Grand Canyon is one of the best places in the world to catch a sunset (or a sunrise!). 

Standing on the massive Grand Canyon’s edge is breathtaking, inspiring, and overwhelming and fills every visitor’s heart with happiness. 

The joy multiplies manifold when the sun is setting and on its way down, creates celestial hues against nature’s massive canvas. 

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

Grand Canyon during sunset – some pictures

During sunset Grand Canyon comes alive with vivid colors, dancing light, and shadows of all shapes and sizes.

Check out some of the photos of Grand Canyon taken when the sun was going down – 

Image: Sunset.com
Image: Smartertravel.com
Image: Mattpaynephotography.com
Image: Danandchristine.com

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Grand Canyon sunset times

We list out the approximate sunset times, during each season –

Winter timings

DateSunriseSunset
1 January7:38 am5:25 pm
15 January7:38 am5:37 pm
1 February7:29 am5:55 pm
15 February7:16 am6:09 pm
1 March6:57 am6:24 pm
15 March6:38 am6:36 pm

Spring timings

DateSunriseSunset
1 April6:14 am6:50 pm
15 April5:54 am7:02 pm
1 May5:35 am7:16 pm
15 May5:22 am7:27 pm
1 June5:13 am7:40 pm
15 June5:11 am7:46 pm

Summer timings

DateSunriseSunset
1 July5:15 am7:49 pm
15 July5:23 am7:44 pm
1 August5:36 am7:32 pm
15 August5:46 am7:18 pm
1 September6:00 am6:55 pm
15 September6:11 am6:34 pm

Fall timings

DateSunriseSunset
1 October6:24 am6:11 pm
15 October6:35 am5:51 pm
1 November6:51 am5:32 pm
15 November7:05 am5:20 pm
1 December7:20 am5:14 pm
15 December6:32 am5:15 pm

Since air quality, amount of clouds, time of the day, and season contribute to the Grand Canyon view, everybody doesn’t get the same sunset experience. 

Calm, clear days offer spectacular sunrise and sunset.


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Grand Canyon sunset points 

It is difficult (or impossible!) to recommend the ‘best’ place to see the Grand Canyon sunset. 

The Canyon’s North, South, and West Rims stretch for hundreds of miles, offering numerous picture-perfect spots. 

However, based on visitor experiences, the better places to enjoy a sunset in the Grand Canyon is possible. 

The National Park Service suggests that to get the best sunset views, one needs to find viewpoints that offer views both to the east and the west. 

Best sunset points at South Rim

South Rim has more than twenty viewpoints, and many of them make for ideal sunset spots. 

Mather Point: You can see almost a quarter of the Grand Canyon from Mather Point – just the perfect spot for seeing the sun go down with all its colors blazing. 

Lipan Point: It is great to be at Lipan Point near Desert View Drive when the sun drapes the Grand Canyon in its colorful hue. You get to see the winding Colorado River, the geological layers of inner Gorge, Grand Canyon Supergroup (mesmerizing sedimentary rock formation) in multiple colors.

The other viewing points along Desert View Drive that offer great east and west panoramas include Yaki, Navajo, and Desert View.

Hopi Point: Hopi Point on Hermit Road is the first spot on the South Rim Trail, where much of the western portion of the Grand Canyon becomes visible. It is famous as an evening viewpoint and attracts crowds in buses, especially in the summer.

Along the Hermit Road, two other spots offer beautiful sunset views – Mohave and Pima Points. Both of them are less congested, and you get to see the glittering Colorado River a mile below.

Sunset at West Rim

While the South Rim is part of the Grand Canyon National Park, the West Rim is on Hualapai tribal lands. 

Thus, they follow different rules of entry and also have a time of entry and exit. 

Grand Canyon West’s operating hours are from 8 am to 6 pm, effectively ruling them out as a place where you can enjoy a relaxing sunset. 

Also, at the Grand Canyon West, you can’t drive to viewpoints. 

You must pay a park entrance fee, park your car and take the designated shuttles to the different spots. 


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Grand Canyon sunset helicopter tour

To experience Grand Canyon’s sunset, you have two options – book a road trip or a helicopter tour. 

In this section, we share three of the most popular sunset helicopter tours to Grand Canyon.

1. Grand Canyon Sunset Helicopter Tour from Las Vegas

This trip is the best way to see the Grand Canyon sunset, from Las Vegas.

It is also known as the Grand Canyon Wind Dancer Sunset Tour.

