Flight to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas

December 2013 

How to get to Grand Canyon from Las Vegas? This trip review illustrates a flight from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim followed by a bus tour to Angel Point and Mather Point. Aerial photos of Grand Canyon and information about how to organize a Grand Canyon flight from Las Vegas by small aircraft.

Dash 6 DHC-6 300 Dash-6 interiors
If during your trip to Las Vegas you have at least an half day free (although a full day would be better) you can book a tour to the Grand Canyon taking advantage of the many tourist flights available from several operators offering various trips and options to visit the Grand Canyon without having to drive there for a lot of hours. Tours from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon are available to two points of the Grand Canyon itself, both served by a small airport: the South Rim and the West Rim.


While booking a tour to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, you'll probably have to decide on a number of options for which it's not always easy to make a choice in the first instance. First of all, you will have to decide if you want to explore the western side of the Grand Canyon (West Rim), or the South Rim. The Grand Canyon West Rim is the closest to Las Vegas and can be reached more quickly by plane and by helicopter. This is (at trip review's date) the only place where optional excursions by helicopter into the Grand Canyon, as well as a cruise down the Colorado River, are offered. The West rim is also the only place where you can walk on a glass terrace to experience the thrill of walking after the edge of the Grand Canyon. The West Rim however, as the name itself suggests, is located at the western end of the Grand Canyon, a place where the Grand Canyon is still quite narrow and can't be actually enjoyed in all its majesty. This excursion is therefore particularly recommended only if you have already visited the Grand Canyon along the South Rim and wish to experience something different.The Grand Canyon South Rim is more distant from Las Vegas and the flight is about 25 minutes longer, but it's only here that the Grand Canyon can be seen in all its splendor, with the view that spans for miles and miles inside the Grand Canyon towards all the directions. After landing at the small airport in Grand Canyon Village (GCN), the tour continues aboard a bus that makes a few stops of about an hour each, at the most spectacular viewpoints such as Angel Point and Mather Point, from where you have the chance to walk short trails along the rim of the canyon and to take pictures. The trip to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon can be done from Las Vegas even by car, but you will need at least two full days. The trip to the West Rim can be instead done only by small airplane or helicopter, since most of the road is not paved and you can't drive there without breaking most of the contracts with the car rental companies. Actually, the Grand Canyon can be visited also along the North Rim, but the journey from Las Vegas is very long and there are no nearby airports serving this area. The trip review and the information on this web site are from a Grand Canyon flight done in December 2013 and, as everything change quickly all over the world, we recommend to check also other travel web sites for fresh news.
Twin Otter aircraft Twin Otter cockpit
The flight from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon South Rim that we have chosen, was operated by Scenic Airlines through a Twin Otter DHC-6 300 aircraft and a crew of two pilots. The Twin Otter is a robust and very reliable aircraft with large windows and high wing, just perfect for this kind of trips. As it can be seen from the photos on the top of this page, the rows of seats are in the order 1-2, but for a small additional fee you may have the window seat guaranteed (obviously if still available, but in any case, even the passengers sitting in the aisle still have a quite good external view).
Boulder City airport Las Vegas from air
The plane to Grand Canyon takes off from the small airport in Boulder City around 09:00. Boulder City is located about 30 minutes from Las Vegas, but the Grand Canyon travel package includes pickup from your hotel on the Strip in Las Vegas, where of course you are also dropped-off the end of the tour. Some other Grand Canyon flights are instead operated from Las Vegas North airport, while Las Vegas McCarran airport is no longer used (or used only rarely) for this kind of flights, because of the traffic.
Hoover dam
Hoover dam from air

A few minutes after taking off from Boulder City, en route to the Grand Canyon, the plane flies over the Hoover Dam, the huge dam on the Colorado River that creates Lake Mead, thus allowing Las Vegas to get enough water supply and electricity sufficient for residents, hotels and guests.
The flight to the Grand Canyon flies over the northern Arizona's extreme landscapes, characterized by numerous canyons and colorful rocks.
Grand Canyon from air Colorado river
Grand Canyon West Rim Canyon
The plane continues the flight over the Grand Canyon West Rim, as well as over some "branches" Grand Canyon that "flow" in the Grand Canyon itself.
Grand Canyon airport
After about an hour flight, the plane lands at the Grand Canyon Village airport (GCN) along the South Rim where tourists are transferred aboard a bus together with a tour guide.
Grand Canyon Grand Canyon Arizona
Grand Canyon South Rim Mather Point
Grand Canyon panorama Grand Canyon
Mather Point is one of the most scenic view point along the Grand Canyon South Rim and is just a few minutes of bus drive from Grand Canyon Village airport. Unlike the Grand Canyon West Rim, here the view spans in the Grand Canyon at its point of maximum width, where the landscape is much more spectacular and immense.
Grand Canyon National Park sign
The sign at Grand Canyon national park near Mather Point.
Rocks in the Grand Canyon
Tourists in the Grand Canyon
Colored rocks with bizarre shapes and small canyons within the main canyon: this is the Grand Canyon at its best, a geological wonder unique in the world that currently attracts around 4-5 millions of tourists every year (some of them do not hesitate to walk along the edge of the cliffs, despite the recommendations to not do so because of ice and snow present on some rocks). The altitude of the Grand Canyon on the South Rim is about 2000 meters above sea level and therefore winter snowfall and temperatures many degrees below freezing point are quite common.
Colorato river in the bottom of Grand Canyon Grand Canyon trail
Grand Canyon vegetation Grand Canyon photos. In the upper left picture, you can see the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon. In the top-right picture, a trail along the side of the canyon. The Grand Canyon is the only mountain in the world that is climbed in the opposite direction: you starts from the top bound for the bottom and this must be taken into consideration as the temperature and dehydration increase going down, while the hardest part of the hike is the return because you have to climb back (requests for rescue are quite common).
View from Mather Point Mather Point
More photos of the Grand Canyon taken by the various scenic view points.
Angel Point (Grand Canyon)
Picture of the Grand Canyon taken from Angel Point near Grand Canyon Village.
Grand Canyon flight
River in the canyon Flying over Grand Canyon

The trip in the Grand Canyon comes to an end when the plane takes the tourists back to Boulder City (and then back to Las Vegas by bus), flying once again over the stunning landscape of northern Arizona.
Lake Mead Lake Mead from air

Shortly before landing in Boulder City, the aircraft flies above Lake Mead an artificial water reservoir created by the Hoover Dam on the Colorado River.
The Grand Canyon tour ends around 15:00 when the plane flies over the latest strange rock formations. A bus will accompany all the tourists from Boulder City to the various hotels along the Strip in Las Vegas.

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