A visit to the Grand Canyon is a wonderful half or full day trip you should consider when visiting Las Vegas.You can get there by bus or airplane and tours are very reasonably priced. We did a morning half day tour by air which was fabulous. We were picked up from our hotel at 0800 am by the tour company, and were driven to a small airport south of the strip, where we were enjoyed an amazing sightseeing flight to the Grand Canyon airport in a small Cessna aircraft.
We then got to spend a few hours at the Grand Canyon which also included a nice BBQ lunch. We paid to visit the Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is a glass floor that you can walk out over the Canyon and view the landscape below through the glass. This was well worth the money, as long as you are not afraid of heights!
We paid about $100 per person for our tour which included the return flights and lunch at the Grand Canyon. The tour price did not include the admission to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. From our research we found that the tour in the small Cessna aircraft south of the strip was better value then going on the larger Twin Otter aircraft operated by Scenic Airlines from the airport north of the Vegas Strip.
For those on a lesser budget you can take a bus tour of the Grand Canyon some of which include a stop at the world famous Hoover Dam.
For those of you who are interested, here is my full report:
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27 2007
This was my birthday and IME made special plans for the day, that were kept as a surprise. She told me we need to wake at 0515 am to be ready for a bus pick up at 0615 am. The King Airlines bus was there at 0615 sharp and IME broke the news that we would be doing an aerial tour to the Grand Canyon, with a bus tour of the Canyon and lunch, before flying back to Vegas, and the trip would take eight hours hotel to hotel. The shuttle bus dropped us at King’s office at McCarren for passenger check-in, which took about an hour.
Around 0745 the shuttle bus took us to Henderson Airport, a ten minute drive south of McCarren, where the pilots and planes were waiting for us and the other passengers on the apron. After a safety briefing by our excellent and very professional pilot Dan, we joined a family of three from Texas on our 6-seat Cessna 207T for the 55 minute flight to Grand Canyon West Airport, departing Henderson Airport at 0836. The flight was fantastic! For better visibility we kept the windows open, which also kept the plane cool. We had amazing views of Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and of course the Grand Canyon. It was the experience of a life time and is highly recommended!
Upon arrival at Grand Canyon Airport West, buses took us first to the newly opened Skywalk. It cost about $22 per person and was well worth it. They donít allow cameras as they want to take your photos and sell you the photos for $15. (Personal effects and cameras have to be stored in lockers for $1.) This was the only negative part of the Skywalk. That is very cheap on their part, and we think it is very stingy of them. But they say their no cameras rule is for security reasons. The real reason is so they can make more money from the tourists. Needless to say, walking on the glass floored Skywalk 2000 feet over the Grand Canyon was truly amazing! Definitely recommended, and would do it again!
Then took the bus to Guano Point where we had lunch (included in the tour) and went on a small hike out to the edge of the Point, for fantastics view of the Canyon. The lunch consisted of roasted chicken, pulled pork, corn on the cob, corn bread, and soda from the soda fountain. It was quite satisfying and tasty. This really was an amazing experience that we both thoroughly enjoyed. Oh, we recommend bringing a good pair or running shoes or walking shoes to the Grand Canyon, as walking on the trails is not ideal with sandals or flip-flops. To stay cool in the desert it is best to wear white clothing to reflect the intense heat.
The family from Texas on our plane missed the flight back, and our pilot waited an extra 30 minutes for them. Apparently they got delayed with their helicopter ride and did not communicate with the pilots. We recommend that you are back in time for the scheduled flight back to Vegas, as the time budget for taking the buses between the Skywalk and Guano Point and helicopter tours is entirely at your own discretion. Consequently, IME and I had the whole Cessna to ourselves and had a private flight back to Vegas, which was a really fantastic bonus! What a memorable birthdayÖ one I will remember as long as I live!
Thank you IME for the superb and amazing gift! Our flight back to Vegas took 37 minutes and we had more sight seeing of course, and we tipped Dan $15 for his great service during the flights. When we arrived at Henderson Airport the bus was waiting for us on the ramp at 1440, and we were back at the hotel by 1500. We cleaned up in the room as we got rather dusty in the Canyon (lots of red dust) and were ready to roll at 1520.