Submitted by: Princess Cruz

The secret is out: The Christmas holiday is the perfect time to explore Grand Canyon National Park. And the best way to do it? By helicopter, of course! Just keep in mind that helicopters will not be flying on 12/25, which is Christmas Day. Other than that, tours will be flying on a regular schedule.

Las Vegas

From Vegas, there are two kinds of tours: Aerial and landing. Both flights go over Lake Mead and Hoover Dam before reaching the Grand Canyon.

Aerial tours are the cheapest option. However, I prefer landing tours because they give you a more comprehensive experience. Specifically, I like the one that lands at the bottom for a Champagne picnic (this one can also be extended with a boat tour down the Colorado River).

The other tour I like includes the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Besides being an engineering marvel, the glass bridge offers some of the best views of the Park, but only if you are willing to walk some 70 feet over the edge until you are standing some 4,000 feet over the bottom.

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Tours are either basic or deluxe. Basic will cost you less because they include hotel pick and drop off by van and depart from Boulder City. Deluxe cost more because they use a limousine for pick up and depart from the Vegas Strip. In addition, deluxe flights use the superior EcoStar 130 helicopter, which features a 180-degree wraparound window and stacked seats. They also come with a tour over The Strip.

South Rim

Choose these flights if you are already in Arizona or are willing to drive 5.5 hours to Grand Canyon National Park Airport, which is located in the small town of Tusayan, AZ, near the Park’s main gates.

There are two flights from which to choose: The 30-minute tour and the 50-minute tour. The shorter of the two goes from the South Rim to the North Rim and back. I prefer the longer one because it includes all that the shorter does plus everything up to the Park’s eastern boundary.

Moreover, by the time you’ve finished the 50-minute flight you’ll have seen nearly 75 percent of the Canyon. Equally important is the fact that the “50” nearly doubles your airtime for a few bucks more.


Keep in mind that it’s winter at the Canyon. The West Rim’s temperatures are a lot like Las Vegas so when you are planning look up Vegas weather and you’ll get a good reading. The South Rim is colder than the West Rim and this is because of its elevation, which is about 7,000 feet.

Regardless which rim you visit, please dress accordingly in order to stay comfortable and warm. Of course, all helicopters are climate-controlled so you’ll be fine inside the cabin. However, if you plan to get out of the chopper, I’d wear a sweater, hat, gloves, windbreaker and long pants.


The Christmas Holiday season is huge when it comes to helicopter tour over and in the National Park. I do recommend that you book your flight in advance. Usually a week or two will be fine. And make sure you purchase your flight online as that’s where you’ll get the best rates.

About the Author: The author is a Grand Canyon expert and recommends going here for the best

South Rim helicopter

tours and here for ones that depart from Las Vegas:


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