How was the Grand Canyon Formed?
No one really knows for sure how the Grand Canyon as we know it today was formed! Although there are some popular theories, mainly the deep erosion happened over millions of years from a consistent battering of water, Ice and wind. Approximately 20 million years ago the Colorado River began to carve into the Grand Canyon at its eastern end, otherwise known as Marble Canyon! As millions of years passed by continental drift and slight variations in the earths orbit caused variations in the seasons and climate. Around 12,000 years ago, the Native Americans who lived in and around the Grand Canyon thought of it as a place of wonder formed by the gods. These days, over 6 million people a year flock to the Grand Canyon National Park like a pilgrimage all to experience its wonder! But rather than your traditional tour which is so 1975, I experiencing something truly wonderful which confirmed to me the best way to see the grand Canyon is from the air! Here are my 5 reasons to take a hot air balloon or Helicopter ride over the Canyon!
The two major cities closest to the Canyon are Phoenix and Las Vegas. Flagstaff, Arizona is only 1.5 hrs from the South Rim which is a small city although does have an international airport. So thats where we flew into!
Upon taking our hot air balloon ride up we felt a a tremendous sense of excitement and euphoria grip us like no other! It was captivating to feel yourself lifting up and the whole world just falling away beneath our feet as we lifting up in our little wicker basket!
From the ground it is impossible to appreciate the shear size and grandness of the great Grand Canyon. A simple ground tour allows you to take a walk around the regular tourists routes with a guide. To give you some numbers, the Grand Canyon is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and attains a depth of over a mile (6,093 feet or 1,857 meters). When you lift of on that hot air balloon the lift and feeling is magical and wonderful! You can actually see this gaping hole formed from dusty rocks like a gateway to mad maxes hideout!
On the ground due to the immense popularity of the Canyon with over 6 million visitors per year it can be quite busy rushed and even stressful! With various tour groups up and down the area, rushing in between their various time slots. From the air its a different story, I felt a tremendous sense of calm enveloping me as I lifted up over the canyon. The air is peaceful and fresh and the little people below look like ants all fighting over the best spot for a picture!
The peacefulness of the Canyon will engulf you into a sense of calm. Recently, I had taken up meditation before my trip in 2018 and that really helped to calm me as we lifted higher and higher. As everything gets visually smaller, you realise any problems or issues you have in your life are just small and irrelevant.
4. The Wildlife and Waterfalls
The Colorado River isan’t the only fresh water you’ll see pumping around the Canyon! There are extravagant waterfalls cascading hundreds of feet high!
Some of the most stunning are Havasu Falls on the Havasupai Indian Reservation and Ribbon Falls on the North Rim’s Kaibab Trail. The Wildlife around the Canyon is also in abundance, with everything from majestic horned owls to mule deer and Coyotes howling with a magnificent echo!
5. Bucket List Memory
Everyone has a bucket list, and if you don’t grab a pen and paper fast! A Hot air balloon ride is on a lot of peoples lists and they are fun don’t get me wrong. But to me it’s all about the view from the top! Yes it’s nice to take around over some lush green fields but with something like the Canyon that is a true bucket activity! Something to tell the grandkids about indeed!
According to Ellen from Great river, New York who took a Balloon trip:
“We went on February 20, 2019. They picked us up at our hotel, exactly 6:15 AM as scheduled. After picking up additional people we went to the launch site. The owner told us exactly what to expect so there was no confusion. It was a beautiful, cold morning. After lifting off it was amazing! The owner was informative had a great sense of humor and you could see he loves what he does. After a perfect landing on the road they brought us to a nice spot where they had mimosas, muffins and fruit. The owner told us a funny story about how ballooning began. I would highly recommend this company.”
According to Fran, from Arizona.
“LOVE, LOVE the experience!! The best hot air balloon ride I have ever been on, it was my first time. Very glad I did it to enjoy the magnificent Sedona’s red rock vistas. It was a very calming experience. The crew was awesome, friendly, informative and humorous. Fozzy (sp?) was our pilot and he gave us great tour about Sedona’s mountains, canyons and surroundings. The tour ended with a nice picnic (mimosas, OJ, sodas, fresh fruits and muffins). The whole tour was probably lasted for four hours total from start to finish (pick up to drop off). Quite pricey, but totally worth it. Checked off one my bucket list. Only con was….you have to get up very early, still totally worth it! “
Where to book a Hot Air balloon Ride?
A variety of tour operators organise balloon rides over the canyon. The best we found were Red Rock Balloon Adventure and Northern Light Balloon Expeditions. At Town and Tourist, we can help you to organise your trip here and book your balloon ride, just contact us via email, stated the number of persons and preferred date. Happy Ballooning!
Best Romantic Tour? – Las Vegas to Red Rock Canyon Balloon Ride.
