Grand Canyon Helicopters Are Best for Touring The National Park
Discovering the Grand Canyon needs to be on everyone's "bucket list." Considering this, be sure to experience it in a copter. Check out this article and discover why...
The South Rim and the West Rim are the gateways to the Grand Canyon. Flights from Tusayan, Arizona (Grand Canyon National Park Airport, or GCO) service the South Rim, while tours outbound from Vegas do the West (no Vegas helicopters fly directly to the South Rim). Further, there is no chopper service between the rims.
It's about a 45-minute helicopter ride from Vegas to the West Rim (a/k/a Grand Canyon West). The route passes over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Grand Wash Cliffs. Uniquely, helicopters are allowed to fly below the rim at Grand Canyon West and land at the bottom. This is not possible to do at the South Rim as it's prohibited by the National Park Service.
Helicopter tours come in two "flavors:" Aerial and landing. Aerial trips are ideal for visitors who are on a budget or have a small amount of time to sightsee the canyon. They're also ideal for folks who want to get the flavor of the canyon from a bird's-eye view.
Having said that, I want you to know that helicopter tours are a big deal at the West Rim as it's the only spot in the entire National Park where you can take these kinds of tours. The landing tour that gets most of the attention is the one that lands at the bottom next to the Colorado River for a picnic. That's plenty good right there for lots of folks. But for those who want a more complete canyon experience, there's a package that includes a float trip down the Colorado and a landing at the top with VIP accessibility Grand Canyon Skywalk - all in addition to landing on the bottom!
Landing at the top allows you to see several canyon highlights, including:
If you are based in Arizona and in such cities like Flagstaff, Scottsdale, Sedona and Phoenix, I recommend you go to the South Rim, which is near the Utah-Arizona border. I usually suggest renting a car and driving to GCO. It's just outside the Park's main gates and it's where all the South Rim helicopter rides take off from.
Tours on South Rim Grand Canyon helicopters are classified by flight time. The shorter, 30-minute version flies from the South Rim to the North Rim and back. The longer, more comprehensive 50-minute version adds the Park's eastern boundary. That's where you'll see points of interest like the fabulous Painted Desert, Zuni Corridor, the Desert Watchtower and the Colorado Confluence. I urge you to take the longer tour if you can. Once you're flying within the Park you'll be glad.
I also urge you to book your flight online. Don't purchase your flight from third-party brokers, resort concierges and kiosks you'll see on Las Vegas' main streets. You'll end up paying a premium if you do. Here are three essential things to remember as you buy your trip on the Net:
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Travel author Tracy D. is an authority on Grand Canyon helicopter flights and advises going here for the most affordable prices on the best tours: http://www.grandcanyoncheap.com/helicopter-deals.html