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The Grand Canyon West Rim is only two hours outside of Las Vegas. And it offers some of the most incredible adventures imaginable.
There are scenic viewpoints, ziplining, helicopter rides, and hiking trails. And let’s not forget – the famous Skywalk.
As someone who visits often, planning your day here is essential so you can prioritize what to see and do. Otherwise, you could miss out!
So in this guide, I’ll help you create your travel itinerary and share tips to maximize your Grand Canyon time.
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FAQs: West Rim Grand Canyon+−
- When Is The Best Time To Visit The West Rim?
- Can You Drive Through Grand Canyon West?
- Is There A Place To Stay The Night?
- How Long Does It Take To See The West Rim?
- Can You See The Grand Canyon West Rim For Free?
- Can You Visit Hoover Dam And The Grand Canyon In One Day?
- Where Is The Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting Experience?
- Are Outside Food & Drink Allowed?
- What Should I Wear To The Grand Canyon West Rim?
- Is It Better To Drive Or Take A Bus Tour To The West Rim?
About The West Rim
The Grand Canyon West Rim is on the Hualapai Indian Reservation in Arizona. The tribal land stretches one million acres with over 100 miles of Grand Canyon and Colorado River views.
The Hualapai Tribe is a sovereign Indian nation, which means they don’t get any federal funding from the U.S. Government. So your visit to the West Rim helps support the tribespeople.
And because it’s on Indian land, it’s not affiliated with the Grand Canyon National Park, so you’ll need to pay to enter. But it’s well worth it.
The West Rim is well-run, with complimentary shuttle services and thrilling Grand Canyon experiences. And it’s educational, too, as you’ll learn about Native American history.
Hours of Operation
Grand Canyon West is open 365 days a year, holidays included. So you can plan your trip any day of the week, Monday through Sunday.
The current hours of operation are 8:00 am until sundown. And the closing hours fluctuate depending on the time of year. For instance, from March through October, the last entry is usually at 6:00 pm, while from November to February, it’s 5:00 pm.
Las Vegas To Grand Canyon West Rim
I recommend driving yourself to the Grand Canyon. But if you don’t have a car, or don’t want to rent one, check out these West Rim bus and sightseeing tours.
The Grand Canyon West Rim is only about 130 miles away from Las Vegas. So it’ll take you roughly two hours and 15 minutes (without stops) if you’re leaving from Las Vegas Blvd.
And assuming you’re using a phone GPS for directions, you’ll want to input “Grand Canyon West” or “Grand Canyon Skywalk” into the search bar.
Directions From Las Vegas
Starting from Las Vegas Blvd., merge onto I-215 East towards Henderson. In about 11 miles, take exit 1 onto US-93 to Boulder City. Be careful here, though; there are four lanes that exit. So you’ll need to stay in the right two lanes to go towards Boulder City.
Then, in 64 miles, turn left onto N Pierce Ferry Rd. This will put you on a two-lane road with cattle crossings. And, from here on out, the speed limit frequently changes, too – between 25 and 55 mph.
In 29 miles, take a right onto E Diamond Bar Rd. And then, in 17 miles, at the roundabout, take the second exit onto Buck And Doe Rd. Continue ahead for roughly 3 miles, and the parking lot will be on your right.
Where To Get Gas
If you fill up your tank before you leave Las Vegas, you may not need to stop for gas again until you get back. But if you need gas or want a great place to stop with clean restrooms, you won’t want to miss Last Stop on US-93.
It’s just about an hour outside of Vegas on the right side of the road. And although it’s not the last stop for gas on your way to the West Rim, the name sure is memorable!
There are at least 40 gas pumps, so you won’t have to wait to fill up your car. But the last time we went, the prices were about $0.30 higher per gallon than at other nearby stations.
The travel center is also home to the “World Famous Last Stop Kitchen,” where you can grab a meal. There’s Steel’s Hot Dogs & Sausages, Last Stop Burger, Brooklyn’s Best Pizza, and Arizona Hot Wings. And for dessert, there’s even ice cream.
