If I looked back at all the amazing travel experiences I had this year, one would stand out among others: the helicopter ride from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon with Sundance Helicopters.
I always dreamed to see the Grand Canyon and Sundance Helicopters gave me the opportunity to tick this giant item off my bucket list.
The Grand Canyon, Arizona
The Grand Canyon, situated in Arizona, is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River. Its iconic landscape and sheer size make it one of the wonders of the world. It is 277 miles (446 km) long, up to 18 miles (29 km) wide and it reaches over a mile in depth.
The Grand Canyon today is part of a national park and several areas of the canyon are lived in by native American tribes.
No matter how much you read about the Grand Canyon or how many photographs you’ve seen, nothing really prepares you for the sight of it. One of the world’s seven natural wonders, it’s so startlingly familiar and iconic you can’t take your eyes off it. The canyon’s immensity, the sheer intensity of light and shadow at sunrise or sunset, even its very age, scream for superlatives. [Lonely Planet]
In May, I travelled to Las Vegas to attend Vegas Uncork’d food festival. As part of the press trip, I was invited to join the Grand Canyon Picnic tour by Sundance Helicopters, a tour I would highly recommend to anyone visiting Las Vegas. While there’s no lack of entertainment in Vegas, it’s worth taking half day out of the city to see the Grand Canyon. It would be a shame not to see it!
Grand Canyon Picnic tour with Sundance Helicopters
The tour lasts approximately 3.5 hours, including pick up from your Las Vegas hotel (I stayed at the iconic Caesars Palace Hotel) to the airport and back in a luxurious stretched limousine. By the way, if there’s one place in the whole world where you’d want to ride in a limo, that’s Vegas! Whether it’s to travel in style from the airport or to get down the 4.2km long strip, check out Limo Find.
Back to my Grand Canyon tour, I was taken to Las Vegas airport lounge for a briefing on the security measures, and then we were off! The helicopter ride took around 40-45 minutes, flying over the gorgeous landscapes of Nevada and Arizona. The pilot pointed out all the landmarks with an in-flight commentary.
The tour begins with a ride over Las Vegas. After spending five days in the city and struggling to get a sense of its scale, I was glad to be above it and get a clear overview of the famous Strip.
The flight then takes you past the 726-ft.-high and 1,244-ft.-long Hoover Dam, the highest concrete dam in the Western Hemisphere and a modern marvel of engineering. It is a popular tourist destination for day trips from Las Vegas.
Even though I usually get anxious on airplanes, I didn’t feel nervous or scared at all during the helicopter tour. The helicopter doesn’t fly too fast and always feels very steady. None of the bouncing you get on a plane during turbulence. I was also too thrilled about the scenic views of the Mojave Desert below us to worry about anything!
On our way to the Grand Canyon we also crossed the shimmering teal blue waters and stunning sandstone shorelines of Lake Mead.
The lake was formed by the Hoover Dam and is the largest man-made lake in the United States.
Suddenly the Colorado river comes into view, its path winding through the Grand Canyon, separating the North Rim from the South Rim.
The helicopter rides inside the canyon, following the river towards the only area where we are allowed to land.
Sundance Helicopters have established a close relationship with the Hualapai Tribe and for this reason they are able to land down in the canyon. Passengers are asked to be respectful of the land. It is a unique experience to explore the landscape from the ground and take in the sights 3,200 feet below the rim of the canyon.
We stayed on the ground for 30 minutes, enough to take photos, selfies and drink a glass of bubbly for a toast to our Grand Canyon adventure.
The Las Vegas to Grand Canyon tour with Sundance Helicopters is truly an experience like no other. Is it on your bucket list yet?
My helicopter flight to the Grand Canyon (filmed with GoPro Hero4)!
Disclaimer: I was invited on the tour by Sundance Helicopters. All opinions are my own.