grand canyon helicopter tour landing at the bottom

Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours: My experience flying over it

Taking a Grand Canyon helicopter tour is an experience you will never forget. There is nothing like glancing out of an airplane window to see a stunning, birds-eye view of the entire Grand Canyon on your Grand Canyon air tour.  Not only will a Grand Canyon helicopter or aerial tour give you a much better view of the canyon and the Colorado River than from the ground, but you’ll also get the incredible chance to fly over one of the United States’ most spectacular natural wonders.

views from the Colorado River from an helicopter tour at Grand Canyon South Rim

The first time I saw the Grand Canyon, it was from one of the overlooks. I was a bit disappointed because the canyon didn’t look anything like it does in movies. I might have felt that way because the ridge was so crowded and it was a cloudy day, but when I did the Grand Canyon airplane tour, it was completely different. We loved the Grand Canyon airplane tour because we got to see just how massive the Grand Canyon is, plus the aerial views were absolutely spectacular.

best views from grand canyon north rim from aerial tour

So, can you fly over the Grand Canyon? The answer is YES, and it’s completely worth it! There are flights from a variety of locations, including Grand Canyon Airport and Las Vegas, Nevada, and they vary in terms of length and price. Regardless of your budget or itinerary, you’ll be able to find a Grand Canyon air tour that works for you.

You may also be wondering: Can you take a helicopter to the bottom of the Grand Canyon? Guess what – the answer is also YES! Save yourself the strenuous hike to the bottom by booking a Grand Canyon helicopter tour with below-the-rim landing.

Colorado River seeing from airplane tour from south rim

Taking a Grand Canyon air tour should be mandatory for anyone visiting the Grand Canyon. Our Grand Canyon airplane tour was by far the best experience of our trip, and we cannot recommend it enough. If you really want to experience the Grand Canyon in all of its natural glory, you must fly over it!

Top 10 Grand Canyon helicopter tours

The best Grand Canyon helicopter tour depends on a variety of factors, including where you want to leave from, how long you want your trip to last, what mode of transport you prefer, what sights you want to see, whether you’d like to add on other features besides the aerial tour, and how much you’d like to spend. Our list below has a wide variety of options so you can pick the best Grand Canyon helicopter tour for you.

What is the best helicopter tour in the Grand Canyon?

If you’re taking a West Coast USA road trip, as we did, and you decide to visit the Grand Canyon, you may be wondering how best to see this gorgeous natural wonder. As we said above, the best way to see the Grand Canyon is from the air.

There are many different types of Grand Canyon air tours that cater to all different kinds of budgets and preferences.

You could take a Golden Eagle Air Tour, which is the Best Grand Canyon helicopter tours from Las Vegas. There are also a variety of Grand Canyon helicopter tours from the South Rim, if you would prefer to leave from inside the Grand Canyon. You can even decide between a Grand Canyon airplane tour or a Grand Canyon helicopter tour. If you’d prefer, there are even Grand Canyon helicopter landing tours or Grand Canyon helicopter and boat tours.

Grand Canyon seen from helicopter Papillon review

Basically, you’re spoiled for choice when it comes to Grand Canyon air tours, so below, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 Grand Canyon helicopter tours to help you out. Keep in mind that all of the tours below are Papillon Grand Canyon Tours and at the end of the article we will tell you why we recommend this company to fly over the Grand Canyon.

Golden Eagle Air Tour – Best Grand Canyon helicopter tour from Las Vegas

Best Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours from Las Vegas Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle Air Tour, the best Grand Canyon helicopter tour

  • Highlights: Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West
  • Duration: 3.5 to 4 hours
  • Price from: $264
  • Description: Travel from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon in a helicopter designed for sightseeing! As you fly to the canyon, you’ll be able to see amazing views of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead. You’ll also get to see the spectacular sights of Grand Canyon West, including Eagle Point, Guano Point, and the Colorado River.

Grand Celebration Tour – Grand Canyon helicopter landing tour from Las Vegas

Grand Canyon Celebration helicopter tour from las Vegas

Grand Celebration Tour, helicopter tour to Grand Canyon from las Vegas

  • 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: $349
  • Description: With this tour, you not only get to experience stunning views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and Grand Canyon West from your sightseeing helicopter, but you also get to fly below the rim of the Grand Canyon to land at the bottom on a private plateau with gorgeous views of the Colorado River. Once you land, you’ll be able to explore the bottom and even have a champagne picnic!

