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Grand Canyon Tours - Best Sightseeing Trips During Wintertime

Justine Moriarity

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Those planning a trip to the Grand Canyon during the Christmas season must begin now. These are trips you'll cherish for a lifetime and can be taken on an airplane, bus or even a helicopter.

The North Rim closes for the winter, reopening in March. That means you'll only have two destinations you can choose from. The West Rim or the South Rim. For these tours, you'll need to decide if you'd like to begin your tour at the South Rim or in Las Vegas.

When you leave from Vegas, you can choose to visit either the South or the West Rim. However, when you are at the South Rim, you can only visit the South Rim.

Las Vegas will give the most options for your Grand Canyon tours. Depending on what you can afford and your desires, you can choose a trip by airplane, bus or helicopter. For these trips, you do need to note that Christmas Day is limited to plane rides only.


Helicopters from Vegas can only fly to the West Rim, due to the distance of the South Rim. However, these flights will take you to both the top of the Canyon, in addition to the base. A personal favorite of mine, is taking the helicopter to the base for a champagne picnic, that can be combined with a Colorado River boat ride.

Helicopter sightseeing packages from Vegas come in basic and deluxe packages. A basic package starts in Boulder City and will require a 30 minute shuttle ride. Deluxe packages include a limousine service and begin in The Strip. These tours will also give you a view of The Strip on your way back from the Canyon.

When you tour the South Rim, you'll have the chance to decide between a half hour flight and a 50 minute one. The shorter trip goes along the Dragoon Corridor, which is the widest and deepest part of the canyon. I prefer the 50 minute trip, because it nearly doubles the airtime for a little more and you still see the Dragoon Corridor in addition to more of the park.


The plane rides from Vegas travel the same area as the Grand Canyon tours, just at a higher altitude. This is best for people on a tight budget. There is a tour where you take a plane, fly to the West Rim, take a helicopter ride to the bottom, and have a ticket for the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

Another Vegas plane ride I recommend for sightseeing, is the one that goes directly to the South Rim. In an hour, you'll be at the South Rim and it will include a 2.5 hour tour of the park by bus. You can then add a helicopter ride if you can afford it.

You can also find a South Rim flight that mimics the 50 minute tour by helicopter. It leaves from the local airport in Tusayan. If you have a large group or the helicopter tours are sold out, I recommend it.


Finally, your bus tours from Vegas to the South and West Rims. These are the most economical choices for the Canyon. They leave in the morning from the Strip and will take a day to enjoy. Normally, they will return at 9 PM, so avoid making dinner and show reservations, as you won't make them.

Hot Tips from the Author

Fly Grand Canyon this winter! The author is an expert on the National Park and recommends these terrific airplane tours and these incredible helicopter rides:


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