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Grand Canyon West: Top Surprises

Categories: Opinion

By Jonas Maxwell / December 28, 2016

Gard Canyon West Skywalk

I've been to the Grand Canyon South Rim a few times, and to the North Rim once, but had never been to Grand Canyon West, a tourist destination owned and operated by the Native American Hualapai Tribe about 230 miles west of the South Rim.  Grand Canyon West is only a two-hour drive from Las Vegas, so I thought I'd coax my dog into the car (like he needs coaxing), and spend a fun-filled day at Grand Canyon West.  To get some basic information, I went to the Grand Canyon West website.  What I read changed my mind about going.  Here are the top ten Grand Canyon West surprises:

  1. Grand Canyon West is not part of the Grand Canyon National Park, and is not the "real" Grand Canyon you see on TV, in movies, etc. (that's the South Rim).
  2. "Transportation by private vehicle is not permitted at Grand Canyon West."
  3. Admission to the property is $46.95 per person ("Legacy Package").
  4. "Bringing outside food and beverages to Grand Canyon West is not permitted."
  5. You must pay extra to go out on the Skywalk.
  6. Cameras are not allowed on the Skywalk.  (This was the deal-breaker for me!)
  7. Pets are not welcome.  They must be boarded at the Hualapai Ranch (for a fee, of course).
  8. There are only two hiking trails available - an easy hike to the edge of the canyon and a moderate hike at Guano Point called Highpoint Hike.
  9. Currently, the only promotional package offered on the website is the Walapai Experience for only $3,225.08 (for a family of four).  There are other package deals on other sites, though.

The Hualapai might argue that they have more to offer than the South Rim.  But think about it - what are you really going there for?  To go horseback riding?  River rafting?  The Skywalk?  Hiking?  To see some cowboys and Indians?  Or are you going to see the Grand Canyon?

Most visitors from Las Vegas get to Grand Canyon West by helicopter as part of a tour package.  But if you want to see the "true Grand Canyon," my advice is to choose a package to the South Rim. You'll fly from Las Vegas by airplane, not helicopter, and bus transportation is provided from the airport to the South Rim.  You won't regret it!

"If you can't say something nice, let's hear it!"   — Joan Rivers

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