A panoramic image of the Grand Canyon and a cloudy sky.

Top 10 Best Ways to Experience the Grand Canyon

Sabrina Taylor

2019-07-19

For many, visiting the Grand Canyon is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a single chance to capture as many memories as possible. Over the last century, the area surrounding this massive natural landform has grown and evolved, and today there are dozens of tour operators and activities available to tourists. If you’re planning a visit to this treasured American destination, you deserve the best Grand Canyon tour possible, no matter how much time you have to spare during your trip. Here are our top 10 recommendations for the best Grand Canyon tours and activities.

1. Explore the Surface

A bright, sunny Grand Canyon landscape

Some of the most famous and recognizable rock formations are scattered across the South Rim. To see each of these incredible sights in one day, a Hummer excursion is the best Grand Canyon tour available. Each Hummer is fitted with a convertible roof and air-conditioning, perfect to counteract the sudden weather changes that frequently happen at the canyon. Best of all, Hummer tour guides know the canyon better than anyone! They can answer all of your questions and find the perfect sightseeing spots while avoiding the crowds.

2. Stand Above It

An aerial view of the Grand Canyon Skywalk Bridge.

Arguably one of the most popular features at the Grand Canyon is the Skywalk Bridge, located at the West Rim. This impressive piece of architecture allows tourists to literally stand above the rock gorges of the Grand Canyon. The glass floor of this U-shaped bridge offers the opportunity to see all the way to the bottom of the canyon just by looking through your feet.

3. Spend the Night

Several covered wagons scattered throughout a desert landscape

Located in rural Arizona, Bar 10 Ranch offers guests exciting outdoor activities and sightseeing throughout the eastern Grand Canyon. Guests can experience the vast desert landscape on horseback or on at ATV tour, then enjoy a variety of activities back at the ranch like beach volleyball, tetherball, and billiards. The ranch is known for its home-cooked barbecue and friendly staff. Overnight guests at Bar 10 have a rare and enviable opportunity to spend the night in a converted covered wagon under one of the brightest night skies in the world. The massive amount of bookings that Bar 10 Ranch receives annually proves its place as one of the best Grand Canyon tours available.

4. Raft Through It

Waves crashing onto passengers aboard a blue raft

Perhaps one of the most all-encompassing methods of exploring the Grand Canyon, rafting through the stone walls down the Colorado River is an extremely high-demand adventure. In fact, rafting outfitters are regularly booked over a year in advance. Rafting tours can last anywhere between 14 hours up to a full 18-day journey through the entire canyon. By day, rafters explore whitewater rapids and waterfalls and by night they camp on the canyon floor, a truly enviable opportunity. Find more information about what Grand Canyon Rafting has to offer.

5. Float the Colorado River

Several people aboard a raft on the Colorado River

Whitewater rafting isn’t your only option to experience travelling down the Colorado River. Visitors to the Grand Canyon National Park have the opportunity to float through Glen Canyon on a smoothwater rafting tour. Rafters are transported from the national park to the city of Page, Arizona where the float trip begins. You’ll drift between the ancient canyon walls, see Native American petroglyphs, and even float through the world-famous Horseshoe Bend before returning to the Grand Canyon National Park. If you’re planning a visit to the South Rim, this is the best Grand Canyon tour for those who have plenty of time to sightsee.

6. Turn It Into a Road Trip

A van drives through a desert canyon

The Grand Canyon West Rim is just over a 3-hour drive from Las Vegas, while the South Rim is approximately 5 hours. Instead of making the journey in your rental car, sit back and relax on a Grand Canyon bus tour. You can travel from Las Vegas through the incredible landscapes of the Mojave Desert to either the West Rimand the South Rim. These are the best Grand Canyon tours for those who prefer ground transportation over flight, and who have a good amount of time available or sightseeing.

7. Make It An Outdoor Adventure

Three people driving ATVs through a desert landscape

The American Southwest is scattered with historic landmarks and hidden gems, one of which being Eldorado Canyon - where Nevada’s oldest gold mine can be found. This ghost town offers plenty of Western buildings to explore, as well as ATV tours, and guided tours deep inside the haunted Techatticup Mine! Eldorado Canyon can be visited via helicopter tour or added onto a Grand Canyon tour.

8. Include the Las Vegas Strip

An aerial view of the Las Vegas Strip through the window of a helicopter

A huge number of Grand Canyon tours depart from Las Vegas and the surrounding area. Additionally, many tours offer an upgrade to include a flight over Las Vegas Boulevard. The sprawling casinos and pools are even more impressive from an aerial perspective - especially when flying over the neon lights at night!

9. Fly Over It

A region of the Grand Canyon National Park on a sunny day

The Grand Canyon is unarguably one of the most photogenic places in the world, but one can only see so much while standing at the edge. Both the Grand Canyon West Rim and the Grand Canyon South Rim offer a variety of airplane and helicopter tours that fly right over the edge and across the massive stone gorges. The aerial views from the aircraft are simply unmatched from those on the ground!

10. Land at the Bottom

Four people pose for a photo on the floor of the Grand Canyon

Yes, this is actually possible! By far the most high-demand way to explore the Grand Canyon, the West Rim is the only region that allows helicopter landings on the floor - which is convenient as Las Vegas is just a 45-minute helicopter flight away. The entire Grand Canyon is beautiful from every perspective, but seeing the giant stone walls from below is truly an experience unlike any other, possibly the best Grand Canyon tour available.