With its layered crimson rocks and winding Colorado River, exploring the Grand Canyon is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – especially when viewed from the air. To enjoy a unique perspective of this natural wonder and surrounding landmarks like the Hoover Dam, consider booking a Grand Canyon helicopter tour.
There are a variety of providers that offer helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon, with options departing from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park Airport and Las Vegas hotels. To determine the best options and help you select the right Grand Canyon helicopter tour for you, U.S. News consulted both expert opinion and recent traveler reviews.
(Note: Companies may have a fuel surcharge on top of the regular rate. Also, there are typically passenger weight restrictions in place; an additional fee may apply for those who exceed the weight limit.)
Best Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours from the National Park
Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters – Grand Discovery Air Tour
Price: From $179
Duration: 45 Minutes
During this approximately 45-minute airplane tour, you’ll fly over the South Rim, Kaibab National Forest and the Little Colorado River, among other sights. This tour departs from Grand Canyon Airport, making it convenient for travelers staying near Grand Canyon National Park. Plus, for an additional fee, you can take an optional Hummer tour. Many reviewers label this trip as a bucket-list opportunity and laud the incredible flight experience. On the flip side, a handful of reviewers complain about poor customer service.
Tours depart at multiple times daily. Tickets start at $179 per person (or $289 per person for the plane ride and Hummer tour combo). Travelers should note that they will be weighed at check-in. Patrons weighing more than 299 pounds will be charged an additional fee (ranging from $50 to $200) for an extra seat.
Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters also offers several other tours of the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon.
Maverick Helicopters – Canyon Spirit
Price: From $349
Duration: 45 minutes
Departing from the South Rim, the approximately 45-minute Grand Canyon Spirit Tour flies over the Kaibab National Forest, the Colorado River, the North Rim and the Dragon Corridor, the widest and deepest part of the canyon. Along the way, passengers will soar above Marble Canyon and Point Imperial, among other landmarks. Reviewers rave about Maverick’s professional, informative pilots and say the views of the canyon are outstanding.
Prices start at $349 per person, including fees and the fuel surcharge. Flights depart from Grand Canyon National Park Airport in Tusayan, Arizona, multiple times daily. There is a maximum per-person weight limit of 300 pounds. If a guest exceeds that limit, he or she must purchase an additional seat. Note that the company does not provide transportation to or from the airport. Maverick also offers canyon tours that depart from Las Vegas, as well as private flights.
Best Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours from Las Vegas
5 Star Helicopter Tours – Grand Canyon and Valley of Fire Helicopter Champagne Landing Tour
Price: From $649
Duration: 4 hours
This helicopter ride combines a scenic flight over the Grand Canyon with a landing at Valley of Fire State Park. The outing, which includes round-trip transportation from most Las Vegas hotels, lasts approximately four hours. During the 100-minute flight, you’ll enjoy views of the Hoover Dam, the Mojave Desert and the Grand Canyon before landing at the state park for a Champagne toast and time to take pictures of the red Aztec sandstone outcrops. Along the way, you’ll enjoy live narration from your expert pilot – a particular highlight for reviewers, who appreciate the pilot’s explanation of the park’s various geological features.
Flights, which start at $649 per person, are available daily in the afternoon (exact departure varies by month). There is a 250-pound weight limit per person; if a passenger exceeds that limit, he or she must purchase an additional seat.
For an aerial view of the Strip, consider one of 5 Star’s Las Vegas flightseeing tours.
Maverick Helicopters – Wind Dancer
Price: From $599
Duration: 4 hours
Departing from the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, this four-hour tour takes you over Lake Mead, one of the most impressive lakes in Arizona; Fortification Hill; the Hoover Dam and more before stopping to land 3,500 feet into the Grand Canyon. Once you land, you’ll be served beverages (including sparkling wine) and light snacks. On the way back to the city, you’ll take in epic views of the canyon’s rock formations before descending past the glittering lights of Las Vegas and its famous attractions. According to reviewers, the flight is exhilarating and well worth the money. Many have called it the highlight of their Vegas vacation. Flights depart several times daily.
The trip, which includes Vegas hotel pickup and drop-off, costs approximately $600 per person (but prices vary depending on your departure time). Travelers should note there is a 300-pound weight limit per person. If a passenger exceeds that limit, he or she must purchase an additional seat.
Maverick Helicopters also offers other sightseeing flights, including a flight departing from the South Rim and a flight to the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
5 Star Helicopter Tours – Grand Canyon Helicopter Eagle Point Rim Landing Tour
Price: From $599
Duration: 4 hours
This four-hour journey includes Vegas hotel pickup and drop-off, live commentary from an expert pilot and stellar views of the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam and more. Plus, you’ll have 30 minutes to explore the scenery at Eagle Point Rim where you can add on access to the Grand Canyon Skywalk for an additional fee. Reviewers enjoy the tour, with many citing the fun and informative pilots as a highlight of the trip.
Tickets cost approximately $599 per person. Tours depart at multiple times daily. Travelers should note there is a 250-pound weight limit per passenger. Guests who exceed that limit must purchase an additional seat. In addition to Grand Canyon tours, the company offers helicopter tours of Las Vegas proper.
Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters – Grand Celebration Tour
Price: From $499
Duration: 4.5 hours
Enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Colorado River before landing on a private plateau to explore the canyon floor on this approximately 4.5-hour tour. In addition to music and multilingual narration throughout the 70-minute flight, you’ll also enjoy aerial views of Grand Canyon West lookouts like Guano Point and Eagle Point. Plus, after landing in the canyon, you’ll have 30 minutes to explore and enjoy a light picnic with sparkling wine before heading back to Las Vegas. Many passengers say the experience of sipping sparkling wine amidst the canyon’s towering rock formations is unforgettable. Others applaud the professional, friendly pilot and wish they had more time in the canyon.
Tours, which depart multiple times daily, start at $499 per person. Prices include complimentary round-trip transportation from most hotels in downtown Las Vegas and the Strip. Travelers should note that they will be weighed at check-in. Patrons weighing more than 299 pounds will be charged an additional fee (ranging from $50 to $200) for an extra seat. Papillon offers a variety of Grand Canyon and Las Vegas flights, including some that take flight in EcoStar, an environmentally friendly helicopter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Grand Canyon helicopter tours range anywhere from around $180 to $830 per person, depending on the tour type, company and add-ons, such as a canyon floor landing or a visit to the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
Recent travelers say a Grand Canyon helicopter tour is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. People say the views are amazing and that the unique angle of the Grand Canyon is breathtaking. Several also say the trained pilots are knowledgeable and have helped ease their fears about flying.
Most Grand Canyon helicopter tours are considered safe, with vetted pilots who meet approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration in maintenance, training and aircraft safety. They are also required to fly a certain number of hours before leading a helicopter tour. However, keep in mind there are risks involved in any adventure activity you choose to participate in, and medical travel insurance can be a valuable investment in this scenario.
The most common causes of commercial helicopter crashes typically involve mechanical problems, inadequate maintenance of the aircraft, rapidly changing weather conditions and varying pilot experience. If you have concerns, it’s best to reach out to the tour companies directly for details on their protocols for pilot training and aircraft upkeep.