I'm on a road trip (a lot of driving planned) in August - part of which will be in Vegas and I had originally decided to do an overnight stay at the South Rim and have a reservation as the Maswick Lodge in the GC park itself. The person I'm travelling with wants to do a helicopter trip that lands on the Canyon floor and I'm wondering if we'd be best skipping the 5 hr each way drive and just stay in Vegas for 2 nights with the helicopter trip from there?? Opinions from anyone who has done the over night and/or the helicopter trips would be much appreciated.
Okay, I've done the helicopter trip, the trip to the south rim and a trip to the north rim--so here's the deal:
If you really want to see the canyon at it's deepest point--and be 100% awe-inspired, then you have to go to either the north or south rim. The reason is simple--the helicopter doesn't go all the way into this section, but rather lands on a slightly less deep area owned by Indians out on the west side. Don't get me wrong--hanging over the canyon itself seeing that it is about 1/2 mile down (the equivalent of being at the top of a 250 story building) and about 3 miles across is harrowing, but to drive up to the canyon where it is 1 mile deep and 10 miles across is something you will never forget your entire life.
If you want to stay cool, don't take a bus, though--rent a car and make the drive yourself. And the helicopter is still a great trip--especially if you are on a limited time frame. (It does the whole trip in about a 4 hour timeframe--and there is a lot more to see since they will go across Lake Mead on the way, and they stop at the bottom for a wine and cheese break).
P.S. One of the best parts of the helicopter ride is that when they approach the canyon, they get real low to the ground right before getting there--so you don't really see the canyon until you are above it. Thus, one second you are 20 feet above the ground, the next second you are 2,500 feet above the bottom of the canyon. I also like it when they fly just below the canyon rim. So you can't see the top of the canyon--you're just surrounded by the canyon on all sides.
Anyway, enjoy your trip--whichever your choice may be.
We did a trip to south rim from Vegas with Scenic Airlines its was abot £150 for flight to the rim, helicopter over, lunch and bus tour of the park and return flight. Check out their web site as im sure they do trips that land in the canyon. I know its not cheap but its the best money ive spent. You can drive to the south rim but it takes hours or take a tour bus if you want to do it cheaper.
I drove 'Toby Tyke' (Allan & Gail) to the South Rim last year. It is an easy drive from Vegas, figure 5 hours. We stiopped at Hoover Dam, then Kingman to drive part of Route 66. Stayed overnight in Williams, then on to the GC in the morning. Spent most of the day at the rim, they took a short helicopter flight over the GC, drove back to LV that night. I have plenty of photos from that trip
in my gallery.
Contact 'Toby Tyke' if you would like his input, or send me a PM if you have questions.
Thanks a million for your replies, much appreciated
If you do decide to do the helicopter flight into the Grand Canyon, from Las Vegas, avoid doing so with Papillon and their sister company, Grand Canyon Airlines. We booked and they didn't bother to pick us up at the hotel.