Should I Visit the West Rim or the South Rim of the Grand Canyon? By Keith Kravitz | http://www.grandcanyon123.com The toughest part about picking a Grand Canyon tour is deciding to check out the South Rim or the West Rim. Both of them are fantastic destinations. So, in order to break this tie, I am going to do a short rim-by-rim evaluation that will ensure you're paired with the place that's best for you. Are you looking things to do or scenery? The West Rim excels in fun-filled activities. It's the only place where you can ride a helicopter 4,000 feet to the base. Then, if you're so inclined, you can walk upstream and take a Colorado Boat tour. The world-famous Grand Canyon Skywalk is based here. This attraction is a magnificently engineered glass-bridge that lets you walk 70 feet past the edge as it suspends you 4,000 feet above the river. Don't look down if you are prone to vertigo. More exotic things to do here include a chopper ride to a working cattle ranch, ATV trail rides, Hummer 4x4 adventures, and horseback riding. One of my favorite things to do at Grand Canyon West is the Hoover Dam smooth-water rafting trip to Willow Beach. The South Rim is tame compared to the West Rim. What it lacks in "thrills" it makes up in natural beauty. This is the part of the National Park that even the rangers allude to as the "real" canyon. There are no heli tours to the base at the South Rim. If you want to get to the base, you have to hike. Having said that, the air tours here are superb. The helicopter flight from Tusayan goes straight into the center of the Dragoon Corridor, the broadest, deepest part of the Grand Canyon, while plane trips cover the South, East, and North rims. There's also the ultimate 1-day Grand Canyon rafting trip that operates from April to November. Options include taking a bus or airplane to Page, AZ, and then transferring to a river raft. This is a smooth-water trip so there are no rapids. Kids ages four years and older are welcome.
The hiking trails at South Rim are awesome. South Kaibab, Bright Angel, and the Rim Top trails are the most in demand. For lookouts, go to Yaki Point, Mather Point and Hopi Point. Most tours include guided tours to these tourist attractions. Where's your starting point? The West Rim is just 120 miles from Vegas. Helicopters, planes, and coaches can do the trip in 45 minutes, 25 minutes, and 2.5 hours, respectively. Grand Canyon National Park is too far for Las Vegas helicopters. Your only alternatives are the plane or the coach. I highly recommend taking the 45-minute plane ride from Las Vegas to the National Park. It's fast, comfortable, and one of the top deals on the market. The coach is exceptionally affordable, but one-way drive time is 5.5 hours and total tour time is a whopping 15 hours. Phoenix and Sedona tourists can drive to the National Park in 4 hours and 2 hours, respectively. There are coach, plane, and heli tours from those locations but it's a lot less money to drive and do an air tour from Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan. How much time to you have? Grand Canyon West trips from Las Vegas are perfect day trips. The longest tour is a one day. Air-only tours are around 4 hours, including hotel pick up and drop off. The Ground Canyon South Rim car takes 15 hours at a minimum, which is why I advocate for the airplane trip considering that it will have you back on the Vegas Strip in time for your evening plans. Trips that originate in Northern Arizona are full-day trips. I often tell folks to try to book a room inside the park and stay the night. This is easier said than done because South Rim accommodations are usually booked a year in ahead of time. What's your budget? Grand Canyon National Park and West Rim bus excursions are the most economical and include lots of add-ons like water rafting, glass walkway passes and chopper rides. Air tours are more costly, but you also see more of the Grand Canyon in less time. I estimate that what you see on a half-hour helicopter tour is equal to a couple of days on the ground. Plus the aerial views are amazing. Let's see the canyon! Grand Canyon tours are filled with adventure and beauty. The two prime areas are the West Rim and the West Rim. The dilemma is which rim to see. If you are starting from Las Vegas, Grand Canyon West is your closest option. However, if your heart is set on Grand Canyon National Park, take the 45-minute airplane flight. I advise doing the South Rim for travelers leaving from Phoenix and Sedona. The key to making sure you get the
trip of your dreams is too book ahead of time over the Internet. Adhere to this approach and you'll get your canyon trip for a song.