Hi again, I'm looking to arrange a day trip to the Grand Canyon for 6 of us, I've seen a few potentials on the web and we rather fancy a light plane from Vegas, helicopter into the canyon, boat ride, (with native American Indians - or whatever the correct term is over there- sorry if I've offended anyone!), then out on the helicopter and fly back on the plane.
Do I need to book in advance, or just turn up on the day? Also, can anyone recommend a reputable/reliable company?
Some General Things to Keep in Mind
Flights into the Grand Canyon have been illegal for around 18 or 19 years. Flights are now restricted to some distance above the rim and to fairly narrow corridors across the canyon. Commercial operators may be able to go more places than a private pilot but they will NOT be able to go below the rim as they once did. So keep that in mind when you're deciding what you want and are willing to pay for. Since planes and pilots are relatively expensive to rent and the view is the same no matter who you go with, I'd suggest that you take one of the tours available from Grand Canyon Airport in Tusayan, AZ just south of the entrance on US-180. I simply know of no outfit that provides the service you've described.
Oooooh dear, I'm confused now! I saw this.
Last edited by AZBuck; 04-10-2008 at 07:18 AM.
Reason: Preferred URL format
The Canyon(s): Caveat Emptor
The physical Grand Canyon falls under several jurisdictions and different parts of it are designated as the South, North and West Rims. The main National Park is on the South Rim and is the site of most if not all of the pictures of it that are in general circulation. It has the main visitors center, a road along the rim and is relatively easily accessible from Flagstaff or Williams along I-40. The North Rim is also part of the National Park, but is a good bit harder to get to, as there is only a single, very long road in and out. But from the North Rim you are still looking at the same bit of real estate, only from the other direction. The National park also extends a good distance farther west along the North Rim than along the South, but most of that extra ground is wilderness area. All areas of the National Park are under the flight restrictions that I mentioned previously.
The West Canyon falls under the jurisdiction of the Havasupai and Hualapi Indian Nations. Technically, Indian Reservations are sovereign territory and the individual tribes are free to make their own laws and set their own rules. The flights you have seen advertised, in particular the helicopter landing flights, are almost assuredly into the west canyon, and in particular landing on the south side of the Colorado River. The West Canyon is not as deep as the parts in the National Park, and so while it will still be an experience that you cannot get in the UK, it may not be what you're expecting from a flight into "The Grand Canyon".
there are a lot of tour companys that will offer a package deal from vegas as you say,plane ,heli and boat tour. although when we was looking the helicopter/boat part was not on the main part of the canyon but either end. in the end we took the helicopter from tusayan,as mentioned by AZbuck and loved every moment of it. although it did'nt land or go below the canyon walls it offered superb views of the colorado and north and south rim.
we went with these guys,who do the combi tours from vegas as well as a flight from the grand canyon airport in tusayan. it's also worth noting that the combi tours are pieced together by the tour companys using different people for each part of the journey,so it could cause a potential problem if one part of the tour met a problem.we considered a heli/jeep combo but after inquiring we were told after the flight we would have to walk [not far]down the road and wait for the jeep tour that could of kept us waiting nearly an hour so we dropped the jeep part as we were tight on time.
for reference,ours was the imperial tour from g/c airport. 45-50 mins in the air and very good value.