Friday, October 15, 2010

"Las Vegas Day Trips - Taking a Helicopter to the Bottom of the Grand Canyon"

Riding a Las Vegas Helicopter to the Bottom of the Grand Canyon

Only the fittest of people can hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back in a day. I applaud them. I'm sure they trained hard. But for the rest of us, why not hop a helicopter and make the 4,000-foot descent in 10 minutes?

The South and West Rims are the focal points for Grand Canyon visitors. Helicopter flights are available at both locations, but it's only on the West Rim that you can land on the Canyon's floor.

Most flights usually leave from Las Vegas or Boulder City, NV. The West Rim is only 120 miles to the east. Expect to spend up to 45 minutes en route, and expect some fantastic sightseeing, including Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and parts of the Mojave Desert that look prehistoric.

You are now in Canyon country. The West Rim is much more arid than the South, which is located amid the largest stand of Ponderosa Pine in the U.S. The other main difference is the hue and color of the canyon, which is more subdued than what you will see at the South Rim.

The excitement reaches a crescendo as you leave the Rim and drop into the Canyon, descending nearly 4,000 feet until your helicopter softly lands on a makeshift helipad near the Colorado River, right square in Hualapai Indian territory.

Most helicopter tour operators, including Papillon, Maverick, and Sundance, let visitors deplane, toast their journey with Champagne, indulge in a small meal, and explore the surrounding area. Typical bottom time is about 30 minutes.

There are also air-only tours to the West Rim, as well as a variety of side-adventures, including Hummer tours, horseback rides, Western wagon rides, whitewater rafting, as well as a walk on the magnificent Grand Canyon Skywalk - a glass bridge that lets you feel like you are walking on air.

As I mentioned earlier, there are helicopter trips out of the South Rim, but they are prohibited from flying to below the rim and to the bottom. It means settling for a flight through the Dragoon Corridor, the widest, deepest part of the canyon, before reaching the solitary North Rim. Some the cleanest, clearest air exists here, and on clear days its easy to attain visibility of some 150 miles and more.

The helicopter flight back to Las Vegas is equally enjoyable. Depending on the pilot and the package you booked. I strongly suggest that you include an option to fly over the Las Vegas Strip. Its a great way to round out your trip to one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
4,000-foot helicopter descent to bottom of the Grand Canyon? Check out Keith Kravitz' tour ratings first at

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