When one thinks of the Grand Canyon, a mix of breath-taking geographical features come to mind - pine and fir forests, painted deserts, sandstone canyons, mesas and plateaus, volcanic and geologic features, the Colorado River, perennial streams, and waterfalls. In this guide, we will look at the most popular destination in the Grand Canyon and help you find the best Grand Canyon West Rim tours from Las Vegas.
This two-billion-year old gorge is situated in Arizona's northwestern quadrant. The Grand Canyon National Park founded in 1919 sees more than 4,000,000 people visitors every year, making it one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world. The area has been inhabited by Native American people for thousands of years and hence holds deep cultural significance, especially by the Pueblo people who considered it to be a pilgrimage site. The park has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. This one-mile deep gorge carved by the Colorado river is one of the seven natural wonders of the world that is found in North America, and is a must-visit for every tourist and nature-lover alike visiting the United States.
What Makes The Grand Canyon's West Rim Special
The Grand Canyon can be experienced from four different directions – south, east, north and west. The West Rim sees over 1 million visitors annually due to its proximity to Las Vegas. It is located on the Hualapai Indian Tribal Lands and is separate from the Grand Canyon National Park. It has numerous extremely popular tourist destinations including the Glass Skywalk. This is the perfect location for all thrill-seekers. Imagine walking on a sheet on glass, staring into seemingly bottomless abyss that is the Grand Canyon! The Skywalk, however, is perfectly safe – though it is nearly 4000 ft above the canyon, it can hold up to 71 million pounds of weight and has walls that are 4-6 feet wide. You can also visit the Hualapai Ranch, Havasu Canyon, Eagle Point and Guano Point. The West Rim is also the only part of the canyon where you can land at the bottom via helicopter, hence making this a part of many popular helicopter tours. You can also go whitewater rafting through Hualapai River Runners, about 90 minutes from the West Rim.
• The West Rim is easily accessible from Las Vegas. Around 125 miles, this drive would take you about 3.5 hours.
• Grand Canyon West is open to the public from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily from October through March, and from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily from April through September. It is open every day of the year including all major holidays.
Popular Grand Canyon West Rim Tours from Las Vegas
Vegas to Grand Canyon West Rim Helicopter Tour with Optional Landing
• Pick this tour for astonishing views of Guano Point, Eagle Point and the canyon floor, 4000 ft below the rim on your way from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West.
• This tour includes transport from your hotel to the airport, where you will board a luxury EC 130 helicopter and fly over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Mojave desert.
• You can even land at the West Rim Airport for thirty minutes of exploring the the area, taking pictures, enjoying the views and checking out the souvenir shop.
• The helicopter ride is about 90 minutes if you choose to fly over the Las Strip and includes multilingual inflight narration.
Vegas to GC West Rim Airplane Tour with Optional Landing and Skywalk
• Start from your hotel in Las Vegas and board a Vistaliner aircraft specially equipped with oversized windows to allow you to admire amazing views of Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, the Colorado River and Grand Canyon West, where you’ll be able to see the Glass Skywalk from the air!
• You can get off at West Rim and make use of the complimentary shuttle to explore the area, take in the sights and colors, and even enjoy a complimentary lunch.
• Visit the Skywalk and float 70 feet beyond the edge of the canyon, right over the abyss.
Vegas to GC West Rim Helicopter Tour with Champagne Picnic at the Canyon
• This tour is perfect for a romantic getaway as you are transported from your hotel to Boulder City Airport and fly over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Grand Wash Cliffs, Grapevine Mesa and Grand Canyon West in your luxury EC 130 helicopter.
• After your 70-minute flight you are guided to a private plateau overlooking the Colorado river, where you can enjoy some sparkling champagne and a picnic lunch!
• Explore the bottom of the West Rim before catching your flight. You can even extend your tour option by flying over the Las Vegas Strip!
Vegas to GC West Rim Airplane Tour & Helicopter Ride with Colorado River Cruise
• This is the perfect tour for those looking to get the full aerial experience. It includes a scenic airplane ride from Las Vegas to the West Rim airport, after which you will embark on a thrilling helicopter ride as you descend into the canyon.
• Hike to the Colorado river, and take a relaxing ride on a pontoon boat.
• At the West Rim, make use of the complimentary shuttle to explore Eagle Point and Guano Point, and after a full and exciting day of sightseeing, return to your hotel in Las Vegas.
