Seen from the plane in our way from the Grand Canyon to Monument Valley, Rainbow Bridge seems a small accident in nature.
Of course it isn’t, and it was one of the strongest reasons why I was sorry the plane couldn’t land everywhere. It must be impressive, watching the arch from the ground, but I had no time for those long hours needed to drive there.
Before visiting the west, I read a lot. In most lectures, Lake Mead was a must see. From the air we can have the idea of the importance of Hoover dam, and the challenge that its construction must have been. But, from the air, the views of Lake Powell are more impressive. A real wonder! And it must be very interesting the boat trip to rainbow bridge, meandering in the rocks. Next time...
I had this grand canyon tour initally by land. It is a 5 hour drive from las vegas throught the hoover dam, mojave desert with stop overs at kingman and williams, arizona and finally to the grand canyon. I opted to go on an additional helicopter ride at papillion tours for 160 USD so that I would have a Bird's Eye view of the Canyon, aside from seeing it at Yavapai Point and at South Rim. Helocopter Ride was expensiveBUT it was worth every PENNY!
WOW! Amazing experience!
This was a once in a life-time opportunity for me. It is an expensive tour but as I say, once in a life-time.
We were picked up at the back our hotel (Imperial Palace) and went by coach to the Grand Canyon. All passengers were split into groups once we got there; people who were flying in helicopters and those who weren't.
The five of us (my friends and I) were all in one helicopter. The views are spectacular; we were all completely lost for words.
I loved the sensation of flying in a helicopter, it's completely different to flying in an plane. When you hover over the Canyon and see the vastness and the expanse of land - it's . . . amazing (no words can do it justice).
Book on a tour and enjoy the experience.
Many people assume they can take a helicopter tour direct from Las Vegas to the South Rim.
First, you will need to board a luxury motor coach (there are a handful of qualified tour operators that run Canyon bus trips) and make the 278 mile drive to Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCN), which is located seven miles from the Rim, then transfer to your helicopter.
It's more cost efficient if you bundle together the bus and helicopter into one package. However, you can purchase the helicopter flight separately. But keep in mind: It's a five-hour drive to the South Rim. Why not let someone else do the driving? Companies offering these combo packages include Papillon, Maverick, and Grand Canyon helicopters, among others.
The bus segment of this trip departs in the morning. Most of companies will arrange to pick you up at your hotel (and drop you off there as well). Sights you will see en route include Lake Mead, historic Hoover Dam, and the Kaibab Plateau (home of the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine in the world).
Williams, AZ, home of the Grand Canyon Railway, marks the juncture where you turn into Grand Canyon National Park, and head north to the airport. There, you will board your helicopter and fly into the Canyon's abyss. Here are some quick facts that will make your flight more profound:
* The Canyon is a chasm 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide Took 3-6 million years to form
* Erosion continues redraw its contours
* Includes approximately 70 species of mammals, 250 species of birds, 25 types of reptiles and five species of amphibians
* Was formed by the Colorado River, which flows east to west through the canyon and averages about 300 feet width, 100 feet in depth and flows at an average speed of four miles per hour
* Was made a national monument in 1908 and became a national park in 1919
* Is populated by five Indian tribes: The Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Paiute and Hualapai
And, to keep things in perspective, the average helicopter flight lasts up to 30 minutes.
Expect to have time to explore Grand Canyon Village, which is comprised of hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, and South Rim trails. Satiated, you board your bus, which will be standing by, ready to transport you back to Las Vegas.
Our final view of the Grand Canyon came not from one of its rims but from the air. We took a short flight from an airfield north of Flagstaff which gave us a rather different perspective and a chance to really appreciate the huge scale of this geological marvel.
Our chosen company was Air Grand Canyon, with an airfield conveniently located on our route south from the Canyon to Flagstaff, but there are many others. The company accepts walk-ins, so there’s no need to book in advance, which is helpful when like us you can’t be sure of your arrival time in the area. Flights vary in length – we opted for the medium price Canyon Tour but there’s a short Budget Tour if money is tight, although you would probably be frustrated by so short a glimpse of the scenery below. You can also do a Grand Tour, which takes you out above the surrounding area to see the landscape through which the Colorado carves the Canyon, but in fact we found that we got a good sense of that even on our shorter tour. It lasted about 50 minutes; we were the only passengers and both had a window seat (you can see th eplane in photo 5).
