Grand Canyon Helicopters

There are helicopter air and landing tours from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon. The one that includes a Champagne Picnic is by far the most popular.

Bottom Picnic (From Las Vegas)

grand canyon helicopter landing tour picnicThe most popular Grand Canyon helicopter tour from Las Vegas? Easy. It's the trip that lands at the bottom for a Champagne picnic. Travelers absolutely adore this flight and I can see why. It combines epic aerial views with a descent that many excitedly exclaim as "life changing!"

This trip is done exclusively from Las Vegas, NV, because bottom-landings are only permitted at the West Rim, which is a mere 120 air miles (45-minute flight) from Sin City. Departures are every day of the year, including all major holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The Picnic trip is all-inclusive and comes with complimentary hotel shuttle service, Champagne, brunch (or lunch, depending when you fly out), bottled water, professional guide and 30-minutes exploration time at the bottom. The best time to go is in the morning or at sunset.

Total trip time is four hours. It amazes me how much you get to see and do in this timeframe. Check out this incredible itinerary:

Depart Las Vegas.
The route goes over Lake Mead, the largest reservoir of its kind in the continental United States, the Hoover Dam, the new Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge, Fortification Hill, Grand Wash Cliffs and the Colorado River.

The descent.
This is my favorite part. The drop into the canyon is 4,000 vertical feet (on average the canyon measures a mile deep). The scene is prehistoric. Sheer cliffs, beckoning side canyons and crumbling spires welcome you.

The landing.
Helicopters land on makeshift dirt helipads. It's quite dramatic as a Hualapai Indian opens the chopper door and helps you deplane as the aircraft's engine continues to roar and whirl the rotors.

The Ramada.
This is an authentic Indian shade structure. Under it, you'll partake in your Champagne picnic. Each time I'm down there I find toasting the canyon with a glass of bubbly to be absolutely profound (you are free to bring your own non-alcoholic beverages). Hopefully on your trip they pack the Port Wine cheese - it's delicious!

The Colorado River.
The famous river is just 200 yards from the Indian Ramada. Follow the path for five minutes and you are there. The river averages between 15-20 miles per hour. There should be some activity at the dock where the steel-pontoon boats are tied up.

The ascent.
Going up is just as cool as going down. Flying east, helicopters power up through a monstrous side canyon. The Grand Canyon Skywalk will be on your right-hand side. The ride back to Vegas goes over some extremely isolated and untouched Mojave Desert.

Upgrading the Picnic Tour means adding a Colorado River boat ride and Skywalk pass. The boat takes you upstream about a mile before cutting its engines and drifting back to the dock. The best way to describe the experience is "serene." The Skywalk segment gives you unlimited access to the Glass Bridge, the renowned structure that lets you walk 70 feet past the edge of the rim!

grand canyon helicopter champagne picnic

The West Rim is located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation. The Tribe officially refers to it as Grand Canyon West, which occupies some 100 miles of land that has the rim as it's eastern border. Right now, the Skywalk is the main attraction. That's due to change as the Tribe plans to develop the area to include a hotel, a cable car ride to the bottom, restaurants and a deluxe lounge.

The helicopter picnic tour (and the upgrade that includes the boat ride and Skywalk pass) is incredibly popular. There is no "low" season. I urge my readers to book this package at least a week in advance. Don't be tempted to buy it in Vegas or on the same-day you want to fly. You most likely won't get seats. If you do, you'll pay a king's ransom. And definitely don't pull a last-minute reservation if you have two or more people in your group.

Buy this trip on the Internet. Avoid hotel concierges, travel agents and phone salespeople. These folks will charge you more. It's their job. I regularly book these flights at up to a 35% discount. Not bad for just firing up the old PC. I'm not getting a preferred rate, either. These prices are available to the public, so I suggest you cash in on them as well. One last detail: Remember to print and pack the confirmation letter that arrives in your in-box. You'll need it at check-in.

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Travel On!

P.S. Plenty of air tours from which to choose. Read these helicopter reviews and find the trip that's perfect for you.