Fast becoming one of the most talked-about destinations at the Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon West attracts about 700,000 visitors each year. The destination has become increasingly popular among Grand Canyon tourists since the March 2007 grand opening of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. This cantilevered glass-bottomed bridge is just 2 ½ hours from Las Vegas and appeals to adrenaline seekers, Las Vegas daytrippers and regular folks alike. While not a part of Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon West's visitors still experience stunning vistas, the Skywalk, Guano Point, Eagle Point, and Hualapai Ranch, all points of pride for the West Rim's operators, the Hualapai Native American Tribe.
Grand Canyon West is open to the public from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily from October through March, and from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily from April through September. It is open every day of the year including all major holidays.
Although Grand Canyon West is typically less crowded than the South Rim, one can expect a swell of visitors each day between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Most visitors stay about 3–4 hours, so be aware that the last ticket is sold 1½ hours prior to closing time.
The best time of year to visit Grand Canyon West is late fall through spring, when daytime temperatures are pleasant, ranging from the mid-60s to the mid-90s, and generally under sunny conditions. Summertime temperatures can soar to well above 100° Fahrenheit, so standing in line for the shuttle or the Skywalk can be hot under the intense sun.
No matter when you visit, be sure to bring about a quart of water per person, a wide-brimmed hat, high SPF sunscreen, sunglasses and very light layers.
The Hualapai Nation offers visitors flexible admission packages to the Grand Canyon Skywalk with optional helicopter tours, Canyon floor helicopter landings, boat trips on the Colorado River, entertainment, dining, horseback riding, 1-day river rafting and more. Reservations can be made on their website at www.hualapaitourism.com, by phone 1-888-868-WEST(9378) or 928-769-2636, or by booking with a tour company like those listed on our West Rim Tours page.
We recommend doing the latter if you do not plan on driving yourself to Grand Canyon West and are starting from Las Vegas. There are several excellent options for helicopter, air and ground tours from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West, and they are all capable of combining the transportation/tour portion with tickets to Grand Canyon West and custom add-on activities in one neat little package.
Remember, the West Rim is not inside the Grand Canyon National Park. It is owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe; the Hualapai collect fees for entrance to the West Rim. A National Park 7-day entry pass, Golden Age passport or other National Park Service pass will not apply at Grand Canyon West.
At the very least, each person is required to purchase the Legacy Package, priced at $44.05 (including all taxes and fees) per person.
No private vehicles are permitted past the Grand Canyon West entrance. You must park your car at the Grand Canyon West Welcome Center, located at the West Rim Airport. Visitors then board the free Hop-On Hop-Off shuttle service to get to the West Rim attractions.
At the Welcome Center, you'll have the opportunity to meet with a tour operator and select a tour package. The basic package and every other upgraded package includes the Hop-On Hop-Off shuttle to area attractions like Hualapai Ranch, Eagle Point, Guano Point, Native American demonstrations and cowboy performances at three viewpoints, a Hualapai visitation certificate, and photo opportunities with Hualapai members.
The packages are priced per person (child or adult) as follows:
The Legacy Package — $42.99 per person inclusive of taxes and fees: This basic entry package is the minimum required package. The Legacy package DOES NOT include walking on the Skywalk.
The Legacy Gold Package — $79.00 per person inclusive of taxes and fees: This is the least expensive packages that includes tickets to walk on the Grand Canyon Skywalk. It includes everything in the Legacy and Legacy Silver packages, with the addition of an adult Skywalk ticket.
Additional add-ons are available at any level, including helicopter rides that land at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, pontoon boat rides down the Colorado River, horseback rides, meal packages and overnight lodging packages and upgrades.
The West Rim does feature overnight accommodations nearby; Hualapai Ranch and Hualapai Lodge are operated by the Tribe. The Hualapai Ranch is located inside the Grand Canyon West recreation area, while the Lodge is approximately 90 minutes from the West Rim in Peach Springs, AZ on historic Route 66. A third option is the Grand Canyon Ranch Resort, just 2 miles outside Grand Canyon West on Diamond Bar Ranch Road.
Here's a list of estimates, exclusive of taxes, gratuities and fees where applicable:
The Hualapai Tribe also operates Hualapai River Runners, the only providers of 1-day whitewater river rafting at the Grand Canyon. Trips operate from March through October, departing in the early morning from Peach Springs, so it's wise to book the night before at the Hualapai Lodge on Route 66. The Hualapai tourism site can assist visitors with booking these lodging/rafting packages.
