Taking a Grand Canyon helicopter tour is an experience you will never forget. A birds-eye view of this natural wonder is superior to the crowded ground-level view and makes a Grand Canyon air tour totally worth it.
I first saw the Grand Canyon from one of the overlooks, and I was a bit disappointed because the ridge was full of people, and it was a cloudy day, so the views weren’t great. However, when I did the Grand Canyon airplane tour, it was completely different, and I got to see just how massive the canyon is.
If you want to fly over Grand Canyon, you have plenty of options. Helicopter tours depart from Grand Canyon Airport and Las Vegas and vary in duration, price, and route.
Plus, if you’re wondering, Can you take a helicopter ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? The answer is YES! Save yourself the strenuous hike to the bottom by booking a heli-tour with a below-the-rim landing.
Our Grand Canyon aerial tour was by far the best experience of our trip, and we cannot recommend it enough. If you want to see the Grand Canyon in all its glory, you must fly over it and we will tell you exactly how!
Top 10 Grand Canyon helicopter tours
The best Grand Canyon helicopter tour depends on several factors, such as your departure point, the duration, your budget, which sights you want to see, and your preferred mode of transport. Our list has several great options so you can choose the top Grand Canyon tour for your preferences.
- Golden Eagle Helicopter Tour – Best Grand Canyon helicopter tour from Las Vegas
- Grand Celebration Tour – Grand Canyon helicopter landing tour from Las Vegas
- Grand Voyager Tour – Grand Canyon airplane, helicopter, and boat tour from Las Vegas
- North Canyon Tour – Short Grand Canyon helicopter tour from the South Rim
- Imperial with EcoStar – Best Grand Canyon helicopter tour from the South Rim
- South Rim Grand Canyon Airplane Tour – The tour we took during our trip
- Native Explorer Tour with Legacy – Grand Canyon airplane tour from the West Rim
- Over the Edge Helicopter and Boat – Grand Canyon helicopter and boat tour from the West Rim
- Grand Celebration Sunset with Vegas Strip Tour – Private helicopter tour from Las Vegas
- Private Imperial with Ecostar – Private Grand Canyon helicopter tour from the South Rim
This guide will share everything you need to know about the 10 best helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon. All of these tours are Papillon Grand Canyon Tours, and I’ll explain at the end why we recommend this company for your Grand Canyon helicopter flight.
1. Golden Eagle Air Tour – Best Grand Canyon helicopter tour from Las Vegas
If you’re short on time but still want to fly over the Grand Canyon, the Golden Eagle helicopter tour is the best choice. This is one of the best day trips from Las Vegas and departs from a private heliport before soaring over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the West Rim.
- Highlights: Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West
- Duration: 3.5 to 4 hours
- Price from: $299
- Description: Travel from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon with this tour that includes hotel pick-up and drop-off. As you fly to the canyon, you’ll see amazing views of the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. Then, get spectacular aerial views of the West Rim, Eagle Point, Guano Point, and the Colorado River.
2. Grand Celebration Tour – Grand Canyon helicopter landing tour from Las Vegas
If you want to do a Grand Canyon helicopter tour with floor landing, here’s your chance! After flying over the Hoover Dam and West Rim, you’ll make a 4,000-foot descent and enjoy a glass of bubbly.
- Highlights: Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West (landing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon)
- Duration: 4 to 4.5 hours
- Price from: $399
- Description: With this tour, you not only get to see stunning views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West, but you also get to fly below the rim of the Grand Canyon. You’ll land on a private plateau, where you’ll enjoy gorgeous views of the Colorado River and a light picnic with champagne.
3. Grand Voyager Tour – Grand Canyon airplane, helicopter, and boat tour from Las Vegas
This tour takes you from the skies to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, then along the waters of the Colorado River. It’s the perfect tour if you want to squeeze in as many sights and experiences as possible.
- Highlights: Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West airplane tour + landing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon helicopter tour + boat cruise on the Colorado River
- Duration: 7 hours
- Price from: $499
- Description: Want a little bit of everything? Then this is the tour for you! First, you’ll take an airplane from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon‘s West Rim. Along the way, you’ll see Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Mojave Desert, three of the best places to visit from Las Vegas. At the canyon, you’ll take a helicopter to the bottom, where you’ll take a peaceful boat ride along the Colorado River. Finally, you’ll ride back up to the rim’s edge, where you’ll enjoy a meal and explore Eagle Point and Guano Point.
