The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, so it is a definite must-see for everyone. I lived for six years in the same state (Arizona) and never got around to going. I didn’t have a good excuse and the situation needed to be corrected. So a few years ago, when I was in Las Vegas, I wanted to do a Grand Canyon day tour. I ended up booking a Grand Canyon helicopter tour from Las Vegas.
Let me tell you more about my helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon and why It was worth every penny!
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About the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon, located in Arizona, was carved by the Colorado River millions of years ago and continues to become wider and deeper. It is 277 miles long, up to 18 miles wide, and is more than a mile deep.
For thousands of years, Native Americans have lived in the area. For the Pueblo people, the Grand Canyon is considered a holy site. It became an official National Monument in 1908 and a National Park in 1919.
The most popular areas for tourists to visit are the North and South Rims. While the South Rim is open all year round weather permitting, the North Rim is usually only open mid-May to mid-October. It’s one of the most visited natural attractions in the world, drawing in around 5 million visitors each year.
Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour Options
Granted a helicopter tour is not cheap, but I think it is the best way to do the Las Vegas to Grand Canyon trip. You don’t waste time in transit as the helicopter flight is short and very scenic.
There are numerous helicopter tour options available from Las Vegas. Some are day trips and include hiking or white water rafting. We decided to opt for the half-day tour that included a champagne picnic lunch in the canyon. There are several companies that offer this kind of tour, we chose All Las Vegas Tours and enjoyed it. The helicopter is air-conditioned so you can do the tour year round.
If you have 48 hours, you may want to consider doing this Grand Canyon road trip. If you have a week, you can do this road trip that includes Zion, Bryce, and Grand Canyon National Parks.
Our Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour
The tour included complimentary limo pickup from our hotel to go to the small airport at the end of the strip. It was a nice touch that made us feel special. Too bad it was only a short ride.
After a brief safety spiel, we put on our helmets and boarded the helicopter. Not every seat on the helicopter is a window seat. They told us that some people would have windows on the way there and others would have windows on the way back. Somehow we were able to work it out so we had window seats both ways. If forced to choose, I would ask which way you will be flying by the Strip and choose the window for that leg.
Although I have flown in many aircraft of varying sizes, this was my first helicopter ride, so I was a little nervous. I worried it would be a rough and bumpy ride, but it was actually pretty smooth. When the pilot would turn the helicopter, it was a little scary looking down but the beautiful view made you forget that.
Going from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, we flew over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam is impressive and definitely worth a visit (it’s only 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas). It was built during the Great Depression and is considered one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders. I did the tour the first time I went to Vegas (before I was 21).
You will also see Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, completed in 2010 to ease the traffic crossing the dam. It is jointly named for Mike O’Callaghan, a former Governor of Nevada, and Pat Tillman, an Arizona Cardinals football player who left his career to enlist in the United States Army after the September 11th terrorist attacks and was killed in Afghanistan in 2004 by friendly fire.
Finally Made it to the Grand Canyon!
After passing the Hoover Dam, we quickly approached the Grand Canyon. It is awe-inspiring and worthy of being one of the Seven Wonders. The landing was very smooth and we got out to walk around a bit.
We didn’t have much time so we couldn’t wander off too far. We took a few pictures and just took in the view. Then it was time for our champagne picnic lunch. The food was not memorable (just sandwiches) but you come here for the atmosphere!
Then it was time to board the helicopter to head back from the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas. On the way back, we flew along the Strip, which is impressive in its own right. When we flew back it was still the afternoon, so I can only imagine how impressive it would have been at night with all the sparkling lights. Then we landed and were taken back to our hotel.
Booking Your Helicopter Grand Canyon Tour
A helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s bucket list. It may not be cheap but it is something you will remember for the rest of your life. I think it’s the best way to do a Grand Canyon day trip from Vegas. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and feel like it was worth the money that I spent.
There are all kinds of Grand Canyon tour packages from Las Vegas available through GetYourGuide, so I’m sure you can find one that is right for you. We were looking for something romantic so we chose a helicopter tour with Champagne picnic. If you are looking for something more adventurous, maybe try a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon that includes white-water rafting.
I would just make sure that you choose a Grand Canyon helicopter tour with a landing so that you get the chance to walk around and see the canyon from the floor. If you are on a tight budget, you could do a Grand Canyon bus tour instead. Click here to view the options, prices, and availability.
More Things to do at the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is amazing and I do want to go back and spend more time exploring. A half-day Grand Canyon tour is not enough! There is so much to do there. I would love to do some hiking or even white water rafting.
I would also like to visit the Skywalk. The Skywalk is a transparent horseshoe-shaped bridge that extends over the edge of the canyon. You can walk on it and look down into the Grand Canyon, definitely not for those afraid of heights.
For those of you that are daredevils, there is now a zip line over the Grand Canyon, which is only a mile away from the Skywalk. The Grand Canyon Zipline is nearly 1,000 feet above the floor of a side canyon! There are two separate runs covering 3,500 feet and you can reach speeds of up to 50 mph. I think that may be a bit too far outside my comfort zone.
I would also love to do the Havasu Falls hike. The pictures on Instagram just look amazing. The full hike is 25 miles roundtrip and takes two days. Plus, you have to get a permit – for more information check out this complete guide to hiking Havasu Falls.
How Far is the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas?
Technically, the Grand Canyon is only about 130 miles from Las Vegas, but not if you are driving to the North or South Rim. This will take you about four to five hours as there isn’t a direct route.
Is a Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour from Vegas Worth it?
Yes. It’s one of those once in a lifetime experiences. The Grand Canyon is such a special place and having the opportunity to see if from the air and also walk along the floor is priceless. Plus, you also save a lot of travel time.
While a bus tour to the Grand Canyon might be cheaper, you will spend so much time in the bus traveling there and back. I think it’s also too much driving in one day to be an enjoyable day trip on your own and would probably be more expensive than a bus tour if you have to rent a car.
When you fly from the Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon in a helicopter you also get aerial views of Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, the Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, and the Las Vegas Strip. You get there almost too quickly.
We loved our Grand Canyon trip from Vegas. It’s one of the best things to do in Vegas besides gambling. Someday I will return and complete the rest of my Grand Canyon to-do list.
Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Would love to hear about your experience in the comments.
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Last Updated on March 24, 2021