A Grand Canyon helicopter tour is a bucket-list way to explore this amazing landscape in all of its natural beauty. Flying high above the Grand Canyon in Arizona is exhilarating and thrilling. Experiencing one of the world’s largest canyons from a bird’s eye perspective is very memorable indeed.
However, there are many tour operators, different types of helicopter and departure points. So how do you choose the right Grand Canyon helicopter tour for you?
Don’t worry, we’ve researched for you! All you have to do is read this handy guide covering all there is to know about Grand Canyon helicopter tours. Then you can book your tour with confidence.
Which part of the Grand Canyon should I visit?
The Grand Canyon is divided into four sections:
The South Rim is the most easily accessible and has the most facilities. It is therefore the most popular section of the Grand Canyon. From the South Rim, you get sweeping views over the Canyon and you can trek down to the Colorado River.
The North Rim is one of the wildest and lesser-known and visited sections of the Grand Canyon. This is mainly because it isn’t very well connected to the cities and you need your own vehicle to access it. However, it is simply breathtaking, especially the views from Point Imperial and Cape Royal.
After the South, the West Rim is the second most visited section of the Canyon. Here you’ll find the sensational Skywalk. This is a gravity-defying horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that extends 70-feet out over the rim of the Grand Canyon.
There is no official “East Rim”, however, there are many scenic spots to see on the east portion of the Grand Canyon, including the famous Horseshoe Bend, Marble Canyon and the Rainbow Bridge, one of the world’s largest known natural bridges.
Grand Canyon helicopter flight departure points
Most helicopter tours depart from either the Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan close to the South Rim or Las Vegas, Nevada. However, there are a few other departure points.
Grand Canyon Airport, Tusayan, Arizona
The city of Tusayan, Arizona is close to the South Rim. Many helicopter tours depart from the Grand Canyon Airport, which is just a few miles from the main entrance to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
These helicopter tours last anywhere from 25 to 45 minutes, so are therefore ideal for travellers who are short on time or budget.
From here, you can take a helicopter tour of not only the South Rim but the North and eastern side of the canyon too.
Las Vegas, Nevada
There are lots of Las Vegas helicopter tours departing for the Grand Canyon West Rim and Hoover Dam. The Hoover Dam is located on the western side of the Canyon, not too far from Las Vegas.
If you want to visit the South Rim from Las Vegas you can either make your own way to the Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan and take a helicopter tour from there. Alternatively, some tour operators offer a day tour and fly you in a prop plane to Tusayan where you then board a helicopter.
A helicopter ride in Vegas is a great way to see the Grand Canyon as well as the famous Las Vegas Strip. This is particularly striking at night time when it is all lit up. You can also book flights to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas with some tour operators.
West Rim departures
Helicopter tours that depart from the West Rim only fly over this part of the Grand Canyon. One of the best things about a West Rim helicopter tour is that they offer landings on the canyon floor. This is the only area of the canyon where this can be done.
Page Municipal Airport, Arizona
Page Municipal Airport is 1-mile east of Page, in Coconino County, Arizona. From here you can take a helicopter tour of the eastern part of the Grand Canyon.
Type of helicopters
Two types of helicopters are used for Grand Canyon tours. Bell helicopters have large windows and bench-seating, meaning the passengers sit facing each other.
Eco-Star helicopters use “quiet technology” and make less noise for a more peaceful flight. These crafts also have a 180-degree field of view and passengers sit in stadium-style seating. All tours have narration in multiple languages.
How long do Grand Canyon helicopter tours last?
Flights vary in length but some are as short as five minutes and some last as long as 90 minutes. However, that is the length of the flight duration. Tours can last as long as 10 hours especially if you combine the flight with other activities such as horseback riding, 4×4 tours, boat rides and the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
How much do Grand Canyon helicopter tours cost?
Flights vary in price but there are helicopter tours for nearly all budgets. The shorter the flight, the cheaper the price, so tours from the West Rim and Grand Canyon Airport are best for those on a budget. The longer the flight time, the higher the cost. The more activities on the tour the higher the price too. The cheapest Grand Canyon helicopter tours start from around USD$175 per person.
Which companies provide flights to the Grand Canyon?
As you can see, choosing a suitable Grand Canyon helicopter tour depends on which sights you want to see, your departure point, your preferred helicopter, how much time you have and your budget. Once you work out all of these, you just need to find your preferred operator. Also, be sure to book well in advance as most of these tours fill up!
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