Last Stop has tons of cool and unusual souvenirs, too. And it offers the most extensive beverage and snack selection I’ve ever seen. They even have alkaline water – which is hard to find on road trips!
You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see a big white tent on the right. You’ll also see helicopters to your left and the Hualapai tribe’s airstrip next to the tent.
If you’re coming on the weekends or during other peak times, there may be a backup of cars turning into the parking lot. And that’s because an attendant stops each vehicle and asks if any passengers have drones, weapons, or alcohol.
Once you’ve confirmed that you do not have these items, you’ll be allowed to park your car. There’s no fee for parking either, which is fantastic. And you can park anywhere you’d like.
Be sure to lock your car before heading inside the white tent through the turnstile doors. And now you’re ready to start your West Rim adventure!
Points Of Interest
If you have some extra time in your day, there are some great stops on the way to the West Rim. The first one is the Robert L. Mendenhall Scenic Overlook. And the second is the largest Joshua Tree Forest in the world!
Scenic Overlook: Lake Mead
You’ll find the Robert L. Mendenhall overlook off the right side of the road – about 35 miles outside Las Vegas. You’ll see a sign for it on the highway, too, so you’ll have some notice before you need to exit.
This scenic overlook offers an excellent view of Lake Mead. And it has some historical information about Hoover Dam, too. Like how Boulder City was built to house the construction workers for the dam.
You’ll also learn about the formation of Lake Mead and its shrinking water levels today. So you’ll be able to see how the water level has changed by looking out over the terrain.
Joshua Tree Forest
About 25 minutes before you get to the Grand Canyon, you’ll find the Grapevine Mesa Joshua Tree Forest. It’ll be on the right-hand side of the road near the corner of Pierce Ferry Rd and Diamond Bar Rd.
This forest is a National Natural Landmark. And it’s the largest and densest of its kind in the world, spanning almost 45,000 acres! You can even take a short walk on a trail to see some of the Joshua trees up close.
Also, check out the information board before you enter the trail. You’ll read some interesting facts about the trees – including their average life span. And how they can reach a height of almost 50 feet!
No matter what you decide to do at Grand Canyon West, you’ll need to buy a general admission (GA) ticket. And that goes for everyone in your group – except for children four years of age and younger who get in for free.
GA tickets give you access to Hualapai Point, and the Grand Canyon views at Eagle Point and Guano Point. You’ll also get to ride on the complimentary hop-on, hop-off shuttle service.
If you’re interested in the zipline or taking a helicopter and pontoon tour, you’ll need to buy an add-on ticket. The Skywalk is also an additional charge. But kids ages four and younger can go on the Skywalk for free, too, as long as they’re old enough to walk by themselves.
You can build an à la carte bundle or save some money and select from a pre-packaged Summer Adventure Deal.
Build Your Bundle
The following rates are subject to change and vary depending on the day. All prices are before sales tax.
- General Admission: starting at $49 per person
- Add-On: Skywalk: starting at $26 per person
- Add-On: Meal Ticket: $22 per person
- Add-On: Zipline: starting at $45 per person
- Add-On: Helicopter Pontoon Tour: starting at $259 per person
Summer Adventure Deals
The West Rim’s Summer Adventure Deals are pre-designed packages that offer savings over the à la carte rates. You can choose from three package options.
+Helicopter Flight +Pontoon Ride
*Rates are the starting prices and are subject to change. Prices are not inclusive of sales tax.
Things To Do At Grand Canyon West
Your general admission ticket includes a day pass to see the Grand Canyon at Eagle Point and Guano Point. And after undergoing a renovation, Hualapai Point is also back on the general admission tour.
If you’re going on the Skywalk, you’ll do that at Eagle Point. The zipline, which is open seasonally, is at Hualapai Point. And then, the helicopter and pontoon tour leaves from the Aerial Tours Building, near the parking lot.
