Grand Canyon
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Grand Canyon: Tours & Tickets

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5 geological facts about how the Grand Canyon was formed

Whether you see it from above by helicopter, below by boat, or choose to tour its hiking trails by foot, Arizona's Grand Canyon is one of North America's most breathtaking sights. Here's a step-by-step guide on how it came to be!

The rise of the Kaibab plateau

When the Kaibab plateau was forced upwards 35 million years ago, the ancestor of what is now the Colorado River was diverted away from its previous route towards the Pacific Ocean.

The formation of Lake Bidahochi

The river's new route saw it empty into the Gulf of Mexico. Volcanic activity caused this river to become obstructed as well, creating a vast lake.

Rivers reunited

Eventually a path was eroded through the Kaibab plateau, accelerated by the last ice ages, and the old Pacific-ward segment of river was reconnected to the rest of it.

The emergence of the Little Colorado River

With a steeper route heading west now open, the waters of the ancient Lake Bidahochi were drained, leaving just a deep crevice through which the Little Colorado River now runs.

It never stops!

Though the bulk of it formed during this epoch, continued erosion and rock falls have expanded the canyon further still. It may look very different in another 35 million years!

Grand Canyon: Our Tips

When to visit?

April to early June is a great time to visit the Grand Canyon, arriving just in time to make the most of the rising temperatures before the intense heat and bursts of rain that come with summer. September and early November are also good times to go if you want to avoid the peak-season crowds before it gets too cold!

What to pack?

The weather can be unpredictable so pack rain gear even if it's gorgeous when you set out. In summer, the cool canyon breeze can also disguise the heat of the sun's rays, so be sure to wear sunscreen even if it doesn't feel necessary. Bring plenty of water, too, of course, and light snacks. Trust us, you'll be better off topping your energy up as you go rather than setting out after a heavy meal!

What to wear?

When it's hot, cover up in light, airy fabrics rather than revealing tops and shorts, as you'll be highly exposed to the sun. Sunhats and sunglasses are also a must in summer, and comfortable walking shoes are essential at any time of year. Make sure your feet don't slip around in them either, or the steep canyon trails may result in bloody toes!

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    The South Rim is open all year round, the North Rim is only open from May 15th to October 15th.
  • What is the price?
    An individual permit is $12 and is good for 7 days.
  • Will I need a guide?
    There are some great tours available! Might be worth it to check out our best-selling tours.
  • How to get there
    By car you can take a scenic drive through the Kaibab National Forest, or sit back, relax and take the Arizona Shuttle.
  • Additional tips
    There are several free admission days, so check the website before your visit! | Don't forget that if you are bringing a car, you'll have to pay for a vehicle permit, as well.

What People Are Saying About Grand Canyon

Awesome sights with an extremely knowledgeable guide.

Everything you want in a tour of one of the world's true wonders. Well paced with personalized attention. Sure beats those large bus loads where you have to plug in earphones to hear the guide. First class all the way.

Grand Canyon Classic Sightseeing Tour Departing Flagstaff Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 10/02/2016

Really enjoyed the experience. Felt in safe hands and had good views.

Seeing the Grand Canyon from the air was certainly the best way to experience this spectacular wonder of the world. Even though I was sitting in a back middle seat I still had a good view and the pilot made sure that I sat by the window on the return journey thus making sure everyone was given the best opportunity to take pictures. The pilot was very professional and made me feel extremly safe. The helicopter ride was definitely our favourite experience of Las Vegas.

Amazing experience, excellent logistics, all perfect.

Everything was great, from the limo pick-up to the flight and even the soundtrack which accompanied the narration. Amazing experience!

Fantastic once in a life time experience

Amazing experience which started with the limo pick up and continued to the Grand Canyon. Was lucky enough to sit up front in the helicopter and the views were stunning -great commentary with additional info from our pilot Mike. Had read some reviews who were disappointed with the breakfast once landed but we felt it was fine and more than adequate. Amazing overall experience and the highlight of our Vegas trip

Grand Canyon Helicopter and Champagne Picnic Experience Reviewed by a GetYourGuide Customer, 11/03/2015

Fantastic experience, great pilot, great views and an exciting flight!

Ryan the pilot treated us to a flight to remember, great flying over Lake Mead, Hoover dam, the Grand Canyon and ended up over the Vegas strip. Not a 10 minute flight, there was plenty of time to enjoy the experience and we rotated seats so we all had a go in the front seat. Ryan gave us a personal commentary (no pre recorded audio guide) and answered all our questions. Champagne and light lunch when landing in the Canyon was a nice treat. Very professional, well organised and I felt very safe. A must see experience!

Grand Canyon Helicopter Landing Tour Reviewed by Christopher, 10/01/2015

Things To Do Near Grand Canyon


Grand Canyon
4.6
Based on 320 reviews by GetYourGuide customers