Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas

The Grand Canyon is probably definitely one of the most impressive National Parks in the world. If you’ve been living under a rock (or a canyon) for your entire life, the Grand Canyon is located in Arizona, in the United States of America. No matter how you decide to explore the Canyon, I can guarantee one thing: it will not disappoint. Visiting the Grand Canyon should be at the very top of your USA bucket list, trust me!

I visited the Grand Canyon back in June 2015, while on the Best of USA Contiki tour. Although we we didn’t spend too much time at the Canyon itself, it was still one of the most incredible experiences I’ve ever had. Contiki definitely came through and organised one of the most awesome ways to explore the Canyon.

Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas

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Driving to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas

Visiting the Grand Canyon is super easy, especially if you’re spending time in Las Vegas. There are a few different ways to get there, it all depends on the experience you’d like to have!


I visited the Grand Canyon during my time in Las Vegas with Contiki. I’ll share my personal experience shortly – so keep reading, you will absolutely want to know what we did! Until then, here’s my advice on the best way to get from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon.

A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels

It takes around five hours to drive by car from the Las Vegas Strip to Grand Canyon West. Don’t be concerned about the drive, either. It’s a regular, paved highway the entire journey. This is my suggested option, because it gives you the opportunity to explore at your own pace, and continue your journey further if you wish!

You could also take a bus, but that’s quite a long trek.

The Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour

By far one of the best ways (if not the best way) to see the Grand Canyon, is from the sky. One of the extras that was offered to us on the Best of USA Contiki tour, was the Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour. As soon as I found out about this tour, I immediately knew I had to do it.

A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels

What is the Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour?

The Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour is an incredible experience run by Papillon that you will never forget. Instead of driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon, the shuttle will pick you up from most major Las Vegas hotels, and take you to the terminal in Boulder City.

A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon TravelsA Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels

You will fly over Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, enjoying breathtaking, panoramic views. Finally, reaching Grand Canyon West, you’ll have the chance to take in the incredible views, before landing at the bottom of the Canyon for a champagne picnic. Being 4,000 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon, is definitely something you will never forget. Trust me!


Don’t forget to bring your camera and take more selfies than you ever have. You’ll want photos of this view from every angle possible! This is one experience you will want to share with your friends and family, in second by second detail.

A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels

How much does it cost?

The Grand Celebration Tour can cost anywhere between $294 and $350 per person. Prices vary depending on the time of year and day of week. These prices are based on purchasing tickets online, which is the suggested option. Papillon also offers a ‘super saver’ rate for anybody who purchases their tickets online, two weeks or more in advance.

If you would prefer to have the front seat in the helicopter, you can request this for an additional $50 per person. Please keep in mind that availability is limited and upgrades are not guaranteed. Ask at the counter when checking in for your tour!

A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels

How long does the tour go for?

The Grand Celebration Tour runs for a total of around four and a half hours. This includes your hotel transfers, the checking in process, return flight and picnic lunch.


The total duration of the flight itself, is around seventy minutes. The champagne picnic lasts for around half an hour. This is the perfect amount of time to spend at the bottom of the Canyon. If it’s a super hot day, you’ll be thankful to head back up in the helicopter again!

A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels

Pick up and drop off location

Papillon offer pick up services from most major Las Vegas hotels. This is included in the cost of the tour, so you won’t need to pay any extra on top of what you have already paid (except tipping, if applicable).

Helpful tips for the Grand Celebration Tour

Don’t forget your camera – This is absolutely something you should not do! The Grand Celebration Tour is one of the most breathtaking experiences you will ever have. You will definitely want to capture as much of it as possible! Pack your camera and take a spare memory card, just incase!

A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels

Bring your valid ID – If you have booked a tour (will be flying in the helicopter) you will need to show a valid, government issues ID. If you’re visiting from an international destination, your passport will work best.

Book your trip as early as possible – The tour sells out fast, and weeks in advance. Once you’ve booked your accomodation in Las Vegas, go ahead and buy your tickets for the Grand Celebration Tour. The earlier you book the better, and remember you will receive a discount if you book two or more weeks in advance!

A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels

Wear comfy shoes – Given that you’re going to literally be at the bottom of a Canyon, it’s best to wear comfy shoes. I wore sandals, which wasn’t the brightest idea. Don’t be like me – wear enclosed shoes!

Wear sunscreen and a hat – If you decide to book your tour during the summer months (Summer is between June and August in the United States) be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen and a hat! I visited in June, and I’m pretty sure it was around 40 degrees celsius (104 fahrenheit) the day I did this tour. It gets very, very hot in the helicopter and at the bottom of the Canyon, so it’s best to be prepared!

Make a pit stop at Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam is a popular pit stop on the way to the Grand Canyon. I’ve seen it twice. The first time was on a family trip to Las Vegas a few years ago, and second was on Contiki during the Grand Celebration Tour. It’s pretty spectacular regardless of whether you experience it from the ground or the sky.

Being only a forty five minute journey by car, it’s the perfect morning or afternoon trip from Las Vegas!

A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels

Visiting the Grand Canyon should be on everyone’s USA bucket list. The magnitude and beauty of the Canyon will blow you away, and if you choose to do to Grand Celebration Helicopter Tour, you’re in for a treat. Don’t let the price scare you off. I promise it’s worth it!


Have you visited the Grand Canyon before? Did you drive or do the Grand Celebration Tour? Tell us in the comments below!

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A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels A Guide to Visiting the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas | Rhiannon Travels

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. That means, if you click on certain links within this post and make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for continuing to support Rhiannon Travels, and keeping it a free travel guide and resource for everyone to use!

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1 Comment

  1. February 17, 2018 / 8:14 pm

    This sounds like an amazing trip! I went to Las Vegas, but didn’t have time to visit the Grand Canyon last time. Really hope to catch it next time, and now definitely by helicopter.

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