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Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours
Visiting the Grand Canyon
At 18 miles wide, 1 mile deep and 277 miles long, the Grand Canyon is, without doubt, one of the world’s most recognizable geological wonders. A two billion-year-old gorge eroded slowly by wind and water, 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.
"The rocks are chiefly variegated shades of beautiful colors –creamy orange above, then bright vermilion, and below, purple and chocolate beds, with green and yellow sands."
- Major John Wesley Powell, 1869
Established as a National Park in 1919, the Grand Canyon preserves a living timeline of Earth’s history. The opportunity to explore such an astounding natural wonder is one of sheer fortune and, thankfully, one that is quite attainable in a variety of ways. Soar over the Canyon in a helicopter and take in sweeping views from a bird’s eye view. Hike through the West Rim and delve down, via chopper, into the canyon’s floor for a champagne picnic. Travel by coach from Las Vegas to the South Rim, home to the most iconic views of the Grand Canyon, and enjoy the stunning beauty of Mather Point and Bright Angel Point. For adventure enthusiasts, hop on a thrilling white water rafting excursion down the Colorado River, or cruise on a pontoon boat ride as you gaze up at the canyon walls surrounding you.
Las Vegas to Grand Canyon
Situated just 125 miles from Las Vegas, a visit to the Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s Vegas bucket list. A two and a half hour drive or a 35 minute flight, there are several options to choose from when planning your journey from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.
Picking the Best Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Tour
There are dozens of tour packages to choose from when it comes to visiting the Grand Canyon from Vegas. The key to picking the tour that best suits your desires is to first understand your options. To help make your life easier, we’ve laid everything out, step by step, to help you narrow down your decision.
Landing vs Fly Over Only
Regardless of whether you choose to start your air tour from Las Vegas or directly from the Grand Canyon, there are several things to consider:
West Rim vs South Rim vs North Rim
Another thing to consider when planning out a trip to the Grand Canyon is deciding which area you would like to visit. Each rim has its own characteristics, and offers different activities to those who visit.
Eldorado Canyon and Red Rock Canyon Tours
For those looking to discover other famous landmarks in Nevada, opt for a trip to either Red Rock Canyon or Eldorado Canyon. Just 20 minutes outside of Las Vegas, explore Red Rock Canyon on a day tour. Hop into a helicopter with no doors and live on the edge as you glide over peaks, valleys, the Calico basin and incredible sandstone formations.
For a more interactive day trip, pair your Grand Canyon helicopter tour with a stop at Eldorado Canyon. Located just 45 minutes from Las Vegas, Eldorado Canyon gives you the opportunity to explore Nevada’s historical Techatticup Gold Mine & Mill Site. Land in the canyon and explore the area by ATV as you make your way along trails originally traversed by mule driven ore carts. Ride on mountainous terrain and up and around incredible cactus gardens as you follow along the same path miners of the 1800’s used to search for gold. Afterward, enjoy a champagne picnic before making your way back to Vegas.
The Logistics: Planning Your Trip from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon
Getting to your tour
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:
– 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.
Please note: No helicopter tours departing Las Vegas fly directly to the South Rim, as the distance is too far for sightseeing aircrafts. If you’d like to tour the South Rim by helicopter, you will need to first fly there by airplane or travel by road, then board a helicopter.
What kind of Helicopter is the best?
The most advanced and luxurious helicopter for sightseeing tours is the ECO Star EC-130. The second most popular sightseeing helicopter is the A-Star AS-350. An EcoStar EC-130 has 25% more cabin space than an A-Star helicopter. As a result, some tours will add a seventh passenger to the EC-130. All Grand Canyon helicopter tours fly either an A-S350 or EC-130 helicopter; both offer great visibility when flying 6 passengers. A 7 passenger helicopter has less visibility than a 6 passenger helicopter. Unless you have a group of 7 you are better off flying in a 6 passenger helicopter and should choose a tour that only flies 6 passenger helicopters to ensure you have the best visibility. All Headout tours to the bottom of the Grand Canyon use the ECO Star EC-350 helicopter.
Do I Need to Book Ahead?
