As a world heritage site and place of exceptional natural beauty, it’s no surprise that the Grand Canyon draws in around five million tourists every year. But to make the most of your visit, it’s important to plan how you’ll spend your time. From traversing the inner canyon to taking on the emerald waters of the Colorado River, there’s more to see than a crowded viewpoint teeming with cameras and cars. Tour packages enable you to explore with the guidance and know-how of an expert, ensuring that you get the most out of your trip. With so many different tour operators and activities to choose from, read our guide to some of the different packages that are available!
Get an eagle’s eye view of the Grand Canyon as you take to the sky. Helicopter tours enable you to ditch the crowds and see this sprawling expanse of red rock stretching for many miles. You’ll get a better look at the Inner Canyon, the Painted Desert, and the Colorado River – and will be awe-struck by the breathtaking panoramic views.
If you’re looking to book an aerial tour, they range from landing experiences which delve into the mile-deep rock formation, and short fly-overs which enable you to appreciate the vastness of the Canyon. Depending on which tour you take, you’ll see different parts of the Grand Canyon, and will either depart from the Canyon Airport, Las Vegas, or other southwestern cities.
To see the South Rim, Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters offers a South Rim Tour, which features views of Dragon Corridor and the colossal Tower of Ra. This 30 minute narrated tour leaves from the airport, and the helicopter is specially designed to give you unobstructed views of the Canyon. The full adult retail price is around $199 for this tour. Explore Arizona Tours offer a similar route called the Grand Canyon Red Tour, which lasts 50 minutes and costs $269 per adult – worth it if you’re looking to get some extra air time!
Alternatively, for a more immersive experience, take the Wind Dancer Air & Landing Tour, which is operated by Maverick Helicopters. Departing from Las Vegas, you’ll get to see a vast array of sights on this tour before descending 3,500 feet to land in the Canyon. With a thirty-minute lunch stop, this tour lasts around three and a half hours and costs $544 per person – including your meal.
If you’re looking for a more intense adventure, explore the Grand Canyon through a river rafting experience. Whether you opt for whitewater rafting in the rapids or stick to the gently flowing parts of the Colorado River, you’ll have the chance to discover some of the most isolated parts of this world heritage site.
There are a total of 15 Grand Canyon river tour outfitters that you can book with, and the trips range from around 3 – 14 nights. What’s more, you can either opt for motor or oar trips depending on whether you want to get active in the water!
Some Grand Canyon rafting tour providers focus on shorter breaks whilst others offer longer ones. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long, so if you really want to explore it all you’re going to need to opt for a longer rafting tour. To travel a greater length of the river, your tour will last between 6-18 days – depending how far you want to travel and whether you opt for a dory or motor boat. Booking with O.A.R.S. Grand Canyon, prices start at $2657 for a 6-7 day trip including whitewater rafting, and $5312 for a tour lasting 15-16 days. Prices vary depending on where you want to go, and what you want to see and do during your tour.
For a quick getaway, Arizona River Runners offer a three days motor trip which includes horseback riding and other watersport activities. This costs a total of $1,283 per person. Alternativley, if you’re just looking for the whitewater rafting experience alone, you can get a raft-only trip with Hatch River Expeditions which lasts four days and costs around $1326. They also give you the option to choose whether you explore the upper or lower river when booking your Grand Canyon tour.
If you’re limited for time or are looking for something a little cheaper, a half or full day Grand Canyon rafting trip is enough to give you a small taste of adventure. Prices start at around $86 for a half day and $155 for a full day rafting tour with Raft The Canyon, and these vary depending on when you want to go.
If you prefer to enjoy views without the heights, a bus or jeep tour is ideal. The South Rim is a popular starting point for many of these trips, and this route provides plenty of opportunities to snap some fantastic shots of the Grand Canyon’s views.
The Grand Canyon Tour Company offers a South Rim Bus Tour, which includes pick up and drop off from your Las Vegas hotel and an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch for a total cost of between $79.99 – $179.99 per person. You’ll be sightseeing for a total of three hours, and this includes stopping off at Mather Point, the Grand Canyon Railway, Yavapai Point, and many more.
Papillon offers a similar route wherein you’ll spend around three and a half hours in the Grand Canyon, but this tour also includes some off-roading in an open-air jeep. Prices range from around $169 – $249 per person.
If you’re looking for a more leisurely scenic route, try one of the available Grand Canyon train tours. On a train, you can drink in the beautiful nature landscapes as they pass by your window while letting someone else do all the driving. Many train options offer food, drinks and modern conveniences, which is ideal if you’re looking to relax and travel lightly!
There are a variety of Grand Canyon train tours to choose from: from national routes with start points dotted all across the United States to regional companies that cater specifically to Grand Canyon train tours in and around the landmark. Trip durations vary widely, from just a day or two to ten days depending on where you’re departing from and what stops you make along the way.
On the national end, Amtrak offers Grand Canyon train tours in several states, with price and features varying by trip package. The 5-day “Rails to the Grand Canyon” package, for example, is priced at $649 and up, starts in Los Angeles and crosses the American Southwest for a scenic tour to the Grand Canyon. This tour includes two nights on the train, two nights accommodations in a hotel, and three meals, one of which is a lunch in the Grand Canyon itself. The 4-day “Grand Canyon Getaway” is a little less expensive, starting at $459. This route starts in Williams, Arizona and includes a two-night stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel, a one-night stay in the Grand Canyon South Rim Hotel and three meals.
For local Grand Canyon train tours, there’s the famous Grand Canyon Railway & Hotel in Williams, Arizona. Their three-day “Canyon Discovery Package” starts at $702.82 for two adults and includes two nights at the hotel, breakfast and dinner for both nights, and breakfast on the departure day. This package also includes a train tour to the Grand Canyon and a tour of the canyon itself. If you’re looking for a more outdoors experience, this hotel’s three-night “Canyon Discovery Plus” package includes everything in the regular discovery trip and adds a one-night stay in the Maswik Lodge, which is set among lush forest right in the canyon itself.
If you’re looking to cut costs on your Grand Canyon train tours trip choice, consider the departure point and length. With Amtrak, for example, packages departing from Williams, Arizona, tend to be less expensive than those leaving from major cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago.
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