Eagle Point is where most guests go first, and it’s the second stop on your self-guided West Rim tour. Immediately, when you hop off the bus here, you’ll see a majestic view of the Canyon.
Although you can’t see the bottom from this location, it’s pretty much a straight drop-off. So please be careful not to get too close to the edge. And don’t cross the ropes either, as there are fracture points in the rocks.
Native American Village
At Eagle Point, you’ll also find an authentic Native American village. Here, you’ll walk along a path that’ll take you back to a simpler way of life. And you’ll see how tribes like the Hualapai, Navajo, and Hopi built housing, sweat lodges, and stoves.
It’s a great educational experience for both adults and kids. And at every structure, there’s an informational sign, too. So, you’ll learn how the Native Americans designed them and the spiritual significance behind the materials.
Although you won’t have a view of the Grand Canyon from here, the setting for the village is beautiful! You’ll look out over miles and miles of rolling plains.
The Skywalk is also at Eagle Point. And I highly recommend going on it to see the bottom of the Canyon and take in some spectacular views. I think it’s worth doing at least once – even if you’re scared of heights like me.
Now, the Skywalk is a glass walkway extending out over the rim like a horseshoe. It’s roughly 4,000 feet above the floor of the Grand Canyon. And with nothing underneath it for support, it’s quite the adrenaline rush!
Read Also: Is it worth going on the Skywalk?
When you’re done at Eagle Point, you’ll hop on the shuttle to Guano Point. There, you’ll experience the most spectacular rim views of the entire tour! And you’ll get to see the Colorado River too.
One of the best viewpoints of the river is directly in front of where the bus drops you off. So once you get off the shuttle, walk straight ahead toward the rim. But, be careful here. There aren’t any ropes – only a few signs warning you not to get too close.
The first time I went, I thought this view was the only thing to see at Guano Point, so I didn’t explore the area. But there’s also a trail that takes you to a historical monument. And trust me – you don’t want to miss this short hike!
Guano Mine & Highpoint Hike
So after you’ve seen the Colorado River viewpoint, head over to Guano Point Cafe. You’ll see a trail in front that’ll lead you to the remnants of an old tramway used for mining guano. It’s not too strenuous of a walk, but there isn’t a rail, so proceed cautiously.
You’ll see more incredible Grand Canyon views on the right as you continue along the path. And then, off to your left, you can climb up a rock formation that’ll give you a 360-degree view. This is the Highpoint Hike, and the views from here are breathtaking, especially at sunset!
The trail ends at the historic head house that would take workers in cable cars across the river to a cave. So while you’re there, try to imagine an old tramway 2,500 feet high and 7,500 feet across!
Hualapai Point is the first stop on your tour, and it’s home to the Hualapai Ranch. This ranch features an old Western town. And you can even go inside the buildings, like the old-time jail, and take some photos.
There are fun activities for the kiddos, such as a small shooting gallery where you can compete against each other. And a saloon where you can get some cold treats like root beer floats!
Hualapai Point is also where you’ll find the Grand Canyon zipline experience. And hiking and biking trails, too.
If the Skywalk isn’t enough of an adrenaline rush, you can also go ziplining. The zip lines go over side canyons, and you can see the Grand Canyon in the distance.
The first run at Hualapai Point is 1100 feet long and 500 feet off the ground, while the second is 2100 feet long and 700 feet off the ground. There are four ziplines at each run, too, so you can ride with your friends and family.
Are you interested in riding the ziplines? Check out my new Grand Canyon Zip Line guide.
Helicopter & Pontoon Tour
The Helicopter and Pontoon tour takes you on a helicopter ride to the bottom of the Grand Canyon – 3,500 feet below the rim! You’ll then get on a guided boat tour. And learn all about the tribe’s history, including why the river is sacred to the Hualapai people.
