by JD Hancock
On a tight budget but want to see the Grand Canyon while visiting Las Vegas? No problem. Take a Skywalk-West Rim bus tour. These tours promise good times and are light on the pocket book. Got your interest now? Here’s seven more reasons why the West Rim bus needs to one of your Vegas must-do’s:
1. Lake Mead and Hoover Dam are included. These famous landmarks are on the way to Grand Canyon West. Most trips include a photo stop on the Arizona side of the dam. Drive over the incredible Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Bridge.
2. Experience the Skywalk Grand Canyon. The bridge is made entirely out of glass. Walk it’s horseshoe-shaped path and you’ll be 70 feet over the edge and 4,000 feet over the Colorado River. The views are astonishing. Most visitors compare their Skywalk experience to that of defying gravity.
3. Ride a helicopter to the base of the canyon. The West Rim is the only place where you can do this. The distance from rim to bottom is 4,000 feet. Deplane and enjoy a Champagne toast. Explore the floor, home to some of the Earth’s oldest exposed rock.
4. Ride a pontoon boat down the Colorado River. Board an adventure-class rubber boat and float the rapids of the river that continues making the canyon what it is today. Remember to bring (or wear) a bating suit. A quick swim is encouraged.
5. See an real Indian pueblo. Walking tours are available and are led by members of the Hualapai Indians, the tribe that owns the land that includes Grand Canyon West. This tour takes you among tribal dwellings like ceremonial huts, tee pees, and an outdoor amphitheater. Browse the Hualapai Market for handicrafts.
6. Luxury buses are paragons of comfort. These aren’t the coaches of lore. Today’s buses sport large, climate-controlled cabins, large windows, plasma TVs, and trip narrations that have been translated into more than 10 languages. On-board restrooms are spotless, too. Seats are plush. Plenty of legroom. And the bathrooms are extraordinarily clean.
7. These all-inclusive tours are affordable. Basic tours start at $ 94. This gets you entrance to the entire park. Inside, ride the free shuttle bus to Eagle Point, Guano Point, the Rim, the Indian Village, and more. If you want to do the Skywalk, or think you want to do it, I recommend you book a tour that includes tickets to it.
The West Rim is a mere 120 miles east of Vegas. This distance can be done in 2.5 hours by bus. Tours include a quick breakfast and a barbecue lunch. Expect to spend a minimum of half a day on these trips, longer if you upgrade to include a helicopter ride or pontoon boat float trip. Book in advance: I suggest one to two weeks before you arrive in Vegas.
I also recommend purchasing your trip online. I’ve seen prices cut by up to 35%. Consider buying direct from tour operators. I do and I’ve never had a problem with my bookings. Be sure you print out your trip confirmation email and take it with you to Vegas.
These are just seven reasons why I propose taking a Grand Canyon bus tour to Skywalk Grand Canyon. But the bottom line is this: If you come out to Vegas, you’ve got to do the canyon. The proximity alone makes it a nearly mandatory visit. Plus, the best place to enjoy this magical land is just a 2.5-hour bus trip away! So climb aboard. It’s time to enjoy this incredible outdoor attraction.
Travel writer Keith Kravitz reviews
Grand Canyon tours and posts the top 3 Grand Canyon bus tours here.