Whether you drive yourself or take a guided helicopter, air or coach tour, Grand Canyon West is an ideal day trip from Las Vegas. While we typically encourage visitors to drive themselves to the South and North Rims of the Grand Canyon, Grand Canyon West is a different story, IF you're coming from Las Vegas. There are a myriad of high-quality tours from Las Vegas to the West Rim, whether by helicopter, airplane or ground, and the tour companies each do a terrific job of providing an excellent tour, with informative and entertaining narration, and neatly packaging the entrance fees, activities and upgrades available at Grand Canyon West.
That being said, you can drive yourself to the Grand Canyon West entrance. Be prepared for the 9 mile unpaved yet graded, bumpy and dusty drive on Diamond Bar Road as you approach the Grand Canyon West airport. (Note: it is estimated that the road will be paved in full by Spring 2014.) No private vehicles are permitted past the Grand Canyon West entrance. You must park your car at the Grand Canyon West Welcome Center. You will be directed purchase an entrance package and board the Hop-On Hop-Off shuttle, included in the price of all entrance packages.
If you don't want to drive the unpaved portion of the road, you can take a shuttle service from Dolan Spring. The Park and Ride shuttle is $15 per person round trip. If you are interested in this service please contact http://www.hualapaitourism.com/parknride.php (888) 868.9378(WEST) or (928) 769.2636 to make your reservation. This shuttle departs from 16011 Pierce Ferry Rd, Dolan Springs, AZ.
The Hop-On Hop-Off shuttles circulate throughout Grand Canyon West continuously throughout the day, taking visitors to the three main areas. They stop at each point of interest, Guano Point, Eagle Point and Hualapai Ranch, approximately every 15 minutes.
There are dozens of ways to see the West Rim, from helicopter tours to coach bus rides to pontoon boat cruises, and this is the only place at the Grand Canyon where you can experience a helicopter landing on the Canyon floor. There is easily a half-day's worth of activities available. Walk the Skywalk, marvel at the views from Guano Point and Eagle Point, and watch Native American and cowboy demonstrations; all accessible by a Hop-On Hop-Off shuttle included in the price of admission to Grand Canyon West.
Grand Canyon West boasts the newest visitor attraction, the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Its plexiglass floor extends 70 feet over the edge of the Canyon's rim, allowing visitors to look straight down to the canyon floor 4,000 feet below. It is 10 feet wide, and flanked by glass walls 4–6 feet high; high enough to exceed safety code, but low enough to let visitors explore and view the Canyon unencumbered.
Cameras and personal property are not allowed on the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Lockers are provided, and professional photographers are available to take your picture on the Skywalk, with photos available for later purchase. Photos of the Skywalk may be taken from the side with personal cameras. Pets, wheelchairs and strollers are not permitted on the Skywalk, in order to preserve the view through the DuPont SentryGlas® transparent floor.
The Skywalk is the highlight of the Eagle Point area, but you'll also want to do a walking tour of Native American Village: authentic Native American dwellings depicting multiple tribes. Sit down at the amphitheater and enjoy live Native American performances from various tribes demonstrated continuously all day. Browse handmade, authentic Native American jewelry and crafts.
The second stop on the Hop-On Hop-Off shuttle route is Guano Point. Many visitors find this area to be the most beautiful, the most worthy of extra time spent. Be amazed by head-turning 360° views, especially when taken in from "Highpoint Hike," an easy trail that rewards visitors with breathtaking panoramic canyon views of the Grand Canyon and Colorado River. Visit the remnants of a historic tram that stretched 8,800 feet across the canyon to a guano (bat dung) mine. Dine right on the edge of the Grand Canyon with uninterrupted canyon views and interact with Tribal members offering Native American jewelry and crafts.
The final stop on the free shuttle route is the Hualapai Ranch & Cabins. Enjoy western hospitality, cowboy entertainment, wagon rides and more. Learn how to rope, quick draw and tomahawk toss the cowboy way. Embark on a guided 30-minute horseback ride to the rim and 90-minute rides along the rim. Stay overnight in western cabins, the only lodging "in-park" at Grand Canyon West, facing the canyon rim. At night, join the cowboys making S'mores and telling stories around an open fire.
At Grand Canyon West, there are exhilarating tour and activity upgrades that will round out your experience. These options are not for the budget traveler, however; when added to the typical entrance package price of $88 per person (which includes the Skywalk) these upgrades will likely push your trip up to the "bucket-list" level of expenditure. The following prices do not include taxes and fees.