The boat ride itself is relatively smooth. And it gives you an entirely different perspective of the Canyon, too. For instance, it’s much narrower at the bottom than at the top – which stretches 19 miles in some places!
After the boat ride, you’ll get in a helicopter again to ascend to the top of the rim. Your roundtrip flight time is about 15 minutes, so you’ll see some incredible Canyon views.
A fantastic little gift shop is inside the Skywalk building at Eagle Point. Here you’ll find a collection of souvenirs, including Skywalk and West Rim merchandise.
For instance, there are hats, t-shirts, mugs, and even sunglasses – in case you forget or lose yours. You’ll also see a unique collection of hand-crafted items and art from local tribes.
And then, on select days at Guano Point, there’s an authentic Native American flea market. Although the market hasn’t been open the past two times I’ve gone, I’ve heard great things.
There are four eateries at the West Rim. You’ll find Sky View Restaurant and Skywalk Cafe at Eagle Point and Guano Point Cafe at Guano Point. Gwe Ma’jo Restaurant is also open now at Hualapai Point. All are open daily from 10 am until 4:15 pm.
Sky View Restaurant
Sky View Restaurant is in the Skywalk Building at Eagle Point, and it overlooks the Grand Canyon. It features floor-to-ceiling windows and full-service sit-down meals for adults and kids.
The restaurant is indoors, so if you’re coming during the summer, this is where you want to go to beat the heat! And if you’re looking for beer and wine, this is also your spot.
To fully experience the incredible view here, I recommend getting a window seat. You can request a window table when you get to the restaurant, but there’s often a wait if you’re coming during peak hours. The last two times I was there, it didn’t take that long, though – an average of about 15 minutes.
The Sky View Restaurant offers American favorites like burgers, chicken tenders, and fries. There are also vegetarian options. And a kid’s menu featuring classics like grilled cheese sandwiches and mac and cheese.
Currently, meals cost $21 plus tax for adults and $14 plus tax for kids (10 and younger). All meals include a complimentary soft drink, too. Or you can substitute your soft drink for a bottle of water, coffee, tea, or even hot cocoa.
If you’re looking for a quick bite to eat and don’t want to take too much time out of your day, the Skywalk Cafe offers a variety of grab-and-go options.
You’ll find this walk-up restaurant inside the Skywalk building at Eagle Point, next to the gift shop. The Skywalk Cafe features American favorites like hot dogs, nachos, and chili fries.
Guano Point Cafe
The Guano Point Cafe is another walk-up eatery. And you’ll find this restaurant at the last stop on your tour – at Guano Point.
The cafe offers BBQ meals of pulled pork, chicken, and jackfruit (vegetarian option). And some à la carte lunch selections like pasta salad and corn on the cobb.
Although there are fewer choices here than at Sky View Restaurant, the meals come with a lot of food! For instance, you’ll get one main course, three sides, and bottled water. And the pricing is currently the same as Sky View, too – $21 for a meal plus sales tax.
Also, the Guano Point Cafe is not an indoor restaurant. So you’ll have to walk up and order, just like at Skywalk Cafe.
But there are a lot of tables outside. And quite a few are under an awning, too, so you can find somewhere to sit with shade. Of course, all the tables look out over the Grand Canyon, offering a stunning view for an afternoon picnic!
Gwe Ma’jo Restaurant
The Gwe Ma’jo Restaurant is at Hualapai Point in the old western town. Here, lunch selections include tacos, with either chicken or beef, and stew. There’s also a vegetarian protein option available.
The restaurant is indoors (although there are some tables outside too) and features a wild west theme. And on some days, you may even get to see live music performed by local cowboys!
Prices are currently $21 plus sales tax for a meal and come with a fountain drink or bottled water.
FAQs: West Rim Grand Canyon
Below you’ll find some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting the Grand Canyon.
When Is The Best Time To Visit The West Rim?
The best time to visit the Grand Canyon is in the spring and fall months. This is because temperatures are much more moderate. But the ziplining experience is only open during the summertime, so if you want to do that, make sure to come then!
