One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
Heading to the west and after having an incredible view from the plane from Chicago over Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah and Nevada, we land in Las Vegas. And mere few minutes right after that we picked up the rental car and drove directly to the Grand Canyon West National Park. This is the nearest spot to Las Vegas from where to enjoy this incredible mother nature sight, and although quite a pricey one, it is nevertheless, spectacular in every inch and you are guaranteed to feel the enormous majesty of the place.
Starting with the approach, you will enjoy for sure the desolated road and that you can stop along the way to make pictures, either from the empty infinite long roads, or maybe of these cactus trees, the desert, dust and the emptiness. Just a little piece of how gigantic the country is, and how much more to offer everywhere you go. After all, such landscapes are something we have all seen in the movies and somewhat, are now very familiar to be honest. The big lorries eventually coming and going let’s you remember you are in the USA for sure.
Now, for someone coming from Las Vegas, highly likely your same circumstances, remember it will take you most likely the whole day. Fair enough once you return back you will still have plenty of fun and time to watch some of the spectacles along Las Vegas Strip, nice dinner and perhaps some gambling; but the drive to the Grand Canyon, the tour, and back it takes all good time hence do not rush it. It is already quite incredible to reach this place, more even to enjoy as it deserves. Easy and straightforward too.
For more information about the Grand Canyon check the Wikipedia site. The United States of America currency is the Dollar (USD, $). Please note that any price reference is true as from when this guide was created, therefore check prices in advance as with the time they change.
From Las Vegas you have many options on how you want to get there. The most convenient and the cheapest one, is having a rental car. Otherwise, you will need to book a tour which take you by bus. Other more fancy options are going by limousine, a pink limousine maybe?, helicopter and so on. There are options for every budget. We decided to have a car in order to be more flexible counting we planned to visit the Hoover Dam as well on the following day.
The drive is quick fast from Vegas and you will get to enjoy the desert landscapes. Soon after leaving Vegas you enter into Arizona State, where the 100% of the Grand Canyon is located. The empty, long and straight road will be the first part of the journey, until you reach the intersection for a secondary road where you will feel more like in a movie. Absolute empty with some random cars here and there, solitaire houses, the typical electric wooden posts and the postal boxes grouped together for the houses maybe some miles away from this road.
Finally, you reach the last part of the drive leading directly to the entrance. This road eventually turns into dirt road, so be advised a good car will be the optimal choice. Also you will get to see the welcome sign to the Grand Canyon West, great spot to have your picture.
Tickets and how to visit
And now to the main tip. The Grand Canyon West is entirely located on the Hualapai tribe land, and as such, it’s run by them and not the government of the USA. Therefore, their prices are an absolute rip off. A steal in your face. The link provided above will explain you all the options and fares available. It does not matter if you don’t want to go on the Skywalk, you will still need to pay the basic package entrance fee. Adding to that, then there are the options with or without dinner, with or without Skywalk, with or without visiting a Hualapai village and so on. Get yourself the very basic one and I tell you why.
With that ticket you are allowed to enter into the area, and get into three different viewing points, all of which you are taken by their “complimentary bus” (you already paid an enormous amount to enter hence no reason to call that bus complimentary).
The first spot is Eagle Point. Here you can see the rock formation looking like an eagle in flight. Really spectacular. The next is the Skywalk and main building, right next to the Eagle Point itself. Everything inside the shop is the next rip off. With a postcard I was fine, that’s all. But here is where, if you wish to pay double the money you already paid to get inside with the basic entrance, you can get on to the Skywalk. Honestly, there are much better views from the rim next to it, and for free! Not to mention you are not allowed to take your own camera to the bridge. Instead, you are obliged to leave it in the lockers and the “kind Hualapai” will take a shot of you “for another modest price”. Seriously, this should be absolutely forbidden to rip off the people this way.
Anyway, moving on, wait for the bus to take you to the next area, this is the Guano Point. From here you will get even more impressive views, with the Colorado River at the bottom on a bend. And as last, you can climb to the very top to the Highpoint Hike, where you will have a birds eye view 360 degrees. From here is only the way back. Get the bus to the car park and you are done.
Alternative option if you have the time
You can drive to the Grand Canyon National Park. This will cost you peanuts if compared what the rip off from the Grand Canyon West, and in fact, it will allow you to enter the park as many times you wish in a year. Also, it offers even more magnificent views, but don’t think from the Grand Canyon West you don’t get spectacular ones because you really get them. This option requires more time as it’s a longer drive, but you have the option to stay at any motel nearby and return to Vegas next day, if that’s your final destination or base.