Grand Canyon West, Home of the Skywalk and Rafting-Helicopter Trips

Attracting more than 1 million visitors per year, the Hualapai nation manages Grand Canyon West, home of the Skywalk, as well as rafting along the Colorado River.

Grand Canyon West with Skywalk
Grand Canyon West with Skywalk. Photo: iStock

Grand Canyon West sits along the western edge of the Grand Canyon but is separate from Grand Canyon National Park that is managed by the National Park Service. It’s actually 242 miles west of Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim Visitors Center, so the two are a five-hour drive apart. The closest major city is Las Vegas, 120 miles away. It’s 216 miles west of Flagstaff, Ariz., and 253 miles north of Phoenix, Ariz.

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Grand Canyon Skywalk

People on the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West.
People on the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West.Photo by Caitlin Madison Kirkman/courtesy of Leibowitz Solo courtesy of Grand Canyon West

Grand Canyon West is home of the Skywalk, the glass walkway that hangs 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. Opened in 2007, this magnificent structure cost $30 million. The Skywalk offers multiple viewpoints of the canyon and the Colorado River. As you wait in line to walk on the Skywalk, you can read exhibit panels on the walls, explaining the history of the Hualapai tribe.

The Sky View Restaurant is on the second floor of the Skywalk building. It offers panoramic views of the top of the canyon and American cuisine like hamburgers, grilled cheese sandwiches, chili cheese dogs and chicken tenders.

Beyond the Skywalk, you can visit a replica Native American village with representative dwellings from Hualapai, Navajo, Hopi, Havasupai and Plains Native Americans. You also can watch daily Native American live dance performances in the amphitheater. There are snack stations and gift shops in the area, as well.

River Runners and Helicopter Flights

Helicopter waiting to take rafters back to the top of the canyon. Photo by Tori Peglar
Helicopter waiting to take rafters back to the top of the canyon. Tori Peglar

Grand Canyon West is the only place in the entire Grand Canyon where you can take a helicopter flight 4,000 feet up after rafting the Colorado River with the Hualapai River Runners. The helicopter ride is an exhilarating 8-minute adventure up past the Grand Canyon’s colorful walls to a landing pad in Grand Canyon West near the edge of Grand Canyon.

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