The Grand Canyon is known as one of the 7 Wonders of the World for good reason – it’s simply magnificent. When you’re visiting Las Vegas, it’s well worth taking a day trip to go and see this breathtaking natural wonder. In this ultimate guide, we’ll give you all the tips and info you need to plan the perfect day trip from Vegas to the Grand Canyon.
What Is the Grand Canyon?
The Grand Canyon is a spectacular place you should visit at least once in your life, and it’s located just a two and a half hour drive (about 130 miles) away from Las Vegas. That means your trip to Vegas is the perfect opportunity to experience this world-famous landmark.
Measuring approximately 277 miles from end to end and more than a mile deep, the Grand Canyon is vaster than you might have even imagined it. It was created by more than 6 million years of geological changes, forming a rugged landscape with the Colorado River through it.
Where Exactly Should I Go?
If the Grand Canyon is this huge, how do you choose where to go in order to have the best experience possible?
The closest part of the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas is the West Rim, also known as Grand Canyon West. You’ll get some of the best views from this location thanks to the Skywalk (which we’ll tell you about in a moment!). Grand Canyon West is located on Hualapai tribal lands, and for this reason, it isn’t actually part of Grand Canyon National Park. You’ll need to purchase a Grand Canyon tour package to get entry to this rim of the Canyon.
The most popular part of the Grand Canyon with tourists is the South Rim, where you’ll be able to pack in the maximum amount of sightseeing in one day. This is where you’ll find the historic Grand Canyon Village, which is the center of activity and home to museums, historic buildings, and souvenir shops. It gets packed here (especially during the peak season), so be sure to book your tours and room reservations as early as you can.
If you’re a person who loves to get back to nature, you might prefer visiting the North Rim. Here you can find amazing hiking opportunities and fewer tourists. This area gets snow during the winter season because of its high elevation, so it’s not open from May to October.
What Are the Best Ways To See the Grand Canyon?
So you’re probably wondering how to experience the Grand Canyon in the most jaw-dropping way possible, including how to get the best view you possibly can. Here are a few different ways!
The most incredible way to experience the Grand Canyon is to take a helicopter tour. With this option, you’ll get a birds-eye view of the spectacular natural beauty of the Canyon and a knowledgeable tour guide to tell you all the facts about everything you’re seeing.
The Grand Canyon Indian Territory tour leaves from Las Vegas and flies you over the Hoover Dam and Mojave Desert before reaching the Grand Canyon. Here, you’ll descend 3,500 feet below the rim to enjoy a champagne picnic. On the way back, you’ll soar over the Las Vegas Strip and witness the glittering neon lights at dusk.
This horseshoe-shaped glass walkway sits 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon and gives you the feeling that you’re walking on air. The founder of this awesome structure, David Jin, said, “Just like an eagle can fly into the Grand Canyon, my vision was to enable visitors to walk the path of the eagle, and become surrounded by the Grand Canyon while standing at the edge of the Glass Bridge”.
This attraction is a thrilling way to experience the Grand Canyon, but it isn’t near the South Rim or North Rim and requires you to purchase a tour package for entry. The Skywalk Odyssey helicopter tour flies you straight to the Skywalk, bypassing admission and avoiding any wait time.
Another extremely popular way to take in the Grand Canyon is on a bus tour leaving from Las Vegas like this one. On this epic full-day tour, you’ll have the opportunity to take photos at the Hoover Dam, drive through an ancient Joshua tree forest, and then have lunch at the Grand Canyon while taking in a truly unforgettable view.
For those with a sense of adventure, this is one heck of a way to experience the Grand Canyon. You can raft along the beautiful Colorado River at the base of the Canyon, where you’ll discover hidden waterfalls and side canyons you can only access by river. On multiple-day whitewater rafting tours, you get to fall asleep under the stars with the sound of the river flowing beneath you.
If you’re thinking of hiking the Grand Canyon, be sure you’re in good shape and plan for temperatures of up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Pack a lot of water for your hike!
The most popular hiking trails are Bright Angel Trail and The Trail of Time. While Bright Angel Trail is considered the ultimate Grand Canyon hiking trail, The Trail of Time is a better choice for families or beginners.
Our Top 5 Grand Canyon Tours from Las Vegas
There are so many tours of the Grand Canyon to choose from, so to make it easier for you, we selected our top 5 favorite Grand Canyon tours that leave from Las Vegas.
Soar in a helicopter over the Mojave Desert before reaching the majestic Grand Canyon, where you’ll land for a luxury picnic on the banks of the Colorado River at sunset. On your return, you’ll get an unparalleled aerial view of Sin City at night.
This thrilling helicopter adventure gives you a bird’s eye view of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, extinct volcanoes, and of course, the Grand Canyon. You’ll land for an opportunity to explore the ancient Native American lands and enjoy a picnic with an unforgettable view.
Experience a whole day of adventure with this luxury mini-coach tour. You’ll get to witness the Hoover Dam, Eagle Point and Guano Point in the Grand Canyon, and much more. Then take a 15-minute helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon before having a scenic picnic lunch.
This stunning Grand Canyon tour takes you over the Canyon in a helicopter before landing for a pontoon boat ride on the beautiful Colorado River. You’ll get to appreciate this natural wonder from the air to the canyon floor.
If you want to have ample time to explore the Grand Canyon on your day trip, this awesome helicopter tour is for you. After flying over the Canyon, you’ll get more than three hours to take in the magical views of the West Rim. Jump on a shuttle to visit a Native American Village, and even ride on horseback at the Hualapai Ranch.
What’s the Best Time of Year to Visit the Grand Canyon?
The best time to visit the Grand Canyon all depends on what you’re looking for in an adventure.
Spring is a perfect time to visit the South Rim or West Rim because the weather is mild and there aren’t too many crowds to compete with.
Summer is the peak season for people visiting the Grand Canyon. All of the tourist services are open and the days are long and sunny. Just be careful to stay cool in the summer heat!
Fall is when the temperatures start cooling down, which means crowds thin out again significantly.
Winter gets quite cold, with temperatures lowering to about 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, the Grand Canyon is crowd-free in winter, and hotels are at their lowest rates. Keep in mind that the North Rim is closed between December 1st and May 14th every year.
What Are the Things I Shouldn’t Miss at the Grand Canyon?
If you have to choose between all the things to do at the Grand Canyon, here are the experiences you just can’t miss.
Watch the Sunrise at Mather Point
Mather Point in the South Rim is the ultimate viewing spot to see the sun rising over the Grand Canyon – a sight you’ll never forget.
Walk The Trail of Time
This easygoing hiking trail lets you learn about the amazing history and the mindblowing age of the Grand Canyon.
Take the Shuttle Along Hermit Road
The hop-on hop-off shuttle that runs along Hermit Road stops at a variety of the best viewpoints of the Grand Canyon.
Take a Helicopter Tour
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: if you want to see the Grand Canyon in its full glory, taking a helicopter tour is simply your best option!