Grand Canyon is one of the world’s most spectacular natural formations, carved out by the meandering Colorado River millions of years ago.

It attracts six million people annually, most of whom travel to the natural wonder from Las Vegas. 

There are three ways to explore the tourist attraction – self-drive, coach tour, and a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon. 

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

How far is Grand Canyon from Las Vegas

The distance from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon depends on the part of the Grand Canyon you plan to visit. 

Distance from Las Vegas

DestinationDistance from Las Vegas
Grand Canyon West210 kms (130 miles)
Grand Canyon South450 kms (280 miles)
Grand Canyon North434 kms (270 miles)

Public transport from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon hasn’t evolved much, mostly because Arizona is a sparsely populated state. 

That’s why it is much better to either drive, book a coach tour, or a helicopter tour. 

Travel time to Grand Canyon

Cars and coaches usually take two and a half hours to cover the 210 kms (130 miles) to Grand Canyon West. 

Helicopters cover the distance between Las Vegas and Grand Canyon West much faster – they take only 40 minutes.

Since it takes 5 hours, one way, it is challenging to drive your car to Grand Canyon South Rim and be back the same day.

If you plan to visit the South Rim, 14-hour coach tours work out better. 

Helicopters don’t fly to South Rim because they are beyond the range.


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When to take a helicopter tour of Grand Canyon

  • If you want to see the Grand Canyon in all its grandeur, from above
  • If you want to fly between the steep Grand Canyon walls and experience a floor landing
  • If you have less time on your hands because coach tours from Vegas to Grand Canyon take up to 12 hours
  • If money isn’t an issue, but a memorable experience and the adrenalin rush matters

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Airports in and near Las Vegas

Most helicopter tours leaving from Las Vegas include hotel pickup and drop-off. So you don’t need to worry about reaching the heliport. 

Air tours from Las Vegas fly out from one of these three heliports – 

1. McCarran airport

McCarran Airport is 10 minutes from downtown Las Vegas, and a taxi ride from the Strip costs $15. However, most hotels offer shuttle service to the airport. 

2. Henderson executive eirport

Henderson Executive Airport is 27 kms (17 miles) from the Las Vegas strip, and you can reach it in 25 minutes. 

An equal number of Grand Canyon helicopters and tours take off from this heliport. 

3. Boulder city airport

Boulder City Airport is 30 km (19 miles) from Las Vegas and usually takes half an hour by car. 

All heli tours starting from Boulder City offer a pickup and drop, so the distance is not something to worry about.

Note: Visitors who have time on their hands (and want to save money!) opt for coach tours to Grand Canyon. Once at the attraction, they take off from the heliport in Grand Canyon Village for an aerial tour of the natural wonder. 


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Which Grand Canyon helicopter tour to book?

With so many heli tours available, it is normal to get overwhelmed. 

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

  1. How much time do you have?
  2. Do you want to explore Grand Canyon South Rim or Grand Canyon West Rim?
  3. Do you want to include an adventure activity to your Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

Duration of the tour

It would be best if you first decided on how much time you have because that will help you choose the perfect Grand Canyon experience. 

For instance, if you only have 4 to 5 hours, you can opt for this 4-hour air-only tour of Grand Canyon.

Or if you can afford to spare half a day, you can book this eight-hour helicopter tour with a landing on Canyon’s floor.

If you have the whole day at your disposal, you can opt for this 12-hour trip by a coach that includes a 20-minute helicopter tour.

South Rim or West Rim

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 West is 210 km (130 miles), and the South Rim is 450 km (280 miles) from Las Vegas. 

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

If you are traveling with kids, South Rim is the better choice despite the distance because of its numerous hotels, restaurants, and cultural experiences.

If you want a quick tour of the natural wonder and some adventurous activities, Grand Canyon West is a better option. 

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

At the West Rim, your helicopter can land on the canyon floor, board a boat and float on the Colorado River or go river rafting.

Type of activity

Some tours only fly you over the 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. 

There are many kinds of activities that get clubbed with a chopper tour over the Grand Canyon. We list them below – 


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West Rim helicopter tour from Las Vegas

When you fly over the West Rim, you experience the Grand Canyon in the real sense. 