4. North Canyon Tour – Grand Canyon helicopter tours from the South Rim
Departing from the South Rim, you’ll enjoy a ride over the national park’s fascinating rock formations like the Tower of Ra, Vishnu Schist, and the Dragon Corridor. You’ll also get aerial views of the Kaibab National Forest and the deepest parts of the South Rim.
- Highlights: Grand Canyon South Rim and Grand Canyon North Rim
- Duration: 25 to 30 minutes
- Price from: $209
- Description: Your 30-minute Grand Canyon helicopter ride includes views of the North and South Rims. You’ll depart from the air terminal near Grand Canyon Village and see some of the most photographed areas of the canyon, including the Dragon Corridor.
5. Imperial with EcoStar – Best Grand Canyon helicopter tours from the South Rim
This tour includes a ride on an ECO-Star helicopter with panoramic windows, so it’s perfect for photographers. You’ll get stunning views of the North and South Rims, as well as the eastern side of the national park.
- Highlights: Grand Canyon South Rim, Grand Canyon North Rim, and Grand Canyon East Rim
- Duration: 40 to 50 minutes
- Price from: $299
- Description: Board an eco-friendly helicopter and see breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon’s North, South, and East Rims. This tour includes views of the canyon’s deepest and widest areas, which you can only experience from the air. You’ll also get a nice aerial perspective of the Colorado River.
6. South Rim Grand Canyon Airplane Tour – The tour we did during our trip
This affordable Grand Canyon sightseeing flight is a great way to get unique photo ops. Your airplane tour will fly over the South Rim and Colorado River, as well as several spectacular geological structures and crevasses.
- Highlights: Grand Canyon South Rim and Colorado River
- Duration: 40 to 45 minutes
- Price from: $140
- Description: As the most affordable helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon (within the national park), this quick flight provides stunning aerial views. You’ll take off from Grand Canyon Airport and soar over the Kaibab National Forest, Zuni Corridor, Imperial Point, and the South Rim. This is the tour that we did, and I suggest bringing your camera so you can snap awesome photos of the ancient rock formations, walls, and canyon gorges.
7. Native Explorer Tour with Legacy – Grand Canyon airplane tour from the West Rim
This Grand Canyon airplane tour is a fantastic way to see the West Rim and nearby sights. You’ll fly over the Skywalk glass bridge and incredible rock formations before taking a shuttle to on-the-ground sightseeing points.
- Highlights: Grand Canyon West Rim
- Duration: 20 minutes
- Price from: $150
- Description: The plane departs from Grand Canyon West air terminal, then soars over the West Rim, the Skywalk glass bridge, the Colorado River, and the surrounding geological walls and canyons. Then, take a complimentary shuttle to several lookouts on the ground for some self-guided sightseeing of the West Rim’s vistas. You’ll see the old cowboy town of Hualapai Ranch, as well as the Native American community at Eagle Point. Then, continue to Guano Point, where you’ll get a 360-degree panorama of the canyon’s huge stone walls.
8. Over the Edge Helicopter and Boat – Grand Canyon helicopter and boat tour from the West Rim
This Grand Canyon helicopter fly and Colorado River float tour gives you the best of both worlds. Take a flight over the West Rim before landing on the canyon floor and embarking on a boat cruise down the Colorado River.
- Highlights: Grand Canyon West Rim helicopter landing tour + boat cruise on the Colorado River
- Duration: Tour time varies
- Price from: $235
- Description: You’ll start with a helicopter tour over the West Rim, then land on the canyon floor (the only area of the Grand Canyon where this is possible) and continue on foot. Explore the intriguing sights around the West Rim and make your way to the banks of the Colorado River. There, you’ll board a pontoon boat and take a scenic cruise before taking the helicopter back to the top of the West Rim. You can choose to continue your tour to nearby sights like Eagle Point and Guano Point.
9. Grand Celebration Sunset Private with Vegas Strip Tour – Private Grand Canyon helicopter tour from Las Vegas
This tour makes for a romantic date night in the Grand Canyon. You’ll enjoy stunning views of the West Rim, a glass of champagne, and a sunset flight to Las Vegas, complete with fantastic views of the glowing desert.
