One of the most fascinating and adventurous ways to visit the Grand Canyon is to take advantage of one of the many tours that will take you on a flight above the canyon. If you are interested in this type of activity, the airplane is not the only form of transportation available; in fact, we have previously discussed in another article how to visit the Grand Canyon by helicopter. In this article, we are going to take a closer look at the best Grand Canyon airplane tours.
Most of these rides start in Las Vegas, but if Sin City is not part of your travel itinerary, don’t worry, because there are also airplane tours that depart from the Grand Canyon itself. So let’s find out what are the various options to choose from, divided in this article according to the starting point.
Are you ready to fly over the Grand Canyon? Fasten your seatbelts and get your camera ready!
- Airplane Ride Over Grand Canyon: Departure from Las Vegas
- Departure from Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim)
- Departure from Grand Canyon West Rim
Airplane Ride Over Grand Canyon: Departure from Las Vegas
If you have planned to stay in Las Vegas on your itinerary, the following Grand Canyon airplane rides may be best for you.
Tip: Are you unsure whether to choose the plane or the helicopter? To help you decide, please refer to our article Grand Canyon: helicopter or plane tour? Which one to choose?
Highlights Air Tour
On the plane ride to the national park, you will also be flying over other important attractions along the way, such as Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.
The total duration of the tour is 4 hours, starting from the time you get picked up at your hotel (the service is available from most hotels in Las Vegas) until you return to the hotel transported by a shuttle bus. The duration of the flight will be approximately 70 minutes, during which, thanks to the plane’s large panoramic windows, you will be able to take time to take pictures.
The highlight of this tour, as you may have guessed from its name, is certainly the compromise between the time you have to spend with it and the things you will see. In other words, you’ll be able to enjoy the main sights of the Grand Canyon West Rim from above in only half a day. It’s recommended for those who are short on time, since, after taking part in this tour, you’ll still have the rest of the day to move on to the next stop or to see something else.
Grand Canyon Connoisseur (Plane + Bus)
In other words, this is the Grand Canyon tour for true connoisseurs. It’s a much more comprehensive tour than the previous one where you will have an aerial view of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, the Mojave Desert and, of course, the Grand Canyon. The visit to this national park is coupled with a ground tour that will give you the opportunity to visit some of the best-known vantage points such as Bright Angel Lodge and Mather Point.
The duration of the tour, as you can imagine, is demanding: in fact, it is at least 9.5 hours from the moment you are picked up at the hotel until your return. The time spent in the air will be about 2 hours and 20 minutes and then on top of that add 3 hours for the Grand Canyon tour.
Unlike the previous tour, given the time it will take, this tour is recommended only for those who have the opportunity to devote a whole day to the excursion.
Grand Voyager (Plane + Bus + Helicopter + Boat)
This tour has some extra features compared to the previous one and is therefore recommended especially to those who want the most complete experience possible and we’ll show you why. Once you’ve reached the western edge of the Grand Canyon by plane, flying over the usual attractions along the way, you’ll have the chance to reach the bottom of the canyon by helicopter and then embark on a 20-minute boat tour along the Colorado River. But that’s not all. Once the helicopter takes you back to the edge of the canyon, a shuttle bus will take you to Eagle Point and Guano Point.
Again, this tour takes at least 7 hours, including the 70 minutes plane flight, and the rest of the tour is divided between the helicopter, boat tour, lunch and sightseeing.
The advantage of this type of tour is that it will allow you to experience the Grand Canyon more fully than you would be able to on other tours. On the other hand, even in this case, you will have to plan to dedicate a whole day to it.
Departure from Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim)
If you’re not planning to visit Las Vegas, or if it’s not part of your itinerary, don’t get discouraged, because you’ll still have the opportunity to take advantage of some air tours departing from the Grand Canyon itself.
Grand Canyon South Rim Air Tour
The departure is directly from the Grand Canyon National Park airport and the tour lasts about 45 minutes, during which you will have the opportunity to admire from above the central and east rim as well as the Zuni Corridor, Imperial Point and Kaibab National Forest. In the case of this tour, more than ever, I am determined to let the pictures speak for themselves. Here is a video that will give you an overview of the beauty that you will admire.
The strong points of this tour lie in having the option to go on it if you are already in the area of the national park and in the short duration of the tour, so that you free to best plan the rest of your day; maybe even adding some Grand Canyon hikes choosing among its most beautiful trails.
Departure from Grand Canyon West Rim
As you already know, the Grand Canyon is massive and has multiple airport points. This tour will depart from the Grand Canyon West Airport. Just to give you an idea, we are talking about the area of the park where the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk is found, since the airport is in the immediate vicinity.
Native Explorer Tour With Legacy (plane + coach)
The area you will be flying over will be mainly the area around Eagle Point. The flight will take about 20 minutes, after which a shuttle bus will take you on a tour to Hualapai Ranch, where there will be a cowboy duel re-enactment. You will then go to Guano Point from where you will enjoy a privileged view of the West Rim of the Grand Canyon.
This may be the best choice for you if you’re already in the area in order to visit the Skywalk, so that it will not be necessary to leave the area to find an air tour.