You soar over the stunning landscapes of the Mojave Desert, Hoover Dam, Colorado River, and the Grand Canyon, and if you have booked a helicopter tour with a landing, also descend within the walls of the Canyon. 

Such tours take you 1.2 km (three-fourths of a mile) under the Rim and land on a remote Grand Canyon’s bluff. 

When you opt for Grand Canyon West Rim’s helicopter tour from Las Vegas, you can combine multiple tour experiences and activities. 

We list them below – 

1. Grand Canyon West Rim Air-Only Helicopter Tour

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.

Image: 5starhelicoptertours.com

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

Tip: If you opt for the Early Bird departure, you can save $30 per person.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings: 7.30 am to 6 pm
Duration in the air: 150+ minutes
Narration: By the Pilot
Tour Operator: 5 Star Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

Cost of the tour: $329 / person

See available dates & read reviews

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

2. Bus Tour from Vegas to Grand Canyon West Rim, with helicopter landing

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. 

Tourists at Grand Canyon West Rim. Image: Graylinelasvegas.com

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, lasts 12 hours
Duration in the air: 15 minutes
Narration: By the pilot
Tour Operator: GrayLine Las Vegas

Cost of the tour: $390 / person

See available dates & read reviews

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

3. Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour with Landing from Henderson Executive Airport

This four-hour tour of Grand Canyon starts with a hotel pickup and a quick drive to Henderson Executive Airport just south of Las Vegas.

During the 40-minute helicopter flight, you fly over Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Fortification Hill, till you hit the mighty Colorado River’s path and reach the Grand Canyon.

The helicopter descends between the Canyon’s walls and lands on a private bluff above the Colorado River, where you enjoy a Champagne toast with a light snack.

After memories get created, you board your chopper for the flight back over the Canyon towards Las Vegas. 

It is also known as the Wind Dancer Helicopter tour.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings: 8 am, 9 am, 11 am, 12 noon, 1 pm, 2 pm
Duration in the air: 100 minutes
Narration: Recorded Commentary
Tour Operator: Maverick Helicopters

Cost of the tour: $429 / person

See available dates & read reviews

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

4. Grand Canyon Heli Tour With Below the Rim Landing and Skywalk

Your Grand Canyon bound chopper takes off from Henderson Executive Airport just south of Las Vegas. 

Once you land at West Rim, you head for Eagle Point, home to the Skywalk glass-bottom walkway.

You can then visit Highpoint Hike for breathtaking panoramic views of the Grand Canyon, and the Hualapai Ranch for some cowboy entertainment.

You can upgrade the package for a below the rim landing for an even greater appreciation of this magnificent natural wonder.

Image: Maverickhelicopter.com

Your seven-hour tour comes to an end when you get dropped back to your hotel. 

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings: 8 am, 9 am and 11 am
Duration in the air: 120+ minutes
Narration: By the Pilot
Tour Operator: Maverick Helicopters

Cost of the tour: $429 / person

See available dates & read reviews

5. Grand Canyon Helicopter Flight and Colorado River Float

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 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. 

Boat tour through the Black Canyon. Image: 5starhelicoptertours.com

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, 7.30 am and 8 am
Duration in the air: 90+ minutes
Narration: By the Pilot
Tour Operator: 5 Star Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

Cost of the tour: $469 / person

See available dates & read reviews

6. Three-in-one Grand Canyon tour – airplane, helicopter, shuttle

You will spend the first part of this 7-hour long tour on a fixed-wing aircraft. 

On your way to the Grand Canyon, the flight passes over attractions such as the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Fortification Hill, etc.

Image: Maverickairlines.com

Once your airplane lands at the Grand Canyon airport, you transfer to a chopper for a ride below the Canyon rim and land on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River. 

Next on the agenda is a visit to Eagle Point, to walk on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, a glass walkway 1219 meters (4,000 feet) above the Canyon’s floor. 

In the third leg of this tour, you take a shuttle to Guano Point to see the Grand Canyon up close.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings: 9 am
Duration in the air: 120+ minutes
Narration: By the Pilot
Tour Operator: Maverick Airlines

Cost of the tour: $489 / person

See available dates & read reviews


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South Rim helicopter tours from Las Vegas

The Grand Canyon South Rim is the more picturesque of the two and consists of the widest and deepest parts of the natural wonder. 

