Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon is a popular day trip for Sin City visitors, offering a nice respite from the crazy, fast-paced city life. Only a two and a half hour drive away, it’s possible to travel to the Grand Canyon by car, then board a helicopter tour. Or, as most visitors prefer, make the most of your time in the sky by flying out of Vegas itself. Either way – a helicopter ride over the canyon is an exhilarating, once in a lifetime experience. From champagne picnics at the bottom of the canyon to white rafting excursions, an array of helicopter tours are available to ensure you get the ultimate Grand Canyon adventure.
The Grand Canyon is split into several distinct areas. These zones are named according to their cardinal directions with respect to the entire park - North, South, East & West Rim.
If you're visiting Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, then West Rim and the South Rim are your closest options. Both the East and North Rims will be way further and harder to get to. In terms of annual visitors, more people flock the canyon’s South Rim than its West Rim. While both areas are beautiful and full of incredible sights and activities, the South Rim is known for its quintessential Grand Canyon views and stellar day hikes.
The West Rim, however, is the prefered destination for those looking to enjoy a helicopter tour. It’s also the closest option for visitors traveling from Las Vegas. In addition, the West Rim is the only section of the Grand Canyon where you can land at the bottom via helicopter, thus making it the only rim where the canyon floor can be visited as part of a day trip.
Types of Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours
There are a myriad of ways to explore the Grand Canyon but nothing as satisfying and all-encompassing as flying over the canyon in a helicopter.
When selecting your helicopter tour, you will need to decide if you’d like to disembark at the canyon, or just fly over the area and return back to Vegas without getting out of the aircraft. Furthermore, there are three landing options: landing at the rim, landing at the bottom of the canyon, or, both. (Remember. as mentioned above, the West Rim is the only part of the Grand Canyon where you can land at the bottom via helicopter – making this a unique and exciting option for the West Rim.)
When you land at the West Rim, there are three major points of interest: Eagle Point, Guano Point, and the Skywalk. Each of these areas offer amazing viewpoints – the Skywalk being an exceptionally thrilling experience. When you land at the bottom of the canyon, you can make your adventure even more fun with activities such as white water rafting, a pontoon boat cruise, or a champagne picnic.
Best Grand Canyon West Rim Helicopter Tours From Las Vegas
Best Grand Canyon South Rim Helicopter Tours From Las Vegas
Visiting Grand Canyon - All You Need To Know
- While more air time is certainly a perk, it will also cost you more. Traveling from Vegas to the Grand Canyon by personal car, bus, or airplane will help cut down the price significantly. Once you arrive to the canyon, you can board a helicopter from the airport, located just outside the park.
- The West Rim is the closest section of the Grand Canyon for those traveling from Las Vegas. Because of the shorter distance, you can find action-packed tours at lower prices than similar tours at the South Rim. Opting for a West Rim tour will ensure you get the biggest nag for your buck.
Grand Canyon Hours
The Grand Canyon is open every day of the year, including major holidays. The Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim) is open 24 hours a day. In general, the South Rim is far more crowded than Grand Canyon West. However, even the West Rim gets packed around mid-day, from 11 am to 2 pm.
Grand Canyon West is open daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, October through March, and from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, April through September.
Best Time to Go
One of the great things about the Grand Canyon, is that no matter what time of the year you visit, it’s always a good time! With that being said, spring and fall are the best times to visit in terms of pleasant weather. During this time, precipitation is light with daytime temperatures peaking in the upper-80s and mid-90s.
In the summer, the weather can get uncomfortably hot, with daytime highs reaching well over 100°F. In addition, summer is the park’s peak season, meaning you’ll have to share the best view points with all the other tourists who also want to get that perfect photo. Winters can get quite cold, but the snow gives the canyon a magical feel and crowds are at their absolute lowest.
What to Bring
No matter when you visit, be sure to bring lots water per person, sunscreen, sunglasses and layers, in case the weather changes.
Flying with Children
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 of age. Passengers under 18 years of age are required to fly with an adult.
Getting To Grand Canyon
Most helicopter tours leaving from Las Vegas include hotel pick-up and drop-off. There are three airports typically used for air tours from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon:
• 10 min from downtown Las Vegas
• Most hotels offer shuttle service to the airport
• A taxi from the Strip should cost you around $15
• Most helicopter tours depart from here.
Henderson Executive Airport
• 25-30 minutes south of Las Vegas
• Some airplane tours depart from here.
• 30 minutes from Las Vegas
• Both helicopter and airplane tours depart from here.
• Flights from Boulder City can easily add an extra 1.5 hours to your tour duration just for travel between your hotel and the helicopter terminal - be sure to plan accordingly.
Grand Canyon Tour Helicopter
The most popular helicopter, as well as the most advanced for sightseeing tours is the ECO Star EC-130, followed by the A-Star AS-350. The ECO Star EC-130 has 25% more space than the A-Star AS-350.
All Headout Grand Canyon helicopter tours fly either an A-S350 or EC-130 helicopter. All Headout tours to the bottom of the Grand Canyon use the ECO Star EC-350 helicopter.
Driving to the Grand Canyon
1. From Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West - 2.5 hours
1. Take US-95/US-93 South towards Kingman, AZ
2. Turn left and take Pierce Ferry Road
3. Turn right onto Diamond Bar Road and stay on this road
4. Continue on to Buck and Doe Rd
5. Turn Right onto Airport Service Road to Grand Canyon West Airport for shuttles to the rim and Skywalk
2. From Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South - 5 hours
1. Take US-95/US-93 South towards Kingman, AZ
2. From Kingman, take I-40 east to Williams, AZ
3. From Williams, take Highway 65 north to the South Rim
2. From Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South - 4.5 hours
1. Drive north on I-15, just past St. George, UT to Rt 9
2. Drive east on Rt 9 to Rt 59
3. Continue east on Rt 59 (at the Utah/Arizona state line, the highway changes to Rt 389)
4. Continue east on Rt 389 to the junction with US 89a
5. Continue east on US 89a to the junction with Rt 67
6. Drive south on Rt 67 directly to the North Rim
What happens in case the weather is too bad to fly?
In case of cancellation of a tour flight due to weather, you will have the option to reschedule your flight without any extra fee. If rescheduling is not an option, you can receive a full refund.
Can I bring a bag on my flight?
Only small bags are allowed on helicopter tours. Heliports do have lockers in case you wish to leave bags behind.
What does my weight have to do with the helicopter tour?
Helicopters have a very strict weight limit policy. To maintain optimum flying standards, the weight of the load on the helicopter should be within limits and balanced as well. To ensure safety, all passengers must get weighed before boarding the aircraft. Do keep in mind that your weight that will be measured before the flight will include the weight of all that you're carrying as well, including bags, cameras, etc.
Can I take pictures while I'm at the West Rim Skywalk?
Unfortunately, no. Cameras and cellphones are not allowed onto the sSkywalk to prevent the glass from getting scratched by cameras, phones, etc. You can however purchase a souvenir photo from a professional photographer.
Are the helicopters wheelchair accessible?
Yes, helicopters are wheelchair accessible. However, you will need to have a collapsable wheelchair, as well as a partner to assist.
Do children under the age of 2 need separate tickets?
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.
Can children fly without a guardian?
All passengers under the age of 18 years need to be accompanied by an adult.
Can pregnant women fly?
Yes, pregnant women are permitted to fly; however, consult with your doctor before.
Will there be places to eat at the Grand Canyon?
Food services are available throughout the park.