Grand Voyager Tour – Grand Canyon airplane, helicopter, and boat tour from Las Vegas

Grand Voyage boat Colorado River

Grand Voyager Tour, helicopter Grand Canyon tour with landing and boat cruise

  • 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: $444
  • Description: Want to experience a variety of modes of transportation? Then this is the tour for you! First, you’ll take an airplane from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West. Along the way, you’ll be able to see Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Mojave Desert. Once you arrive at the canyon, you’ll board a helicopter and descend to the canyon floor. At the bottom, you’ll take a leisurely boat ride down the Colorado River, then ascend to the rim’s edge, where you’ll have a meal and be able to explore Eagle Point and Guano Point.

North Canyon Tour – Grand Canyon helicopter tours from the South Rim

North Canyon Tour Fly below Rim of Grand Canyon

North Canyon Tour, affordable Grand Canyon helicopter tour

  • Highlights: Grand Canyon South Rim and Grand Canyon North Rim
  • Duration: 25 to 30 minutes
  • Price from: $199
  • Description: Experience a narrated helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon’s North and South Rims. You’ll even be able to see rock formations, like the Tower of Ra, as well as the Dragon Corridor, the most photographed area of the canyon.

Imperial with EcoStar – Best Grand Canyon helicopter tours from the South Rim

Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours from the South Rim Imperial ecostar

Imperial with EcoStar, helicopter ride to Grand Canyon North Rim

  • 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 witness breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon’s North, South, and East Rims. You’ll be able to see some of the deepest and widest parts of the canyon, only visible from the air, as well as the winding Colorado River.

South Rim Grand Canyon Airplane Tour – The tour we did during our trip

Papillon Grand Canyon airplane tour from Grand Canyon airport in South Rim

South Rim Grand Canyon Airplane Tour, the best way to fly over the Grand Canyon

  • Highlights: Grand Canyon South Rim and Grand Canyon North Rim
  • Duration: 40 to 45 minutes
  • Price from: $154
  • Description: This is the most affordable helicopter tour to Grand Canyon (within the national park) and with incredible amazing birds-eye views. With this airplane ride from the Grand Canyon airport on the South Rim, you will see the Colorado River, the Kaibab National Forest and places like the Zuni Corridor and the Imperial Point. This was the tour that we did.

Native Explorer Tour with Legacy – Grand Canyon airplane tour from the West Rim

  • Highlights: Grand Canyon West Rim
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Price from: $139
  • Description: A fantastic way to experience all that the Grand Canyon West Rim has to offer. Your airplane tour will allow you to see the sights of the Grand Canyon West Rim, including Eagle Point, Guano Point, and the Skywalk glass bridge. Then you’ll explore the West Rim on the ground via bus, as you visit Hualapai Ranch, a good old-fashioned cowboy town, Eagle and Guano Point, and even some Native American dwellings.

Over the Edge Helicopter and Boat – Grand Canyon helicopter and boat tour from the West Rim

  • Highlights: Grand Canyon West Rim helicopter landing tour + boat cruise on the Colorado River
  • Duration: Tour time varies
  • Price from: $219
  • Description: If you want to explore the bottom of the West Rim, then this Grand Canyon helicopter fly and Colorado River float tour is the one for you! A helicopter will transport you down to the floor of the West Rim, where you can walk around and explore before you take a scenic boat ride down the Colorado River. You’ll then ascend to the top of the rim by helicopter, where you’ll be able to visit Eagle Point and Guano Point.

Grand Celebration Sunset Private with Vegas Strip Tour – Private Grand Canyon helicopter tour from las Vegas

  • 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
  • Price from: based on number of passengers and date of tour; for 2 passengers on July 9, 2019, it is $1,287 per person
  • Description: See the Grand Canyon in style with this luxurious tour! A limo will pick you up from your hotel in Las Vegas and escort you to your private helicopter. You’ll then experience stunning aerial views of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, and the Grand Canyon West Rim before you fly below the rim of the canyon and land on the floor, where you’ll explore and partake in a champagne picnic. Your return to Las Vegas is perfectly timed so that you can see fantastic views of the desert at sunset.

