expansive view of Grand Canyon national park stone walls at daytime

Best Things to Do at Each Grand Canyon Region

There’s more to the Grand Canyon than just looking out over the edge. In fact, you can explore the Grand Canyon landscape in a variety of unique and exciting ways. From a helicopter tour with landings on the very bottom, the world-famous Skywalk Bridge, sightseeing on the Grand Canyon Railway, shopping at the Grand Canyon Village, and stunning hiking and camping opportunities, there is no shortage of activities at the South Rim, West Rim, or North Rim. No matter which region you’ll be visiting, you can use this list to find things to do at the Grand Canyon. 

Explore All the Fun Things to Do at the Grand Canyon

Many first-time visitors to the Grand Canyon may not realize that there are three distinct regions available to the public: The South Rim, the North Rim, and the West Rim. Use this list to determine which area you’d like to visit, and the fun things to do at the Grand Canyon at each location. 

The South Rim, also known as the Grand Canyon National Park, is where you’ll find the most famous viewpoints of the Grand Canyon and plentiful shopping and dining opportunities. 

The Grand Canyon West is the nearest region to the city of Las Vegas and the only area where a helicopter tour can land on the very bottom of the canyon! The West Rim is also home to the Skywalk Bridge. 

If you're looking for a more remote and rugged experience, you can visit the Grand Canyon North Rim, open for visitation seasonally due to snowstorms. Here you’ll find some of the most impressive hiking trails and campsites, or you can stay at the historic Grand Canyon Lodge. 

a red helicopter flies over the grand canyon national park landscape

Things to Do at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon

The South Rim offers the most tourist-friendly experience, perfect for first-time visitors. There are a great many things to do at the Grand Canyon South Rim: here you can enjoy a helicopter tour over the South Rim or a Hummer tour to various lookout points. At the nearby Grand Canyon Village, you can browse for souvenirs, visit historic buildings, and enjoy a meal at a variety of restaurants located right on the canyon’s edge.  

  • Helicopter Tour: The South Rim contains the deepest and widest rock gorges in the entire park. You can see these incredible landforms from the sky on a South Rim helicopter tour! You’ll capture stunning aerial photos of the striped canyon walls beneath you and the Colorado River rushing between them. 
  • Desert View Watchtower: Built in 1932, the Desert View Watchtower offers a View Room with windows providing stunning vistas of the Grand Canyon. The Watchtower is a National Historic Landmark and a very important piece of architecture at the South Rim. 
  • South Kaibab Trail: This super-popular Grand Canyon hiking trail extends over 13 miles into the Grand Canyon to Bright Angel Campground. This well-defined dirt trail reaches multiple canyon views including the famous Ooh Ahh Point. Be advised that there is no water available on this trail and that temperatures can skyrocket seasonally. Prepare and pack in advance before embarking on a Grand Canyon hike! 
  • Mule Rides into the Grand Canyon: The legends are true – you can actually ride on a mule into the Grand Canyon South! Mule rides are available year-round and only require riders to 9 years old, over 57 inches tall, under 225lbs, and understand directions in English. The mules are docile and highly trained, needing no steering or guidance to traverse the canyon trails. These tours book up quickly so reserve your mule ride in advance! 
  • Hummer Tour: How can you visit all of the most famous South Rim lookout points in one day? Aboard a customized open-air Hummer touring vehicle! This Grand Canyon Hummer tour travels to some of the most impressive viewpoints with time to explore and take photos at each – you can even book at sunset for a truly magical experience. 
  • Colorado River Rafting: If you’re planning an extended visit to the Grand Canyon National Park, you can experience a canyon rafting day trip in Page, AZ – home of the world-famous Antelope Canyon. You’ll fly to Page, AZ, where you’ll tour Antelope Canyon, then enjoy a 15.5-mile rafting excursion that includes Horseshoe Bend before returning to the Grand Canyon on a ground tour. 
  • Grand Canyon Railway: If you plan to visit the Grand Canyon South from the Williams, Arizona area, you can travel aboard the Grand Canyon Railway and see the magnificent Southwest Desert scenery along the way! There are six different cars available, ranging in amenities and luxuries, including glass-topped observation cars! 
a helicopter tour landing at the bottom of the grand canyon

