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Helicopter ride over Grand Canyon

London
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Helicopter ride over Grand Canyon

Hi Guys,

Last Sept we visited Grand Canyon south rim and had an excellent time there.

We spent whole two days within the area and did not see a single helicopter or fixed wing aeroplane over the main Grand Canyon area.

We really really wanted to take a helicopter ride over Grand Canyon. Many of our friends told us that they have done such trips in the past.

We asked the GC park information office and they advised us that “no aircraft was allowed to fly over the main Grand Canyon area due to air and noise pollution”. They also advised us that the helicopters and fixed wing aeroplanes fly over other canyons and not over the main Canyon.

Does anyone know exactly where the helicopters normally fly near Grand Canyon?

A friend of mine with his family will be visiting the Grand Canyon next June and they have already booked a helicopter ride from Las Vegas which they say will fly over Grand Canyon and even land near Colorado River.

Does any one know any such trip from Las Vegas that flies over GC and lands near the Colorado River?

Evanston, Wyoming
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for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
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1. Re: Helicopter ride over Grand Canyon

Hi sid: Touring aircraft flight routes are strictly regulated by the FAA for the express purpose of causing minimal impact to the experience of visitors on the canyon rim while ensuring passenger safety. They are located away from the primary viewing areas (such as Grand Canyon Village) intentionally. The fact that you did not see any touring aircraft while at the South Rim attests to the fact that the regulations are doing their job.

Helicopter flights from the South Rim consist of 30-minute and 50-minute flights. The shorter flights cross the rim near Grandview Point and make a fairly straight shot across the canyon, loops around the North Rim and comes back via the Dragon Corridor. The 50-minute flights cross the canyon rim in approximately the same place, then veer East toward the Little Colorado River confluence, travel a ways over the North Rim, then also return via the Dragon Corridor. The airplane tours will take similar routes, but fly at a higher altitude.

However, the flight that your friends are proposing to take is a totally different "animal." Helicopter flights from Las Vegas DO NOT go to the National Park side of the Grand Canyon. They will go to the Western side, or as it is more properly known, Grand Canyon West, on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. It is located at a narrower and shallower end of the gorge, so the views of the canyon, while beautiful, will be quite different. They'll get to fly over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, then their canyon floor landing will again take place on the Hualapai Indian side of the canyon.

Many contributors to this forum may advise your friends to avoid this tour outright; I do not agree, and it's not just because I'm "in the industry" (see my profile). I've been to the bottom of the canyon from the South Rim, and it was great, but from there one has to do it "the hard way" (ride a mule or hike). After that, being able to get to the bottom of the canyon with relative ease was a hoot! That being said, though, they need to realize the differences between the two areas, which are significant. If at all possible, a first time visitor is well advised to try and get to the South Rim as it is the "true" and quintessential Grand Canyon. If that is not possible, though, one can have an enjoyable visit to Grand Canyon WEst, providing they know exactly what it is, where it is and what it isn't.

One of the tour operators, Papillon, has video footage of this particular tour (the Grand Celebration) that might help them decide. Here is the link ->: www.papillon.com/popris/show_package.aspx…

Atlanta, Georgia
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for Road Trips
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2. Re: Helicopter ride over Grand Canyon

We've been to both the GC National Park and GC West. Just know the cost and what you are getting to see before you go.

London
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3. Re: Helicopter ride over Grand Canyon

Thanks K-Bot for the detail.

Grobbendonk, Belgium
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4. Re: Helicopter ride over Grand Canyon

We booked a flight with Papillon last year in april to fly over the Grand Canyon and it was really fantastic!!!! We started at a little airport, about 10min.flight towards the rim, and then... you feel your stomach sink when you fly over it!! They show a good video of it on their website. We had a helicopter for only the 4 of us, me in front, with breathtaking views of the canyon, the north rim, the colorado river... The very friendly pilot explained exactly what we were seeing and in between they let you listen to Frank Sinatra singing "fly me to the moon". Really great! The pilot told us that he is not allowed to fly too low over the canyon, and we didn't fly over the southern part, but that really didn't matter! We took the 50min.flight and it was worth every dollar!

But before you go: make your reservation in advance. Even in april every flight of that day was fully booked and I heard that they had to sent tourists away. What a miss for them...

Regards Claudia

Evanston, Wyoming
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5. Re: Helicopter ride over Grand Canyon

Thank you Claudia for that nice account, and good advice to pre-book their flight. It's especially good advice in June when the canyon is very busy.

Grobbendonk, Belgium
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6. Re: Helicopter ride over Grand Canyon

Hello K-bot,

I really love these tripadvisor forums! It is a great help when preparing a journey ;-). By the way now that I see that you are from Page: I am planning a trip to that area in april this year again. We rent a RV in SF an drive through the southern sierras to Zion/Bryce/MV and back to Las Vegas. I was thinking to stay overnight in Page. Should I then take the southern route to Kanab or the northern? Anything I must not miss there ;-)? Its too early for the north rim I guess...? And you don't know any good place for horseriding (experienced) in the area of MV or Bryce?... Thanks a lot for your ideas and I hope you don't mind that I asked for it in this topic, doesn't really fit...

Regards

Claudia

7. Re: Helicopter ride over Grand Canyon

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