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Grand Canyon Tours For Everyone

The Difference Between The South Rim And West Rim

Many people who visit Las Vegas and plan a Grand Canyon tour do not realize there are two separate and unique places that visitors of the Grand Canyon often go. The most popular Grand Canyon destinations are the South Rim and the West Rim of the canyon. Both of these locations have amazing viewpoints, attractions, and activities that draw in millions of visitors each year.

To make the decision of which tour you should take easier, we are going to lay out the differences between these two Grand Canyon tours.

A tour participant overlooks the Grand Canyon's Horseshoe Bend

The South Rim

The Grand Canyon South Rim is the most popular location on the canyon for people to visit. The South Rim is where the Grand Canyon National Park is located which is owned and operated by the U.S. National Park Service. 

Travel Time

A big difference between the South Rim and the West Rim when considering a tour from Las Vegas is the amount of time it takes to travel to each location. When traveling to the Grand Canyon South Rim from Las Vegas, the journey is a bit longer than when traveling to the West Rim. The drive from Vegas to the South Rim is about four and a half hours while the drive to the West Rim is about two and a half hours. This makes the South Rim tour a longer day than a West Rim tour by about four hours.

Activities At The South Rim

The South Rim is very visitor friendly and able to accommodate all ages and ability levels of those who want to see the Grand Canyon. With its many visitor centers, restaurants, museums, and paved walking paths along the canyon, it is easy to spend your day at this rim of the canyon and not run out of things to see.

Mather Point

Mather Point is a well-known overlook spot at the South Rim and is the starting drop off point for our South Rim tours. From here, you will see why the South Rim is known for its views of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim of the canyon boasts a wider and more expansive view into the Grand Canyon than the West Rim does.

The Trail of Time

From Mather Point, you can begin walking along the Rim Trail which is a paved, 1.2 mile path along the edge of the canyon. There are countless photo opportunities and resting points along this path to enjoy. A portion of the Rim Trail turns into the South Rim’s Trail of Time. This part of the path takes you on a journey exploring the Grand Canyon’s Geology and history throughout time. You will learn about the canyon’s layers of rock and how it was formed over millions of years.

Wildlife In The Canyon

The South Rim features more chances to encounter wildlife than the West Rim does. Due to its protected lands and lush green forest that surrounds the park, many animals call this area home. Commonly seen animals include elk, bighorn sheep, javelina, and bald eagles.

The Grand Canyon Train

Lastly, the South Rim offers multiple ways of traveling to the canyon. In addition to a traditional South Rim bus tour, visitors can also choose to ride the Grand Canyon Train to the South Rim. The Grand Canyon Train is exclusive only to the South Rim. This was the train used to transport visitors to the canyon when it first opened in 1901.

West Rim

The Grand Canyon West Rim is more secluded and less crowded than the South Rim. Many people like to visit the West Rim from Las Vegas due to its closer proximity to Vegas. It is only about a two and a half hour ride to the West Rim from Las Vegas as opposed to the four and a half hour ride to the South Rim. West Rim tours are therefore shorter than South Rim tours are, which can be a benefit to some visitors.

The Skywalk Bridge

The most recognizable feature of the West Rim is the famous glass Skywalk bridge. This iconic floating glass bridge extends 70 feet out over the canyon floor. Standing on the glass floor of the bridge, you can see a whopping 4,000 feet to the canyon floor. This bridge if often what people think of when they imagine Grand Canyon tours since it is seen in many movies and photos. 

Hualapai Indian Reservation

The West Rim of the canyon is owned and operated by the Hualapai Indians. The culture and influence of the Hualapai tribe is celebrated at the West Rim through performances, crafts, and exhibits which show the history of the tribe and the land. A main attraction at the West Rim is the Hualapai Ranch. The ranch is a center for activities and experiences designed to immerse you in the environment of an old western town. There are gift shops, lasso lessons, restaurants, and a mechanical bull among many other exciting things. 

The Colorado River

While the West Rim’s view into the canyon is not as expansive, you will get a better view of the mighty Colorado River than you will at the South Rim. From overlooks such as Eagle Point and Guano Point, you will witness the incredible rainbow of rock layers and the flowing river down below in the canyon. 

Helicopter and Boat Tours

Another unique opportunity available at the West Rim is the option to take a helicopter and boat tour during your trip. A helicopter tour will fly you high above and then take you down into the canyon where you will land and witness the West Rim from a whole new perspective. Boat tours at the West Rim will take you on a smooth and relaxing boat ride along the Colorado River. The West Rim is the only rim you can experience from land, air, and water all in one amazing tour.

What Kind Of Grand Canyon Tours Do We Offer

A tour group overlooks the Grand Canyon

Luxury Bus Grand Canyon Tours

Our luxury bus Grand Canyon tours to the South Rim and West Rim travel to their destinations in a luxury 56-passenger tour bus. We prioritize your comfort, so all our buses are equipped with entertainment, adjustable seating, air conditioning, and an on-board restroom. This large group tour will include different groups traveling in the same luxury bus.

Small Group Tours

Our small group Grand Canyon tours give guests a more VIP experience. Small group tours travel in our Mercedes Sprinter 14-passenger vans. Your dedicated driver and guide will customize your tour for your group as you would like throughout the day. They will share interesting facts, stories, and history with you on the way to the canyon as well as during your time at the South Rim or West Rim. On a small group tour, your private group is the priority of your personal Grand Canyon guide.

Walking Tour Guides

On our luxury bus tours, all passengers have the opportunity to add a walking tour guide upgrade to their tour experience. Walking tour guides will escort you throughout the South Rim or West Rim, and share information with you along the way. They will be sure to point out the best photo taking spots, places to shop and eat, and any wildlife you might encounter along the way. A walking tour guide is the best way to get a personal Grand Canyon tour experience at the most affordable price.