- Highlights: Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West Rim (landing at the Grand Canyon bottom) + private helicopter + tour of the Las Vegas Strip + meal + sunset views
- Duration: 3.5 to 4 hours (90-minute flight)
- Price from: based on number of passengers and date of tour; for 2 passengers on January 18, 2021, it is $1,525 per person
- Description: For a luxurious southwest experience, take this helicopter tour to Vegas and the Grand Canyon. The tour includes limo pick-up from your hotel in Las Vegas. Then, board a private EcoStar helicopter and take off over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. Take in the sights of Eagle Point and the Skywalk glass bridge before landing on a plateau of the canyon floor. Explore the scenic surroundings before enjoying a champagne picnic near the bank of the Colorado River. The evening ends with a sunset flight over the Vegas Strip.
10. Private Imperial with EcoStar – Private Grand Canyon helicopter tours from the South Rim
Enjoy an eco-friendly private helicopter tour of the North and East Rims. You’ll see stunning views of the Colorado River and the deepest parts of the canyon.
- Highlights: Grand Canyon North Rim, and Grand Canyon East Rim + private helicopter.
- Duration: 40 to 50 minutes
- Price from: based on number of passengers and date of tour; for 2 passengers on January 9, 2021, it is $799 per person.
- Description: This private helicopter ride will fly you and your party over the North and East Rims and surrounding areas. You’ll take off from the Grand Canyon air terminal and soar over the Colorado River, canyon gorges, and ancient rock formations. Experience incredible aerial views of the nearby forests and the East and North canyon rims.
Other grand canyon air tours
Interested in a Grand Canyon air tour that’s a little more adventurous? Maybe you’d like to go river rafting down the Colorado River, or maybe you’d rather tour the Grand Canyon in a Hummer. If that sounds more like your style, below you’ll find a few adrenaline-boosting options from Papillon Grand Canyon Tours.
This experience begins with a Grand Canyon airplane tour over the South and East Rims. Then, you’ll land in Page, Arizona, go rafting through Glen Canyon, and see the famous Horseshoe Bend up close. The tour ends with a drive through the Navajo Indian Reservation where you will visit the Antelope Canyon.
- Highlights: South Rim, East Rim, Colorado River, Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, rafting in Glen Canyon, Navajo Indian Reservation
- Duration: 12.5 hours
- Price from: $450
This Grand Canyon helicopter tour with below-the-rim landing departs from Las Vegas. You’ll fly over the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead before descending to the floor of the West Rim. Then, enjoy floating down the Colorado River in a pontoon boat before flying to the Skywalk glass bridge, where you’ll have VIP access.
- Highlights: Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, below-the-rim landing, West Rim, Colorado River cruise, Skywalk glass bridge
- Duration: 6.5 to 7 hours
- Price from: $634
Enjoy a short flight over the Grand Canyon’s North Rim, South Rim, and Dragon Corridor before exploring Grand Canyon National Park in a Hummer. This open-air ride will transport you to the most photogenic areas of the park, including Duck on a Rock, Yavapai Point, and Moran Point.
- Highlights: North and South Rims, hummer ride, Duck on a Rock, Moran Point
- Duration: 3 hours
- Price from: $284
How much does it cost to fly over the Grand Canyon?
While you may be excited about these tours, you’re probably wondering, what is the price of a Grand Canyon helicopter tour?
We recommend checking first with the Papillon Grand Canyon Tours because prices start at just $140. The experience of seeing this natural wonder from a Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter is totally worth it since the views from the ground can be disappointing if the light isn’t right.
To fully witness the beauty and magnitude of the Grand Canyon, you need to see it from the air. This chart compares the prices of the different Grand Canyon helicopter tours.
3.5 - 4 hours
• West Rim
2. Grand Celebration Tour
4 – 4.5 hours
• West Rim
3. Grand Voyager Tour
• West Rim
4. North Canyon Tour
25 – 30 minutes
• National Park
5. Imperial with Ecostar
40 – 50 minutes
• National Park
6. South Rim Grand Canyon Airplane Tour
40 – 45 minutes
• National Park
7. Native Explorer Tour with Legacy
• West Rim
8. Over the Edge Helicopter and Boat
Tour time varies
• West Rim
9. Grand Celebration Sunset Vegas Strip Tour
3.5 - 4 hours
• West Rim
10. Private Imperial with EcoStar
40 - 50 minutes
• National Park
Best Grand Canyon helicopter tours
Grand Canyon Helicopter tour deals
Luckily, the Papillon website includes a Special Offers section where you can find great deals on Grand Canyon air tours. Just pick the location you’d like to leave from, and they’ll provide you with a long list of deals!
My experience flying over the grand canyon
If I had to describe my experience flying over the Grand Canyon in one word, it would be “magical.”
