If you plan to take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, you'll have to choose between a basic and deluxe tour. If it fits in your budget, you should go with the deluxe option when possible because it offers the best value and perks. Here are my top three recommended tours you can choose from.
Top Picks From Vegas
One important thing to know is that the Vegas tours are the only ones that offer landing options at the Canyon. That's because helicopters are allowed to land at the West Rim where all Vegas flights go, and they are not allowed to land elsewhere in the Canyon such as at the South Rim.
Therefore, you'll definitely want to book a West Rim tour if you want to land at the Canyon. So here is my top tour pick.
My #1 tour is the Champagne Tour. It departs right from the Vegas Strip, flies to the Canyon and then descends 3500 feet to the Canyon floor where it sets you down beside the Colorado River. It's a VIP experience complete with a picnic and toast of Champagne. Like all deluxe tours, this one comes with complimentary limousine transportation to and from your hotel and the helipad.
The Comprehensive Mega Tour
My #2 recommended tour includes all that is in the first tour and then adds on a boat ride along the Colorado River as well as tickets to the Skywalk.
The Skywalk is a popular attraction at the Canyon. You don't want to miss it if you're going to the West Rim. It is an amazing structure made out of steel and glass that extends 70 feet beyond the rim and hangs 4000 feet above the bottom of the Canyon. You'll feel like you're standing on air, and the view is outstanding. Plus, your tour includes VIP tickets, which means you won't have to stand in line and waste valuable tour time at the Canyon.
Touring The South Rim
My #3 tour is totally different and it goes to the South Rim instead of the West Rim. You won't be able to land inside the Canyon there, but the tour is still worth considering. This part of the Canyon is very remote and contains a lot of wilderness areas, so if you want a more secluded experience, this is the tour to choose.
The flight path on this tour goes from Tusayan, Arizona at the South Rim, over to the North Rim, then over to the eastern edge of the National Park, and then back to the South Rim. In all, you'll fly over 75 percent of the National Park, including the widest and deepest part of the Canyon.
To Wrap Up
Now it's time to choose your tour from the top three recommendations. Remember that the Vegas tours go to the West Rim and are the only landing tours available, while the tours from Tusayan are air-only and cover the South and North Rims. It's quick and easy to buy your tour online with your credit card, but be sure to do so at least two weeks in advance. That's how you'll get the lowest price on your tour. All these tours are deluxe tours, and they all fly on the superior EcoStar sightseeing helicopter that is quiet and roomy with stadium-style seats and a wraparound viewing window.
The Canyon is filled with beauty and adventure, and the best way to experience it is on a helicopter tour. Opt for one of my top three deluxe tours, and you'll be set for an experience you'll never forget.
Grand Canyon expert Lea F. recommends readers check out these fab Las Vegas tours as well as this specially curated list of the best deluxe chopper rides ever offered: http://www.grandcanyonhelicopters.org/deluxe-tours/