Countless millions of travelers from all over the world have visited the magnificent Grand Canyon since it became one of the country’s first National Parks almost a century ago. The views are incredible and it’s staggering in size – a mile deep, 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide.
The National Park gives you lots of things to do in addition to marveling at the spectacular natural landscapes. There’s so much going on that taking one of the Grand Canyon tours that’s led by an experienced guide can be one of the best things to do while you’re in the area.
Whether you’re heading to the canyon from Las Vegas, Nevada or a city in Central Arizona like Phoenix, Flagstaff, Sedona or Scottsdale, an airplane, helicopter or motor coach tour can be the perfect way to see its wonders. But before you start looking at any specific Grand Canyon tours to book, it’s important to be familiar with the options.
First, air and ground Grand Canyon tours go to one of two areas of the canyon: the West Rim or the South Rim (no single tour visits both rims so you’d need to book two tours in order to see both). Each one offers magnificent sights and things to do. The rim you visit will depend mainly on your starting point. Las Vegas travelers can take guided Grand Canyon tours of either rim, but many choose the West Rim because it’s close and convenient. Visitors coming from Central AZ go to the South Rim instead.
The West Rim is known for thrills and adventure. It’s where you’ll be able to take an exhilarating chopper flight down to the canyon floor. From there, if you want, you can board a pontoon boat for a guided smooth-water float trip down the Colorado River – over millions of years it created the Grand Canyon. Or, you could stay at the top and walk out onto the thrilling Grand Canyon Skywalk. Hualapai Ranch and the Indian Cultural Center are also at the West Rim.
The South Rim is mostly known for its spectacular natural beauty, but it’s also the home of Grand Canyon Village. There are plenty of things to do, including checking out the National Park’s Visitor Center, the Yavapai Museum of Geology and the old AT&SF RR Train Depot.
Once you decide on the rim you’ll be visiting, look at specific Grand Canyon tours more closely. Your choices include bus tours, airplane tours and helicopter tours, but guided float trips down the Colorado are popular too.
West Rim bus tours are flexible and let you add optional extras like passes to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a helicopter flight that lands on the canyon floor, or a float tour on the Colorado. Travelers on South Rim bus tours can add a rim-to-rim helicopter ride.
Las Vegas airplane tours fly to both rims. Many West Rim flights are air-only, but others land and allow you to add the same optional experiences as bus tours. South Rim flights are much more convenient from Vegas than bus tours, and they cover about ¾ of the National Park. Like Las Vegas plane tours, helicopter tours from Vegas can be air-only or landing tours (most South Rim flights are air-only).
The Grand Canyon offers plenty of things to do, including taking one of these fine Grand Canyon tours.