Reaching the Grand Canyon isn't as easy as taking an Uber down the road, but it's well worth the time and effort. Few places on earth can match the majesty and vastness of this massive natural wonder. We've rounded up the best ways to visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.
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Stretching 277 miles along Arizona's eastern and northern borders, the Grand Canyon features rugged, colorful terrain that averages 1 mile deep and up to 18 miles wide. The Colorado River flows through the canyon floor, which provides the life-sustaining food that nourishes the desert plants and animals along its riverbanks.
Millions of geological years of erosion have created the beautiful vistas that draw an average of 6 million visitors each year, according to the National Park Service. Make sure you are one of them!
Hikers venture into the canyon to discover new perspectives from below the rim, see fascinating desert life, and explore Native American artifacts. Tourists enjoy the more accessible views from the top of the gorge, where the views amaze at every turn. A trip to the Grand Canyon is a must-do adventure for anyone traveling to the Las Vegas area. So read on to make sure you're one of the lucky visitors making memories in this remote place.
What areas are there to discover at the Grand Canyon?
First you need to decide which areas you want to visit if you are planning to visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. Depending on how much time you have, you can visit the Grand Canyon West, the North Rim, or the South Rim. Each area has its own unique attractions, and you won't miss magnificent views anywhere. If you can, spend a sunrise or sunset on the rim to capture the vivid desert colors.
- Grand Canyon West– the closest area to Las Vegas. Here you'll find the Grand Canyon Skywalk, the only place where you can walk across the vastness of the Grand Canyon. It's not officially part of Grand Canyon National Park as it's on the Haulapai Reservation, but the view fully warrants it.
- Nordrand of the Grand Canyon– the furthest area from Las Vegas. Less than 10% of visitors travel here, so you won't be overwhelmed by tourists. The elevation here is 8,000 feet, so it's often closed in the winter, but the summer offers plenty of activities. Also, avid hikers love to hike from the North Rim to the South Rim when it's open
- South Rim of the Grand Canyon– the most developed area of the Grand Canyon. Open all year round, you can stay in campsites or lodges here. Upon arrival, enjoy a sunset stroll along the paved South Rim Trail for breathtaking views.
Take a guided tour of the Grand Canyon's majestic South Rim
Getting to the Grand Canyon
You have four options for visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas: car, bus, helicopter or light aircraft. There is an option that suits all needs, from short visits to long stays.
How to drive to the Grand Canyon
If you flew to Vegas, you can rent a car to go to the Grand Canyon. This gives you the most opportunities to explore every aspect of the canyon. To get anywhere in the Grand Canyon, exit Las Vegas on I-11 south and then merge onto the U.S. Highway 93.
You can visit them from thereGrand-Canyon-Skywalkon the west side of the Grand Canyon, which is the closest attraction. This trip takes about 2.25 hours by car, so it's a great option for a day trip if you're short on time. You can walk to Guano Point after walking 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon on the Skywalk, or book a rafting tour.
Alternatively, you can drive to the South Rim, the most popular area. This is a longer drive of 4.5 hours. From U.S.-93, merge onto I-40 in Kingman, Arizona before taking AZ-64 directly to the park. You can stay in campgrounds or lodges in Tusayan or Grand Canyon Village and spend the next day exploring the Visitor Center, Mather Point, or one of the many hiking trails.
Bonus-Tipp:This route takes you along the original Highway 66, so be sure to stop in Seligman, Arizona. It's the city that inspired Radiator Springs in the filmAutos, and it's home to the man who worked to preserve the old highway as a national treasure: Angel Delgadillo.
Finally, you can also visit the North Rim if you prefer a more remote but stunning area. There are two ways to drive here. You can continue on U.S.-89 from the South Rim to the North Rim for 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive 4.75 hours from Las Vegas directly to the North Rim by taking I-15 into Utah before taking UT-59, AZ-389 and US-89A to AZ-67 into Arizona.
This route takes you close to other key attractions like Zions National Park and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Note that the North Rim is closed from October through May.
Take a leisurely trip to the Grand Canyon
For a scenic route to the Grand Canyon that doesn't require you to drive, book a popular bus tour. This is a great way to do the hike to the South Rim. You can sit back and enjoy the view while someone else takes care of directions. Grand Canyon tours depart daily from the Strip. Some only go as far as the Skywalk or all the way to the South Rim.
Bus tours take longer (some take up to 15 hours if you're headed toward the South Rim), but they can also be affordable and relaxing. Another perk of taking a bus tour of the Grand Canyon is that you'll see the Hoover Dam along the way. Plus, thanks to the friendly coach guide, hear fascinating commentary about the area and the sights you see.
See the Grand Canyon without having to drive yourself
The fastest way to see the Grand Canyon
Without a doubt, booking a helicopter tour is the fastest and most dramatic way to explore the Grand Canyon. You can book a tour that takes you over Lake Mead and Hoover Dam before stopping at Grand Canyon West or the South Rim. Be sure to check which destinations each tour will stop at before booking, as they are not all the same. This allows you to reach the Grand Canyon in 90 minutes and spend several hours exploring the view.
Helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon depart from the Strip or from Henderson, which is closer to the Nevada-Arizona border. Maverick Helicopters, 5-Star Las Vegas Helicopter Tours, and GC Flight all operate out of Las Vegas City, but you'll also find Papillion Grand Canyon Helicopters in Henderson. These tours typically start at $200 but average around $450.
And in true Vegas fashion, you could go all out and book a helicopter wedding in the Grand Canyon. You read that right. Complete wedding packages are available to fly you and a select number of passengers to a unique Grand Canyon wedding. It's an unforgettable opportunity. Most helicopter tour companies offer this option, so be sure to ask if you're interested!
How to fly to the Grand Canyon
For a more private experience that's quicker than driving and more traditional than a helicopter, book a small plane with a company like Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines. It's also the quickest way to see the North Rim, but the South Rim and Skywalk can also be visited. Every popular destination has small airstrips.
These airplane tours often include additional excursions upon arrival so you can experience more of the Grand Canyon. That means your tour can last just a few hours or the whole day, depending on whether you choose to stay near Vegas or take a trip to the North Rim.
Private charter planes are cheaper than you might think, allowing you to see the sights for $200-$600. Canyon Tours, Grand Canyon Airlines, and Maverick Tours also offer charter flights. Don't hesitate to ask about all the destinations and activities they offer. It's a fantastic all-in-one way to see even more of the Grand Canyon.
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