Vegas to GC West Rim Helicopter Tour with Black Canyon River Rafting
• Fly over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the vast Mojave Desert as you make your way from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon in a helicopter, and learn about the region through special in-flight narration.
• Don’t miss the incredible view of the Canyon and Eagle and Guano points on your way to the Rim!
• After exploring the canyon floor, head back to the terminal and board a coach to the base of the Hoover Dam. Take a smooth and relaxing 11-mile water float trip down the Colorado River through the Black Canyon.
• Enjoy a meal and a nice swim before you head back to your hotel in Las Vegas.
What to See - Grand Canyon West Rim Skywalk & More
Hoover Dam and O’Callaghan-Tillman Bridge
This incredible feat of engineering holds back the Colorado River forming Lake Mead, and is around 30 miles from Las Vegas. It sees nearly 1 million visitors every year. Park in one of the free parking areas, walk across the dam, take pictures and enjoy this dam for free! Just downstream from the Hoover Dam is the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge. It is named after O’Callaghan, the former governor of Nevada, and Tillman, a professional football player for the Arizona Cardinals who was killed in Afghanistan in 2004. The bridge connects Arizona and Nevada, and enhances the tourist experience at Hoover Dam.
The Grand Canyon West Rim Skywalk
The Skywalk at the Grand Canyon is one of its most popular attractions. Built by the Hualapai Native Indians, this structure extends 70 feet outwards from the edge of the rim and has a glass floor, so that you can see 4000 ft down into the Canyon. As scary as this may sound, the Skywalk is actually perfectly safe – it can hold the weight of seventy 747 passenger jets!
If you’re planning more than a day trip to Grand Canyon West, this ranch may be the ideal place for you to crash. Stay in rustic cabins not far from the Canyon (so close tha you can hear the coyotes howl!) and watch the sunrise early the next morning as the rays bathe the canyon in a multitude of colors. The Ranch also has a gift shop and an on-site dining hall within a few minutes’ walk.
This pyramid-shaped landmark is located on the Hualapai Reservation at Grand Canyon West. The tip of this point offers breath-taking 360-degree views of the Canyon and the Colorado River. Don’t miss the local cuisine available through the Hualapai Buffet, or the delightful Hualapai Market that sells Native American crafts and artwork.
Grand Canyon West Rim – All You Need To Know
1. Hotel Pickup/Transfers
Complimentary pick-up covers most hotels in Las Vegas (or you can get to the nearest major hotel to redeem your pick-up). Be sure to be ready 1 hour and 30 minutes before the time slot you book your tour for!
2. Drive to the Airport
You will most likely be driven to either Boulder City Airport or McCarran Executive Atlantic Terminal, if you are planning on taking a helicopter or airplane tour. You can also choose to travel from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon via Coach.
3. Drive Past Hoover Dam
Be sure to take in the amazing view, and don’t miss the O’Callaghan-Tillman Bridge! If you want to walk around, park in the free parking area and explore.
4. Flying/Touring Experience at the Grand Canyon
Get ready to be amazed and astonished by the canyon’s majesty and make sure to visit the Skywalk and Guano and Eagle point. Explore the canyon floor, sail down the Colorado River, enjoy the local cuisine, go white water rafting…There are lots of options!
5. Drive/Fly Back
The drive from the canyon to Las Vegas is about 3 hours. If you’re on an airplane or helicopter tour, the entire experience could take you anywhere between 6-8 hours.
Check out our guide on selecting the best Grand Canyon helicopter tours from Las Vegas here.
Hours of Operation
Grand Canyon West is open from 7:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m. daily
Distance from Vegas
281.4 miles via US-93 S and I-40 E.
Outside food and beverages in Grand Canyon West is not permitted, however, there are many joints where you can fill your stomachs.
The weather is similar to that of Las Vegas.
Grand Canyon West Rim does have a visitor center, along with souvenir shops, restaurants and other facilities.
Tips for Visiting Grand Canyon West Rim
• No personal items, cameras or cell phones are allowed on the Skywalk, and neither are wheelchairs or scooters to protect the glass from scratches and any kind of damage.
• You won’t be able to take your car inside the entrance, but there are many guided bus tours available.
• The most comfortable time of year to visit Grand Canyon West is in the late fall to the spring. If you’re planning a summer visit, make sure you bring a hat and lots of sunscreen!
• Carry ample water as it gets pretty hot in the day and you wouldn't want to dehydrate yourself in this weather.
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