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Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

Derby, United...
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Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

Hi, we will be a family of 4 adults in Las Vegas in May this year & want to take a tour to the South Rim that will allow maximum time and coverage of the Grand Canyon. I'm thinking flying out to South Rim, having some ground time at the Grand Canyon Village possibly including a hike, food and a 50 minute helicopter flight. I don't seem to be able to find one company that does that which would be my preferred option or will I have to book different companies for the different activities.

AJ (UK)

Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

Go to the Las Vegas Nevada forum and read the Top Questions on the right side of the page.

Understand that every day tour from LV is going to give you the same 3 hours at the south rim at Mather Point and the rim path at the hotel zone. If you opt for a 50 minute helicopter flight, it will be at the expense of time on the ground at the rim, likely cutting it in half. The most popular tours from LV have the smallest groups. Pink Jeep and Grand Adventures use smaller coaches that carry about 8-10 passengers. These small groups make the tour slightly more flexible and reduce wasted pick up and drop off time in LV. But it's still a 5 hour drive each way. Flying will only reduce the transport time. It won't change the minimal time at the park.

The best way to extend your quality time at the Grand Canyon National Park is to rent a car and drive yourself to the park. Make it ten times better by staying over night at one of the park lodges.

Derby, United...
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2. Re: Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

Thanks for that RedRox

AJ

South Jersey, USA
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3. Re: Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

If you can, do drive yourselves and spend a night!! The roads are all great and well marked!

Trying to do a tour and see and do what you have listed is very hard with the limited amount of free time you will have with a tour company!

Might not be what you were looking to do, but it will be the better way!

SJG

Chicago
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4. Re: Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

I also encourage a night at the south rim, even if it means driving there. The best views of the canyon are in the hours before sunset and after sunrise. A car will also provide access to areas in and around the park at your pace. Additionally, you might stop at Wupatki and Sunset Crater on you way from GC to Flagstaff, if you choose to drive.

Evanston, Wyoming
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5. Re: Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

Agree with the rest of the gang that taking the time to drive over, spend a night, and enjoy the Grand Canyon at a more leisurely pace is the best quality experience. If that's not possible, and a package tour is how you want to go, remember the Rolling Stones' adage: "you can't always get what you want."

Scenic/Grand Canyon Airlines Grand Canyon Deluxe Tour with Helicopter Upgrade for example includes airplane flight from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim, 30-minute helicopter flight over the canyon, a little time inside the park, and lunch (typically a box lunch or buffet). As RedRox correctly points out, you won't have much time at the park when you consider the fact that from hotel to hotel, this tour eats up the better part of a day. But all the arrangements for the various components of the tour (hotel pickup, bus to the park, helicopter, lunch etc.) would automatically be made at the time of booking. You wouldn't have to call around to various companies in order to set everything up. Here's more information on the tour if you're interested ->: http://bit.ly/A1QB7S Other companies offering similar programs are Maverick Airlines and Vision Holidays.

Fortaleza, CE
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6. Re: Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

Do the choppers fly over the national park, or just the west part of the canyon?

Evanston, Wyoming
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7. Re: Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

@sutter: Grand Canyon helicopter flights from the South Rim fly over the Grand Canyon within the National Park; they do not descend below the rim per FAA regulations governing that particular airspace (SFAR). Helicopter flights that originate from Las Vegas and Grand Canyon West (aka [somewhat incorrectly] as the West Rim) do go to the canyon floor, where typically people take a short pontoon boat ride on the Colorado River. The latter area of the Grand Canyon is a Native American Tribal Park and therefore not subject to the SFAR limits. Hope that helps.

Edited: 08 January 2014, 21:47
Ann Arbor, Michigan
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8. Re: Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

Helicopters are allowed to fly over parts of the National Park but not all.

The main visitor areas of the Park, including the South Rim Village and North Rim Village and the section of the Canyon in between (that encompass the 'corridor' hiking trails and Phantom Ranch) is a "no fly zone" for helicopters. Aircraft in this area is limited to 14 or 15K feet.

I believe a majority of the helicopter tours out of Tusayan go to the "Dragon Corridor", which is a strip of unrestricted airspace above Hermit Canyon. If you take the Hermit Road shuttle out to the western viewpoints, you'll see the helicopters flying over the Canyon. There are also a few other unrestricted zones down river of Hermit, around Kanab Canyon and Tuckup Canyon. The helicopters in these zones are allowed to fly around 10K feet, so over the Canyon but never below the rim.

Any helicopters you see flying below the rim are parks service, not tours.

9. Re: Struggling to find the right South Rim tour-any suggestions

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