Private Imperial with EcoStar – Private Grand Canyon helicopter tours from the South Rim

  • Highlights: Grand Canyon South Rim, 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 the tour; for 2 passengers on July 9, 2019, it is $897 per person.
  • Description: Enjoy an eco-friendly private helicopter tour of the North, South, and East Rims.  You’ll see stunning views of the Colorado River and the deepest parts of the canyon.

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.

Antelope Canyon With River Rafting (from the South Rim)

Arizona has a lot of other amazing natural features besides the Grand Canyon, and with this tour, you’ll get to experience some of them! Start off with a Grand Canyon airplane tour that leaves from the South Rim and witness awesome aerial views of the East Rim, the Colorado River, Lake Powell, and Horseshoe Bend. Then, you’ll land in Page, Arizona and receive a guided tour of the gorgeous Antelope Canyon.

We paid a visit to Antelope Canyon ourselves; it had been our long-time dream to visit the canyon, and it ended up being totally worth it. After taking some gorgeous photos, you’ll take a rafting tour through Glen Canyon and get to see the famous Horseshoe Bend up close. Your tour ends with a drive through the Navajo Indian Reservation. The entire tour lasts approximately 12.5 hours and prices are from $439.

Skywalk Gateway with Heli and Boat (from Las Vegas)

Want to walk on the Grand Canyon’s incredible glass Skywalk bridge, take a Grand Canyon helicopter tour with below-the-rim landing, and float down the Colorado River in a pontoon boat? Then this is the tour for you! You’ll leave from Las Vegas and take a lovely helicopter ride over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead before you descend to the floor of the Grand Canyon West Rim. Then, you’ll experience a tranquil boat ride down the Colorado River before you ascend to the rim and receive VIP access to the Skywalk, where you can take magnificent photos before you return to Vegas. The entire tour lasts approximately 6.5 to 7 hours and prices start at $634.

North Canyon with Hummer (from the South Rim)

This fantastic tour allows you to see spectacular aerial views of the Grand Canyon’s North and South Rims from a helicopter before you explore Grand Canyon National Park in a Hummer. You’ll stop at some of the park’s best lookout points, including Duck on a Rock and Moran Point, where you can explore and take photos to your heart’s content. The entire tour lasts approximately 3 hours and prices start at $314.

How much does it cost to fly over the Grand Canyon?

You may be thinking, I really want to take a Grand Canyon air tour, but what is the Grand Canyon helicopter tour price?

Prices start from $139 for a Papillon Grand Canyon Tour, which is the company we recommend. The experience of a Grand Canyon air tour with Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters is totally worth it because views of the Grand Canyon from the ground can be disappointing if the light is not at the best angle. To experience the real Grand Canyon and truly see its beauty and magnitude, you need to see it from the air. At the chart below you can compare the price of the helicopter tours in Grand Canyon.

Tour

From

Duration

Price

Transport

National Park

West Rim

Landing

Boat cruise

Best Grand Canyon helicopter tours

Golden Eagle Air Tour

Las Vegas

3.5 - 4 hours

$264

🚁

✔️

Grand Celebration Tour

Las Vegas

4 – 4.5 hours

$349

🚁

✔️

✔️

Grand Voyager Tour

Las Vegas

7 hours

$439

✈️🚁🛥️

✔️

✔️

✔️

North Canyon Tour

South Rim

25 – 30 minutes

$199

🚁

✔️

Imperial with Ecostar

South Rim

40 – 50 minutes

$299

🚁

✔️

South Rim Grand Canyon Airplane Tour

South Rim

40 – 45 minutes

$154

✈️

✔️

Native Explorer Tour with Legacy

West Rim

20 minutes

$139

✈️

✔️

Over the Edge Helicopter and Boat

West Rim

Tour time varies

$219

🚁🛥️

✔️

✔️

✔️

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!

Papillon Website Grand Canyon Helicopter tour promotions and 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.”

As I said before, I was pretty disappointed when I saw the canyon from one of the overlooks on the ground. It didn’t live up to my expectations at all and I really couldn’t see enough of the canyon to understand its size and beauty. This doesn’t have to happen to you, but I wanted to share how my first time at the Grand Canyon Rim was.

