The Benefits of Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours
The United States is full of amazing landmarks, one of which happens to be the Grand Canyon. And the best place to stage a trip to this national treasure? From Las Vegas, of course. Now, there are plenty of ways to get to the canyon, but helicopter rides in particular are quickly becoming the tour of choice.
The number one reason for this rise to the top is adventure. Canyon helicopter flights go where few people have gone before, and they do it with speed an maneuverability. Examples of this include landing at the bottom of the canyon and hovering over the epic Colorado River. No other type of tour delivers this level of intensity.
Trips from Vegas only fly to the West Rim, which is 45 minutes away. There are two kinds of tours from which to choose. First is the aerial tour, which goes from Sin City to the West Rim and back. En route, you’ll see Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. The others land, and it’s these packages that I recommend because you get immersed in what the canyon truly is. There are a few different options among landing packages, the best of which include:
Bottom-landing Champagne picnic
Boat ride down the famed Colorado River
Unlimited access to the world-famous Grand Canyon Skywalk
For travelers at Grand Canyon South, I strongly recommend the classic rim-to-rim flight. This helicopter tour takes off from Grand Canyon National Park Airport and flies over the Kaibab Plateau before entering the Dragoon Corridor, which is most gargantuan part of the National Park. On the return leg of the flight, you’ll get a fabulous view of Grand Canyon Village, a community of early 20th century buildings that are on the National Register of Historic Places.
If budget permits, go for the South Rim package that gets you extra airtime. This flight is quite amazing. Instead of a straight shot to the north, it heads east and lets you see the historic Desert Watchtower, Zuni Corridor, Imperial Point, the Navajo Indian Reservation, Lee’s Ferry, the Painted Desert and the impressive Colorado River Confluence.
There are different types of helicopters to choose from of course, and if you can afford it, take a look at the EcoStar 130. These are fairly large aircraft, and provide more space than their more conventional counterparts. In addition to that, they have theater-style seating so that everyone can get a great view of the action below as the aerial world passes by the 180-degree windshield like an IMAX movie.
Helicopter tours sell out on a regular basis at both rims. This wasn’t the case several years ago but more visitors have learned about them and thus their popularity has skyrocketed. If you believe a chopper ride is for you, please, RSVP your flight in advance. I tell friends and family to reserve at least 72 hours ahead of time, and even that’s cutting it. Sure, some people are able to get a same-day booking, but it’s rare and, in most cases, it’s one person. If you are a group of two or more, forget it. Go about planning for canyon helicopter tours as if you were reserving seats on a major airline and you’ll be just fine.