This one was by far the best if your after something Romantic, a private flight for two during a morning sunrise or afternoon sunset flight. We took to sunset as it was our engagement! You will experience views of Red Rock Canyon, Mount Potosi, the Las Vegas Strip as well as various other points of interest and even some local Vegas wildlife. The Company running this is fully certified for over 20 years and an FAA commercial hot air balloon pilot.
What about Helicopter/Plane Rides over the Canyon?
Helicopter or plane rides are also a great way to see the Canyon from the air and highly recommend! These can be exhilarating and fun trips, especially if flying in from Vegas! Below we have compiled together our top five helicopter and plane rides over the canyon, based on customer reviews, uniqueness and quality!
Top 5 Helicopter/Plane Tours over the Grand Canyon?
1. Grand Canyon Skywalk Express Helicopter Tour
Best trip from Vegas, Sells out fast due high demand!
Departing the extravagant Las Vegas Strip, you will take a direct helicopter flight to the Prestigious Grand Canyon Skywalk. Throughout the flight, you will experience breath taking birds eye view of the Grand Canyon, Lake Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Las Vegas Strip and the Hoover Dam! We found this a great way to tick of all these amazing spots in one trip and capture some amazing “instagrammable” aerial photographs to make friends jealous back home! After that whirlwind of excitement you will land and behold a true engineering marvel, the Grand Canyon Skywalk. The Skywalk suspends more than 4,000 feet above the Colorado River, extends out more than 70 feet away from the edge of the West Rim, featuring a glass bottom walking surface it sure is exhilarating! Expedited admission to the Skywalk, VIP ground transport and a Skywalk souvenir photo are included on this adventure.
We had some time to relax and chill at the Canyon before heading back to Vegas for Champagne! To find out about prices and book your ticket check out the link below— Beware this trip sells out fast so book in advance always.
2. Grand Canyon Helicopter Landing Tour
Most Popular Tour
This is the most popular tour we found out there, it gives a unique perspective to a grand canyon visit as you descend 3500 feet below the rim of the Grand Canyon its a breath taking experience indeed!
The helicopter flight will take you over the popular sights of:
- Hoover Dam
- Lake Mead
- Fortification Hill, an extinct volcano.
Along with many other awe-inspiring views. After descending 3,500 feet inside the Grand Canyon on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, you will enjoy a cool beverage, a light snack and a champagne toast 300 feet above the mighty Colorado River.
- This trip was designed for the budget-conscious traveller.
- With champagne and refreshments included!
Your journey will continue through the beautiful Black Canyon on your return to the South Las Vegas terminal.
3. From Las Vegas: Grand Canyon West Rim Aeroplane Tour.
Best Value Tour.
If your more into Planes than choppers then this is the our for you! It is also the most cost effective if your on a tight budget. You’ll be collected from your hotel in Las Vegas and taken to Boulder Terminal for check-in. Once onboard the air-conditioned passenger aircraft, you’ll fly from Boulder Terminal to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. Spectacular views of Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam in Nevada can be seen as you fly over the Colorado River and into Arizona! The plane has fantastic oversized windows to gaze out of for panoramic views, with a knowledgable tour narration.Tour Narration is available in 16 languages so great if English is not your mother tongue.
You’ll be flown back to Boulder Terminal and then driven back to your hotel in Las Vegas hotel after the Grand Canyon tour. A nice feature is the “commemorative flight certificate” (which is available upon request), which is a great little memory and a proud achievement to put on the wall.
4. Canyon Wind Dancer Helicopter Tour
The Sunset option upgrade on this trip is a great one where your flight back through the Grand Canyon, which be even more memorable. This 4 hour tour is packed full of experiences. From the Stunning sights of red rock formations at the Bowl of Fire to an exhilarating flight over Downtown Las Vegas and the Las Vegas Strip! While enroute to the Canyon you’ll also see great views of Lake Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and Fortification Hill. When you reach the Canyon, your state of the art eco star helicopter will head down 3,500 feet towards the river, landing in Hualapai Indian Territory. Extras include, Champagne, beverages and snacks.
5. Skywalk, Helicopter and Boat
This very unique tour features three forms of transport to give you every perspective of the famous Canyon. This full day tour from las Vegas to the west rim, starts with a luxury bus ride equip with a knowledgeable guide, to give you a live narration (some tours only offer recordings). Expect a very informative tour where you will learn the history and geology of the Canyon from a native Indian guide. Afterwards you can meet and interact with the Hualapai Indians as they put on a traditional dance in their full tribal dress!
This trip also includes a stop at the gigantic Hoover Dam, which is a great photo opt from the O’Callaghan-Tillman Bridge. Overall, this trip provides an opportunity to take on the Skywalk, an exhilarating helicopter flight to the base of the canyon, and 15-minute pontoon boat ride along the mighty Colorado River.
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