The Grand Canyon is a very colorful, steep-sided gorge, carved by the Colorado River, in the U.S. state of Arizona. It is largely contained within the Grand Canyon National Park — one of the first national parks in the United States.
The canyon, created by the Colorado River cutting a channel over millions of years, is about 446 km long, ranges in width from 0.4 to 24 kilometers, and attains a depth of more than 1 600 m. Nearly two billion years of the Earth's history has been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut through layer after layer of sediment as the Colorado Plateaus have uplifted.
The Grand Canyon is both majestic and magical. One of nature’s most enduring and unique gems, it attracts millions of yearly visitors to Arizona. While you can attempt to tackle the Grand Canyon on your own, many tourists choose to book Grand Canyon tours during their visit. These various tours offer an ideal means by which to approach the giant gorge and can be the best way to maximize your time spent there. Grand Canyon tours exist to fit practically every need or desire, and whether your budget is limited or unlimited, you can find Grand Canyon tours that will add that extra flavor to your Grand Canyon vacation. Grand Canyon tours can last half a day on up to weeks, depending on which one you select, and views of the canyon’s stunning scenery can be enjoyed from the air, on a Grand Canyon river rafting trip, and by way of the Grand Canyon railway, to name a few of the options. Grand Canyon tours can be arranged from locations in Arizona, as well as from New Mexico, Utah, California and Nevada, meaning that you can likely compliment your vacation in these states with a Grand Canyon vacation experience.
Finding the right Grand Canyon tours for your group will depend on a few factors, at least, such as your group size, the length of your Grand Canyon vacation, and the preferences of those involved. If you are planning a Las Vegas vacation, you will be happy to know that you can supplement it with various Grand Canyon tours that can include a mix of motorcoach, airplane or Grand Canyon helicopter tours. When booking your hotel accommodations in Las Vegas, or in the greater Grand Canyon area, you may wish to arrange a package deal that includes Grand Canyon tours in the overall price. Searching online will reveal the sheer amount of Grand Canyon tours offered, and often you will come across special internet rates to help you save money. Prices for the various Grand Canyon tours can be quite affordable, with rates for some excursions starting at under $100. Many day tours feature a lunch break that is included in the price, which takes the stress out of having to figure out where to eat. While tours initiated outside of Arizona can be one-day in and out affairs, you can also opt for an overnight tour, which includes accommodations either at one of the Grand Canyon National Park’s 6 lodges, or at the various area Grand Canyon hotels.
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is where most people choose to begin their Grand Canyon vacation, and while the spring, summer and fall bring the most visitors to the area, the South Rim’s visitor services are open year round. If you are planning any Grand Canyon tours for the busy summer season, you will want to book as far ahead as possible, as they can fill up at a moment’s notice, as can accommodations. Within the South Rim, you will find Grand Canyon Village, which is a National Historic Landmark District which features many structures that date back to the early 1900's, when the Santa Fe railroad was built. There are a variety of accommodation options found at Grand Canyon Village, from quaint cabins to more modern facilities. Grand Canyon camping can be enjoyed at the South Rim’s designated campgrounds as well. Grand Canyon mule rides and train trips are among the Grand Canyon tours you can arrange from the South Rim, as well as Grand Canyon hiking tours and other options. Visitors to the South Rim can use the free shuttle buses for transportation to various points of interest. The Grand Canyon Railway, which is a concessioner of the National Park Service, offers train trips to the Grand Canyon South Rim from the town of Williams, which lies some 65 miles away to the south. These train tours can be complimented with a Grand Canyon bus tour upon arrival to Grand Canyon Village.
Grand Canyon helicopter tours are among the more popular Grand Canyon tours, and together with airplane tours they allow visitors to get a bird’s eye view of the Grand Canyon’s natural splendor. There are a bevy of Grand Canyon helicopter tours that originate in Nevada, from either Las Vegas or Boulder City. Other Grand Canyon helicopter tours generally originate out of Phoenix or from the Grand Canyon National Park Airport, which is found at the South Rim. While helicopters and planes are no longer allowed within 1,500 feet of the canyon rim in Grand Canyon National Park, inner-canyon flying is possible at Grand Canyon West, which is a Native American Park that is controlled by the Havasupai and Hualapai Indians. At Grand Canyon West, helicopters often descend 4,000 feet into the depths of the canyon and passengers can de-board the craft for a taste of the local Native American culture. It is at Grand Canyon West that you will find the new Grand Canyon Skywalk, which is a glass-bottom walkway that extends out over a part of the western canyon. It is operated by the Hualapai Indian tribe, and some tours include a walk on the skyway in their overall package deals. For a touch of luxury, you can choose from various deluxe Grand Canyon helicopter tours, which can include such extras as limousine transfers and gourmet refreshments during the trip. Simply put, the sky is the limit when it comes to Grand Canyon tours, and you will find that adding one or more of them to your Grand Canyon vacation will help to make it all the more memorable.