The view from the ground-level outlooks didn’t live up to my expectations at all, and I couldn’t capture the true size and majesty of the canyon. I know it depends on the day and the lighting conditions, but I would still recommend flying over the Grand Canyon and seeing it from above.
Not only could I see what a marvel the Grand Canyon is, but I also didn’t have to deal with crowded overlooks on the ground!
Before booking with Papillon, I read plenty of Grand Canyon helicopter tour reviews to make the best choice for my schedule, budget, and preferences. I also made sure to buy the best travel insurance for the USA for any unexpected situations.
We took this Grand Canyon airplane tour, which departs from the South Rim because it was the most affordable, and the views were absolutely incredible. Remember, an airplane can fly higher than a helicopter, as well as explore more remote locations, so it’s great for seeing the canyon’s full scope.
Companies offering helicopter rides over the Grand Canyon
As you can imagine, flying over the Grand Canyon is quite the experience, so there are several helicopter tour companies in the area:
- Papillon: Papillon has been in business for over 50 years and is the largest sightseeing company doing Grand Canyon helicopter tours. We found them to have a variety of tour options for every budget.
- Maverick: Maverick is another well-known company that also uses EcoStar helicopters for tours over the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas.
- Grand Canyon Helicopters: This is another long-standing tour operator that’s certified to fly over the entire Grand Canyon.
- Sundance: Sundance has been in business since 1985 and offers helicopter tours out of Las Vegas.
- Vegas Tours: This company operates out of Las Vegas and provides scenic flying tours of the West and South Rims.
Grand Canyon helicopter tour FAQs
If you’re still unsure of which Grand Canyon helicopter tour to choose, here are some common questions and concerns to consider. If you have any other questions, please leave us a comment, and we’ll be happy to help.
Which is better: a Grand Canyon helicopter or airplane tour?
If you’re unsure whether it’s better to book an airplane or helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon, consider that airplanes can fly further and higher. So, an airplane tour can help you focus on the depth and vastness of the canyon.
However, helicopter rides to the Grand Canyon provide closer views of the canyon walls, and can even descend below the rim. If you’re interested in landscape photography, an airplane tour may be best. Yet, if you’d like to see the canyon up close or land at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, book a helicopter tour.
Is it better to fly over the Grand Canyon’s South Rim or West Rim?
Grand Canyon National Park consists of the South, North, and East Rims and is managed by the US National Parks Service. However, the West Rim is maintained by the Hualapai tribe and is a private tourist attraction.
Many say that you’ll find the best views from the South Rim. Also, since below-the-rim landings aren’t allowed at the South Rim, the natural land is better protected there.
That said, the West Rim is still a popular spot. Not only is it the only place where you can land on the canyon floor, but it’s also closer to Las Vegas and other attractions, such as boat rides.
When Is the best time to take a Grand Canyon helicopter tour?
If cost isn’t a concern, take a tour at sunrise or sunset. The rays of light give the desert and the canyon’s rock formations an intense reddish glow, making this the best time to fly over the Grand Canyon.
Are there affordable Grand Canyon helicopter tours?
Flying over the Grand Canyon is a memorable and worthwhile experience, so if you have a limited budget, I suggest an airplane tour. This is a cheaper option, but the views are just as beautiful. You can check out our budget to travel to the West Coast in 10 days to see how we managed to do a Grand Canyon airplane tour without splashing out.
Should I book my Grand Canyon helicopter tour in advance?
Yes! If you’re traveling in the summer, I suggest booking your Grand Canyon helicopter tour at least one month in advance. We traveled in August and had to carefully plan our itinerary so we’d get to the Grand Canyon on the one particular day that had an available spot.
Papillon helicopter tour review: Is it worth it?
Our favorite company for Grand Canyon air tours is Papillon Grand Canyon Tours. They’re the largest Grand Canyon sightseeing company, and they offer a ton of fantastic airplane and helicopter flights.
We trust Papillon Grand Canyon Tours because they have over five decades of experience, and they have great rates with no hidden fees. They’re super conscious of customer and employee safety, so there’s no need to worry about a Grand Canyon helicopter crash when you fly with them.
If you plan on visiting the Grand Canyon soon, book a helicopter tour with Papillon Grand Canyon Tours! It will be the highlight of your trip.
Hopefully, now you feel better prepared to find the best Grand Canyon helicopter tour for your budget, preferences, and travel dates. If you have any other questions, leave them below, and I’ll be happy to answer them.