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Grand Canyon tours

Best Grand Canyon tours

The Grand Canyon, located in the desert Southwest region of the USA, is rich with astounding natural beauty, and is one of America’s best-loved national parks with its network of superb hiking trails. No photograph can prepare you for such vastness: over one mile deep and between four and eighteen miles wide, it’s a breath-taking expanse of shapes and colours.

  1. Bus tour
  2. Helicopter tour
  3. Water tour
  4. Mule tour
  5. Hiking tour

Most visitors head to the South Rim as it’s much easier to access, has more facilities, and is open year-round. With a range of Grand Canyon tours to choose from, you can really make the most of your bedazzling experience.

In collaboration with
Rough Guides

1. Bus tour

See the Grand Canyon from the comfort of a bus, with the driver doubling up as an informative tour guide who will narrate the area’s history and geology along the way. Don’t worry, there are plenty of stop-offs for you to step out onto the site and make the most of photo ops. Bus tours cover a range of areas but the eastern section (or ‘East Rim’) is one of the best, covering the likes of the mesmerizing Antelope Canyon, awesome Navajo Bridge and parts of the winding Colorado River. If you really want to crank it up a notch, test your nerves by stepping out onto the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped bridge almost a mile above the canyon floor. Look down through the glass floor and see the depths and wonder of the Canyon beneath your feet; all 4,000 feet of it

Best for: Comfort

Top tip: Opt for a sunrise or sunset tour for beautiful hues over beautiful landscapes.

2. Helicopter tour

Is this the most glamorous way to see the Grand Canyon? We like to think so. Soaring over the Grand Canyon, you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the likes of Guano River, the bright blue Lake Mead and more. It’s a great way to cover a large amount of the area in a short amount of time, and gaze down at it all with a birds-eye view. Some helicopter tours allow you to actually land on the canyon, so you can get your bearings before you take flight again.

Best for: Romantic trips

Top tip: Make sure you wear comfortable clothing and suitable footwear.

3. Water tour

Take to the water by cutesy steam-pedal boat, or go on a rafting tour. Boats take in Lake Mead and impressive Hoover Dam, including some views that you just won’t see on land. You can take a laidback cruise down the Colorado River, opt for on-board lunch and/or dinner and enjoy various stop-offs. As for the rafting tours, you’ll be given waterproof gear to wear (this is vital!) as an expert guide rafts through 40 miles of various rapids, taking in the likes of the Dragon Tooth and Travertine Waterfalls.

Best for: Rare views

Top tip: You’ll go through a personal item security search before boarding the rafts.

4. Mule tour

This is a classic way to see the Grand Canyon, and has been a popular way of transporting visitors around the site since the late 19th century. You’ll set off in small groups and there’s even the chance to stay overnight at a ranch. The mules are larger and sturdier than average horses and are well trained for the terrain. If you don’t want to venture into the depths of the canyon itself, you can simply trail around the rim, instead. There’s a range of Grand Canyon holidays to choose from; however you want to take in the canyon.

Best for: Classic routes

Top tip: Riders must wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers and closed-toe shoes.

5. Hiking tour

Take a hike into the Grand Canyon and you’ll be rewarded with no two views the same. Landscapes have their own climate, wildlife and topography, all of which make it prime hiking territory; but it can be an unforgiving environment that can be gruelling for even the most adventurous hikers. All hikes start with the long, steep descent, and of course what goes down must come up: it’s highly recommended to camp overnight to give yourself a break before trailing back up again. The Bright Angel Trail covers 9.6 miles from Grand Canyon Village to the Phantom Ranch, which is also a popular spot with overnight mule-riders (see above). This is very much an overnight hike, but it’s more of an experience to extend your stay and watch the sunset or sunrise – this is a ranch like no other. If you’re after day hikes, then start off from the village to Plateau Point, an overlook above the Inner Gorge. It’s a 12-mile round trip that takes a good eight hours; make sure you pack plenty of water

Best for: Adventurous experiences

Top tip: Pack plenty of water, dried foods and suitable footwear.

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