Learn Which Rim Is Best for Your Grand Canyon Sightseeing Trip

The Grand Canyon is an immense structure with spectacular views. There are three different rims you can visit, West, South, and North, each with their own unique sights, activities and experiences. So which rim is right for you? Let Maverick Helicopters help you determine the rim that is the best choice for your Grand Canyon sightseeing tour.

West Rim

The West Rim, known as Grand Canyon West, is only 121 miles from Las Vegas. Sitting just outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park, The West Rim is part of a Native American reservation owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe. It's best known for the Skywalk, a U-shaped glass walkway that juts out over the Grand Canyon—suspending you 4,000 feet high—providing unparalleled views of the canyon floor below. Other points-of-interest at The West Rim include:

  • Guano Point, meaning bat droppings, was named for an old fertilizer mine active in the 1930s. The ruins of the mine are still there for you to explore.
  • See where movies such as Into the Wild and Next were filmed on location at the West Rim.
  • A one-day whitewater-rafting trip.
  • Visit to an Old West town at Hualapai Ranch, with horseback tours, roping, and axe throwing.
Discover the Grand Canyon West Tour.

South Rim

The South Rim is 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 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. Some of the amazing things you can see and do around the South Rim include:

  • The Watchtower - A circular, 70-foot-high re-creation of an ancient Indian tower.
  • The Tusayan Museum - This features the 800-year-old ruins of an Anasazi village.
  • Scenic drives, walking trails and lookout points.
  • Popular hiking trails leading down into the canyon including the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails.
  • Famed mule trips.
Check out Maverick Helicopters tours to the South Rim.

North Rim

The North Rim isn't as easily accessible as either the West or South Rims. Located about 275 miles from Las Vegas, there's very little in the way of transportation 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, which means temperatures are colder than the other rims. In fact, due to heavy snowfall during the winter months, travel to the North Rim is only accessible from mid-May through mid-October. There are fewer facilities for visitors and the nearest towns are Fredonia, AZ (72 miles) and Page, AZ - about 123 miles away. 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. The popular viewpoints include:

  • Point Imperial, 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, which provides an amazing panorama up, down and across the canyon.


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