This Rim of the Canyon is also known as the Grand Canyon National Park.

Since South Rim is further from Las Vegas, it isn’t accessible by helicopters. 

Image: Graylinelasvegas.com

However, you can take a 2 hours and 20 minutes airplane flight to get to South Rim.

Or you can take a bus tour from Las Vegas to the South Rim.

Once you reach the destination, you can board one of the latest sightseeing helicopters for breathtaking aerial views of the Grand Canyon South Rim.

We list all tours to South Rim below – 

1. Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tour with Optional Helicopter flight

After you get picked up from your Las Vegas hotel, you board an air-conditioned, luxury motor coach, which passes through the Mojave Desert, Black Mountains, Grand Wash Cliffs of Arizona on its way to the South Rim. 

Upon reaching the Grand Canyon, you relax over lunch and then start exploring the Southern Rim of the natural wonder. 

You make scenic stops at Bright Angel Lodge, Mather Point, etc., and understand the Canyon’s history, geology, and wildlife.

You upgrade for a 25-minute helicopter flight over the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings: Starts early, 14 hours long
Duration in the air: 25 minutes
Narration: By the Pilot
Tour Operator: Gray Line Las Vegas

Cost of the tour: $324 / person

See available dates & read reviews

2. Deluxe Grand Canyon South Rim Airplane Tour

Luxury coaches take a long time, and helicopters don’t have the range to reach the South Rim.

That’s why if money isn’t an issue, and you are short on time, we recommend this airplane tour to get from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon South Rim. 

This Grand Canyon experience begins with a Las Vegas hotel pickup, followed by a quick trip to Henderson Executive Airport.

A Beechcraft 1900D aircraft takes you to the South Rim, where you spend two and half hours exploring the Arizonian natural wonder. 

You can upgrade your experience to include a breathtaking helicopter ride over the Tower of Ra, Dragon Corridor, Kaibab National Forest, and the mighty Colorado River.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings: 7 hours tour
Duration in the air: 25+ minutes
Narration: By the Pilot
Tour Operator: Maverick Helicopters

Cost of the tour: $340 / person

See available dates & read reviews

Bonus tours 

  1. This trip is a popular tour that doesn’t leave from Las Vegas but includes a helicopter ride over the South Rim: 45-minute Helicopter Flight Over Grand Canyon South Rim from Tusayan, Arizona
  2. This trip departs from Las Vegas to explore South Rim, but there is no helicopter flight over the Canyon: Grand Canyon South Rim Day Tour from Las Vegas for just $95
  3. If you want the above South Rim tour but with additional luxury, check out this Grand Canyon National Park VIP Tour from Las Vegas
  4. Want to spend more time at the Grand Canyon South Rim? Check out this 2-day Grand Canyon South Rim Adventure Tour

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Grand Canyon heli tours from Las Vegas – things to know

In this section, we share everything you must know about Grand Canyon tours from Sin City. 

Helicopters used

All helicopter tours from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon are world-class experiences. 

They use choppers such as A-Star, Bell Ranger, EcoStar 130, etc. built, especially for sightseeing.

These helicopters have massive windows for 180 degrees of unrestricted viewing, forward-facing seats, quiet interiors (the noise-cancellation headphones also help), and narration in multiple languages.

Weight limits

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

Depending on the helicopter, the limit can either be 113 Kgs (250 lbs) or 136 Kgs (300 lbs).

To know what weight limits will apply, first choose the tour that best suits your needs and then check out the fine print on the ticket booking page.

Seating arrangement 

For a safe flight, the pilot ensures that the passengers’ weight is distributed evenly in the helicopter. 

That’s why while booking the tour, the operator requests for your weight. 

On the tour day, the passengers are seated by the aircraft’s weight and balance calculations to ensure a safe and stable flight. 

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.

Kids in Grand canyon heli tours

Infant rates apply for kids 24 months and below, and adult rates apply for all other passengers.

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

During the tour, the infants must sit on the parents’ lap.

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

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