The Grand Canyon is one of the 7 wonders of the world and a must-see on any trip to Las Vegas. There are countless options when planning a trip to the Grand Canyon. All of these options can be confusing when you first search for trips to the Grand Canyon. A simple search for Grand Canyon Tours can lead to results for Grand Canyon West, Grand Canyon South, Grand Canyon North, and endless options for boats, airplanes, bridges, mules, and helicopters. A vacation is supposed to be easy and carefree, right? In this post, we will help you understand the different options you have when booking a trip to the Grand Canyon and help you choose the section of the canyon that is best for you.
Grand Canyon Locations
The Grand Canyon is enormous, stretching more than 400 kilometers along the Colorado River. This could lead you to believe that there are abundant viewing opportunities at the Grand Canyon. This isn’t true, due to the remote and harsh nature of the environment. There are 3 main locations to consider when planning a trip to the Grand Canyon. Let’s take a look.
Grand Canyon West
Grand Canyon West is the easiest section of the Grand Canyon to reach from Las Vegas. At less than 2 and a half hours from the Las Vegas Strip, visiting Grand Canyon West makes an easy day trip. Grand Canyon West is not a part of Grand Canyon National Park. It is on land owned and operated by the Hualapai Native American Tribe.
Grand Canyon West has two main spots for viewing the Grand Canyon, Guano Point, and Eagle Point. Not having many viewpoints means more crowding at the available viewing spots, but you can hike out a little at Guano Point to get a bit of solitude. The views from these two locations are spectacular. Great photo opportunities are available at both of them.
The main attraction of Grand Canyon West is Grand Canyon Skywalk. This is a glass bridge that extends over the Grand Canyon with views 4000 feet straight down to the canyon floor. The ticket to the Skywalk costs $21. This is not to be missed on a trip to Grand Canyon West. Be aware that cell phones and cameras are not allowed onto the bridge due to safety concerns. If you want photos on the bridge you need to pay for The Hualapai’s professional pictures.
Grand Canyon West also has a few cultural attractions, like a replica old west town, Indian Village, and wagon rides. These attractions are particularly of interest to children and are included in your entrance ticket.
Speaking of the entrance ticket, the main drawback of Grand Canyon West is the ticket price. Every person who wants to enter Grand Canyon West must buy an entrance ticket for$49. Extras activities like the Skywalk, horse rides, or helicopter tours all cost more.
Grand Canyon West is Best For: Travelers short on time, travelers who dislike long car rides, travelers who don’t mind paying a little more.
Grand Canyon National Park South Rim
Grand Canyon National Park South Rim is home to the most popular and iconic viewpoints of the Grand Canyon. It is a 4 ½ hour drive from Las Vegas to reach the entrance to the park. There dozens of viewpoints to stare into the Grand Canyon, as well as opportunities for activities like hiking and helicopter rides.
The distance between Las Vegas and Grand Canyon South Rim is 276 miles. For a day trip to this iconic national park, you are looking at about 9 hours of travel time. On most tours, that only leaves you with 3 hours to tour the national park. This is why we don’t suggest taking a one day tour to Grand Canyon South Rim. A trip to Grand Canyon South Rim is better combined with another nearby attraction like Antelope Canyon to create a two-day tour and give you more time to enjoy these natural wonders.
A perfect trip to the Grand Canyon would include views from over the canyon, the side of the canyon, and the interior of the canyon. The best views of the canyon come from the seat of a helicopter. Soar over the canyon and get a sense of the enormity of geological wonder beneath you. After your helicopter tour, stop at some of the most iconic viewpoints, including Mather Point, Yavani Point, Grandview, and Desert Tower. From here, hike down half a mile into the canyon to get a bottom up perspective on one of the 7 wonders of the world.
While all sections of the Grand Canyon are spectacular, if you had to choose a “best” section, Grand Canyon South Rim would be a great choice. If you can handle the extra time in a car or bus and have a couple of days to spare, you need to check it out.
Grand Canyon South Rim is best for: Travelers who want to see the most famous Grand Canyon Vistas, travelers who don’t mind long periods of time in a car or bus.
Grand Canyon North Rim
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is the forgotten rim. Less than 10% of all visitors to the Grand Canyon make it to the North Rim. Due to snow, the North Rim is only open from May
15th to October 15th every year. The North Rim is isolated; if you hike from the South Rim to the North Rim it is 34 kilometers, but if you drive it is 5 hours and 354 kilometers. This makes the North Rim perfect for travelers that enjoy solitude and want to escape the crowds of the South and West Rim.
The main activity at the North Rim is hiking. There are easy paved hikes like the one out to Bright Angel Point. There are more difficult and dangerous hikes that go into the Grand Canyon and are rewarded with spectacular views of Roaring Springs and Bright Angel Canyon.
If you plan to visit the North Rim, you need to book your travel and accommodations early as tours and hotels fill up fast.
There are not a lot of tours to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, so if you want to go you should consider renting a car or booking a private tour.
Grand Canyon North Rim is best for: Travelers who dislike crowds, travelers with extra time to visit the Grand Canyon, travelers who like finding and exploring lesser-known destinations.
If you only have one day and you don’t mind paying a little extra, Grand Canyon West Rim is a great option. If you have more than one day then you should go see Grand Canyon National Park South Rim. If you are looking for solitude to go with your grand vistas, the North Rim is the choice for you. In the end, all of the sections have great views of the Grand Canyon and whichever section of the Grand Canyon you choose to visit, you will have an amazing time visiting one of the seven wonders of the world.