The absolute quickest way to get to the Grand Canyon's South
Rim from Las Vegas? By airplane, of course. These flights
leave year-round and have you on the ground fresh and ready
in under an hour.
I've read a lot of posts on forums like Trip Advisor and
Virtual Tourist in which travelers put the South Rim on
their "to-do" list only to scratch it off because the bus
ride is too long. I would, too. It takes a bus 5.5 hours to
reach the rim. And, when it's all said and done, the entire
trip is 15 hours. Airplane tours are half that.
Here's another fact you need to know: Airplane tours are
inexpensive. Book online and you can snag a flight for a low
as $190 round trip.
I recommend shopping Grand Canyon Airlines (GCA) for
flights. This company is the oldest and most reputable
purveyor of South Rim airplane tours from Las Vegas. In
fact, my research shows they practically invented the
canyon's sightseeing industry. Here are specifics about GCA:
1. Uses a private fleet of Vistaliner fixed-wing aircraft.
Each airplane has been outfitted for sightseeing and
features large windows, plush seats, and climate-controlled
cabins. Taped narrations in multiple languages are available
via personal headset. The flight is quiet, too, as turbine
engines instead of rotor ones power these planes.
2. Their pilots are some of the best in the business. Each
pilot must pass the company's rigorous entrance exam and be
re-certified annually. Two pilots - a Captain and a First
Officer - are on board for each airplane tour and know the
Grand Canyon airspace better than any other tour company
flying it. GCA also has an impeccable safety record.
3. Packages are all-inclusive. This means you never pay
extra, and includes free hotel shuttle service, free luxury
bus ground transfer from Grand Canyon Airport to the South
Rim, a light meal, and a two-hour guided South Rim tour. All
park fees are included. There are no surcharges (e.g. fuel
As it is, the air-ground package is a sweet deal. However,
if you want to take it up another level, add a South Rim
helicopter flight. The ride is life changing. Your
helicopter zooms at 200 MPH over the Kaibab Plateau before
entering the Dragoon Corridor, the widest, deepest part of
the canyon. Turn back is at the North Rim. There's an option
to upgrade your helicopter to an EcoStar130, an incredible
machine. By my estimation, you'll see in 30 minutes what
would take several days on the ground.
The fastest way to enjoy the most famous area of the Grand
Canyon is to take a South Rim airplane flight. You don't
have to take a bus for 5.5 hours - if you are a person with
limited time and can only spare a day to see the South Rim,
take an airplane tour, which can get you there in under an
hour. Upgrading to include a helicopter tour makes an
already great trip even better, as the helicopter gives you
a bird's eye view of this natural wonder. To truly
experience the South Rim, you need to take a Grand Canyon