Believe it or not, but Las Vegas is the gateway to the Grand Canyon. From Sin City, the canyon is a mere 120 miles away; a distance that tour buses can cover in 2.5 hours. Not only is getting there painless, but the price for a motor coach tour is cheap. For your convenience, I’ve listed the best bus rides. I hope that by comparing them you’ll find the one that best suits your needs.
There’s a myriad of bus tours that go to the West Rim. Here are the best:
- Basic Bus Tour. Goes direct to Grand Canyon West. Includes all Park fees. Up to 3 hours time at the rim. Complimentary shuttle bus and lunch included.
- Bus Tour w/ Skywalk. Includes everything in the basic package plus VIP access to the world-famous glass bridge, which lets you walk 70 feet past the edge while being suspended 4,000 feet above the bottom.
- Bus Tour w/ Helicopter & Boat. Fly 4,000 feet to the bottom then take a Colorado River boat ride. Comes with lunch and rim-top shuttle service. Most complete bus tour package offered.
The West Rim is the only place where helicopters are permitted to land on the bottom. Ground tour points of interest include Guano Point and Eagle Point. There are no barriers so please be careful when exploring the edge.
Half the fun of these coach trips is the journey. Trips start at 7:30 a.m. and head east along the shoreline of Lake Mead, the largest man-made reservoir in the U.S. The route then turns south over the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge before making a U-turn for a Hoover Dam photo stop on the Arizona side.
The bus will then head across the Mojave Desert to Diamond Bar Road, which constitutes the final stretch. It needs to be noted that this section of roadway is a rough gravel road. Buses can handle it while sedans will have a tough time. If you self-drive, I recommend that you rent an SUV with high clearance and a decent spare tire.
Grand Canyon West
The West Rim is situated entirely on Hualapai Indian Land. The area comprises 9,000 acres, which at the moment is anchored by the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Eventually, the tribe wants to develop a 100-mile area along the rim to include restaurants, hotels, a golf course and a cable car to the bottom.
Don’t wait until the last minute to book your Grand Canyon West bus tour. If you do, there’s a strong chance the trip will be sold out. Best to reserve your seats at least 72 hours in advance. Even better if you can get in front of your departure date by a week.
The best prices on coach trips are on the Internet. I regularly secure seats at up to 35 percent off the advertised price. How is this possible? It’s cheaper for tour operators to process Web bookings, and, for the time being, they are passing the savings on to travelers. This isn’t going to last forever, so cash in while you still can.
West Rim bus tours make a fantastic day trip from Las Vegas. Expect to spend a full day on these trips. There’s plenty to see and do, ranging from Guano Point and the Indian Cultural Center to helicopter rides to the bottom and Colorado River boat trips. This part of the canyon is famous for thrills and adventure. So while in Sin City, make sure to get in on the action!