Grand Canyon by Helicopter: How Do I Choose a Tour?

November 19, 2020 /

Warning: Due to COVID 19 some information in this article (e.g. operating hours) may not be up-to-date.

If you love nature, great views and endless horizons, you know that the American National Parks are for you and you’ve probably already considered visiting the Grand Canyon, Arizona’s stunning deep canyon, a natural wonder that takes your breath away.

But you should know that there are many ways to visit the Grand Canyon. You can plan your own trip, carefully planning what to see, or you can choose one of the many Grand Canyon tours available. In this article, however, we will focus on one particular type of tour, which will allow you to fly over the Grand Canyon by helicopter and admire it from the sky, thus enjoying a unique view of this ancient and wonderful place.

We will not list here all available tours; rather, we will try to give tips on how to choose the best helicopter tour for you. Well? Are you ready to take off?

Grand Canyon by Helicopter: Tours and Areas to Fly Over


First, you should know that the main helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon begin from 3 different points and not all of them land in the same places. Not only do you need to know the starting point, but also to choose the area you want to visit. As you can see in our Grand Canyon page, the Grand Canyon is immense! Here are the three areas that can be reached with a helicopter flight (for each one we have put a video to help you understand the kind of experience that awaits you):

Grand Canyon National Park: South Rim

The main area and also the most visited by tourists. The flights that allow you to visit this area start here in the South Rim (Grand Canyon National Park Airport in Tusayan).

Grand Canyon National Park: North Rim

The Grand Canyon North Rim is the most rugged and least visited area in the national park. Helicopter tours to this destination all depart from the South Rim.

Grand Canyon West Rim

The West Rim area is not part of the Grand Canyon National Park and is best known for the Skywalk, an overhanging transparent plexiglass platform that gives the impression of walking on the clouds above the Grand Canyon. Helicopter flights to visit the West Rim only depart from Las Vegas and the West Rim.

Which one should you choose?

How to choose one area over another? It’s hard to say. From the 3 videos, you can clearly tell that in all 3 cases they are extraordinary natural areas, whether you fly over them by helicopter or visit them on foot. To help you make your decision, you can read below some insights that will help you understand which area is the best option for you:

In any case, you can rest assured that because the 3 places are extraordinary in their own way, any option will be worth it. In my opinion, rather than choosing according to the destination, it might be useful to use the starting point as a criterion. In this way you can easily adapt your helicopter tour on the Grand Canyon to your travel itinerary, thus choosing both the best solution for your road trip and a scenic flight (it’s no coincidence that most flights to the Grand Canyon West Rim depart from Las Vegas, the hub of many West Coast road trips). So let’s try to understand the pros and cons of the different choices:

Grand Canyon by helicopter from Las Vegas

This is a very convenient solution that will allow you to visit the Grand Canyon without having to drive there yourself, which is quite an advantage when you consider the long hours of driving on the road. Helicopter tours will pick you up directly from your hotel and take you back the same day, so that, among other things, you can admire the many beauties along the way (for example, the Hoover Dam). From Las Vegas there are direct flights to the nearest side of the Grand Canyon: the West Rim. If you want to get to the South Rim, you’ll have to choose an airplane tour instead.

This is definitely the best solution for those trips that focus primarily on California with a stop in Las Vegas, but it is also a great relief for those who visit the parks of the Arizona and Utah regions, although often the classic trip to national parks around Las Vegas necessarily includes a visit to the South Rim. Instead, if you’re planning a simple visit to the city, a day trip can definitely make your stay even more enjoyable.

All helicopter flights departing from Las Vegas

Grand Canyon by Helicopter from the South Rim

When people talk about “visiting the Grand Canyon,” in most cases they mean the South Rim. It’s true that it’s the best-known area of the Grand Canyon and it is not at all difficult to get there by car. Once you arrive, you can also explore the Grand Canyon on foot, and then the helicopter ride would be the icing on the cake. Remember that the few flights departing from the South Rim (Grand Canyon National Park Airport in Tusayan) go mainly to the North Rim, passing over the eastern side as well.

All helicopter flights departing from the South Rim

Grand Canyon by helicopter from the West Rim

Although the West Rim is the closest to Las Vegas – and therefore the most convenient to reach for those who are there and have little time to visit the canyon – the West Rim is not the most common way to see the Grand Canyon (you can find all the information on how to get there by car in our in-depth look at the Grand Canyon Skywalk). In general, it may be worth taking a helicopter flight directly from Las Vegas to see it from a different perspective and take advantage of it to walk on the futuristic platform (there are helicopter tours with Skywalk included).

All helicopter flights out of Las Vegas to the West Rim

In one of our other articles, we have recommended a very interesting helicopter tour from Las Vegas, but by clicking on the link below you will also find others departing from the West Rim. There are no flights to the South Rim or North Rim from this area.

All helicopter flights departing from the West Rim

Other Helicopter Flights over the Grand Canyon

There are no flights departing from the North Rim, but there are others departing from cities such as Phoenix and Scottsdale.

All flights departing from Phoenix and Sedona

Our Tip:
Looking for accommodations for your trip from California to other parts of the Southwest? Read our guide that contains reviews of hotels and strategic tips for finding accommodations near major attractions: Where to Stay: Our Tips for the SouthWest Area

lorenzo puliti

I am fascinated by the wonders of the world I never tire of going in search of them.

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