The pilot gave us a commentary through our headphones, but to be honest I didn’t take much of this in. I was too focused on getting as many photos as possible and making the most of our brief time in the air. I was also, unusually for me, feeling a little queasy – I never normally get air-sick, even in small planes, but when I came down with a bug the next day I realise that it was probably to blame for my feeling off-colour, rather than the movement of the plane. So please don’t let that put you off trying this wonderful experience for yourself!
After searching the net for the best Grand Canyon air tour service, and finding horror stories of smaller groups being bumped by larger groups (read MORE PROFITABLE), and having their itinerary and once of a lifetime experience ruined, or being herded through the entire flight process and experience like cattle, I was almost scared off of taking ANYbody's air tour. Then I called Becky at WestWind Air Service. She promptly replied to all of my questions and concerns, saying that WestWind has a sincere desire to be THE BEST air tour service who goes the extra mile to make sure the customer will have an extremely pleasurable experience flying with them. We signed up for the new 2.5hr air tour (out of Grand Canyon Airport)of the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley area, and based on the professional conversations with their representative, Becky, we feel we have definitely made the best choice. These flights, all carriers included, are not inexpensive, and it is imperative that we are provided accurate answers to make these large financial and family activity decisions.
In March or April, you should be able to walk up and purchase a ticket on a helicopter flight. You might have to wait a bit, however, they most likely will get you on fairly soon after your arrival. They are usually quite busy around noon when the tour buses arrive from Las Vegas. Earlier in the morning and late afternoon, they are not as busy. Enjoy your trip and thank you for traveling!
I have been on the Bell helicopters at Papillon, and I have put some of my clients on the Ecostar. Everyone I have booked on the Ecostars loved them, quiet, smooth with big windows and they are eco friendly! They all have said they were definitely worth the extra cost.
Helicopter is definetly the way to see Grand Canyon. Me and my wife went on the Grand Canyon West Ranch daytrip from Las Vegas, that included a landing and a cowboy dinner at a working ranch near the canyon. Great experinvece that I can recomend to anybody.
The must-do activity at the Park would be to take a helicopter into the Grand Canyon. There are different routes that are either longer or shorter. When you first get in and lift off you get this feeling of soaring alone. You get used to it after a while. At first you go over some trees and into the canyon. As you fly there is a narration about the canyon that you hear in your head phones. If your visiting, don't worry they have all kinds of languages for the narration. While you fly the music going goes along with what you see. For example, the helicopter was flying over a cliff and the music went ta-da and we came over the edge and saw the Colorado River. Very cool.
Grand Canyon National Park is one of the world’s premier natural attractions, attracting about five million visitors per year. Overall, 83% were from the United States: California (12.2%), Arizona (8.9%), Texas (4.8%), Florida (3.4%) and New York (3.2%) represented the top domestic visitors. Seventeen percent of visitors were from outside the United States; the most prominently represented nations were the United Kingdom (3.8%), Canada (3.5%), Japan (2.1%), Germany (1.9%) and The Netherlands
Aside from casual sightseeing from the South Rim (averaging 7000 feet (2100 meters) above sea level), whitewater rafting, hiking and running are especially popular. The floor of the valley is accessible by foot, muleback, or by boat or raft from upriver. Hiking down to the river and back up to the rim in one day is discouraged by park officials because of the distance, steep and rocky trails, change in elevation, and danger of heat exhaustion from the much higher temperatures at the bottom. Rescues are required annually of unsuccessful rim-to-river-to-rim travelers. Nevertheless, hundreds of fit and experienced hikers complete the trip every year.
I had this grand canyon tour initally by land. It is a 5 hour drive from las vegas throught the hoover dam, mojave desert with stop overs at kingman and williams, arizona and finally to the grand canyon. I opted to go on an additional helicopter ride at papillion tours for 120 USD so that I would have a Bird's Eye view of the Canyon, aside from seeing it at Yavapai Point and at South Rim. Helocopter Ride was expensiveBUT it was worth every PENNY!