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South Rim or West Rim? How to Pick a Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour By Marc Gaspian |

You've made the decision to book a helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon. Excellent choice. Flying the Canyon is an experience you will never forget. The next step is picking which Rim to visit. You can do this by understanding your budget, time constraints, and tour needs. More than a million acres of land comprise Grand Canyon National Park. Helicopters are authorized to tour only the West, South, and North Rims. And only in certain flight zones. Depending on the package and Rim you choose, you will be able to access parts of the Canyon in ways that take non-flyers hours and even days to reach. The West Rim The West Rim is about 145 miles west of Las Vegas in Hualapai Indian Territory. The flight to this part of the Canyon is 45 minutes. It's only in the West Rim that you can book a tour that will take you to the bottom of the Canyon, whereupon you deplane, explore the chasm's floor, marvel at the Colorado River, and toast your adventure with Champagne. The West Rim is loaded with additional activities. The most popular is the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass bridge that forms a see-through "horseshoe" over the Canyon (no cameras allowed at this time). Other side-trips include horseback riding, Colorado River rafting, Hummer off-road trips, ATV trail rides, Kayaking and more. The South Rim The South Rim is about 250 miles from Las Vegas. There are no direct helicopter flights to the Rim. To get to Grand Canyon Airport, where all helicopter trips originate, you will need to take a tour bus, rent a car, or book a small aircraft. One-way drive time is five hours; flight by plane is 45 minutes. At the rim, you'll board a helicopter at one of three heliports (the main operators are Papillon, Maverick, and Grand Canyon), take-off, and be over the Canyon in 5 minutes. Helicopters are NOT allowed to land at the bottom of the South Rim. You will, however, fly through the Dragoon Corridor (the deepest part of the Canyon), as well as see Temple Butte, the Zuni Corridor, the North Rim, the Painted Desert, and the spectacular Kaibab

Forest. The return trip is equally enjoyable, as you approach the South Rim and get a bird's eye view of Grand Canyon Village. Time, Budget, Tour Needs Las Vegas - West Rim This is the best option if you have limited time and need a quick daytrip. Further, it has the most additional adventure options. The Rim is a very popular trip - shop for best prices. Booking online will save you up to 40 percent. Total round-trip time is four hours, with hotel pick up and drop off. Total trip time without side-trip add-ons is four hours. Optional is driving 2.5 hours to the West Rim and starting tour there. Basic packages start between $235 and $335. Las Vegas - South Rim The South Rim is where the most famous pictures and images of the Canyon are shot. Round-trip time (bus-helicopter) is 15 hours, and includes hotel pick up and drop off. Lunch is included. Flight time is around 40 minutes. Depending on the operator, you will get up to 3 hours to explore Grand Canyon village and environs. Book a plane-helicopter tour and you your total trip time is 6 hours. Costs are affordable: Bus-helicopter ranges from $225 to $300. Plane-helicopter packages are around $450 per person. Conclusion Grand Canyon Helicopter tours offer you one-of-a-kind views of the Canyon. The Park is gigantic, but taking this type of tour is one of the few ways to understand its immensity. This can be achieved by flying the West Rim or South Rim. All you need to do now is determine your budget and time constraints and off you go.

South Rim or West Rim: How to Pick a Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour  

Great article about how to choose to take a Grand Canyon helicopter ride at the West Rim or the South Rim of the National Park.

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