Home » USA » Grand Canyon helicopter tours

Grand Canyon helicopter tours – prices, timings, West Rim, South Rim


A helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon is a great adrenalin rush everyone must experience at least once in their lifetime. 

It is one of the most popular things to do in Las Vegas among visitors. 

You soar through the scenic desert skies and experience from above the steep-sided Canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona.

Visitors also explore attractions such as Grand Canyon Village, the glass-bottomed Grand Canyon Skywalk, and indulge in off-road trails, rafting, etc. 

In this article, we share everything you must know before booking your Grand Canyon helicopter tour. 

Best Grand Canyon helicopter tours

Because of the intense competition among the Grand Canyon helicopter operators, all helicopter tours are world-class experiences. 

All the Grand Canyon tours use A-Star, Bell Ranger, or EcoStar 130 helicopters built for sightseeing.  

These choppers have massive windows, forward facing seats, quiet interiors (the noise-cancellation headphones also help). They are also heavier, which allows them to remain stable even during a sudden updraft. 

You just have to choose the tour that best suits your group’s preferences and book it in advance. 

We list our favorite helicopter tours to Grand Canyon, one of the world’s seven natural wonders.

Grand Canyon West Rim Air-Only Helicopter Tour

Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour
Image: viator.com

This four-hour tour of Grand Canyon West Rim starts with a hotel pickup and a drive to the heliport in Boulder City.

After the 30 minutes drive from Las Vegas to Boulder City, you will board a chopper for a 70-minute flight to the Grand Canyon. 

As part of this tour, you will fly 30 miles (48 kilometers) over the Grand Canyon – the longest available flight above and below the rim.

Once you have explored the majestic and yet rugged beauty of the Grand Canyon, you fly back to Boulder City.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings:

Extended Grand Canyon Flight9 am to 6.15 pm
Early Bird Departure7 am and 8 am

Duration in the air: 4 hours with 1 hour 30 minutes flight time

Tour Operator: 5 Star Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

Cost of the tour:

Extended Grand Canyon FlightUS$549 per person
Early Bird DepartureUS$499 per person

If you are short on time, check out this 3-hour tour of Grand Canyon onboard the luxurious A-Star helicopter.

Helicopter tour over South Rim from Tusayan, Arizona

Grand Canyon helicopter tour
Image: viator.com

This trip is one of the most popular helicopter tours over Grand Canyon and takes off from Grand Canyon Village, in Tusayan, Arizona.

This ECO-Star helicopter with huge panoramic windows takes off from South Rim and goes up to the North Rim. 

You get to see the Painted Desert, Desert View Watchtower, Marble Canyon, Point Imperial, Dragon Corridor, Colorado River, etc. 

Departure: 107 Corsair Dr, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023, USA

Tour timings: 8 am to 4.45 pm

Duration in the air: 45 minutes

Tour Operator: Maverick Helicopters

Cost of the tour: US$349 per person

Bus tour from Vegas with helicopter landing (West rim)

Grand Canyon West Rim Tour
Image: viator.com

You hop aboard a comfortable, air-conditioned bus with restrooms, reclining seats, and large windows for a two and a half-hour drive from Las Vegas to the West Rim. 

The standard package includes just a bus tour to the Grand Canyon, but you can upgrade to include a helicopter landing next to the Colorado River, a boat ride, and the Skywalk.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings: Starts early morning

Duration in the air: 12 hours with 8 hours flight time

Tour Operator: GrayLine Las Vegas

Cost of the tour:

Tour, and Helicopter LandingUS$494 per person
Tour, Helicopter, and SkywalkUS$528 per person

If you prefer a similar experience, but something cheaper, check out this coach trip + helicopter landing tour.

Bus tour from Vegas with helicopter landing (south rim)

Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tour
Image: viator.com

This is a day long tour from Las Vegas to the South Rim, in an air-conditioned bus with all the facilities like lunch and pick-up needed for a long drive.

The standard package includes only the bus tour to South Rim Grand Canyon, but you can upgrade to include a helicopter flight, IMAX movie, Jeep tour, etc.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings: Starts early morning

Duration in the air: 25 minutes

Tour Operator: GrayLine Las Vegas

Cost of the tour: US$426 per person

If you want a similar experience, but with a little bit of luxury thrown in, check out this deluxe helicopter tour from Las Vegas

Helicopter Flight and Colorado River Float

Grand Canyon helicopter tour & Boat ride
Image: viator.com

This 11-hour sightseeing adventure starts early, with a hotel pick up. 

You take off from the Boulder City airport on a helicopter and explore Grand Canyon West Rim from above, after which you fly back. 

For the second leg of the tour, you drive down from Boulder City to the Colorado River launch area at the Hoover Dam’s base. 

You board a comfortable raft and meander along the river through the Black Canyon. 

On the way, you stop at a secluded beach for a dip and then enjoy a picnic box lunch.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings: 7 am and 8 am

Duration in the air: 11 hours with 1 hour 10 minutes flight time

Tour Operator: 5 Star Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

Cost of the tour: US$699 per person

Grand Canyon West Helicopter Tour with Boat Ride

Grand Canyon West Rim
Image: viator.com

Make the most of your Grand Canyon tour as you explore it from air, ground, and water.

