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Helicopter Tour over the Grand Canyon

Las Vegas tours - sightseeing from the sky

Whether you spend your nights in Vegas dining at some of best restaurants in the world, catching exciting (and titillating) shows or gambling your savings away at the slots, a trip off the strip will give you a reason to rise and shine. Get yourself to Boulder City for a helicopter ride over the Canyon.

GoGirlfriend in the Grand CanyonGoGirlfriend in the Grand CanyonIn Vegas, the sky's the limit can mean a lot of different things, but taking in a sight-seeing tour of the Canyon from the sky is seriously cool.

 

I was in Vegas for a speaking engagement at World Market Center and a helicopter tour seemed like a fun off-strip activity. I was right.  After seeing buses bump along those highways, a helicopter is the only way to go. And besides, a bus tour takes an entire day and involves a lot of walking. Our tour took the morning, which left the rest of the afternoon for...

Helicopter Tour inside the Grand CanyonHelicopter Tour inside the Grand CanyonThere are a number of helicopter tour operators in Vegas and we chose Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters. They've been in business since 1965 and market themselves as the largest Grand Canyon Tour Company - important information when trusting a pilot to take you thousands of feet in the sky...

Like most operators, Papillon picks you up at the hotel at a pre-agreed time and drives you to Boulder City where they're based. After a brief safety video, seats are assigned based on weight and balancing of the aircraft. We rode a 6-seater and sat in the back directly behind the pilot. There are two front row seats, which can be reserved for an additional fee.

The trip to the canyon (which takes you past the Hoover Dam) takes about 25 minutes. We landed in the inner Gorge (Grand Canyon National Park) alongside the Colorado River (4,000 feet below the rim) on spiritual lands owned by the Haualapai Indians. As we waited for our pilot to open the doors, we were reminded of the sanctity of the land and to please refrain from taking or leaving anything.

North Face Panorama of the Grand CanyonNorth Face Panorama of the Grand CanyonAlthough the Canyon is the youngest of the seven wonders, it's still 2 billion years old. Alighting from the helicopter in the Gorge overwhelmed and amazed me at once. The small strip of land we stood on was accessible only by air or water, almost completely cut off from the rest of the world.

Captain Jack pouring champageCaptain Jack pouring champageWhile in the Canyon, we enjoyed a light lunch and a glass of champagne. Our pilot, Captain Jack, talked about the best times to visit (not during the heat of July and August) and of the kayakers and rafters who camp alongside the river. A tour is often only as good as the guide - Captain Jack obviously loves what he does and is passionate about giving his guests the best experience possible.

As we flew out of the Canyon, Danger Zone played through our headphones - Captain Jack has a good sense of humor too.

If you do one thing while visiting Vegas that's off-strip, take a helicopter tour. It's pricey and can take some self-convincing if you're afraid of heights. But it's the best way to see the beauty and majesty of a land that is still mostly untouched by humanity, which is a good reminder if you're spending your nights on the strip.

There is much I want to tell you about my helicopter tour to the Grand Canyon, but this time I'm going to let my pictures do the talking - and a few videos as well. Enjoy!  

Want more info? Visit Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours online or see what other travelers have to say on TripAdvisor. Reservations and information: 888-635-7272

To comply with FTC, FCC, NATO, G20 and possibly even Geneva Conventions, for transparency ... Our helicopter tour was sponsored by Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters, but the commentary and perspectives are those of GoGirlfriend.

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Comments

Great review Julia! I wasn't keen on visiting the Grand Canyon, but on my third trip to Vegas my cousin convinced me and I have no regrets! The air at the bottom of the canyon was probably the clearest air I have ever breathed (and I would definitely love to go back to visit just to take another few breaths). It sounds stupid when I write this, but the air was probably the highlight of my excursion! Aside from the stunning views from the helicopter, and the top edge of the canyon that provide for a great background for photoshoots, the dessert wildlife and native history are also worth exploring. I wouldn't reccomend the Skywalk - it is pricey, average views and you aren't allowed to take pictures with your own camera. For anyone going to Vegas a mini-plane or helicopter is definitely the way to go, and early morning is probably the best time to visit (cooler temperatures, nice lighting, less busy, and you can come back to the hotel in Vegas to rest and you still have a whole afternoon and night to have fun).

Sight-seeing from the sky is just amazing! It would be a totally different experience to see Las Vegas from the sky. The videos are superb!

This is on my bucket list. It seems like it would be a perfect day!

Incredible videos Julia! Now I want to go back to Vegas for the helicopter tours as well as everything else! The last time we were there we did not take the time to do the Grand Canyon tours, but we will on our return visit!! John

John, we've been to Vegas a number of times and never taken the time to do the off-strip tours. This was an amazing lesson though - the area around Vegas is spectacular! Next time, we're going to do Hoover Dam upclose and personal - and maybe another helicopter tour too :-)

It was great to have you on board Julia! Thanks for the review. After getting your business card I spent some time on your website looking for vacation ideas and I must say, you have some really great information that I myself plan to be using. Thanks again and if your ever in the Vegas area again drop in and say hi, or better yet we'll have to go for another flight to the Canyon! Jack

Captain Jack, you made this trip spectacular - seriously! I'm so glad you stopped by to check out what I do for living - and that you liked it! And yes, next time we're in Vegas, we'll absolutely be stopping by for another visit!

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