The 9 Best Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours to Book in 2018

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There are few sights in the world that inspire as much jaw-dropping awe as the Grand Canyon.  Displaying more than two billion years of geological history in layers more than a mile deep and slicing across the northwest corner of Arizona for over 275 miles, it is simply massive. There are multiple points from which visitors can reach the rim by land vehicle, but getting the bird’s-eye view from the air offers a whole new perspective of both the canyon’s size and its sheer beauty. Dozens of private companies offer helicopter tours of different areas of the canyon, some departing from Las Vegas and others from points in Arizona, some offering in-canyon or rim landings, and some offering additional tour enhancements. Want to see the canyon from the same angle the famous condors and ravens do? Sign on for one of these helicopter tours, the best on offer.

  • 01 of 09

    There are lots of tours that take travelers from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, but by land vehicle, the trip is typically two hours or more each way, so it almost always becomes a full-day trip. A helicopter tour is not only an amazing way to see the canyon itself, but it offers the serious bonus of cutting travel time down by more than half: even with a swing by the Hoover Dam, the traveling portion of the flight is only 45 minutes each way.

    The day begins with a pickup in a limousine at your hotel. The limo will deliver you to the heliport just off the Las Vegas Strip, and from there, you’ll be off in the air. On the way to the Grand Canyon’s, you’ll fly over Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam for unparalleled views, and upon arriving at the canyon, the helicopter will make a West Rim landing.

    You’ll enjoy a champagne picnic and have some time to absorb the scenery and walk around before boarding the helicopter and heading back to Vegas. Before landing back at the heliport, you’ll fly over the Las Vegas strip for a very different (but also fantastic) aerial view. A limousine will deliver you back to your hotel, and as the whole excursion only takes about half a day, you’ll still have lots of your day left to do other things.

  • 02 of 09

    It’s a long (four-hour) but luxuriouslystunningly beautiful drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, so why not let someone else do the driving while you chill out and absorb the gorgeous views? This tour begins with a hotel pickup anywhere in metro Phoenix (including Scottsdale and Mesa) in an air-conditioned van.

    On the way to the South Rim, you’ll make a stop along historic Route 66 for a photo op and some leg-stretching. Upon arrival at the canyon, you’ll board a helicopter for a 45-minute flight over and through the canyon itself, over the magnificent Ponderosa pine trees in the Kaibab National Forest, through the deepest and widest stretch of the Canyon itself, known as the Dragon Corridor, and more.

    The flight lands at a scenic lookout point, where you’ll enjoy a leisurely picnic lunch before embarking upon a narrated driving tour along 30 miles of the canyon’s rim. After that, it’s back to your Phoenix hotel in comfort.

  • 03 of 09

    This tour, run by a small, family-owned company and departing from Las Vegas, is a great choice for those who want to see the splendor of the canyon but might prefer shopping over hiking or other outdoorsy endeavors. The day begins with a hotel pickup and transport to the Boulder City airport, just outside of town, from which you’ll depart for your aerial adventure.

    On the way, you’ll fly over Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, Fortification Hill, and more. Your canyon tour follows the winding path of the Colorado River, which carved this canyon over billions of years and includes a descent down toward the canyon floor, so you can see the layers upon layers of geological history. The tour makes a landing at Grand Canyon West Airport, a small airport on the Hualapai Nation.

    The airport is home to a trading post selling Native crafts and art pieces, and you’ll have some time to browse and shop. On the way back to Las Vegas, you’ll enjoy more of the Mojave Desert’s beautiful scenery.

  • 04 of 09

    Most visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park headquarter their trip in or near Tusayan, so this helicopter tour is a really excellent (and convenient) element of a GCNP visit. Passengers depart in a state-of-the-art ECO-Star helicopter from Grand Canyon National Airport in Tusayan and fly northward over the Colorado River and the Kaibab National Forest, viewing sights such as the odd, undulating Vishnu Schist formations, the pointed Tower of Ra formation, and more. The return flight takes you through the Dragon Corridor, the widest and deepest portion of the canyon. This tour company offers a huge number of flights daily, so you can fit this tour into even a fairly-packed itinerary wherever you need to.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Want to get a glimpse of the Grand Canyon from every angle? Choose this combination tour, where you’ll see it from the air, from the water, and from multiple angles on foot. It’s a full-day experience, beginning with a luxury vehicle pickup from your Las Vegas hotel. The 45-minute flight to the canyon will include live commentary from your knowledgeable pilot about the historical and geological landmarks below: the Mojave Desert, Lake Mead, the Hoover Dam, and so much more.

