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The coolest way to cross a Grand Canyon trip off your bucket list

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

The rugged and jutting peaks of the Grand Canyon from inside with helicopters perched on the cliffs and the Colorado River below while people explore on their Grand Canyon trip.  ©AlonzoWright
Take a closer look and you'll see the few people exploring the cliffs inside the Grand Canyon. ©AlonzoWright

Why do you think people visit the Grand Canyon? Think it’s because it’s one of the Seven Wonders of the World? Maybe you heard about it as a kid and have been meaning to visit since you were in those red corduroys. Or maybe you’re heading to Las Vegas, and thought you’d take a Grand Canyon trip since you’re so close by. Whatever the reason, the pull is enough to draw millions of people a year, making the Grand Canyon one of the most visited national parks in the United States, according to the National Park Service.

Except the West Rim isn’t a national park at all. It’s managed by the original Native American inhabitants, the Hualapai tribe, which means it’s a completely different experience (and richer, might I add) than the other rims. It doesn’t receive federal funding, so they have more flexibility to enhance your experience like the glass SkyWalk or the new zip line spanning across the canyon. There are so many different ways to see the Grand Canyon, but if you’re going to scratch it off your bucket list, there’s one way that stands out above the crowd: and that’s by helicopter.

The view on our Grand Canyon trip, jagged peaks of the Grand Canyon with fluffy clouds casting shadows onto the canyon walls. ©AlonzoWright
The mountains are deeply chiseled and sprawl out as far as the eye can see, like knuckled fingers reaching for the horizon. ©AlonzoWright

Why you should take a helicopter on your Grand Canyon trip

Now, hear me out…especially if the idea of getting in a helicopter makes you want to pee a little. If you really want to feel like you’re living, not just alive, you have to do something that scares you every once in a while. That’s how we grow. Sure, you could sit on a bus for the better part of a day, listening to a screaming child a few rows ahead of you, breathing in the sweet tang of sewage every time the lavatory door swings open. That’s how most people get to the Grand Canyon. And why wouldn’t they? It’s cheaper, a lot less scary for some and doesn’t really require you to leave your comfort zone.

The interior of a helicopter looking out the windshield on a Grand Canyon trip at sunset. ©AlonzoWright
This is what flying into the sunset actually looks like from the helicopter on your Grand Canyon trip. ©AlonzoWright

OR- you could remember that you have one single, solitary life and become the action hero in your own vacation memories. Yep, taking the helicopter is going to cost a little more and you may need to pop Dramamine like they’re Tic Tacs, but it’ll save you a ton of time (around 4.5 hours round trip) and you’re