In addition to choice of tour company, you’ll have to choose the perfect type of tour. Because the Grand Canyon is so vast, it’s impossible to see everything in a single trip—so you’ll have to select the features that are most important to you.
First, think about perspective: would you prefer to see the Canyon from above or from within? An airplane tour can carry you across the entire Canyon so that you’re able to fully appreciate its vastness. A helicopter tour lets you see parts of the Canyon from above, but can also dip down below the Canyon walls or even land in designated areas. Jeep, bus, and walking tours take you to some of the Canyon’s most famous and stunningly beautiful overlooks, offering less breadth but more depth than an aerial tour. Finally, rafting and some hiking tours allow you to see the Canyon from deep inside its heart: you’ll have a much smaller perspective, limited by the massive walls on either side, but you’ll also have the chance to spend more time exploring the Canyon’s secret places.
Finally, think about what else you want out of your trip. Are you visiting the Grand Canyon simply to take in its majesty and grandeur, or does your dream getaway require physical tests and adventures? Are you hoping to learn about the Canyon’s history, ecology, geology, etc.? Think about the nature of your tour: you might prefer large tour groups full of potential new friends or intimate small-group experiences. Some tours are relaxing, giving you a chance to really soak in the surrounding views. Others are more fast-paced, racing from activity to activity so that you can experience as much of the Canyon as possible. Be sure to keep your most important preferences in mind as you select from the categories below:
Like airplane tours, helicopter tours show you the Grand Canyon from a whole new perspective. Touring helicopters generally can’t fly as far or as fast as airplanes; however, they can fly lower. Many helicopter tours dip below the Canyon’s rim; some even land at the bottom of the Canyon!
Bus tours can be a budget-friendly alternative to airplane or helicopter tours. They’re slower, meaning more time on the road—but also more time to enjoy the Grand Canyon’s stunning scenery! Most bus tours allow you to stop for walking and photography breaks at a series of lookout points.
Some say you haven’t truly experienced the Grand Canyon if you haven’t tested yourself by hiking up and down its walls! Hiking tours can range from grueling treks for those who thrive on pushing themselves athletically, to more relaxed walks along the Canyon’s rim to various scenic locations.
Like bus tours, jeep tours allow you to see as much of the Canyon (from the ground, that is) as possible, driving around the rim and stopping at scenic overlooks. However, an open-air jeep allows you to experience all the sights and sounds of the Grand Canyon with no barriers!
It’s difficult to fully appreciate the scope and scale of the Grand Canyon from within, or even when standing at the top. On an airplane tour, you can fly across the entire Canyon, fully appreciating its immensity. Touring airplanes are designed with high wings and large, flat windows for sightseeing and photography.
Perhaps the ultimate in exhilarating adventures: whitewater rafting tours of the Colorado River, the walls of the Grand Canyon rising high above on both sides! Rafting/camping tours last days or even weeks and adhere to strict conservation rules, so you’ll definitely need a bit of wilderness spirit in you….
Combination tours allow you to fully shape your own Grand Canyon experience. Want to ride from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon in an airplane, fly over the Canyon and descend to its bottom in a helicopter, and then enjoy lunch plus, say, horseback riding, rafting, hiking, etc.? No problem!