When you're ready to book your helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, you'll find you have to choose between a deluxe and basic version. While the deluxe version costs more, it is worth the extra expense if you can afford it because it comes with some nice perks. Here are the three best tours you can choose from when you're ready to lock in your seats.
Best Vegas Tours
The first thing you should know is that the only tours that allow you to land at the Canyon are those that depart from Vegas. Helicopters are not permitted to fly below the rim and land at the South Rim, so if you want a landing tour, you'll have to go to the West Rim, and those tours depart from Vegas.
So if you want to land at the Canyon, then you'll be booking a West Rim tour. That brings us to my top recommended tour.
The Champagne Tour is my #1 pick. This helicopter tour lifts off from The Strip and flies you to the West Rim where the chopper makes an exhilarating descent to the Canyon floor where you get out near the Colorado River. You'll have a VIP experience once you land and are treated to a fun Champagne picnic. And since it is a deluxe tour, like all other deluxe tours, it comes with free limousine transportation from your hotel to the helicopter pad.
The Ultimate Mega Tour
The #2 pick is the mega tour that includes the first tour along with a float trip on the Colorado River and a stop at the famous Skywalk on top of the rim.
The Skywalk is probably one of the most popular things to see at the Canyon. If you're going to the West Rim anyway, you certainly don't want to miss seeing it. It is a massive glass and steel viewing platform that is suspended 4000 feet above the bottom of the Canyon and juts out 70 feet past the edge of the Canyon. The experience is exciting, and the view is amazing. The tour comes with VIP tickets, and that means you can cut in line and reduce your waiting time.
South Rim Helicopter Tour
My #3 tour is one that goes to the South Rim. Even though your helicopter won't be allowed to land there, the South Rim tour is still a good tour experience. The South Rim is more remote and the tour flies over vast wilderness areas, so if you want something away from the tourist crowds, this is the tour for you.
This tour is a flight that goes from the South Rim to the North Rim to the eastern border of the Park, and then back to the South Rim. This tour lets you see 75 percent of the entire National Park grounds, including the deepest and widest trench in the Canyon.
Choose Your Tour
Now that you know the top three tours to the Canyon, it's time to get your tour booked. Remember, if it's a landing tour you want, book a Vegas tour and go to the West Rim, but if you want to see pristine wilderness scenery, book a South Rim tour out of Tusayan. Plan to buy your tour at least two weeks ahead of time and just use your credit card to buy it online. That way you'll get the best price on your tour. Since these are all deluxe tours, you'll get to fly on the EcoStar sightseeing chopper that is quieter and roomier than the basic helicopter, plus the EcoStar has stadium-style seats and a huge panoramic viewing window for spectacular views.
The Canyon has many beautiful things to see, and the best way to appreciate the grandeur of it is on a helicopter tour. Book one of my three recommended deluxe tours, and you'll be ready to have an experience of a lifetime at one of America's most beautiful National Parks.
Grand Canyon expert Keith Kravitz is a huge fan of National Park helicopter tours and recommends readers start here for a list of the best deluxe tours at bargain Internet rates: http://www.grandcanyonhelicopters.org/deluxe-tours/