Perhaps some of you may not know it, but among the many ways to visit the Grand Canyon there is one way that is very special and awe-inspiring, which allows you to admire this incredible natural gorge of Arizona from a unique position, where you will enjoy an amazing view that you will probably remember for the rest of your life. I’m not talking about helicopter tours or adventurous rafting on the river in the park, but an unusual suspended platform located on the west side of the canyon (West Rim), known as Grand Canyon Skywalk.
- What is the Grand Canyon Skywalk?
- How Do You Get on the Platform?
- Visit the Skywalk on your own
- The advantages of a Skywalk Tour
What is the Grand Canyon Skywalk?
- Its cantilever, totally suspended in the air over the depths of the Canyon (69 ft over the edge, at a height of over 1180 ft), places it in a high position.
- Its structure is of a virtually transparent material, which means that you will really have the impression of walking (or flying) on the air in the Grand Canyon (you have to admit that it’s not something you see every day…)
- The view is breathtaking (and after all, that’s what counts!)
When the platform was built, inaugurated on March 20, 2007, purists and environmentalists (or in other words, lovers of nature as God made it) turned their noses up for fear that it would ruin the view of the landscape and many representatives of Native American tribes in the area (the territory belongs to Native Americans and is considered sacred), agreed with them.
If you’re thinking of the usual unscrupulous capitalist businessmen who don’t think twice about pursuing their own interests by taking advantage of a Native American tribe… stop! It was the Hualapai Indian tribe that commissioned this venture, and they saw the opportunity to solve many of the problems that plagued its population. Even now, there are conflicting visions between the tribe’s own members and the Grand Canyon’s Skywalk continues to be a controversial architectural achievement.
How Do You Get on the Platform?
Whatever your point of view on this particular platform, no one can deny that the view is fantastic. There are essentially 2 ways to visit this attraction. Either you go by yourself or you go on a tour. Personally, for the sake of convenience and accessibility, I recommend the second option, in any case, below you will find information on both options.
Visit the Skywalk on your own
Where Is It?
You must head to the west side of the Grand Canyon (West Rim), which is not as famous or as visited as the South Rim or North Rim. The Skywalk is located in a designated tourist area called Grand Canyon West, which is run by Hualapai Tribe and totally independent of Grand Canyon National Park (if you’re planning a day trip from one side of the Grand Canyon to the other, it will take at least 4 hours by car!).
You can get there by paying the entrance fee (the National Parks Pass is not recognized) and the entrance allows you to enjoy various other attractions, excursions and viewpoints, as well as some traditional Native-American performances. Everything you can do at Grand Canyon West (including the Skywalk) is accessible via a shuttle service that runs approximately every 15 minutes.
You will not be allowed to drive into Grand Canyon West (luckily there is a parking lot!) and you cannot take water or food with you (of course you will find many places to get food inside). Same policy applies to photographs on the platform: you can buy them but can’t take your own pictures.
Skywalk Address and Directions
The Grand Canyon Skywalk address is Peach Springs, AZ 86434, (tel. +1 888-868-9378) but you won’t be needing it since you can’t drive past than the park entrance. The address you need to enter in your GPS to get to Grand Canyon West is as follows (but apparently they don’t work with all navigators):
- Grand Canyon West Airport, 5001 Diamond Bar Road, Peach Springs, AZ 86434. Tel. (928) 769-2627. Official Website
Enlarged map view
Down here you see the route to Grand Canyon West from Vegas.
The road to Grand Canyon West was not paved until recently and driving on it used to be problematic (many tour guides used to caution those intending to drive on this road with a rental car, since it was potentially not covered by the insurance issued by the companies). However, it seems that the construction has been finished and the road has been completely paved and therefore can be accessed without any cause for concern.
Once you arrive you will have to park, take a shuttle bus and be taken to the fateful horseshoe walkway, but you must buy tickets of course!
Once you arrive at the Grand Canyon West you will consider various alternatives:
- General admission: $39, well, it’s not that expensive after all… too bad it doesn’t include access to the Skywalk.
- Skywalk ticket: $20
- Meal: $19
Tips for Your Overnight Stay
You’ll have to decide whether to stay overnight in the area, within the park, or further away (such as Las Vegas), as part of a nice day trip to Grand Canyon West. You can find all the information about the areas and hotels to choose from in our article on where to stay at the Grand Canyon.
As you can see, the visit on its own is not that simple, for this reason, in many cases, it may be advisable to book a tour. These are one-day packages departing from Las Vegas, and include pick-up and drop-off at the hotel the same day. Here are the advantages of this choice:
- You don’t have to drive to the Grand Canyon West
- Pickup and Drop-off at the hotel
- Informative Guided tour
- Visit of additional viewpoints along the way
- Breakfast, lunch and drinks included
- Aerial views can be added to the platform walk (on some tours)
There are essentially 4 packages available to enjoy the Skywalk:
Grand Canyon West Helicopter Tour Including the Hoover Dam along the Way
Scenic flight with views of the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, including VIP access to the Skywalk and pictures on the platform.
Airplane Tours Plus Skywalk
Flying over Grand Canyon West, a visit to the platform and time to explore the surroundings.
Grand Canyon West Bus Tour
Bus tour that gives you the opportunity to photograph breathtaking views along the way (e.g. Hoover Dam). The price includes admission to the Skywalk.
Helicopter Tour + Cruise along the Bottom of the Grand Canyon
This is the tour for those who want to do it all. It includes VIP access to the Skywalk (with photos), a helicopter tour with views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Grand Canyon, landing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and a cruise on the Colorado River.