The Grand Canyon is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, so it is a definite must see for everyone.  I lived for six years in the same state (Arizona) and never got around to going.  I didn’t really have a good excuse and the situation needed to be corrected.  So a few years ago, when I was in Las Vegas, I booked a helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon!
The Grand Canyon!

Granted a helicopter tour is not cheap, but it is an excellent and efficient way to see the Grand Canyon.  There are numerous helicopter tour options available from Las Vegas.  Some are day trips and include hiking or white water rafting.  We decided to opt for the half day tour that included a champagne picnic lunch in the canyon.  There are several companies that offer these kind of tours, we chose All Las Vegas Tours and really enjoyed it.  The helicopter is air conditioned, so you can do the tour year round.

Our Helicopter Tour of the Grand Canyon

The tour included complimentary limo pick up from our hotel to go to the small airport at the end of the strip.  After a brief safety spiel, we put on our helmets and boarded the helicopter.  Not every seat on the helicopter is a window seat.  They told us that some people would have windows on the way there and others would have windows on the way back.  Somehow we were able to work it out so we had window seats both ways.  If forced to choose, I would ask which way you will be flying by the Strip and choose the window for that leg.

Although I have flown in many aircrafts of varying sizes, this was my first helicopter ride, so I was a little nervous.  I worried it would be a rough and bumpy ride, but it was actually pretty smooth.  When the pilot would turn the helicopter, it was a little scary looking down but the beautiful view made you forget that.

View flying toward the Grand Canyon
View flying toward the Grand Canyon

Going out to the Grand Canyon, we flew over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam.  The Hoover Dam is really impressive and definitely worth a visit (it’s only 30 miles southeast of Las Vegas).  It was built during the Great Depression and is considered one of America’s Seven Modern Civil Engineering Wonders.  I did the tour the first time I went to Vegas (before I was 21).  You will also see Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge, completed in 2010 to ease the traffic crossing the dam.

View of the Hoover Dam and the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge from the helicopter
View of the Hoover Dam and the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge from the helicopter

Finally Made it to the Grand Canyon!

After passing the Hoover Dam, we quickly approached the Grand Canyon.  It really is awe inspiring and worthy of being one of the Seven Wonders.  The landing was very smooth and we got out to walk around a bit.  We didn’t have much time so we couldn’t wander off too far.  We took a few pictures and just took in the view.  Then it was time for our champagne picnic lunch.  The food was not really memorable but you come here for the atmosphere!

The helicopter parked on the floor of the Grand Canyon
The helicopter parked on the floor of the Grand Canyon

Then it was time to board the helicopter to head back to Vegas.  On the way back, we flew along the Strip, which is impressive in its own right.  When we flew it was the afternoon, I can only imagine how impressive it would have been at night.  Then we landed and were taken back to our hotel.

The Grand Canyon really is amazing and I do want to go back.  There is so much to do there.  I would love to do some hiking or even white water rafting. I would also like to visit the Skywalk.  The Skywalk is a transparent horseshoe shaped bridge that extends over the edge of the canyon.  You can walk on it and look down into the Grand Canyon, definitely not for those afraid of heights.

Someday I will return and complete the rest of my Grand Canyon to-do list.  Have you been to the Grand Canyon? Would love to hear about your experience in the comments.


Expert Tips:

  • Although it can be expensive, a helicopter ride is a great way to see the Grand Canyon.
  • If you have to choose a leg to sit by the window, choose the leg flying by the Strip.
  • If you have time, you should also visit the Hoover Dam.
  • You can find other ideas and tips for planning your trip to Las Vegas here.


Helicopter Tour of the Grand Canyon
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