The drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West is 2.5 hours using highway 93 & 95. The Grand Canyon West is for tourists who visited Las Vegas as it is closer as compared to South Rim. Grand Canyon South Rim will need up to 5 hours if you were driving from Las Vegas. You can do day tour for Grand Canon West if you stay in Las Vegas – it is achievable.
1.Helicopter is another way to see & access Grand Canyon!
You know you are approaching Grand Canyon West Rim once you see all the helicopters and small planes line up beside the road. Tourists who prefer to have more challenging adventures, will use helicopter to help them reach the banks of Colorado River, where they can board a pontoon boat and enjoy a river ride between the rugged canyon walls.
Call me country bumpkin, I never see so many helicopters in a row! Obviously helicopter business selling well here. Up to 20 helicopters park at the designated area waiting for the tourists to board. As you know there are many places in Grand Canyon where you can’t access without using helicopter if you need to see more of Grand Canyon.
2.Grand Canyon Small Plane Tour
Some prefer to use the small plane to see Grand Canyon from above!
3. Park For Free & Purchase Your Ticket
Grand Canyon Park is not accessible by private cars but there are shuttles bus which will bring you up. Go line up to purchase your tickets to enter the park! Or you can purchase online and print the voucher, that would save you plenty of time queuing. Trust me!
4. Choose your package – with or without skywalk
There are several package for you to choose from, we choose the Legacy Gold, $82.37 which include, Skywalk ticket to walk on the glass bridge, meal at viewpoint of choice & Hop-on hop-off shuttle to all viewpoints, including Hualapai Ranch, Eagle Point, and Guano Point. There is another cheaper ticket without skywalk & no meal which cost cheaper, $49.92 – only including Hop-on hop-off shuttle to all viewpoints, including Hualapai Ranch, Eagle Point, and Guano Point .
5. The Hualapai Indian tribe owns this portion of the national park
There are over 500 Indian tribes in America and I was happy to see real American native – Hualapai Indian Tribe here at Grand Canyon West. Hualapai mean “people of the tall trees”!
While queuing for our tickets, the Hualapai Indian welcome us with songs & music & dance. I love their cape.
The Hualapai are natives of northwestern Arizona, near the Grand Canyon. They have their own native language called Havasupai–Walapai. They sing in their native language!
Colorful stones sold at the ticketing area. A small bag cost $7.99 for you to fill in whatever color of stones you like.
6. Queue for shuttle bus to go up Grand Canyon Park
It was still early, about 11 am when we started to explore the park so the queue for the shuttle bus was not too long. You should see after 3 pm, the queue was insane.
Shuttle Bus to bring you up! Friendly female driver!
7. There are three sites in the Grand Canyon West :
-Hualapai Ranch & Eagle Point & and Guano Point .
8. First stop – Hualapai Ranch
Tourists who like to see more of Grand Canyon can stay overnight at the Hualapai Ranch. You can watch the early sunrise from the porch of your cabin. The ranch was build like an old western town, not sure why they called it Hualapai Ranch, more like an old western town?
A lot of walking but mostly man-made. If you are here for nature wonder – Grand Canyon, you may want to skip the first stop – Hualapai Ranch.
9. Ten minutes shuttle bus drive with breathtaking view
Get your camera ready throughout the 10-15 minutes during the Grand Canyon shuttle bus ride. Breathtaking view and I happened to see a coyote walking at the roadside.
10. Eagle Point & Skywalk
Eagle Point and Skywalk is at the second stop. This is a must see attraction, you paid so much for this magnificent sight.
11. Safety First at Grand Canyon
Don’t go too close to the edge as the ground may look stable, underneath it can be undercut. Many have accidentally fallen off the edge while taking risky pictures. When I was there, there is a ranger who walks up and down to ask excited tourists to stay away from the edge.
