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. 

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?

Grand Canyon 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.

Type 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. 

We list some of the most popular helicopter tours over the Grand Canyon –

Over West Rim

Over South Rim


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Is the Grand Canyon helicopter tour worth it?

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 $100 per person. That’s why we recommend helicopter tours with landings and activities, which makes the trip even more memorable. 


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Grand Canyon helicopter tour’s video


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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. 


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Price of Grand Canyon helicopter tours

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.

The cheapest helicopter tour over Grand Canyon West Rim, which starts from Las Vegas costs $234 per person.

The popular 45-minute helicopter tour over the South Rim which takes off from Grand Canyon Village, Tusayan, Arizona, is priced at $280 per person.

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. 

Gratuities

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

Hotel pick up and drop

All helicopter tours from Las Vegas and Boulder City offer pickup and drop from Las Vegas hotels. 

This facility is included in the cost of the tour.


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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.

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.

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. Helicopter Flight Over the Grand Canyon South Rim from Tusayan, Arizona

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
Narration: By the pilot
Tour Operator: Maverick Helicopters

Cost of the tour: $280 / person

See available dates & read reviews

3. 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. 

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.

Bus Tour from Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim, with helicopter landing

This is a day long tour from Las Vegas to the South Rim, in an air-conditioned bus with all the facilities 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, lasts 14 hours
Duration in the air: 25 minutes
Narration: By the pilot
Tour Operator: GrayLine Las Vegas

Cost of the tour: $323 / person

See available dates & read reviews

4. 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 West Rim.

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. 

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

5. 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.

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

6. 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 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, 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

7. 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.

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: 5 Star Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours

Cost of the tour: $489 / person

See available dates & read reviews

8. Grand Canyon Heli tour with Western Ranch Experience

This trip is an eight-hour tour that starts with a drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon Western Ranch in the West Rim.

From the Ranch, you board a helicopter for a 20-minute ride above Arizona’s stunning Grand Canyon. 

You get back to the Ranch for a Western-style barbecue accompanied by cowboys’ tales and the Native American history. 

If you prefer, you can also go on a 45-minute ride on horseback that follows parts of the historical Mormon Trail through Joshua Tree National Park.

Departure: Pick up from your hotel in Las Vegas

Tour timings: 8 am
Duration in the air: 20+ minutes
Narration: By the Pilot
Tour Operator: Grand Canyon Western Ranch

Cost of the tour: $479 / person

See available dates & read reviews

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


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Cheapest Grand Canyon helicopter tours

The 25-minute air tour offered by Papillon Helicopters is the cheapest helicopter tour over Grand Canyon National Park and costs only $234 per person. 

The 45-minute trip offered by Maverick Helicopters at the price of $280 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 $329 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 $160 per passenger. 


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Best time for Grand Canyon helicopter tour

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.

But then, thats a small sacrifice one makes while exploring one of the seven natural wonders of the world.

Grand Canyon helicopter in morning or afternoon?

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. 


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Weight limits for Grand Canyon helicopter tours

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.


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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 $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. 


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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.

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