Helicopters seat 5-6 passsengers. Helicopters are more expensive to maintain and operate, therefore a Grand Canyon helicopter tour will be more expensive. But, they are also allowed to fly lower than airplanes, giving you the feeling of being closer to the Grand Canyon. Airplanes, because of their higher airspeeds and higher flight altitude, will allow you to see more in terms of square mileage. Overflights range from 30 minutes to 50 minutes in length. Grand Canyon West tours range from 5 to 8 hours.
Grand Canyon flight routes are strictly regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, therefore flight duration, price, etc. will be extremely similar no matter which company you choose to fly with. It is because of these standards that all Grand Canyon air tour operators have excellent safety records. Yes, accidents have happened, but statistically, these are quite rare. Mass media coverage of these tragic events leaves the impression that they happen more frequently than they actually do.
Insider tip: if you can, schedule your Grand Canyon air tour for the morning hours (between 8 am and 10 am) - cooler temperatures equal smoother flights! Afternoons tend to be windy.
Travel Tip 20 – What’s Appropriate for Kids or Seniors? All Grand Canyon tours in your Grand Canyon Top Tours
Brochure are family-oriented and appropriate for most ages, with little or no strenuous activity required. Grand Canyon river rafting trips do have some age restrictions (see Travel Tip #18), but children of all ages are welcome on Grand Canyon air tours, Grand Canyon helicopter tours, jeep tours and the Grand Canyon Railway. On some jeep or van tours you will be required to provide a car seat for infants and younger children. On the Grand Canyon Railway, children of all ages may ride the Coach, Club or First Class cars, but must be at least 11 to ride the Observation Dome or Luxury Parlor cars. The Coach and First Class Cars on the Grand Canyon Railway have wheelchair lifts.
The National Park Service also offers a variety of quality free programs, such as lectures, slide shows, guided hikes, and the world-famous “Junior Ranger” Program. Some of these
programs are wheelchair accessible. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/grca or
In Tusayan, just outside the park, be sure to visit the National
Geographic Visitors’ Center.
While you’re there, be sure to check out the spectacular
IMAX Movie “Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets.”
Travel Tip 21 - Do I Need a Permit for Grand Canyon Hiking? If you’d just like to take a day hike, a permit is not required. You still need to do your homework and know your limitations, especially in the summertime. Always remember that for every hour you hike down, it will take 2 hours to hike back up. Food and water should be taken if you plan on spending any more than an hour or going further than one mile round-trip. FOR YOUR SAFETY, HIKING RIM TO RIVER AND BACK IN A DAY IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED AT ALL TIMES!