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Enjoying the Best Grand Canyon South Rim Helicopter Tours

Justine Moriarity

Visitors: 385

All of Grand Canyon National Park is magnificent. It is a massive landmark that is a mile deep and 277 miles in length. At one point, the huge canyon is 18 miles across. It covers more than one million acres of pristine wilderness area.

The South Rim isn't far from where northern Arizona meets Utah. The scenery in this part of the canyon is quite beautiful. There is a tiny town situated close to the main gates of the park there. Tusayan is where the Grand Canyon Airport is located, and that's where the South Rim tours depart from, also, the city has an IMAX theater. Flagstaff and Williams, AZ are the nearest big towns.

Millions of visitors come to the Grand Canyon each year, and a lot of them start in Vegas, Phoenix, or Sedona. People that tour the South Rim on Vegas tours go by airplane or bus since it is too far to go by helicopter, and going by airplane is the quickest option. However, if is quite convenient for people starting out in central Arizona to get to the South Rim by car.


Grand Canyon helicopters flying over the South Rim, are not allowed to fly below the rim, or land on the canyon floor. That restriction doesn't apply at the West Rim, which is located closer to Vegas. There are no flights available that go between the South Rim and the West Rim.

South Rim helicopter tours depart daily. They all follow the same basic flight path, but the tour prices vary depending on how much air time is included and whether the tour is a basic or deluxe version. Some of the air tours last about a half hour, while others are nearly an hour long.

The shorter, half-hour tours fly from the South Rim to the North Rim and back, including an exhilarating passage through the deepest, widest section of the canyon (Dragoon Corridor). They also pass over Kaibab National Forest. Choosing a helicopter tour of the South Rim is the best way to see as much of this vast wilderness as possible.

Longer Flight

The longer flights are much more comprehensive. These flights include all the landmarks from the shorter flights as well as others such as the Desert Watchtower, Zuni Corridor, remote areas of the North Rim, and the Colorado River confluence.

Choppers can seat as many as six passengers, not counting the pilot. Because of that, not many flights take off with empty seats. The seating arrangement is determined right before the flight lifts off, and it is decided based on the weight distribution of passengers. For safety reasons, the total weight must be distributed evenly throughout the aircraft's cabin.

Helicopter tours regularly sell out, so I suggest booking your flight as soon as you can-a week in advance if possible. It is a big risk to wait to buy tickets on the day of the flight, because the helicopter may be full, or not have enough available seats for your entire party.

Purchase Online

The best prices on Grand Canyon tours are found online on the individual tour operators’ websites. They're able to offer Internet specials that the big travel websites like Orbitz, Priceline and Expedia can't and don't. Just skip those and go to the tour operator's site first. You'll need to complete your purchase online in order to qualify for the special Internet discount. This tip is important to remember-you don't want to pay full retail price!

Tips from the Author

The author is an expert on the Grand Canyon and recommends reading these helicopter reviews and then visiting this page for discount prices on these spectacular flights:


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