    This tour lands on the canyon floor itself, which is only allowed in a few small sections of the area, thus making it pretty uncommon, and from there, you’ll board a pontoon boat for a 15-minute ride down the Colorado River, witnessing the grandeur of the canyon looming above you. From there, the helicopter will lift off and sweep you up to Eagle Point on the West Rim. There, you can visit a village of the Hualapai Nation, learning about their history and culture, and you’ll enjoy a buffet lunch.

    You can also choose to take a walk on the Skywalk, a glass outcropping from which you can see 4,000 feet below you to the canyon floor. At the end of the day, you’ll fly back to Las Vegas and be zipped back to your hotel in a limo.

  • 06 of 09

    This express tour from Las Vegas takes only 3.5 hours and visits one of the Grand Canyon’s most exciting lookout points — it’s not an in-depth tour, but you get to see a whole lotta canyon in a short period of time, so it’s great if you’re on a short trip but want to tick a few items off the bucket list. Hotel pickup and drop-off via stretch limousine is included for all Las Vegas hotels. If you’re staying elsewhere in town, you can arrange a meet-up point.

    The 45-minute flight over the Mojave is spectacular in and of itself, but the big excitement starts when your helicopter touches down on the West Rim, near the incredible Grand Canyon Skywalk. You’ll get skip-the-line access to this glass walkway which lets you step out over the canyon (if you can summon the courage) and see its magnificent walls and floors from above.

    Included in the price of your tour is a souvenir photograph and a collectible bag. Before heading out, you’ll have some time to explore a Hualapai village and do some shopping. The flight back includes more incredible desert views as well as a trip over the bright lights of the Las Vegas Strip.

  • 07 of 09

    Hop out of bed early and meet your complimentary ground transportation to the Boulder City Municipal Airport, just outside of Las Vegas. There, you’ll meet your helicopter pilot and start your 35-minute scenic ride out to the Grand Canyon’s West Rim. You’ll see the Mojave Desert, the Hoover Dam, and Lake Mead before you spot the winding Colorado River, cutting through the desert rock as it has done for billions of years.

    After taking in some of the amazing views from above, your helicopter will lower down to a private landing spot at the bottom of the canyon floor. Climb out of the helicopter to find a gourmet breakfast table set just for your group: white linens, fine china, silverware, flowers — the whole shebang.

    Once you’ve eaten, you can explore the area a bit on foot, for a total of an hour (give or take) on the ground. The trip back to Las Vegas includes additional sightseeing over the Mojave Desert and concludes with a drop-off back at your Las Vegas hotel — it won’t even be lunchtime yet, so you’ll have plenty of your day left to spend doing fun Vegas activities.

  • 08 of 09

    Beginning and ending with a luxury Mercedes pickup at your Las Vegas hotel, this tour has been meticulously designed with luxury and comfort in mind. You’ll enjoy an informative and scenery-filled flight across the Mojave to the Grand Canyon, where your helicopter will touch down on the canyon floor in an area on the Hualapai Nation.

    There, you’ll enjoy a luxurious champagne toast and white-tablecloth dinner, with menu items like boeuf bourguignon and vegetarian white lasagna (you’ll choose in advance). The tour is timed so you’ll see the sunset either during your dinner or during your ascent out of the canyon — a truly extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime sight.

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Looking into Las Vegas wedding options? Take it up a notch by combining your wedding with a helicopter tour into the canyon. All the details are taken care of so all you need to do is get yourself dressed. You and your two guests, plus the photographer and minister (who can perform either a religious or civil ceremony and, it being Vegas and all, can be upgraded to an Elvis or Johnny Cash impersonator) will be whisked to the heliport in a limousine (with a quick stop at the marriage bureau to get licensed), and then it’s off to the Grand Canyon.

    The ceremony will take place on a scenic private bluff and conclude with a light champagne picnic, with cake, of course! The basic package includes the ceremony, the flight and ground transport, a six-inch cake, a bouquet and boutonniere, and 100 photos on a CD.

    Upgrades are available that include longer limo photo tours, as well as other perks. All things considered, it might be the most spectacular wedding you could possibly buy for the price — truly ​an excellent bang for your buck.