If you're planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, you've probably heard about the Grand Canyon Skywalk. It's the main attraction on Grand Canyon tours from Las Vegas, specifically those to the West Rim.
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a glass-bottomed platform that juts out from the edge of the Canyon, allowing visitors to get a thrilling bird's-eye view of the landscape below.
But if you're hoping to snap some amazing photos while you're out there, you might be disappointed to learn that visitors are not allowed to take photos on the Skywalk. So what's the deal? Why can't you take pictures on the Grand Canyon Skywalk?
Actually, it's not so much about pictures. No belongings, including phones and cameras, can be brought onto the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Let's get into why that's the case.
About the Grand Canyon Skywalk
To understand the rule, we need to first know what exactly the Skywalk is. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a structure on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, located in the Grand Canyon's West Rim (commonly known as Grand Canyon West).
The platform extends 70 feet (21 meters) out from the edge and is 4,000 ft (1,219 m) above the canyon floor. It's made of glass panels that are 2.5 inches (6 centimeters) thick. Incredibly, it can hold roughly 800 people! It's an impressive feat of engineering and offers visitors a unique way to experience the majesty of the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon Skywalk was opened in 2007. Though it's not as popular as the Grand Canyon National Park at the South Rim, the Skywalk helped put Grand Canyon West on the map as an awesome location that people love to visit.
Related Reading: West Rim vs. South Rim of the Grand Canyon (Easy To Follow Guide)
Photography Policy at the Grand Canyon Skywalk
Now, let's talk about the photography policy. The Hualapai Tribe, which owns and operates the Skywalk, has a strict rule against visitors taking photos on the platform itself. This means that you can't use your phone or camera to snap pictures while you're standing on the glass panels.
There are a few reasons why the Hualapai Tribe has implemented this policy. First and foremost, it's a matter of safety.
You don't have to worry about the glass floor of the Grand Canyon Skywalk breaking, but the possibility of scratching it is a concern. It's not easy to repair the scratched glass. When you are about to go on the Skywalk, you are given booties to wear over your shoes in order to protect the glass.
In the same vein, visitors aren't allowed to bring any belongings onto the Skywalk. That includes backpacks, purses, cell phones, and cameras — anything that could fall and scratch the glass.
It's also an issue of the added weight that these things put onto the glass floor. Though the Skywalk can hold roughly 800 people, those in charge are very careful and have decided to be better safe than sorry, so maximum occupancy is usually only 120 people.
Of course, there are plenty of opportunities to take pictures of the Grand Canyon West outside of the Skywalk. Visitors are welcome to bring cameras and take photos from other vantage points throughout the park. In fact, some argue that the best way to experience the canyon is by taking a hike down into the gorge or booking a helicopter tour that offers stunning aerial views.
So, while it might be a bummer that you can't personally snap photos on the Skywalk itself, there are still plenty of ways to capture the beauty of the Grand Canyon.
How You Can Still Take Photos on the Grand Canyon Skywalk
If you're feeling sad at the thought of not having any photos to commemorate your visit to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, don't worry. There are professional photographers stationed on the Skywalk who can take the perfect shots of you and your group against the stunning backdrop of the Canyon.
This does, however, cost a fee. Check the Grand Canyon Skywalk's website for the most up-to-date information but, as of publication, it is $69 for all digital photos or $17 per printed photo.
It's kind of a bummer but that's just how it is. Plus, by purchasing photos, you support the Hualapai Tribe. So if you really want a high-quality souvenir of your time on the Skywalk, it's definitely worth getting a photo taken by one of the on-site photographers.
Other Things to Know Before Visiting the Grand Canyon Skywalk
Well, you've saved yourself the disappointment of going to the Skywalk with your camera, only to find out that you can't use it. What else do you need to know before making the trip? Here are a few things:
- How safe is the Grand Canyon Skywalk really? If you got spooked earlier when reading that the glass floor is only 2.5 inches thick, you're not alone. Lots of people wonder if the Skywalk is really safe. Without getting into the nitty-gritty of the construction, the answer is: yes. Though the glass is thin, it's incredibly heavy and strong. Also, the Skywalk is anchored into the canyon rock and supported by a sturdy foundation.
- When is the best time to visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk? Peak season at the Grand Canyon West is typically the summer. If you want to beat the heat and crowds, visit during the spring or fall. Also, peak times are from 11 am to 4 pm. The Skywalk opens at 8 am, and it's worth leaving your Las Vegas hotel a bit early to get there before the crowds.
- How do you get to the Grand Canyon Skywalk? It's important to know that you can't actually drive to the Skywalk. You park offsite and then a shuttle takes you there. The shuttle is complimentary, provided you have your admission ticket.
The Bottom Line
The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a unique and thrilling attraction that offers visitors a one-of-a-kind perspective on one of the world's most magnificent natural wonders.
It's disappointing that you can't personally take pictures while there. However, the rule isn't really about photos. You simply aren't allowed to have any belongings on the Skywalk. You don't have to go home empty-handed, though, because you can have stunning professional photos taken.
You should also still pack your camera to take photos of the rest of the canyon as you explore! Take as much time as you need to soak up the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon.