Where are you going?
Or, let us surprise youSpin the Globe ®

Helicopter Tour of the Grand Canyon

When Flying Over the Grand Canyon...
If you know your flight path is going to go over the Grand Canyon, get a window seat. Even from thirty-some-thousand feet above, the chasms within chasms stretch on to the horizon...

Desert View Watchtower sunset
The magnificent view and sunset seen from Desert View Watchtower(South Rim) in Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, USA. We got here just as the sun was setting and I ran from the parking lot to this spot to make sure I do not miss it. There were a few people around but not crowded. One of my favorite views at the South Rim

Experience the Grand Canyon
Okay, okay, I know the Grand Canyon isn’t in Vegas but it is surprisingly close. Just a four-hour drive from the Strip, the impressive geological sight is a must see at least once in your life. The drive to the Canyons rims is highway so consider renting a car but if you prefer to travel with ease consider choosing a Grand Canyon day-tour through Pink Jeep Tours or Viator. If you’re short on time, or want to see Las Vegas from a different point-of-view, consider a helicopter tour over the Canyon. Just a 30 minute drive from the Strip, and with free transfers, Papillion Grand Canyon Helicopters take you on a 30 minute tour high above the Canyon and the snaking Colorado River. For those feeling a bit more adventurous consider taking a helicopter tour that lands in the Canyon and gives you time to walk around and admire this geological wonder.

Grand Canyon
If you are in the area its definitely a place one needs to see, you will be impressed by the scale of it all. if you go to the SKYWALK, the horseshoe configured walkway above the Canyon you will be able to look through the glass floor at the bottom, a couple thousand feet lower! and you can even get close to the edge!

We began our journey down the old Grandview Trail on East Rim drive of the South Rim of our greatest National Park,the Grand Canyon. We hiked down to Horseshoe Mesa which is about 3 miles from the top. This is a picture of my gf, Hether, against the old Miner's Cabin which has been there since 1869 and has beautiful stonework. We camped there under the stars overnight and then journeyed over to Hance Creek which is near the bottom of Grand Canyon. After spending a night at Hance (who was a very famous guide/miner/storyteller in late 1800s) we hiked down to the Colorado River and camped. The River is very cold ( 45 degrees year round ) and dangerous for rafters. Sockdolager ( means "knockout punch in Swedish) rapid is at end of Hance Canyon/Creek and is quite impressive and one of longest in GC. We set up camp right beside the water and listened to the power song of the rapid all night long. It was a special night because our LOVE,which had been slipping away, came back with a renewed vigor and depth... and we became engaged to be married right there. The next day we hiked back out of the Canyon to "civilization " and were sad to see the Grand Canyon in our rear view mirror. We will return after our marriage and every year on our anniversary to relive these fantastic memories and explore more of incomparable Grand Canyon. Hether and Doc

Eagle Dancer
I took a girl I mentor to the Grand Canyon for a day. While we were heading back to the train we came across a demonstration of Native American dances. This was an Eagle Dance. I was amazed at how well he was able to mimic the movements of an Eagle soaring on the thermals. If you have ever watched the birds you will notice that they can control the feathers on the wingtip individually to get the most lift as conditions change. This dancer was able to do the same. That intense awareness of the natural world around them has always been a fascinating aspect of Native American cultures for me.

Hike to Ribbon Falls, Grand Canyon
From a distance, we hardly noticed the waterfall tucked back in a side canyon. As the trail climbed the final rise, we emerged from the bushes and gazed up at a jet of water spouting out of the high canyon wall and spilling down a brilliantly green, 50-foot rock face. Ribbon Falls is distinguished by the moss-covered dome of mineral deposits at its base, which was the inspiration for its original name, Altar Falls. While we ate our picnic lunch, a breeze made the narrow ribbon of water dance from side to side across the dome. The falls are located near the bottom of the Grand Canyon along the North Kaibab Trail and are great for a day hike from Bright Angel Campground and Phantom Ranch (6 miles one-way). If you’re hiking in the summer, make sure to get an early start to avoid the blazing heat trapped by the high canyon walls along the first 3.5 miles of the trail, known as “The Box.” Once you reach the base of the falls, there’s a path to the left that will lead you up and behind the waterfall. Try to arrive by late morning, before the afternoon shadows cover the waterfall and subdue the bright green color of its dome.

Max at the one year badge of the Million Year Walk at the Grand Canyon
When my Standard Poodle, Max, and I made an epic four month trek around the US, I was determined NOT to do the usual “Tourist” places. However, when I was within spitting distance of the Canyon (as told by the hotel clerk in Flagstaff), I knew we had to go. It was one of the most moving experiences of the whole trip, and one I will never forget! When I walked up to the Rim from the parking area, I instantly burst into tears at the sight of this spectacular place. As we walked along the Million Year Walk, I decided to commemorate our visit with this photo. Max was just one year old at the time, and I asked him to pose at the one year marker. To this day, I get teary-eyed remembering that visit, and our great trek together – just me and my dog.

Grand Canyon at Sunrise
The Grand Canyon is an absolutely humbling sight. As any guide book will say, the sunrise and the sunsets are the best time to experience it if just viewing. The shadows, colors and movement are surely memorable. We parked at Mather Point and walked around from there. If there is a full moon, you can watch it set as the sun rises. Be sure to check out Bedrock City to the south of the visitor center for a recreation directly from the Flinstones - it's goofy but worth it.

Behind the Sunset
On one of our adventures to the bottom of the Grand Canyon my dad said to me, “Sometimes it is not about the sunset but instead what is behind it.” As I turned around hoping for this to be true, we saw these three ladies bundled together watching the sun sink behind the ridge. He was right.

As rain approaches
Interesting to see a rainstorm approaching over the Canyon

This is Arizona: The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a must see. You will regret it if you never get to experience the expansive landscape. Multiple visits are not rare and most visitors start in Phoenix making the scenic drive 2 hours north on I-17 to Flagstaff. Some stop for a night in 3,000 feet Sedona to adjust to the rising elevation from sea/desert level. A long weekend is just enough time to spend wandering the galleries, nature trails, and wine tasting your way through norther Arizona; a full week would be better, but it will also make you seriously consider retiring in the area. The Grand Canyon Railway is another way to get there from nearby Williams, AZ. Prices vary depending on dates and party size, with coach seating starting at $75 round trip. Hotel rooms are adjacent to the both the Williams and Grand Canyon depots. The website (below) is easy to use and provides more information on train service.

Grand Canyon Hiking Break
The colors and the grooves and the cuts stretched in every direction: forward, downward, upward, and around. I sat quietly and studied them from a distance, staring at the encroaching shadows as the sun descended over the dry, heat-stricken cliffs. I was at the bottom of the Grand Canyon after a seven-mile, nine-hour hike left me exhausted and in heavy pain (The South Rim trail). Taking off my shoes, I sat among the cool rocks and dipped my toes into the streaming Colorado River. The exertion was worth it all for this.

Eagle Rock, West Rim Grand Canyon
Stunning rock formation on the west rim of the Grand Canyon resembling the shape of an Eagle. A sacred place for the Hualapai Indians.

Bright Angel Trail to Plateau Point
There's something to be said after three trips to the Grand Canyon, having stood on the rim looking down... It's the difference one experience makes as you descend Bright Angel Trail, 8 miles into the heart of the canyon to Plateau Point (pictured above). Wildlife is abundant deep in the canyon. We came upon a herd of deer right alongside the trail that were too comfortable with us to move out of the way. It would've been possible to reach at arms length to touch them. It's wise to stay overnight at the Indian Gardens campground. We had last minute reservations, over Thanksgiving weekend, that we made the night before and stayed on the rim. I think we were lucky to get a spot at Indian Gardens during that time. The weather was absolutely perfect during the day at 55 in the shade. The temperature plummeted to a chilly 18 degrees at the rim but Indian Gardens was warm at 34 degrees in the middle of the night. Previous training for the hike is recommended but not required as long as there's a decent amount of rest and you're staying overnight. Make sure you can carry an extra 30 lbs on your back and you have lots of water and food to refuel.

Grand Canyon
Words and pictures can not describe the Grand Canyon. It is truly a sight to see! I recomend doing a hike with white water rafting through the Canyon, if budget and time allow you. There are many budget ways to see the Grand Canyon as well. The Grand Canyon International Youth Hostel is located in Flagstaff and offers clean accomadations for $20 a day.

Dawn Above the Grand Canyon, Finding Solitude
Millions of people from the ends of the earth have put the Grand Canyon on their bucket list, so it might seem impossible to find solitude on the South Rim. Late fall through early spring, though, if you're willing to brave the cold temperatures on the high plateau above the endless chasms below, you just might find a quiet ledge of rim rock from which to watch day break. Set your alarm and get here early; colors begin animating the sky well before the clock-time for sunrise. Don't underestimate the cold. Gloves and a thermos are indispensable as you face the east expectantly. And once the sun's rays begin pouring into the canyon, make sure to direct your gaze north and west: the naked geology comes alive with light, shadows dancing for a vertical mile below you. (On this particular morning when I took this photo, a rare inversion caused a layer of fog to fill the Canyon; the sun rose over a sea of clouds--a once-in-a-decade-or-so event!)

Sunset over the Grand Canyon
No matter how many photos you've seen of the Grand Canyon, nothing compares to being perched, in person, on the rim of its everlasting views. And in the late afternoon, the play of shadow brings the gorges into gorgeous relief. Plan to stay for sunset. Bring a blanket; even summer nights can be chilly, and winter evenings, when the crowds are thinner, can feel glacial at 7,000 feet above sea level. As day disappears behind the distant plateau, breathe in the vista and revel in the fact that you are not stuck in traffic somewhere in some man-made rush hour; you're here, soaking up geologic time.

The Grand Canyon
Our recommendations for viewing the magnificent Grand Canyon are simple. There are two campgrounds on the Southern Rim, one that takes reservations (Mather) and one that does not (Desert View). Mather Campground is down in Grand Canyon Village. This campground provides all the luxuries of home-a large laundry facility, showers, and even a grocery store nearby. While this may all seem tempting and preferable, skip it. Instead, drive 20 minutes east of Mather to Desert View. During your drive you may be tempted to stop several times to marvel at the scenery, but save this for after you reserve your first-come, first-serve campsite. There are no showers here, no Fluff and Fold, and no Stop and Shop, but you will see the Grand Canyon, including its wildlife, with little interruption. In the evenings, stroll over to the rim to sit on the edge and listen to the scheduled ranger talks. They are really quite interesting and open your mind to the art and culture that the Grand Canyon has inspired over time. Once the day-trippers make their way out of the park, the Grand Canyon is yours. At night, the sky is the blackest you’ve ever seen and the stars are brighter than you can imagine. In the morning, before the tourists arrive, it is just you and the elk. They get so close you can practically touch them, but we don’t advise trying to do so. Most importantly, get up as early as possible. There is nothing more amazing than having the Grand Canyon all to yourself.

All the Way to the Horizon
My daughters and I named our family trip last summer the Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Tour. We saw the largest of each: blue whales off the coast of San Francisco, redwoods and sequoias in California, and, for the mineral portion, the Grand Canyon. Yes, it's just a hole in the ground. But it's the biggest hole in the ground on the planet. This shot is from the South Rim. The North Rim is on the horizon. On the horizon. The vastness of the Grand Canyon amazes me.

Grand Canyon Mountain Biking
This four-day mountain biking adventure will take you along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. Often listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World, the Grand Canyon is popular for hiking, backpacking, and rafting enthusiasts. Although largely protected from mountain bikers due to its national park status, this trip allows you to ride along some of the most remote country in the continental United States. Rising high above the magnificent canyons carved by the Colorado River, the Kaibab Plateau offers outstanding mountain biking combined with spectacular scenery. Pedal through Ponderosa Pine and Aspen forests, with rolling terrain between 8,000 and 9,000 feet, and ride on flowing singletrack and untraveled forest roads. Enjoy views of magnificent canyons carved by the Colorado River. Dine on healthy, fresh, delicious meals, kick back around the campfire in good company, and camp under the stars on this unforgettable adventure.

Grand Canyon Delight
In 2000, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to the West Coast. On the drive West, my friend and I stopped to experience the Grand Canyon. As time has passed, Arizona is an absolute favorite of mine to visit! I can't wait to take the kids to camp, explore, and vacation in this great place! The vistas are out of this world!

Lightning Storms over the Grand Canyon, Arizona
I arrived at the Grand Canyon hoping to take some night sky photos, star trails, who knows. But there were only clouds, no stars.. At first, I was disappointed. But with the clouds came the storms. Wow. I got out of the car to watch it with the few people who are left in the evening, watching these storms from about 50 miles away or more. A lot of people will comment that it is dangerous, but we were so far away that we didn't hear the thunder from these storms. I saw 4-5 storms simultaneously at one point, and was in total awe at nature's majestic light show. I strongly recommend it if you have the chance and are around this area during the summer monsoon season.

Sharing this incredible storm with the few people who are left in the evening, watching these storms from about 50 miles away or more. A lot of people will comment that it is dangerous, as there was lightning, but we were so far away that we didn't hear the thunder from these storms. I saw 4-5 storms simultaneously at one point, and was in total awe at nature's majestic light show. I strongly recommend it if you have the chance and are around this area during the summer monsoon season. Don't go in when the sun goes down. Also, the Grand Canyon is a great place to see the Milky Way or the stars at night. If you wish to see the Milky Way, go during the summer when the moon is not out, and look south to see the thickest part, the galactic core. You could go to the North Rim, but looking south is quite possible at the South Rim as well.

Winter Time
I have experienced the Grand Canyon during Winter Time and It's Amazing! The Snow added an extra level of magic. it's one of the best experience ever!

Sunset at Desert View Watchtower
The Watchtower is located at Desert View, the eastern-most developed area on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

We got here right before the sunset and along with other visitors witnessed an unbelievable sunset. Everything around us was glowing. I would not mind repeating this moment again and again.
The tower has a pretty gift store at the ground level and higher it offers spectacular views of the Grand Canyon.

Hiking the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is like no other place the the world; a natural wonder that every American should try to see in their life. In my experience, nothing has compared to the body-encompassing feeling that took over me as I peered out into the vast desert below: the gigantic peaks and deep valleys, the spectrum of rich colors, the layers of igneous rock formations. Mother Nature has a way of grabbing you by the heartstrings and never leaving you quite the same again. This was one of those times.

After stocking up on the necessities—sunblock, snacks and lots of water—I spent an afternoon hiking the canyon’s south rim down a steep, winding and quite narrow-at-times trail that provided unparalleled views and endless photo ops. The sheer magnitude of the canyon can never be accurately depicted in pictures or by words. It has to be seen with your own eyes, and felt with your own soul. Experience of a lifetime.

Megan Murphy traveled on Contiki’s Western Highlights tour as part of AFAR’s partnership with the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), whose members provide travelers with unparalleled access, insider knowledge, and peace-of-mind to destinations across the globe. For more on Megan’s journey, visit the USTOA blog.

Amazing view

Angry Wife
Here is how to replicate this experience:

1. Park near the Hopi House
2. Walk along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
3. Find some rocks that hang out a bit. Obviously not something that you would die from if you fell off of. An unpleasant climb back up, yes.
4. Walk out there with your 4-year old son.
5. Do not fall.
6. Get angry looks from your wife for the next hour or two. (And any time you show her this photo.)

North Rim, AZ 86052, USA