Things to Do at the Grand Canyon West Rim

The Grand Canyon West is the wild and rugged sister of the more developed South Rim. It is also the nearest area of the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. Here, the paths aren’t paved, the crowds are smaller, and traffic is minimal. The West Rim offers many unique sightseeing opportunities that aren’t available at the South Rim – check out our list below to plan things to do at the Grand Canyon when you visit: 

  • Helicopter Landing at the Bottom: The West Rim is the only region where you can experience a helicopter landing on the Grand Canyon floor. You can stand beneath the massive canyon walls, watch the Colorado River pass you by, and take truly incredible pictures! 
  • Grand Canyon Skywalk: The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a glass-bottomed bridge that allows visitors to walk out over 70 feet into the middle of the Grand Canyon to see the rock gorge beneath them! You can pay to enter the Skywalk on your own, or you can find many West Rim tours with Skywalk entry included. 
  • Colorado River Tour: After landing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, you can also add a smooth water trip along the Colorado River! A Colorado River boat trip offers even more photo opportunities of the Grand Canyon walls on either side of you. 
  • Eagle Point: Just across from the Skywalk Bridge is the incredible Eagle Point, named for the massive rock formation shaped almost exactly like a colossal eagle spreading its wings. You can see Eagle Point from atop the Skywalk or simply standing on the canyon’s edge. 
  • Guano Point: Guano Point can be reached aboard a free shuttle service at the West Rim. This lookout point is a rock peninsula that extends into the canyon gorge, offering a 360-degree view of the rock walls. There is also a small summit at the end of the rock formation that you can climb for an even better view! 
a sign notating nearby hiking trails at the edge of the grand canyon

Things to Do at the Grand Canyon North Rim

If the call of the wild is what you look for in a vacation, then the Grand Canyon North Rim is for you! Open seasonally from Spring through Fall, hikes are the best things to do at the Grand Canyon North Rim. The North Rim offers breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon surrounded by the lush Ponderosa pines of the Kaibab Forest. If you’re a true nature lover, the North Rim is the best way to see as much of the canyon as possible. 

  • Bright Angel Point Trail: This easy, paved trail starts at the North Rim Visitor Center and is just under a mile long. Due to the North Rim’s elevation, you’ll get a gorgeous downward view of the Grand Canyon South! 
  • Rainbow Rim Trail: Although this trail is not technically within the national park limits, the Rainbow Rim trail is a popular option for visitors to the North Rim as it follows along the canyon rim. At almost 28 miles long, the Rainbow Rim offers access to 5 major canyon overlooks and great primitive camping opportunities. Be aware that this is a backcountry trail where service stations are not readily available. 
  • North Kaibab Trail: This less-trafficked trail is considered strenuous but does offer multiple turn-around points. You can even get an overnight pass if you intend to hike it all the way to the canyon floor! The North Kaibab trail is frequently used by mule tours and does not provide water for hikers but offers fantastic sightseeing for expert hikers! 
a helicopter tour pilot poses with his helicopter at the bottom of the grand canyon

Book With Papillon Today!

If you plan to visit the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas or are planning a visit on your own, Papillon can help you see the most of whichever region you choose! We offer airplane flights from Vegas to the South Rim, and tours upon arrival including Hummer excursions and helicopter flights toward the North Rim. We also operate daily helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon West.

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We are proud to transport guests from around the world to the most beautiful places in America and offer tour narration in a variety of languages. Whether you want to visit the Grand Canyon National Park, the West Rim, or even other destinations like Antelope Canyon or Horseshoe Bend, we look forward to sharing the experience with you.