Explore the Grand Canyon: 3 Viewpoints of the West Rim
By Paulina Sánchez |
Visit the Grand Canyon West Rim and dare to explore its three main attractions.
If you want to talk about gigantic mountains, we’re experts in recommending impressive landscapes. That’s why we’ve taken you to Ayers Rock, in Australia; the Canadian Rockies, and even the famous Crag of Bernal in Queretaro, Mexico. Now, it’s our turn to travel to the United States to visit its most famous rock formation: the Grand Canyon.
DINKtravelers, your world travel guide, takes you to see one of the finalists of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and a World Heritage Site. Located in a region inhabited by the Hualapai tribe in Arizona, the Grand Canyon West Rim is an attraction you can’t miss.
Grand Canyon West Rim Tour
Even though you can get there on a tour from Arizona, the most common departure site is the city of Las Vegas, in Nevada. From there, you can take a bus, limo or helicopter tour to the West Rim, as it’s commonly known. If you choose to go by bus, you’ll take around two and a half hours to get to the Grand Canyon, but the rocky landscapes between Nevada and Arizona are worth seeing. Besides, most of these tours include a stop at the famous Hoover Dam, an engineering wonder.
Who Are the Hualapai?
The Hualapai Tribe lives in Peach Springs Arizona and is in charge of operating the West Rim of the Grand Canyon. Actually, by visiting this part of the Grand Canyon, rather than the North or South Rim, you help preserve ancestral traditions and support the tribe. This Native American people’s reserve covers one million acres and dates back to 1883. The name Hualapai means “people of the tall pines”.
Things to Do at Grand Canyon West Rim
Once you get to the Grand Canyon, board the shuttle that will take you to Eagle Point, Guano Point and Hualapai Ranch, in this order. These are the three areas in which your visit to the West Rim is divided. At Eagle Point you can walk the famous Skywalk! Besides, you’ll get the chance to see traditional dances and learn about the Hualapai culture at an authentic Native American town.
In order to learn a little bit about the architecture you’ll find at this site, read these concepts:
- Wikiup. This triangular structure could house a whole family. Its walls were built with Juniper trunks, and the Hualapai used to cover the floor with animal fur to make it cozier.
- Hogan. This construction was typical among the Navajo, and it was made of wood and mud. The wood used to build it was special because it had to have been struck by a lightning. This is because, for the Navajo, lightnings represented spirituality.
#1 Walk the Skywalk at Eagle Point
During your visit to Eagle Point, enjoy one of the best views of the Grand Canyon’s precipice by walking the Skywalk. This horseshoe-shaped glass bridge was built at a height of 4,000 feet and allows you to walk 70 feet out over the rim of the Canyon. You’ll get a rush of adrenaline when you see there’s nothing beneath your feet except for a breathtaking abyss. Don’t worry; this bridge, inaugurated in 200, is completely safe because the crystal platform is very thick. Actually, it’s a marvelous work of engineering that is known as Eagle Point’s main attraction.
Take into account that tickets to the Skywalk are not included in most tours, so you’ll have to pay around 30 dollars if you want to walk on it. Also, cell phones and cameras are not allowed on the bridge, so if you want a visual memory of your adventure, you’ll have to pay a few more dollars to get an authorized picture taken.
#2 Enjoy the Best Views of Grand Canyon from Guano Point
Your second stop will be at Guano Point, the area with the most impressive views of the Grand Canyon. This place was called like this because during the 1930s they discovered a cave that was full of guano. Yes, bats’ guano! They wanted to use it as fertilizer so the US Guano Corporation built a tram system to extract it. Today you can still see the remains of this construction that is no longer functioning.
Make sure you wear hiking boots to this tour because you won’t want to miss out on climbing the tallest rock formation at Guano Point. From there, you’ll enjoy a 360-degree view of the Grand Canyon.
#3 Enjoy a Hot Meal at Hualapai Ranch
Even though there are restaurants at Eagle Point and Guano Point, we recommend waiting until your last stop for lunch. At Hualapai Ranch they reconstructed an old Western town that houses a cozy restaurant. There you can have BBQ ribs, mashed potatoes, freshly baked cornbread and other delicious things. And if you’re lucky, you’ll witness a cowboy gunfight and listen to live music.
Other Attractions at the West Rim
Make the most of your visit to the West Rim and have fun with other attractions. We recommend:
The Hualapai Ranch Zip line
With 3,200 feet of zip line above the Grand Canyon, you’ll reach a speed of up to 40 mph at 500 feet above the ground! Buy your tickets any day of the week from 9:00 to 16:00 h from March 15th to October 31st.
Aerial Tour of the Grand Canyon
Even if you didn’t buy a helicopter tour in Las Vegas, you can do it directly at the Grand Canyon. Choose between a 20-minute ride in a fixed-wing airplane, a 15-minute flight on a helicopter, or choose something bigger. The third option is to fly on a helicopter and descend on the banks of the Colorado River. This tour takes around 40 minutes and allows you to find yourself completely surrounded by mountains.
Colorado River Excursion
Complement your land adventure with an aquatic experience. Rent a pontoon boat tour or a smooth float tour across the Colorado River and enjoy the mountainous landscape from the water. If you want to have the whole VIP experience, add this tour to your helicopter flight.
Spend the Night at Hualapai Ranch
If you drive to the Grand Canyon, a good alternative to make the most of your visit is to stay at Hualapai Ranch. There you will enjoy a sunset of gold and red shades bathing the mountains. Then, you’ll relax under a starry night and get warm in front of a bonfire. The cabins feature amenities, such as a front porch with chairs, and Queen size beds. Apart from this, lodging includes a delicious hot Western-style breakfast with eggs, sausages, bread and bacon. If you stay overnight, go horse-riding and take lasso lessons to feel like a real cowboy.
After your tour to the Grand Canyon West Rim, approach the site’s keepers. They’ll give you a Hualapai official visit certificate, the perfect souvenir of this unforgettable experience.