Campers resting at Grand Canyon South Rim

Which is better, Grand Canyon West Rim or Grand Canyon South Rim?

People ask me all the time… Should I do the South Rim Grand Canyon Tour or the West Rim Tour with the Skywalk.?

Well, it can be a tough choice for some travelers. Do you want to go to the South Rim and see the beauty of the changing colors and the incredible depth of the deepest and widest part of the Grand Canyon?

For most guests, the answer is yes. But it does take approx. 4 to 5 hours travel time to get there. The tours that go there are by luxury motorcoach with 40 to 50 passengers. Some tours offer on your own walking tour from the Bright Angel Lodge to Yavapai Point and then on to Mather Point.

Mather Point is the most popular spot for picture taking. And there is a visitor center with a park ranger at Yavapai if you have any questions about the Grand Canyon. The bus tours offer lunch included with the tours. We recommend you bring some snacks along with you as well.

The other way to get there is by airplane. Keep in mind the airplanes are the DeHavilland Twin Otters which do not have air conditioning but are climate controlled and carry only 19 passengers.

The least expensive is the motorcoach tours from Las Vegas. There is another option, and that is a Private Small Group tour of up to 8 passengers. In a custom tour Treker. A bit pricey, but well worth the hands-on personal touch it provides.

If you’re on a tight budget then we would suggest the bus tour to the South Rim. Prices range from $98.00 to $117.00. That is after a large discount on the retail price of the hotels and the direct booking price. The lower price tour makes 2 stops along the rim w/ lunch. The higher price tour is on your own ( which most people prefer, as they will see more of the canyon for approx. 3 hours along the rim ) It also includes a light continental breakfast and deli picnic lunch. And picks up at more hotels along the strip. The lower-priced tour does not pick up at off-strip hotels and only selected hotels along the strip.

There are other options with the South Rim Bus Tour, and that is you can add the Imax Movie or the optional Helicopter Tour. But if you do the options it will take time out of your viewing of the canyon rim. They even offer an optional Hummer Tour along the rim as well. Which is really fun.

Note: The federal government requires that masks be worn on all federal property inside any building. The shops at the canyon may also require masks to be worn. So make sure you bring one with you.

Now, to the West Rim of the Grand Canyon….. 

Grand Canyon West opened for tourism on Valentine’s Day 1988 and has grown at a tremendous pace since then.  The West Rim of the canyon is on private land owned by the Hualapai Tribe. And not controlled by the government. So the fee to get in is approx. $60.00 per person. If you taking a tour that you purchase online or in Las Vegas, then the entrance fees are included in the total cost of the tour.  The bus tours also include lunch and some include a light breakfast snack. The discount prices online run from $114.00 to $139.00  and allow approx. 3 to4 hours at the canyon.

The West Rim is not as deep or as wide as the South Rim but is only 2.5 hours travel time to get there and the return time is a lot earlier. Usually back to Las Vegas by 5 – 6:00 PM. Grand Canyon West is 3 to 4 thousand feet deep and 8 to 12 miles wide. It has a dryer climate and appearance in nature.

The tour is great for those with a limited time schedule and who want to have more of a cultural experience with the People of the Tall Pines, as the Hualapai are known. Grand Canyon West has a lot more activities going on with the amazing Skywalk Experience. A glass-bottom bridge extending out over the edge of the canyon walls. As of this writing, the cost is $25.00. They do not allow cameras or cell phones on the Skywalk because of the glass bottom. They do provide lockers to keep your items safe. They do have a photographer on duty to take pictures for purchase.

Most tour operators offer a helicopter tour option as well. It’s a great way to see the canyon from a different perspective. The helicopter will fly below the canyon rim and land at a different location on the bottom of the canyon. With time for viewing and picture taking.  The tour with landing and flight time is 45 minutes long. Well worth the extra cost.

Another bus line offers a larger combination tour with a helicopter flight to the bottom of the canyon and boarding a pontoon boat for a short boat ride on the Colorado River. ( It is not a helicopter flight thru the canyon, just a helicopter descent to the bottom). Time allows them also have a Zip Line Tour as well.

Views are at Guano Point where you will have a 360-degree view of the canyon and the Colorado River and Views at Eagle Point. There is plenty of time to purchase Indian crafts and merchandise. The Hualapai Dancers perform Native American dances throughout the day.

Just a reminder to be careful as there are no guard rails along the edge of the canyon rim.

The Choice is Yours. South or West Rim. Both are extremely popular and enjoyable.

You have many options as to how you want to get there. There is Luxury Motorcoach Tours, the most affordable. Or by Helicopter from Las Vegas, Small Group Tours in Luxury Mercedes Sprinters, and SUV tours as well.

Enjoy your holiday in Las Vegas