Take to the skies with a helicopter tour over the West Rim and land on the Canyon floor to explore by foot.

A 15-minute boat ride on the iconic Colorado River will give you a further immersive experience (figuratively!)

You can also upgrade to a meal-inclusive tour package.

Departure: Grand Canyon West, AZ 86434, USA. Get Directions.

Tour timings: 9 am to 3.30 pm

Duration in the air: 40 minutes

Tour Operator: Papillon Helicopters

Cost of the tour: US$319 / person

If you don’t want to limit yourself to helicopter tours, check out all Grand Canyon tours.

Back to Top

Cheapest Grand Canyon helicopter tours

Grand Canyon helicopter tour
Image: viator.com

The 25-minute air tour offered by Papillon Helicopters is the cheapest helicopter tour over Grand Canyon National Park and costs only US$249 per person. 

The 45-minute trip offered by Maverick Helicopters at the price of US$349 per person is the best value for money helicopter tour over Grand Canyon.

Both the tours take off from Grand Canyon Village in Tusayan, Arizona.

At US$499 per person, the Grand Canyon West Rim air-only helicopter tour works out as the most economical option if you are short on time. The chopper takes off from Boulder City near Las Vegas.

If you want to keep your costs down but want to explore the Grand Canyon by air, fixed-wing airplane tours work out cheapest.

The Grand Canyon Landmarks Tour takes off from Grand Canyon airport and lasts 45 minutes. It costs only US$179 per passenger. 

Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour to book?

There are three factors you must consider before booking your aerial tour of Grand Canyon

  1. Do you want to explore Grand Canyon South Rim or Grand Canyon West Rim?
  2. From where do you want to start the tour?
  3. What type of Grand Canyon helicopter tour do you want?

South Rim vs West Rim

The Grand Canyon is divided into West Rim, South Rim, North Rim, and the East Rim.

The more accessible West Rim and the remote South Rim are two of the most popular destinations at Grand canyon. 

Before you book your helicopter tour, you must know which part of Grand Canyon you want to explore – the South Rim or the West Rim.

Grand Canyon South Rim

If it is your first time to Grand Canyon, it is better to book a South Rim helicopter tour and enjoy its breathtaking scenic beauty. 

The Grand Canyon helicopters aren’t allowed to fly below this rim or land on the bottom, but they fly through the stunning Dragoon Corridor, the Canyon’s broadest and deepest section.

The National Park Service manages the South Rim, which also boasts numerous hotels, restaurants, and cultural experiences.

More than 5 million explore the South Rim annually. 

Grand Canyon West

The Grand Canyon West region is equally good but less famous. 

It attracts two million tourists annually and is also referred to as Grand Canyon Lite. 

The Hualapai Indians manage it, and the star attraction of Grand Canyon West is the Grand Canyon Skywalk.

The West Rim offers more adventure, such as helicopter tours landing on the canyon floor and boat trips on the Colorado River.

Starting point of your tour

More than eighty percent of Grand Canyon helicopter tours take off from Las Vegas.

Since it is closer to Las Vegas, most of the helicopter tours fly to the West Rim. 

If you are in Vegas and want to explore the South Rim, it is best to book the Grand Canyon South Rim Day Trip with Optional Helicopter Tour.

Tourists can also board Grand Canyon helicopter tours from Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff, Scottsdale, Tusayan, and Laughlin in Nevada.

Types of helicopter tour

Visitors can opt for various types of Grand Canyon helicopter tours, depending on their preferences. 

Some tours only fly you over Grand Canyon and bring you back to the helipad from where you took off. 

However, if both budget and time isn’t a concern, it is best to opt for tours that include multiple activities. 

Back to Top

Weight restrictions

The passenger weight restrictions depend on the helicopter assigned for the Grand Canyon tour.

Beyond a certain weight, passengers must purchase an additional seat that is payable directly to the tour operator on the day of the trip. 

On bigger helicopters, passengers exceeding 136 Kgs (300 lbs) must purchase an additional seat. 

For smaller helicopters, the limit is 113 Kgs (250 lbs). 

To know what restrictions you will fall under, you must first choose the tour that best suits your needs and then check out the fine print on the ticket booking page.

Seating arrangement of passengers

Before take-off for Grand Canyon, the pilot and the ground staff will make sure the passengers’ weight is distributed evenly in the helicopter. 

Seating is allocated by the aircraft’s weight and balance calculations to ensure a safe and stable flight. 

To achieve this balance, they may even seat you in the middle. 

Sitting in the middle does affect your view, but not so much as to risk your safety.

Window Seat

Since passengers are seated based on the chopper’s weight and balance calculations, a window seat during your Grand Canyon tour isn’t guaranteed. 

Since most of the helicopters have seven seats – one pilot and six passengers – you have a 66 percent (4 out of 6) chance of getting a seat with an excellent view. 

Even the middle seats offer brilliant views, just that they aren’t as good as the window seats.

