Grand Canyon West is a distinct area of the National Park’s South Rim, located on the westernmost point of the Grand Canyon. It’s a popular point of departure for numerous tours, excursions, and other activities, in addition to hosting a number of popular viewing points and attractions of its own. A visit here is an excellent opportunity to learn more about Hualapai culture, art, history, and contemporary concerns.
Grand Canyon West History and Background
The Hualapai Indian Tribe owns Grand Canyon West, and their ambassadors operate all of the activities available through this region. Tickets are therefore separate from regular National Park Service admission, and must be purchased individually. Grand Canyon West is also home to the Hualapai Indian Reservation, which features a number of interesting and historically significant Native American landmarks.
What’s at Grand Canyon West
Grand Canyon West is a popular point of departure for numerous tours, including aerial tours (either small planes or helicopters) horseback rides (available in 30 minute or 90 minute increments), whitewater river rafting operated by the Hualapai-owned River Runners, and a shuttle bus that runs between each of the major attractions. The new Grand Canyon West Zip Line has been installed near the Ranch. There are three distinct attractions visitors can enjoy at Grand Canyon West in addition to any optional tours they may choose to add on: Eagle Point, Guano Point, and the Hualapai Ranch. Eagle Point is the first stop on the tour of Grand Canyon West, and it’s probably the most popular one. One of its distinctive features is a Native American village with real tribe members and recreated architecture. This village represents multiple different tribes from the American Southwest and is a fascinating place to visit for anyone with an interest in Native American history and culture. Visitors will also find the famous Skywalk, an all-glass observation platform that stretches out into the Canyon from a height of 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. Guano Point is more of a scenic spot. The point’s recognizable pyramidal structure provides excellent views of the Canyon and the Colorado River, making for some prime photo opportunities. A trail named Highpoint Hike also passes right through Guano Point; it’s a brief and slightly rough trail that’s definitely worth a bit of a detour to explore. Here is also where visitors can enjoy views of the historic tram track that stretches 8,800 feet across the canyon to reach an old guano mine. Located near Guano Point is the Hualapai Marketplace, where visitors can purchase wares from Native American artists and artisans along with conventional souvenirs. Finally, the Hualapai Ranch is a popular destination for fans of the American west and Native American/cowboy culture. This authentic ranch features family-friendly cowboy entertainment, including rope-throwing, tomahawk-tossing, and wagon rides. There are also cabins with limited space for overnight guests. Though the cabins are fairly pricey (assessed per person rather than per cabin), they do face the canyon rim and are the only option for overnight stay in Grand Canyon West itself.
Tips for Visiting Grand Canyon West
- Grand Canyon West tickets are a separate admission ticket from National Park Fees.
- Visitors typically spend between 3-4 hours at Grand Canyon West, assuming they choose not to stay over night at the Hualapai Ranch.
- Ticket prices for admission to Grand Canyon West + Skywalk admission are a little under $100; additional activities will incur additional fees.
- Maverick Airlines and Papillon offer day trip from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West.
- Skywalk admission is only available as an add-on to regular admission fees; most travelers agree that the additional cost is well worth it.
- Native American crafts and jewelry are available for purchase at the Indian Village on Eagle Point.