About 90 minutes away from Grand Canyon West, in the town of Peach Springs, the Hualapai Tribe also operates Hualapai River Runners, the only providers of 1-day whitewater river rafting at the Grand Canyon. Trips operate from March through October, departing in the early morning from Peach Springs, so it's wise to book the night before at the Hualapai Lodge on Route 66. A shuttle, included in the package price, returns visitors to Peach Springs at the end of the trip. The Hualapai tourism site can assist visitors with booking these lodging/rafting packages.
While there has been some criticism of Grand Canyon West as a tourist attraction, there are an equal number of excellent reviews raving about the dramatic Grand Canyon views, the Native American heritage displays and the Skywalk itself. The key to getting the most out of Grand Canyon West is to be well-informed and fully prepared for the expense, travel time, road conditions, weather and remoteness.
Grand Canyon West is privately owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe and requires the purchase of a permit and Legacy tour package for entry. Outside food and drink are not permitted (except for water) and you may be persuaded to purchase photos and/or a souvenir. A typical visit, without tour add-ons, could total around $206 per person, if it looked like this:
The travel time — just 2 ½ hours from Las Vegas — is minimal compared to the drive to the South Rim from Las Vegas, but because signage is minimal until you get within about 10 miles of Grand Canyon West, and much of the drive is on 2-lane roads and even 9-miles of a graded dirt road that's bumpy, dusty and has a 25 MPH posted speed limit, it seems like a more arduous journey than it really is, especially if you're unprepared. Patience and a high-clearance vehicle are definitely recommended; it's unwise to take a regular sedan — especially a rental car — to Grand Canyon West. Don't follow the car in front of you too closely, or you'll be shrouded in dust and unable to see properly. If you are driving a rental car, take the Park-and-Ride shuttle from Dolan Springs. It's just $15 cash, round trip, paid to the driver and worth every penny to avoid additional charges from the rental car company.
You may experience long lines at the shuttle stops or waiting to walk on the Skywalk. There isn't much protection from the elements in these queues, so be prepared with a wide-brimmed hat, plenty of high SPF sunscreen, sunglasses, light layers, and at least a quart of water per person.
Some visitors are struck by the remoteness of the West Rim. There are no services along the 50–70 miles between US-93 or Kingman, respectively, and Grand Canyon West, so make sure you have sufficient gas, air in your tires, and your car is in good working order. Take precautions typical of any road trip; have water, food and emergency supplies in your vehicle.
There is almost no cell service at Grand Canyon West. Do not rely on your mobile for emergency calls, nor your smartphone for directions, a connection to the internet, or travel apps. Be prepared with some printed or written directions, and make your hotel reservations ahead of time.
Grand Canyon West, while conveniently located just 125 miles east of Las Vegas, Nevada, is in a remote part of northwestern Arizona, with few developed comforts in the area. The West Rim does feature overnight accommodations nearby; Hualapai Ranch and Hualapai Lodge are operated by the Tribe. The Hualapai Ranch is located inside the Grand Canyon West recreation area, while the Lodge is approximately 90 minutes from the West Rim in Peach Springs, AZ on historic Route 66. A third option is the Grand Canyon Ranch Resort, just 2 miles outside Grand Canyon West on Diamond Bar Ranch Road. This working cattle ranch offers pine cabins, sleeping tipis (seasonally), western entertainment, helicopter flights, and horseback rides. The Hualapai have preserved this remote part of Arizona, providing lodging and dining that meet our creature comforts, but not taking away from the beauty that is the Grand Canyon West Rim.
Truth be told, most Grand Canyon West Rim visitors are daytrippers who choose to book their overnight accommodations in Las Vegas, NV — just a 2 ½-hour drive from this western-most Grand Canyon point of interest. One can easily drive themselves or take a bus or coach tour from Las Vegas and see the West Rim in 8 hours round-trip, or even half that time on a helicopter or air tour from Las Vegas.
We also highly recommend checking out West Rim hotels in Kingman, just 70 miles from Grand Canyon West and a central resting stop with easy access to I-40, I-93, and several fascinating attractions including ghost towns, gold mines, museums, lakes, Hoover Dam, gaming and more.
The Grand Canyon West Rim's elevation, at 4,800 feet above sea level, is right between that of desert Las Vegas and the lofty plateau of the South Rim. It stands to reason, then, that visitors generally experience temperate weather year-round; although summer temperatures can climb past 100° F. The West Rim isn't subject to extreme winter snow conditions like the South and North Rims, although it is possible visitors could encounter snow at Grand Canyon West in December, January and February.
Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time, so if you're coming to Grand Canyon West from Las Vegas, you may need to account for a time difference.