Leaves are dropping and the weather is changing, but that doesn't mean the fun has to stop. Summer is leaving but the cooler temperatures do offer some advantages. Comfortable weather and clearer skies mean something special at the Grand Canyon – It's time to take an air tour!
You can take a Grand Canyon Helicopter from two locations. In Nevada there's the bright city of Las Vegas (as well as the adjoining Boulder City), and in Arizona you can leave from Tusayan, right outside the National Park. Both offer unique packages, so let's take a look at what each has to offer.
Tours from Nevada
The West Rim is just over 100 miles outside of Vegas. On the way out you will fly over both the Hoover Dam and the reservoir of Lake Mead. Tours are landing or air only, with landing being my personal favorite.
A landing tour is special because you can choose to go to the bottom of the Canyon, the top, or even both. At the bottom is the Colorado River, the waterway that shaped the Canyon over millions of years. On the bottom you can enjoy a picnic with complimentary Champagne, and you could even add on a boat ride to explore the river and the canyon rock walls.
At the top, you could land and visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk. This specially engineered platform extends out over the side of the Canyon, allowing you to stand on transparent glass, 4000ft above the river below.
Air-only tours will give you all of the sights, but landing tours provide the greatest adventure.
South Rim Tours from Arizona
Las Vegas is the most popular starting point for a Grand Canyon air tour, but there are options in Arizona, and they're perfect if you want to see the less travelled areas of the Canyon. Even if you're in Vegas, you can take a one hour plane ride out to Arizona to start your sightseeing experience.
From the South Rim there are two air tours available. The first is 30 minutes long, and goes to the mysterious and isolated North Rim, and back again. The longer tour follows the same route, with another leg added which takes the tour up to almost one hour. You will go out to the eastern boundary of the park, seeing as much as 75% of the total area.
I recommend this second tour because of how much you will be able to see, for a relatively small increase in ticket price. Also, how many people can claim to have seen 75% of the Grand Canyon National Park?
Basic and Deluxe Tours
In addition to the different routes and packages, you will also need to choose between basic and deluxe tours. Basic tours use slightly older, but still highly capable helicopters, while Deluxe tours use choppers that offer the most cutting edge experience.
On a deluxe tour you will fly in an EcoStar helicopter with an oversized cabin, large bucket seating, obstruction-free seating layout, and a staggering 180 degree windscreen that lets you see everything. The EcoStar allows for the best Grand Canyon helicopter experience in existence.
Deluxe tours in Vegas also offer a limousine shuttle service, and a flyover of the Las Vegas Strip. This part of the tour is especially stunning if you are returning on the last flight of the day.
I find it easy to recommend Grand Canyon helicopters and air tours, because there is no other adventure package that compares. Make your choice between landing or air-only, West Rim or South, and Basic or Deluxe. Even with all the differences, you'll be able to find an adventure that you won't forget. Book early to guarantee your seats, and book online for the best discounts. The Grand Canyon is one of the most awe inspiring and beautiful places on earth. You would be doing yourself a disservice not to see it at least once in your lifetime.
Schedule your trip for this fall and experience the best touring conditions, at a natural monument like no other.