About Grand Canyon West And How to Get There from Vegas
For a different look at the National Park, take a trip to Grand Canyon West. Located in Arizona, this area is owned by the Hualapai tribe and is home to the Skywalk, a glass walkway that lets you walk above the canyon's floor as the Colorado River churns 4,000 feet below.
Paul Bunyan And the Grand Canyon?
Per American folklore, the Grand Canyon was created when lumberjack Paul Bunyan dragged his giant axe on the ground. Natural history, on the other hand, states that the canyon was formed some 80 million years when the two of Earth's plates, the North American and the Pacific, collided and formed the Rocky Mountains. The Colorado River also sprung from the geological event, and, seeking an outlet, etched its way through this formation and created the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon Skywalk
The Skywalk opened for business in 2007. David Jin, a tourism entrepreneur, came up with the idea while on a trip to Grand Canyon West. He eventually got funding and partnered with the Hualapai tribe to build the glass bridge, which was designed by esteemed architect Mark Ross Johnson. The horseshoe-shaped walkway is 65-feet wide and extends some 70 feet over the ledge and 4,000 feet above the canyon's base.
Glass-bottomed, this attraction might prove frightful to those who have a fear of heights, but is deemed perfectly safe by safety experts and building inspectors. The sides feature glass-wall railings. Further, the bridge was designed to withstand substantial windstorms and earthquakes. Technically, it can hold 800 people but only 120 visitors are allowed on it at one time. It's reported that the bridge cost $30 million to build!
How to Get to Grand Canyon West
Grand Canyon West is outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park. It's part of the one million acres owned by the Hualapai tribe. To enter the area, visitors traverse 14-miles of the Diamond Bar Road. Part of this road is paved, while the rest is graded. This area is not open to RVs, but there is a park-and-ride coach offered for self-drive visitors at the entrance and welcome center. It is advised to call ahead and reserve seats on the transportation shuttle. There is a fee for the coach as well as the Skywalk.
The Skywalk marks the start of larger development at Grand Canyon West, which at moment includes a visitor's lounge, gift shops and snack bars. Future plans for this 100-mile stretch along the West Rim include resort hotels, a golf course, a restaurant row and a cable-car system from the rim to the Colorado River. Some members of the 2,000-member Hualapai tribe oppose development because it affects sacred ground while others embrace change and see it as a source of much-needed jobs and income.
How to Get to Grand Canyon West
Las Vegas is the starting point for all West Rim tours. Most are day trips because Grand Canyon West is short 120-mile hop from Sin City. There are lots of ways to get there including bus, helicopter and airplane. How you get here boils down to time, budget and the type of experience for which you are looking. Bus rides are the most economical. Helicopter rides are the most thrilling while airplane flights are best for visitors with limited time. Use these links to jumpstart your West Rim adventure:
Make It a Grand Day!
P.S. Not sure how you want to go to the West Rim? Check out my Grand Canyon tour reviews. I evaluate bus, helicopter and airplane tours based on quality, safety and price. There's sure to be something for everyone.