a las vegas helicopter tour flies to the grand canyon

A Beginner's Guide to Helicopters from Vegas to Grand Canyon

If you have a spare day or even a spare few hours during your Las Vegas vacation, then a trip to the Grand Canyon should be the first activity on your list! Papillon operates daily helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon from our air terminal near the Las Vegas Strip. If you’ve never experienced a helicopter tour, have no fear! This guide can help you prepare and plan the ultimate Grand Canyon day trip.

Why a Helicopter Tour is the Best Way to See the Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon West Rim is the nearest region of the park to Las Vegas. About 130 miles away, it is possible to drive to the West Rim, but your roundtrip drive time will be around 5 hours. Conversely, you can fly from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon on a helicopter tour and reach the West Rim in just over a half an hour! Not to mention, the views of the desert scenery on a Grand Canyon road trip are beautiful, but the aerial sightseeing from a helicopter is absolutely unparalleled by comparison. 

an interior view of a grand canyon helicopter tour flying over the colorado river

The Top Scenic Views You'll See on a Helicopter Tour of the Grand Canyon

Hoover Dam 

The world-famous Hoover Dam is about 45 minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip and only 15 minutes from our air terminal in nearby Boulder City. Hoover Dam is one of the first aerial sights you’ll see on a helicopter tour to the West Rim. You can capture incredible bird’s-eye views of this piece of historic architecture as well as the Colorado River on either side of it. 

Lake Mead 

This manmade water reservoir contains run-off collected from Hoover Dam and is the largest manmade lake in the United States. In the summer months, Las Vegas locals flock to Lake Mead to enjoy swimming, boating, hiking, and camping. More importantly, Lake Mead supplies water to Nevada, Arizona, California, and even parts of Mexico. You’ll fly over these sparkling blue waters en route to the West Rim, a true oasis in the Desert Southwest. 

Famous Grand Canyon Landmarks 

Although the West Rim is not as widely photographed and published as the South Rim, you’ll still find truly unique and stunning landscapes and rock formations on a helicopter tour to this region. The most notable formation found here is called Eagle Point, a massive rock feature that almost perfectly resembles an eagle spreading its wings in flight. You’ll also see Guano Point, a narrow stone peninsula extending into the canyon gorge. 

Skywalk Bridge 

The world-famous Skywalk Bridge is located right here at the Grand Canyon West! You can see incredible aerial views of this glass-bottomed bridge jutting out from the edge of the canyon, and some Grand Canyon helicopter tours even include entry onto the Skywalk. 

View from the Bottom of Grand Canyon 

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the West Rim is that this is the only region of the Grand Canyon where a helicopter can land all the way on the very bottom! You can experience a helicopter landing on the Grand Canyon floor and even enjoy a Colorado River boat tour between the canyon walls. Some Grand Canyon helicopter tours also include a flight over the Las Vegas Strip

an interior view of a las vegas helicopter tour flying over the blue waters of Lake Mead

How to Take Amazing Photos During Your Helicopter Tour Over the Grand Canyon

Photography opportunities are abundant at the Grand Canyon West – from the incredible aerial views aboard a helicopter tour to the unique lookout points at the canyon’s edge, you can come home with impressive professional-looking photos. 

Papillon’s airplanes and helicopters are designed specifically with sightseeing and photography in mind. The aircraft’s oversized windows allow for an expansive range of vision for capturing the landscape beneath you. It is important to note that selfie sticks cannot be used within the helicopter; they must remain collapsed and stowed until landing. 

grand canyon tour visitors stand atop the skywalk bridge

What to Do at the Grand Canyon West

Don’t let the rugged and secluded nature of the West Rim fool you – there are plenty of activities to fill an entire Grand Canyon day trip! Here are our suggestions for the top must-see and must-do Grand Canyon West activities. 


The Skywalk is a world-famous piece of architecture that features a glass-bottomed U-shaped bridge that extends over 70 feet past the edge of the Grand Canyon. You can experience the feeling of floating midair when you look between your feet and see the bottom of the canyon 4,000 feet below you! Don’t let the glass make you hesitate – the Skywalk is strong enough to support the weight of seventy 747 jets! 

Tickets to enter the Skywalk range from $68-$92. If you plan to take a helicopter tour at the West Rim, make sure to check for flights that include entry onto the Skywalk

Hualapai Point 

Named for the local Native American tribe that owns this area of the Grand Canyon, Hualapai Point offers an immersive experience into the culture and history of the Hualapai people. Meet Brand Ambassadors who can share information and education about their tribe, shop for authentic crafts and handmade souvenirs, or enjoy a traditional Native meal at the nearby restaurant. You can also test your talent at the shooting range, hike some local trails, or ride the zipline! 

A free shuttle can transport visitors between Hualapai Point, Guano Point, and Eagle Point. 

Guano Point 

One of the most thrilling lookout points at the Grand Canyon West Rim is called Guano Point. This rock peninsula offers a 360-degree view of the surrounding canyon scenery. You can even climb the small summit at the end for an even higher view! You can also explore the nearby remnants of an abandoned tramway used by miners in the 1950s.  

Eagle Point 

Visitors to the West Rim will know immediately why this Grand Canyon lookout point is called Eagle Point. Located across the canyon from the Skywalk, this rock formation bears a near-perfect resemblance to a massive eagle spreading its wings in flight. 

a grand canyon helicopter tour landed at the very bottom of the West Rim

Book Your Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour from Las Vegas Today!

No matter how much spare time you have during your Las Vegas vacation, a trip to the Grand Canyon is possible! Papillon offers short helicopter flights, full length day trips, and everything in between to ensure that you can experience the West Rim. Choose between helicopter landings on the very bottom, boating excursions on the Colorado River, Skywalk Bridge access, and more to create the ultimate Grand Canyon adventure.