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Grand Canyon Helicopters Give Amazing Views On South Rim Trips

Justine Moriarity

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The South Rim is the region of the Grand Canyon that most people recognize. That's where most of the best photos are shot, and that's where Grand Canyon National Park is located.

The Park is huge and it is not possible to take it all in from the ground. At best it would be time-consuming and difficult. The obvious solution is to see the South Rim from the air in a chopper. You should definitely think about taking one of these tours. They are a lot of fun and give you a unique perspective on the immensity of the canyon. You want to experience as much of the canyon as you can so you see why it is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

A lot of people who go on South Rim tours depart from a city in Arizona such as Sedona, Phoenix, Scottsdale, or Sedona since they are not too far away. It's also a favorite excursion for people coming from Vegas, who arrive there by plane (a 45-minute flight) or bus (a 5 -hour ride). Guess which one most people prefer? Quick and convenient wins most of the time.

Several terrific Grand Canyon tours on South Rim helicopters are offered. Two flight lengths are available: 30 minutes and 50 minutes. The half hour tour takes you from the South Rim to the North Rim, and back again, including a pass over the deepest part of the canyon called the Dragoon Corridor. The 50 minute flight does too, but it's more comprehensive and adds the Painted Desert, the Desert Watchtower, Imperial Point (the Park's highest spot), the Colorado Confluence and Zuni Corridor.

Go on the longer tour if you can. The National Park encompasses a wilderness area that is over 1 million acres and you may not get to come back. Unless it's a necessity, it would be a shame to scrimp on this unique opportunity and go with one of the shorter flights.

The helicopters on the South Rim tours depart from the Grand Canyon National Airport, which is outside the main gates of the Park. Tours depart daily, even on holidays. I urge you to book yours at least a week before the date you prefer. Booking early allows you to get the lowest price and the widest choice in tour times and dates.

If you wait until you get there to buy your tickets you will have to pay a lot more, plus your group might have to split up and you have less chance of getting the best early morning flights or a flight on the best choppers, the EcoStar 130s.

The EcoStar 130 is the ultimate chopper for touring the South Rim. These choppers are roomier and more comfortable than other tour helicopters. They have stadium style seats and huge panoramic windows so every seat has a spectacular view of the scenery passing below. The choppers are designed to be quiet and offer a smooth ride, plus the interior is kept perfectly climate controlled.

You can choose a landing tour at the South Rim too. One of the tours flies you rim to rim and then takes you on a sunset 4x4 ride to the edge of the canyon. Another tour option is to ride through the Park on a Harley rather than a Jeep. These landing tours are fantastic fun and worth every penny, although seats are very limited for these.

You can save some bucks on your tour by booking on the tour company's website. Always check the tour operator's website first because you can find savings there for as much as 1/3 off retail price of the tour. You have to book your seats and complete the transaction online to be able to get the lowest Internet only rate.


Travel editor Justine M. is an authority on helicopter trips and advises checking out this website for excellent discounts:


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