Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products and services; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.
The Grand Canyon is one of the United States’ most visited geographic features, and unquestionably one of the most memorable. Cutting through over 275 miles of Northern Arizona, sometimes at a full mile deep, the Grand Canyon can be seen from a huge number of different vantage points; North and South, above and below the rim. Good tours can offer visitors both access and insights that they likely wouldn’t be able to glean from a guidebook, as well as all-important convenience. Depending on where your trip is headquartered, your budget, and how you like to experience things (by air, by foot or even camping), there’s almost certainly a good tour for you. Keep reading to find the best Grand Canyon tours to book before you visit.
Best Tour from Las Vegas: Grand Canyon West Rim and Hoover Dam Tour
If your trip is headquartered in Las Vegas, this full-day tour offers a convenient and fun way to see not only the Grand Canyon, via the West Rim, but the Hoover Dam and the Joshua Tree Forest. The tour travels by motorcoach, but an optional upgrade excursion takes you into the canyon itself in a helicopter and adds a short pontoon boat ride on the Colorado River. Guests can also upgrade their tour to include a walk on the glass-bottomed Grand Canyon Skywalk. Hot lunch and a wild west show at the Hualapai Ranch are included in this adventure-packed day.
Best Tour from Sedona: Grand Canyon South Rim Day Trip
If Sedona, Arizona is your base, this full-day tour to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, with stops along the East Rim, is a great choice. Your day will start with a hotel pickup and a drive through some of the most beautiful scenery in the world, with narration from a knowledgeable guide about the region’s geology and history. Your afternoon includes a stop in the Navajo Nation for shopping at the Historic Cameron Trading Post. The tour can be upgraded with an IMAX movie about the Canyon, a 30-minute helicopter ride or it can have a driving portion swapped out with a trip on the vintage Grand Canyon Railway.
Best Luxury Tour: Deluxe Grand Canyon All-American Helicopter Tour
Get picked up from your Las Vegas hotel in a luxury vehicle and transported to the helicopter pad, where you’ll be whisked to the Grand Canyon in a 45-minute flight that will include flyovers of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Las Vegas Strip. You’ll touch down 3,200 feet below the rim of the Canyon for a champagne picnic and a half-hour of exploration time before lifting back off and flying back to Vegas. It’s an extraordinary way to visit the Canyon, and if you can swing it, well worth the money.
Best Budget Tour: Grand Canyon South Rim Jeep Tour with Transport from Tusayan
This two-hour guided Jeep tour offers a world-class experience at bargain basement prices. You have to get yourself to Tusayan, Arizona, at the edge of the Grand Canyon National Park, but once you’re there, your deeply knowledgeable tour guide will pick you up and give you a personalized, fun tour, including lots of stops for dramatic vistas and a thorough explanation of the Canyon’s geology and the history of all the people who’ve lived here. The experience concludes with a screening of the National Geographic Visitor’s Center’s IMAX movie about the Grand Canyon and a drop-off back at your hotel.
Best Small-Group Tour: West Rim Luxury SUV, Helicopter & Boat Via Las Vegas
This thorough full-day tour is perfect for a small group of friends who want to see and do it all. A luxury SUV picks you up at nearly any Las Vegas hotel and transports you out to the Grand Canyon, via Boulder City and the Hoover Dam, past the Grand Wash Cliffs and through the Joshua Tree Forest. Once you’ve arrived at the Grand Canyon, you’ll descend to the bottom in a helicopter, where you’ll board a pontoon boat and take a quick spin down the Colorado River. The helicopter will take you back to the rim, where you’ll spend the next few hours either simply strolling and exploring or visiting Eagle Point, Guano Point or the Hualapai Ranch. At the end of the day, you can try to stay awake on the ride back to your hotel. Good luck!
Best Self-Guided Tour: Grand Canyon West Rim Self-Drive Via Las Vegas
If you’re in Vegas without a car and really want to see the Grand Canyon, but don’t want to share the experience with a busload of people, consider this self-driving day trip option. A shuttle will pick you up from your hotel and deliver you to your fully-gassed-up SUV, where you’ll find thorough maps and driving directions as well as a detailed itinerary (which you don’t have to follow, but gives you a good outline) and vouchers for a hot lunch and a short West Rim bus tour. Take extra time at sights that interest you and move past those that don’t — it’s all up to you!
Best Airplane Tour: Deluxe Grand Canyon South Rim Airplane Tour Via Las Vegas
Get picked up from your Las Vegas hotel and shuttled to the Henderson Executive Airport where you’ll board a Beechcraft 1900D, which will zip you down to the slightly-less-touristed South Rim of the Grand Canyon in around 45 minutes, with gorgeous views all the way. Your day includes ground transportation at the Canyon itself, visits to Bright Angel Lodge and Mather Point, bottled water and a boxed lunch. Guests can upgrade their trip to include a 25-minute helicopter flight through the deepest part of the Grand Canyon. Because of the time saved by flying, this seven-hour itinerary includes more than five hours doing actual Canyon activities, so when you get back to your Vegas hotel, you’ll have time (and possibly energy) to get back to the slots or catch an evening show.
Best Hiking Tour: Grand Canyon Hike with Sedona and Flagstaff Hotel Pickup
Naturalists, this is the tour for you. Start with a hotel pickup in either Sedona or Flagstaff and get transported to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim Trail, where you’ll meet your tour guide. Spend the day hiking down the trail while your guide details the geological formations you’re seeing, the human history of the Canyon, as well as the flora and fauna that dwell within it. After a 1.5-mile hike, you’ll stop for a picnic snack and rest break and then you’ll head back up. The hike concludes with a hearty lunch at the Maswik Lodge and, on your trip back to your hotel, a stop a the Historic Cameron Trading Post on the Navajo Nation.
Best Camping Tour: 3-Day Zion, Bryce Canyon & Grand Canyon Via Las Vegas
Truly adventurous folks should consider this three-day, two-night camping and hiking tour that includes several of the best-known natural monuments in the Southwest: a hike through Zion National Park, a BBQ dinner at Bryce Canyon, a Jeep tour through Monument Valley with a Navajo Nation guide, a hike (or upgradeable helicopter ride) in the Grand Canyon and more. Hiking is campground-style, not fully rustic, and those who prefer an actual bed can upgrade to simple lodgings.