Grand Canyon Airplane Tour Options

Grand Canyon Airplane Tour Options

If there’s a place on the planet where nature’s majesty is more spectacular than Arizona’s Grand Canyon, I can’t come up with it. I guess that’s why they call it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

The vistas are incredible and offer a window into the region’s unique geology. The canyon is immense (over a million acres!) and there’s a lot to see. Grand Canyon plane tours are the best way to see a large portion of this magnificent region.

Here are some interesting facts about this fascinating place:

  • It averages 10 miles wide, but its widest point is 18 miles
  • 277 miles in length
  • Over a mile deep
  • It took the Colorado River hundreds of millions of years to create the chasm by eroding the rock of the Kaibab Plateau
  • There are three main strata in the canyon: the Paleozoic layer, the Supergroup layer, and the Vishnu Basement layer, which consists of some of the oldest exposed rock on Earth.

Flights from Las Vegas

Grand Canyon plane tours fly every day from Las Vegas. Landing tours and air-only tours are offered, so take your pick – both types fly over majestic Hoover Dam and scenic Lake Mead. Air-only tours are terrific for folks who are short on time or have a limited budget. That being said, I have to admit that landing tours are my favorites. There are some great ones out there.

Personally, I think the best of them is the package that includes a chopper flight down to the canyon’s bottom and a float trip down the Colorado. One of the other popular air tours includes VIP access to the amazing Grand Canyon Skywalk. At its apex you’ll be standing 70 feet past the edge of the rim and 4,000 feet above the canyon’s bottom!

One of the other Vegas air tours flies directly to the South Rim in less than 60 minutes. Compare that to the 5 ½-hour bus ride to get to the same place! These Grand Canyon plane tours come with a 2 ½-hour bus tour of the National Park. A fabulous helicopter ride through Dragoon Corridor is an exciting optional add-on.

South Rim Flights

South Rim air tours fly daily out of Grand Canyon National Park Airport (GCA) in Tusayan, AZ. They come in two versions: a basic 30-minute flight and a more comprehensive 50-minute version. I strongly recommend the longer tour.

Among other things, you’ll see the eastern portions of the National Park, where Marble Canyon is at. Other sights near the Park’s eastern boundary include the Colorado Confluence (the point where the Colorado and the Little Colorado River come together) and the only bridge connecting the South and North Rims.

Your plane will then head for the pristine wilderness of the North Rim, isolated and closed to the public from November through April. Abundant plants and wildlife (California condors, elk, mountain lions, gray fox, big horn sheep and a variety of hawks) thrive in the North Rim’s stand of Ponderosa Pines, the largest in the country. From there, you’ll fly through dramatic Dragoon Corridor – the deepest, widest part of the entire canyon – on the way back to landing at GCA.

Summing Up

The Grand Canyon is huge, and it’s impossible to see much of it from the ground in just a day or two. It would be a shame to see only a small portion of the National Park while you’re there. A plane tour won’t show you all of it, but it will get you pretty close. That’s why so many people love them!