Note: With some tour operators, you can offer to pay US$50 extra for a window seat (on the day of your tour). It is not guaranteed, but they make their best possible attempt, keeping in mind the helicopter’s weight balance. You pay only if you end up in a window seat. 

Back to Top

Kids in Grand canyon heli tours

Infants 24 months and under must sit on the parents’ lap, and infant rates apply.

Adult rates apply for all passengers older than two years. 

Parents must carry the kid’s birth certificate or passport as the kid’s proof of age. 

Children below 18 can’t go on helicopter tours by themselves – they must be accompanied by an adult.

All passengers 18 years and older must show photo ID such as a driver’s license or passport at the time of check-in.

Note: Parents must carry the infants while exploring the Grand Canyon Skywalk.


The cost of the Grand Canyon helicopter tour depends on the amount of time you spend in the air, where you take off from, the attractions you see, extras such as a below the rim landing, picnic, etc.

All passengers older than 24 months and above must buy the adult tickets.

Kids two years and below can sit on the parent’s lap, and thus need to buy infant tickets.


Food and drinks are mostly not included in your tickets unless stated otherwise.

Some tours come with the option to upgrade your tour package to one that includes meals.

Fuel fee

Fuel fee must be paid separately and directly to the supplier of your tour and is not included in your ticket.


It is customary to tip the pilot and other ground staff, but unfortunately, gratuities are not part of the helicopter tour price.

Is the Grand Canyon helicopter tour worth it?

Image: Youtube

If you are holidaying in the region and have one day to explore the Grand Canyon, a helicopter tour is totally worth your money.

The Grand Canyon offers stunning visuals, and the best way to appreciate its size and grandeur is from above. 

Even a short helicopter tour will give you a better understanding of the Canyon’s depth and complexity than you can achieve just standing on the rim.

We agree that time in a helicopter can be quite a splurge for most of us, but you must try fitting in a ride into your vacation. It will be worth your time and money. 

Tip: Usually, the difference between a short helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon and a much longer experience (without a helicopter tour) is less than US$100 per person. That’s why we recommend helicopter tours with landings and activities, which makes the trip even more memorable.

Best time for Grand Canyon helicopter tour

Grand Canyon West Helicopter Tour
Image: viator.com

The time you visit the Grand Canyon decides how much you enjoy your trip.

During summer, West Rim gets hot, with temperatures reaching 37 degrees Celcius (100 degrees Fahrenheit), almost every day. 

The South Rim’s summer temperatures are cooler because it is 6,000 feet above sea level.

These high temperatures don’t affect you if you are only planning to fly over the Grand Canyon. 

However, if you plan to book a tour involving a Rim landing or other activities, this heat can affect you.

As the day progresses, the air over the Grand Canyon gets hazy affecting visibility, and the wind starts blowing, making the flight turbulent. 

Grand Canyon helicopter tours that take off in the morning (before noon) offer the best experience because of better visibility and smoother flight.

If you visit during the summer months (especially July, August, and September), starting earlier helps you avoid the afternoon thunderstorms, which are a daily feature. 

Grand Canyon helicopter tours last minute

Visitors search for last-minute tours to Grand Canyon either because they are looking for a bargain or they planned late. 

If you have decided to visit the Grand Canyon at the last minute, don’t worry, there are enough tours for everybody

Here are a few tips to get good deals on Grand Canyon helicopters – 

Buy online

Even if you are late, always book Grand Canyon tours online – the best deals are always on the Internet. 

These Internet-only discounts and specials are possible because there is no human cost involved. 

Avoid hotel concierges as well, because they charge a commission.

Book in advance

When it comes to helicopter tours, there are no last-minute bargains. 

Since helicopters are in short supply, and since for shared helicopters, it is essential to have the minimum number of passengers to take off, the tour companies prefer to book everything in advance. 

To encourage early tour bookings, the tour operators don’t offer last minute discounts. 

When you book your helicopter tour at the eleventh hour, it isn’t easy to get your preferred time slot or the exact tour package. 

When it comes to booking a helicopter tour, the earlier, the better. 

Avoid booking at the destination

If you are looking for a bargain, the worst mistake you can make is booking your Grand Canyon helicopter tour at the Grand Canyon National Park.

The ticket kiosks at the location always offer premium rates because they know you don’t have any other choice. 

Cancellation Policy

For a full refund, cancel at least 24 hours before your tour date. 

If you cancel less than 24 hours before the experience’s start time, a 100% percent cancellation fee is applicable.

No changes are allowed within 24 hours of the experience’s start time.

Helicopter tours require good weather. 

If the tour is canceled due to poor weather, you may be offered a different date or a full refund.

Grand Canyon tours

# Grand Canyon helicopter tours from Las Vegas
# Grand Canyon West Rim helicopter tours
Grand Canyon South Rim helicopter tours
# Grand Canyon helicopter tours at sunset

Recommended Reading

# Prepare for first helicopter tour experience
# Clothes to wear on helicopter tours
# How to over come the fear of flying
Scuba Diving – how long to waiting before flying
Why helicopter tours are worth it
FAQs about Helicopter tours

^Back to Top

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!