West Rim vs. South Rim

When planning a Grand Canyon vacation, many visitors have become intrigued by recent news of the Grand Canyon Skywalk at Grand Canyon West (West Rim), but most do not wish to miss out on the quintessential Grand Canyon experience. So which should you visit - the South Rim or the West Rim? The answer depends on several factors and ultimately comes down to whatever makes the most sense for your vacation. Here are some basics to help you figure out what you expect to get out of you Grand Canyon visit, and choose the Rim that's right for you.

The majority of visitors come to the South Rim each year. Compare 5 million annual South Rim visitors to 1 million yearly North Rim visitors and 200,000 annual visitors at the West Rim. There is a good reason people flock to the South Rim; it's part of Grand Canyon National Park; it's stunningly beautiful; it's more developed by way of visitors centers and services; there's more lodging nearby; you can hike, backpack and camp; it's easier to access; it's more centrally located for Arizona visitors; and it offers more activity and tour variety.

The West Rim is emerging as a destination, and it's on tribal reservation land, so it offers fewer options for lodging, services, visitor centers and variety when it comes to activities and tours. Because it's not a part of Grand Canyon National Park but actually owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe on tribal land, Grand Canyon West is more a tour destination and pay-for-admission attraction than the National Park. Its proximity to Las Vegas, unique Skywalk attraction, beautiful rugged views and plethora of Las Vegas tour packages make the West Rim a fantastic choice for more and more of the Grand Canyon-bound each year.

Both the South Rim and the West Rim are open year-round. Weather extremes and moderates occur at both rims at different times of year; the West Rim sees the more extreme summer heat, and the South Rim experiences far colder winter temperatures.

The South Rim is better suited to visitors on a modest to moderate budget, while the West Rim requires at least a moderate budget for entry and to take advantage of the tours and activities available for both transportation and on-site fun.

To put it simply, popularity, availability of services, weather and budget are some of the major considerations when deciding whether the South Rim or the West Rim is right for you. But if you have more detailed questions, or want a more personalized guide to where, when, and how to see the Grand Canyon, take our Grand Canyon Quiz.

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Grand Canyon South Rim Bus Tour with Optional Upgrades

Explore the Grand Canyon with this guided, full-day sightseeing adventure around the South Rim. Beginning in Las Vegas, travel to the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and the National Geographic Visitor Center. See a number of different panoramic views from various lookout locations while learning about the history and geology of the canyon from the expert tour guide. Upgrade to include an IMAX movie and/or a scenic 2-hour Jeep tour or a breathtaking helicopter flight. Lunch and a Las Vegas hotel pickup and drop-off are included.

Book and save 44% compared to our local operator's price!

Grand Canyon West Rim Luxury Helicopter Tour

Need a break from bustling Las Vegas? Hop on board a helicopter for a luxury sightseeing tour to the Grand Canyon. Listen to informative commentary from your pilot as you get an aerial perspective on the majestic grandeur of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. On the way, you'll also see landmarks such as Hoover Dam, Lake Mead, Black Canyon and the Las Vegas strip. Your tour includes a 30-minute stop at the Grand Canyon West airport, with time for some quick shopping at a Native American gift boutique.

Book and save between 23% and 29% compared to the local operator's price!

Deluxe Grand Canyon All American Helicopter Tour

Experience the beauty of one of America’s natural wonders with a scenic helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. This low-level flight takes travelers past the famous Hoover Dam, extinct volcanoes, and stunning Lake Mead., as well as a pass over the glittering Las Vegas Strip. This half-day tour includes a champagne picnic at 3,200 feet (960 meters) below the canyon rim and allows plenty of time for afternoon exploring after your flight concludes.

Book and save 26% compared to another travel site!