It is highly recommended visitors book a Grand Canyon Helicopter tour in advance. Especially during peak season, June to November, it’s best to book two to four weeks in advance. Popular tours can sell out as early as a month before their departure date. Flights are available 365 days a year; if you have a relatively flexible (i.e. give or take a day or two), booking two weeks in advance should suffice.
As tours start to sell, the first things to fill are the best time slots and the best seats. If you’re planning a once in a lifetime helicopter tour, booking in advance will ensure you make the most of your incredible experience.
Things to Consider Before Booking
When is the Best Time to Visit the Grand Canyon
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.
Spring & Fall
In terms of weather, March to May and September to November are the best times 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.
Grand Canyon Hours
Grand Canyon West
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.
What is the Legacy Package?
Grand Canyon West is privately owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe and requires the purchase of a Legacy Tour Package for entry. It includes a self-guided tour of all points of interest at Grand Canyon West, as well as unlimited use of the hop-on hop-off shuttle to the three main viewing points: Eagle Point, Guano Point and Hualapai Ranch. If your Headout tour includes landing at the West Rim, it is safe to assume the tour price includes your Legacy Package. In addition, some tours include a meal coupon, which includes a meal at any of the canteens at the stops, excluding the Skywalk Restaurant. The Legacy Package does not include a ticket to the Skywalk.
What happens if the weather is too bad to fly?
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.
Why is there a weight check?
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.
Can I take pictures at the Skywalk?
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.
What is the age of a lap child?
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 I bring a bag on my flight?
Only small bags are allowed on helicopter tours. Most heliports offer lockers if you need to leave bags behind.
Can pregnant women fly?
Yes, pregnant women are permitted to fly; however, consult with your doctor before.
Do helicopters have wheelchair access?
Helicopters can accommodate a wheelchair for flights. However, you will need to have a collapsable wheelchair, as well as someone can assist with boarding.
Can children fly without a guardian?
Passengers under 18 years of age are required to fly with an adult.
Will there be places to eat at the Grand Canyon?
Food services are available throughout the park. Most full-day tours include meals, or allot for time to grab a bite at one of the canteens on the premises. Bringing outside food into the Grand Canyon West is not permitted.
Grand Canyon Fast Facts
- Grand Canyon National Park covers 1,904 square miles (4,931 square kilometers). It took 3-6 million years to form. Today, rosion continues to alter its contours.
- The highest points at the Grand Canyon are found at Point Imperial on the North Rim, which is 8,803 feet high, and Navajo Point on the South Rim, which is 7,498 feet high.
- The greatest depths of the Grand Canyon extend just over 1 mile beneath its rim.
- The volume of the Grand Canyon is estimated to be 5.45 trillion cubic yards.
- The total length of the Colorado River is 1,450 miles. Within the Grand Canyon, it measures 277 miles from Lees Ferry in the east to Grand Wash Cliffs, near Lake Mead in Nevada, and flows at an average speed of speed of four miles per hour.
- The Colorado River’s average width in the Grand Canyon is 300 feet. It's narrowest width is 76 feet. The river’s average depth is 40 feet, with its greatest depth at a staggering 85 feet.
- in Grand Canyon National Park, there are 373 species of birds, 91 species of mammals, 57 species of reptiles and amphibians, 17 species of fish (this number has dropped quite a bit in the last decade) and more than 1,700 species of plants.
- There are also 8,480 known species of invertebrates (i.e., critters that don’t have an internal skeleton) at the Grand Canyon.
- Back in the 1920s, the average visitor would stay at the Grand Canyon for two to three weeks.
- Today, the average person spends about three to four hours at the Grand Canyon, often shortening their transit time and enhancing their views by taking a helicopter ride.
- Tourists started visiting the Grand Canyon in the late 1800’s.
- The Grand Canyon was established as a National Park in 1919, when Woodrow Wilson was President.
- The first people living in the canyon were the Paleo-lndian (Ancient Native American People) 12,000 years ago.
- The deepest point of the canyon is just over a mile deep.
- The North Rim of the Grand Canyon has an average height of 8,000 ft. - 1,000 ft. higher than the South Rim.
- Arizona has the largest percentage of land set aside for Native American use than any other state.
Grand Canyon Reviews
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