Grand Canyon Sightseeing | West Rim Tour | South Rim Tour | North Rim Tour

Learn which rim is best for your Grand Canyon sightseeing trip.


West, South or North—From Every Direction The Grand Canyon Is Spectacular! The Grand Canyon is huge. In fact, it’s so big that there are three different rims you can visit, and each one offers unique views, activities and experiences. Let Maverick Helicopters® help you determine which rim is right for your Grand Canyon Sightseeing trip.

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WEST RIM

Grand Canyon West Rim This rim is the one that’s located closest to Las Vegas. It’s only 121 miles away. The West Rim is also known as Grand Canyon West, and it’s part of a Native American reservation that is owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe. The West Rim is not actually part of the Grand Canyon National Park, as it lies just outside the park’s boundaries. It’s best known for being the home of the Skywalk, a U-shaped glass walkway that juts out over the Grand Canyon—suspending you 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. The weather tends to be warm here and very similar to that of Las Vegas. There are not many overnight facilities for visitors. You can stay in cabin-style accommodations; otherwise you have to drive to the Hualapai Lodge, which is about two hours away. Regarding viewpoints, the main one on the West Rim is called Guano Point. Its name means bat droppings, as it was the site of an old fertilizer mine in the 1930s. The ruins of the mine are still there for you to explore. You might recognize some of the scenery at the West Rim from the big screen because the movies Into the Wild and Next were recently filmed here. Some of the other activities you can enjoy in the area include a one-day whitewater-rafting trip, and a visit to an Old West town at Hualapai Ranch, where cowboys lead horseback tours and give lessons in roping and axe throwing.

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SOUTH RIM

Grand Canyon South Rim This is easily the most crowded and touristy rim being situated in the heart of the Grand Canyon National Park. It’s located farthest away from Las Vegas at 278 miles, but there are many helicopter, airplane and bus tours that venture here daily. With an average elevation of 7,000 feet, the South Rim can be chilly, and it does get snow in winter. There are a lot of accommodations and facilities here for visitors, as Grand Canyon Village is located on the lip of the rim. The South Rim is also positioned closest to the Colorado River, so it offers the best water views, as well as the most dramatic canyon views. There are many drives, walking trails and lookout points along this rim. In addition, the two most popular hiking trails leading down into the canyon (the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails) are found here—along with the famed mule trips. Some of the amazing things you can see around the South Rim include the Watchtower, which is a circular, 70-foot-high re-creation of an ancient Indian tower, and the Tusayan Museum, which features the 800-year-old ruins of an Anasazi village.

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NORTH RIM

Grand Canyon North Rim This rim isn’t as easily accessible as the other two. It’s located about 275 miles from Las Vegas, and there’s very little in the way of transport available to the North Rim. Most people drive here by car. The elevation at the North Rim is higher than the other rims by about 1,000 feet, so that means it’s colder and completely covered with snow during the winter months. In fact, you can only travel here from mid-May through mid-October. The North Rim tends to be less crowded, which also means there are fewer facilities for visitors. The nearest town of any size is Flagstaff, which is about 80 miles away from the Grand Canyon National Park entrance. Views of the Colorado River are rare and distant, but the scenery overall is wild and untamed. One main hiking path leads down into the canyon called the North Kaibab trail. There are fewer developed viewpoints on the North Rim and they are spaced far apart, so be prepared to do a lot of driving. These viewpoints offer a sense of looking across the expanse of the canyon, rather than down into its depths. Point Imperial is one of them, and also the highest place on the North Rim at 8,803 feet. It overlooks the Painted Desert and the eastern end of the Grand Canyon. Cape Royal is the other popular viewpoint, which provides an amazing panorama up, down and across the canyon.

At this time Maverick Helicopters does not offer tours to the North Rim.

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