Helicopter & Airplane Tours Of Grand Canyon National Park

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Viator offers air, helicopter & land tours to the Grand Canyon. Book a Grand Canyon helicopter tour or combine a Grand Canyon land & air exp...  More
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The Ultimate Off Road Adventure

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At Guidance Air in Sedona, we fly Robinson helicopters, specifically the R44 and R66, which have unrivaled views. This means clear views fro...  More
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Grand Canyon Tours From Las Vegas  Viator

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Every sightseeing and adventure tour of the Grand Canyon imaginable - from Las Vegas hotels to Grand Canyon National Park. Book a Grand Cany...  More
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Papillon Helicopters

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Tour Grand Canyon with the "World's Largest and Most Experienced Helicopter Sightseeing Company!" Only Papillon is a recipient of the 5-star...  More
  • (800) 528-2418
  • 1265 Airport Road
  • Boulder City, NV
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We have a trip finder that is unique and works much like Expedia, but for Grand Canyon Rafting Trips. With filters to narrow down options based on your preferences whether it is traveling within a certain date range, by raft type, by canyon route or trip duration, our Trip Finder can help you easily explore the different options!

Advantage Grand Canyon

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As a central reservation service for all 16 Grand Canyon Rafting Outfitters, we can help you find your ideal adventure, at no additional cos...  More
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Red Feather Lodge

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Ideally situated in the center of Tusayan, a small town one mile from the south entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park, this Grand Canyo...  More
  • (928) 638-2414
  • 300 Highway 64
  • Tusayan, AZ
  • 86023
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Canyon Shuttle

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From the Grand Canyon, to Flagstaff and Sedona, we offer comfortable, safe, affordable shuttles. Our shuttles transfer from easy to access l...  More
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Maverick Helicopter Tours

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Maverick Helicopters provides helicopter tours to the Grand Canyon. Maverick brings VIP and first-class service to the Grand Canyon. Ma...  More
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Browse, Compare & Reserve West Rim Helicopter, Drive & Rafting Tours

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Got just one day to see the Grand Canyon West Rim? Book one of our West Rim Tours from Las Vegas and experience everything there is to see ...  More
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Grand Canyon Railway

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Visit the official website for Grand Canyon Railway. Book your reservation online for a train tour on one of five classes of service on our ...  More
  • (303) 843-8724
  • 233 North Grand Canyon Boulevard
  • Williams, AZ
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Great West Adventure Tours

11. Great West Adventure Tours

The Sedona and Grand Canyon Specialists! Enjoy the scenic views of Sedona on our Sedona tours and learn all about the geology and history th...  More
  • (877) 367-2383
  • Sedona
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Grand Canyon Expeditions

12. Grand Canyon Expeditions

The Grand Canyon is one of the wonders of the world, and what better way to see it than from its heart, on a Colorado river rafting trip? Th...  More
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  • Lees Ferry
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Wildland Trekking

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Join The Wildland Trekking Co. on an epic journey to the Grand Canyon! Services include 1 to 8 day hiking adventures, tasty backcountry cui...  More
  • (800) 715-4453
  • 4025 East Huntington Drive
  • Flagstaff, AZ
  • 86004
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River Rafting Tours From Las Vegas

14. River Rafting Tours From Las V...

Every sightseeing and adventure tour of the Grand Canyon imaginable - from Las Vegas hotels to Grand Canyon National Park. Book a Grand Cany...  More
  • 4285 North Rancho Drive
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Grand Canyon Airlines

15. Grand Canyon Airlines

Don't just view the Canyon from the rim when you can fly the Grand Canyon with a legend! Since 1927, Grand Canyon Airlines has been the prem...  More
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  • Fire Road 771
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GRAND CANYON WEST RIM HOTELS

Stay in Las Vegas, Laughlin, Kingman or Lake Havasu when visiting the Grand Canyon Skywalk. See All Grand Canyon West Rim Hotels »

WEST RIM SKYWALK TOURS

Venture out to Grand Canyon West by helicopter, airplane or bus; take a walk on the glass Grand Canyon Skywalk. See All West Rim Tours »

HOTELS IN OR NEAR THE GRAND CANYON

Book Grand Canyon hotels in or near the park. Reservations are often made a year in advance. See All Hotels Near Grand Canyon »

SOUTH RIM TOURS

Fuel your adventure on these Grand Canyon South Rim tours by helicopter, airplane, van or train. See All South Rim Tours »

A Day At The Canyon from John Burcham Photography. John Burcham is a commercial, editorial photographer based out of Flagstaff, AZ. You can see more of his work at www.johnburcham.com