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Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour
short walk out to the helicopter 6.40 Arizona ratingStar
Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour guyonthego

The Grand Canyon North Rim Helicopter Tour is an approximately 20 minute tour from the Grand Canyon Airport to the North Rim of the canyon and back. It is run by Papillon Helicopters, which also offers additional helicopter tours and airplane tours. Papillon tours also depart from Boulder City and Las Vegas. The North Rim Tour costs approximately $200, with the cost varying by time of day and time of year.

Papillon Helicopters has been running tours in the area since 1965. In addition to the helicopter and airplane tours, the company offers horseback riding and rafting trips. The two primary tours at the South Rim are a 20 minute North Rim Tour and an Imperial Tour that lasts about 50 minutes and covers more of the canyon. Tours are offered on Bell helicopters and Eurocopter EC130 helicopters. The EC130 is larger, quieter and provides better views because all passengers face forward. In the Bell Helicopter 4 passengers in the back face each other, so only two seats in the back are facing forward.

The tour, which flies over a part of the national park away from the primary visitor areas, was well run from start to finish, and the staff members were professional and pleasant. However, the tour itself was somewhat disappointing. The views/perspectives are not much different from what one can see from the canyon rim and/or hiking into the canyon. It’s also fairly short at 20-25 minutes. Aside from the thrill of riding in a helicopter, which is really cool, it is hard to justify spending around $200 to see the canyon from the air when for a $25 park entrance fee one can see it nearly as well from the rim. The longer tour covers more of the canyon and area but the views are comparable. In lieu of pilot narration, a pre-recorded tape covered canyon highlights, but it was hard to hear it. If you want to see the canyon fast and just get a cursory sense of it, this tour can make sense. Otherwise, it’s cheaper and nearly as impressive to see it the old fashioned way.
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October 2018
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