On the other hand, flying over the Grand Canyon and seeing it from above allowed me to understand what a marvel of nature it is. I felt like I could truly appreciate the Grand Canyon’s majesty and grandeur from up above, just like the birds who fly over it. The views from above were just so much better than from a crowded overlook on the ground.

grand canyon and hoover dam from above

Before I booked my Grand Canyon aerial tour, I made sure to read plenty of Grand Canyon helicopter tour reviews, which really helped me make my decision. I also made sure to buy the best travel insurance for the USA so I knew I’d be covered in any unexpected situation.

We took the Grand Canyon airplane tour that departs from the South Rim because it was the cheapest option and the views were absolutely incredible. Also, keep in mind that an airplane can fly higher in the sky than a helicopter and can show you more remote places, which is great if you want to appreciate both the size and beauty of the canyon. This is the tour we book.

best way to photograph the grand canyon from airplane tour

tips for booking your Grand Canyon Helicopter tour

If you still don’t know which Grand Canyon helicopter tour to choose, here we answer 5 frequent asked questions related with the Grand Canyon aerial tours. If you have any other, please, leave us a comment and we will answer it.

Grand Canyon Helicopter Or Airplane Tour? What Is Better?

To choose if it is better to book an airplane or helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon, you should know that the airplane reaches more distant places and fly higher, getting incredible views of the canyon and helping us to better appreciate its dimensions.

However, the helicopter ride to Grand Canyon allows closer views of the canyon walls and it can even descend below the edge to land at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

If you are interested in landscape photography, maybe the airplane tour is the best option. But, if you want to see the canyon up close and even to land at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, a landing helicopter tour would be a better option.

Is It Better to Fly Over The Grand Canyon South Rim Or West Rim?

The South Rim, the North Rim, and the East Rim make up the Grand Canyon National Park and are therefore managed by the US National Parks Service.

However, the West Rim is managed by the Hualapai tribe, which means it is a private tourist attraction.

best grand canyon views from helicopter ride

Those who have visited both, recognize that the best views are from the South Rim, and also, they say nature has been more protected there. For example, all the Grand Canyon helicopter tours with landing are at the West Rim, while it is not allowed to land at the South Rim since it is not allowed to land inside the national park.

Although the South Rim has amazing views, many people choose the West Rim for being closer to Las Vegas and for allowing other activities such as landing and boat ride.

When Is the Best time to take a Grand Canyon helicopter tour?

If budget is not a problem, take a Grand Canyon helicopter tour at sunrise or sunset. When the sun is almost at the horizon, the rays of light impinge on the rock of the Grand Canyon showing intense reddish tones, being, therefore, the best time to fly over the Grand Canyon.

Affordable Helicopter in Grand Canyon

Don’t skip the helicopter tour to fly over the Grand Canyon. If you travel with a limited budget, I recommend an airplane tour that is quite cheaper, and the views are equally beautiful. You can see in our budget to travel to the West Coast in 10 days that we spent little, but even so, we decided to pay for the Grand Canyon airplane tour, and it was very much worth it.

grand canyon helicopter ride affordable from las vegas

Should I book my Grand Canyon helicopter tour in advance?

Yes, you should. We traveled in August and had to plan the whole itinerary to pass through Grand Canyon at the only one day that there was a spot available for the tour.

If you travel in summer, it is advisable to book the Grand Canyon helicopter tour at least one month in advance.

Papillon helicopter tours review

Our favorite company for Grand Canyon air tours is Papillon Grand Canyon Tours. They are the largest Grand Canyon sightseeing company, and they offer a ton of fantastic Grand Canyon airplane and helicopter tours.

grand canyon best pictures

We trust Papillon Grand Canyon Tours because they’ve been in business for a long time (since 1965!), so they know what they’re doing, and they have great prices with no hidden fees. You can even book some great deals on the Papillon Grand Canyon Tours website! The company is also incredibly safety-conscious, so there’s no need to worry about a Grand Canyon helicopter crash when you fly with them.

If you’re traveling to the Grand Canyon any time soon, book a Grand Canyon air tour with Papillon Grand Canyon Tours! It will be the highlight of your trip.

written by Ascenphotography by danzafra
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4 thoughts on “Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours: My experience flying over it

  1. Kurt S. says:

    Best experience in my life. I took the helicopter tour from Grand Canyon South Rim. Next time I will do the landing tour from West Rim.

  2. Sylviana says:

    Thank you very much for recommend those tours. I spent only one day in Las Vegas and decided to take the Grand Celebration tour thanks to your post. It was amazing. I am so glad I found you blog!

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