As far as the time of day goes, you’ll see more intense colors in the early morning and later afternoon hours. I noticed a big difference looking at the Canyon around noon compared to 2:30 pm.
Can You Drive Through Grand Canyon West?
Unfortunately, you can’t drive your car through the West Rim. But on the Hualapai Reservation, there’s complimentary parking outside the main entrance. From there, you’ll take the free shuttle service to the viewpoints and add-on experiences.
Is There A Place To Stay The Night?
If you need overnight accommodations, you can stay on-site at the Cabins at Grand Canyon West. These are located at Hualapai Point. There are cabin options for up to six guests and even front porches to watch the sunrise and sunset.
The cabins often sell out, though, so it’s good to book early if you want to spend the night.
How Long Does It Take To See The West Rim?
You can do it in about three hours if you’re just getting general admission tickets and eating at a restaurant. However, with an add-on experience like the Skywalk or ziplines, it’ll take you roughly four to five hours.
Can You See The Grand Canyon West Rim For Free?
Because the West Rim is on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, you’ll have to pay to see it. But kids four years of age and younger get in for free. And they also get complimentary entry to the Skywalk (as long as they’re old enough to walk on their own).
Can You Visit Hoover Dam And The Grand Canyon In One Day?
Hoover Dam is on the way to the Grand Canyon if you’re coming from Vegas. So you can do both – if you want to get up early!
But in my opinion, it’s better to devote an entire day to the West Rim. There’s just so much to see and do there. And it’s worth taking the time to explore.
It’s also about eight to nine hours round trip from Las Vegas, so adding a trip to the Hoover Dam makes for a very long day.
Where Is The Grand Canyon Whitewater Rafting Experience?
The Grand Canyon whitewater rafting experience is NOT at the West Rim. Instead, it’s in Peach Springs, AZ, which, if you’re driving, is a little less than two hours from the Rim.
The whitewater rafting adventure is on the Colorado River, and it’s run by the Hualapai River Runners. You can choose from one or two-day packages. And with either option, you’ll have an experienced guide that’ll take you rafting, hiking, and climbing.
Are Outside Food & Drink Allowed?
Unfortunately, you can’t bring any outside food or beverages into the West Rim with you. But there are plenty of places once you’re inside to get snacks and drinks.
What Should I Wear To The Grand Canyon West Rim?
Casual clothes are best, along with tennis shoes or hiking boots. If you’re coming during the spring and fall, it’s good to wear layers. During these months, the temperature can vary a lot during the day.
And because Grand Canyon West is a family-oriented place, there’s a dress code. For instance, visitors must wear shirts and shoes at all times. Also, the following items are prohibited.
- Clothing with objectionable material, obscene language or graphics
- See-through attire
- Clothing that’s excessively torn
- Apparel that exposes parts of the body that are inappropriate for a family environment
Is It Better To Drive Or Take A Bus Tour To The West Rim?
Because there are so many things to see and do at the Grand Canyon, it’s much better to drive there. If you take a bus tour, you’re on the tour company’s schedule, and it’s a tighter time frame. So you may not get to do the add-on experiences.
If you don’t have a car, you can rent one in Las Vegas. Many of the hotels offer car rental services on site. I always like to check the airlines’ websites, too, as many have competitive rates on car rentals.
GRAND CANYON WEST RIM
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The West Rim offers phenomenal views and attractions you won’t find anywhere else. And being on the Hualapai reservation provides a different perspective of the Canyon.
My two favorite experiences are the Skywalk and walking on the trail to the Guano Mine. So I recommend putting these on your list if budget and time allow.
I will say, though, that how close people get to the Rim at Guano Point is a little scary. There aren’t any rails or ropes there, and I still get anxious thinking about it. So please keep this in mind when taking pictures.
Because there are so many things to do here, it’s best to leave Vegas in the morning – at the latest, by 9 am.