12. Have you wonder why the Grand Canyon is so flat at the top?
13. Get your meal at Eagle Point Stop if you hold Gold Legacy Package
If you hold the Gold Legacy Package ticket, a meal is included in your package. Go and select the choice you like to have. One window serve rice, I think for Asian and the other window serve sandwiches.
Menu for the Sandwiches
For Rice, there were two choices, chicken and beef. We choose beef and turn out to be right choice as it was so yummy! The meat and vegetable were serve generously. A bottle of water and an orange were included.
There are plenty of table & chairs alfresco style for you to have your meals or picnic. I saw few cleaners were working hard to make sure the picnic areas is clean and comfortable for the tourists. Hey, remember we paid a high fees to get in this park!
14. The Skywalk at Eagle Point
This is the highlight, if you purchase the Gold Legacy, you are entitle to do the Skywalk. There is a security check and all bags have to put in the locker including camera & mobile phones. No photo taking with your own phones however photographers are there to help you shoot pictures.
How was the feeling walking on the glass platform above 4,000 feet above the Grand Canyon? It was simply nerve-racking but fun & thrill. This 10-foot-wide, horseshoe-shaped glass bridge extends 70 feet out over the rim of the Canyon. If you know the fact that Skywalk is strong enough to bear the weight of seventy 747 passenger jets, you won’t bear that much of fear when you do the Skywalk.
If you look down, you will see Colorado River and you will notice the width of the river is very narrow as compared to other rivers that you have seen. Weird, why so narrow??
Since you are walking on the glass, you are also given disposal paper socks to wear, to protect the glass in the Skywalk.
Some ice can be seen, weather in the afternoon was not that cold to be frank. The ice were from last night I guess.
15. Eagle Point – go spot the Eagle!
Can you spot the eagle?
16. How Did Eagle Point Get Its Name?
Eagle point is an important and scared site for the Hualapai people. The site earned its name from the rock formation that you can see across the canyon : the formation looks like a bald eagle with its wings outstretched. Very obvious.
17. Several View Points for the Eagle Point
There are several view points for you to check out the Eagle. You can stand at these view points – above the rocks provided at the designated spot. ( Refer to picture below )
Natural rock formation that looks like an eagle!
18. Wickiups – Hualapai Hut
Go in and check out the unique architecture of this little Indian hut!
19. Grand Canyon is colorful – Go observe!
If you observe closely, you will notice different colors in the Grand Canyon. Quite colorful – some purple, blue, orange, yellow and there may be slight differences in everyone’s vision.
20. Death in the Canyon
There are actually more death due heat or dehydration than falling. Report show about 12 death in a year, including falling, suicide, heat & drowning.
21. Native American Dance at Amphitheater at Eagle Point
Watch Native American dances in the amphitheater each day at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
22. Last site : Guano Point
You need to ride on shuttle bus for another 10 minutes to reach Guano Point. This is the last site in Grand Canyon West Park.
I find that viewpoint at Guano Point is even more spectacular than Eagle Point. It is even higher than Eagle Point (second stop).
There are plenty of rocks for you to climb up and down. In Guano Point, most of the things are still untouched.
23. On The Top Of The World
I would say Guano Point have the best view in Grand Canyon West.
24. Last Tips
- Weather changes dramatically day and night so be prepared to have enough clothing.
- Come early to avoid crowd, when we were leaving at 3 plus, saw the queue for the tickets were super long! The queue was so long that it went few meters outside the kiosk. Pity to see tourists standing under the hot sun and queue for hours. No wonder the shuttles bus driver asked us to get up the bus even the bus was so full. She wanted to help us get out the park before more tourist flushing in.
- Purchase ticket online and skip the queue, you can straight away queue for shuttles bus. Save you plenty of time for sure!
- Plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated, many dies of heat.
- Stay away from the edge, many fell and die.
Nearby Attractions :
- Road Trip Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West
- Las Vegas Strips
- Las Vegas China Town
- Lake Mead & Hoover Dam at Nevada
- Las Vegas Mandalay Hotel – Michael Jackson ‘One’ Show
- Calico Ghost Town