With just two weeks left until Labor Day, it’s time to start making getaway plans. If you want something that you’re going to remember for a long time, then you need to go and see the South Rim of the Grand Canyon from a helicopter. You should also know that you’re going to need to book within the next few days, as these tours are extremely popular and they will sell out before September 5.
Exploring the South Rim
The South Rim is less commercialized than the West Rim, and many would also call it more rugged and wilder. Helicopters fly from the small town of Tusayan in Arizona, which is easily accessible from Sedona, Phoenix, Williams, and Flagstaff. Even if you’re in a city like Vegas, you could still drive to Tusayan (about five and a half hours), or you could take a one-hour flight from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon National Airport.
South Rim tours can’t land inside the canyon, as this is strictly forbidden by the park service. However, the aerial sightseeing is second to none, and here you will see some of the most remote and the most rugged terrain in North America. There are two different helicopter tours that you can choose from, one being a 30 minute tour, and the other lasting for 50 minutes. Take my advice and go for the longer tour, because this allows you to see so much more.
Comparing the Tours
On the 30 minute tour you will fly from the South Rim, up to the remote North Rim, and back again. On your journey you will fly through some truly impressive sections of the canyon, such as the Dragoon Corridor, the widest and deepest section of the entire Grand Canyon.
That tour on its own is pretty breathtaking, but the extended tour gives you a significantly better experience, for a reasonable increase in ticket price. It includes the same route as the shorter tour, with the extra time being given to the North Rim and the western boundary of the park. In fact, this tour will allow you to see a whopping 75% of the entire National Park, which is unheard of on any other kind of tour. You will witness wild Buffalo roaming and you will also see the Confluence of the Colorado and Little Colorado Rivers from the air.
Ground & Air Tour Package
The South Rim has another advantage over Las Vegas and the West Rim, and that is the option to take a combined helicopter and Jeep tour. It includes a 30 minute helicopter ride, as well as a two hour tour throughout the National Park. Seeing things from the ground offers you a whole new perspective, and two hours allows you plenty of time for photos and marveling in awe at your surroundings.
There are both deluxe and basic tours available, with basic tours operating mostly from Bell helicopters, while the Deluxe tours use newer EcoStar helicopters. Deluxe is the best choice if you can make it work with your budget. You will have a better view through a 180 degree viewing window, and the helicopter is larger, with the best seat layout in the industry.
Remember it will be hot at the Grand Canyon, so if you’re taking a Jeep tour, dress light, and apply plenty of sunscreen. You should also bring along some salty snacks, and bottled water for your trip.
Because Labor Day is coming up soon, you will need to book soon, and make sure you complete your booking online with your credit card. Not only will this mean that you can lock in your tickets, but you’ll also get the best prices (the ones that are only available online).