You get picked up from your Las Vegas and take off from a helipad near the city. 

The chopper flies over Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, Fortification Hill, etc., offering excellent views till the Grand canyon. 

Once the Grand Canyon West is explored from above, you land on a private bluff within the natural wonder’s steep walls. 

You raise a Champagne toast to celebrate the occasion and have a light snack even as you enjoy the Colorado River’s stunning views. 

As the sun starts going below the horizon, the helicopter takes off so that you can see the ball of fire paint the Grand Canyon in multicolor.

Your flight back to Las Vegas has a surprise ending, as the pilot takes the chopper closer to the Las Vegas strip for you to see it all lit up. 

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas
Tour timings: Starts at 4 pm, lasts for 4 hours 30 minutes
Duration in the air: 90+ minutes
Narration: By the pilot
Tour Operator: Maverick Helicopters
Cost of the tour: $529 / person

See available dates & read reviews

2. Grand Canyon Helicopter Flight and Sunset Valley of Fire Landing

After getting picked up from your hotel in Las Vegas, you drive half an hour to reach Boulder City.

You take off from a helipad in the city and see stunning views of the surrounding attractions during your 35-minute long flight to Grand Canyon West.

You will fly 48 kms (30 miles) over the natural wonder before turning towards Valley of Fire. 

The helicopter touches down at the Valley of Fire so that you can catch up with the sunset even as you sip on some champagne. 

After thirty minutes of watching the sunset, you fly back to Boulder City. 

On your way back to Boulder, you can choose to check out the Las Vegas Strip.

Route of Grand Canyon Valley of Fire Helicopter tour. Image: 5starhelicoptertours.com

After this trip, you will realize why contrasting colors and striking rock formations of Valley of Fire State Park have always been featured in movies and advertisements. 

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas
Tour timings: Starts at 4.30 pm, and lasts 4 hours
Duration in the air: 80+ minutes
Narration: By the pilot
Tour Operator: 5 Star Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours
Cost of the tour: $480 / person

See available dates & read reviews

3. Grand Canyon sunset helicopter tour with dinner

This trip is a VIP Grand Canyon experience, including a luxury sunset helicopter tour and gourmet dinner. 

Image: Serenityhelicopters.com

A luxury Mercedes van picks you up from your Las Vegas hotel and transfers you to Boulder City, from where the chopper takes off.

After a 35-minute flight, you land at the Grand Canyon’s West Rim for a delicious dinner outdoors, with proper tables, chairs, fine china, flowers, Champagne, and the sunset. 

After enjoying the canyon walls’ ever-changing colors, you board your helicopter for the return flight.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas
Tour timings: Lasts 5 hours
Duration in the air: 80+ minutes
Narration: By the pilot
Tour Operator: Serenity Helicopters
Cost of the tour: $480 / person

See available dates & read reviews


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Other popular Grand Canyon sunset tours

If you are not particular about a helicopter tour to see the Grand Canyon sunset, you have far more options. 

By road, Grand Canyon sunset tours from Las Vegas last 14 hours.

If you don’t mind the travel, check out this Small-Group Sunset Tour or if you prefer luxury, opt for this private tour from Vegas

The Signature Hummer Tour, which starts from the Grand Canyon Village, is a great way to see the sunset from the best lookout points.

If you book the Off-Road Safari Sunset Tour, you visit Yavapai Point, Pipe Creek Canyon, and a few other viewpoints before settling down at Grandview Point to witness a magnificent sunset.

If you want to combine your sunset tour of the Grand Canyon with a 34-minute IMAX movie about the attraction, check out this open-air Jeep Wrangler tour from Tusayan.

Tourists holidaying in Phoenix or different parts of Arizona, either opt for the sunset tour from Sedona or from Flagstaff


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How to enjoy Grand Canyon sunset

Find a viewing spot you are comfortable with at least an hour before sunset, and plant yourself. 

The location isn’t as important as you and your group’s state of mind. 

The key is not to be impatient and let nature do its work – paint the canvas in front of it in all the colors.

Enjoy the sun slowly disappearing into the horizon, sacrificing itself so that you get to enjoy bliss. 

Stay at least 15 minutes after the sun has gone down – for sometimes, the sky may light up in red, pink, or orange. 

If you have time on your hand, stay for half an hour more so that you can see the Grand Canyon’s night sky as well. 

Check out some of the best sunset helicopter tours in the World.

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