Do you imagine seeing the Grand Canyon as well as the Las Vegas Strip in one fell swoop? You can, especially by helicopter, which will let you experience both in less time than it takes to watch the season finale of The Apprentice.
Tour packages vary from basic flyovers to extravagant packages that include champagne, river rafting, horse riding, and ATV adventures. It’s your call. Here’s a cheat sheet on tour types to get your started:
Top 3 Tours
#1 Here’s your “no-frills” package. This tour leaves from the edges of Las Vegas, cruises over the West Rim, and heads back for The Strip before landing.
#2 Goes to the West Rim where it lands at the Canyon’s special heliport. Explore the Canyon. Enjoy the Skywalk. Board helicopter, hover over Las Vegas Boulevard.
#3 The king of tours, this trip zips out to Grand Canyon West, sightsee, then lowers itself 4,000 feet to the bottom. Lunch close to the Colorado River. Ascend, and then jet back to Vegas, taking the long way the city’s center.
The flight over to the West Rim, which is actually just outside the National Park’s boundaries, includes a number of spectacular sites, including:
*Lake Mead – A beautiful, body of water that gleams under the desert sun. It practically glistens under the desert sun. Largest man-made body of water in the U.S.
*Hoover Dam – Second largest dam in the U.S. Provides most of the drinking water and most of the electrical power used by Las Vegas. It’s a spectacular structure, made even more exciting by the new bypass that’s being suspended over Black Canyon.
*Guano and Eagle Points – These are the West Rim’s most famous lookouts. Horizons go on forever. Keep your eyes open for Big Horn Sheep and California Condors.
*Skywalk – Do it if you get a tour that offers it as a choice. It’s literally a glass bridge that extends 75 feet over the lip of the Rim. This is as close as you’ll get to having wings. The distance from the bridge to the bottom is twice the size of the tallest building in the world.
Flights depart daily from McCarran International Airport, North Las Vegas Airport, and Boulder City Airport. Sunrise, sunset, and evening flights are the most popular with travelers. Most tour operators include hotel pick up and drop off. It’s recommended that you confirm your flight 24 hours in advance. While on the phone, I tell people to check weather conditions – the Canyon particularly can be quite fickle.
Plenty of people think a helicopter ride is out of their budget. Reconsider that thought.Las Vegas is loaded with tour operators who compete hard for your tour dollar. But if you really want the best deal in town, book online, where you can save up to 45% off the retail price.
I need to point out that there are bus tours that include the Strip and the Canyon. The value here is incredible. The big difference, however, is time: Bus trips will require nearly the entire day; helicopters can complete the job in several hours. If time is precious and you have a modest budget, visiting these attractions by helicopter is a must.