Winter is a fantastic season at the Grand Canyon National Park. One of the great things about winter weather is that the air is crystal clear, which makes for great sightseeing, and the weather is nice and cool at around 40 degrees. These combine to create perfect conditions for a helicopter tour of the Canyon.
There are two locations for taking a helicopter tour, and one of them is in Vegas, while the other is in Arizona. Helicopters that depart from Vegas fly to the West Rim and the choppers that depart from Tusayan fly to the South Rim of the Canyon. Just so you know, there are no flights between the two rims. So if you want to take a helicopter tour of the South Rim, but you’re staying in Vegas, then you need to take a plane to the South Rim where you can then begin your tour.
Another thing to know is that the temperatures are colder at the South Rim. That’s because the South Rim sits at an elevation of 6700 feet. The West Rim, on the other hand, has an elevation of only 4700 feet. At the South Rim, daytime temps from December to March hover around 40 to 50 degrees in the day and they drop to 18 to 25 at night. The West Rim has warmer daytime temperatures that reach into the 60s and 70s, but the nights are a little chilly with 40 degree temps.
It’s even possible you’ll see snow on your winter Canyon tour. The snow usually doesn’t last too long in the area, so it isn’t too common for tours to get grounded due to the weather. Snow events usually happen on the South Rim, it’s unusual for it to snow on the West Rim, but it does happen occasionally.
Refunds For Canceled Tours
If a bad storm does cause your helicopter tour to be canceled, your tour operator should refund all of your money. The only time you may run into trouble is if you book your tour through a tour consolidator that is in the business of buying and filling empty seats because they can remove the refund policy from the deal. For that reason, you want to buy your Canyon tour directly from a tour company and avoid middlemen like Expedia, Hotwire, and Priceline.
Also, consider what you will wear on your winter tour. Dressing in layers is the best way to go. Decide on your base layer. A t-shirt or a warm polyester shirt is a good choice. You probably have tops like that already and won’t need to buy anything new. Wear a sweater on top of your shirt and a warm jacket or parka on top of that. Also, be sure to wear sturdy shoes with wool socks, warm pants, gloves, and a scarf.
Dressing for the weather is more important than ever if you book a landing tour. The only place you can take a landing tour is from Vegas to the West Rim, since the helicopters at the South Rim can’t land at the Canyon. When you take a landing tour, you can add on tickets to the Skywalk, enjoy a Champagne picnic, or take a boat ride on the Colorado River. The landing tours fill up fast because they are very popular with Vegas travelers, so be sure to book your tour as early as you can.
Buy Tour Early
How far ahead of time do you have to book a Canyon helicopter tour? A week ahead of time is a good idea, or earlier if you can, because each helicopter only holds six people, and during the winter, some choppers are pulled from service. Also, remember to buy your tickets online directly from your tour operator’s website. When you pay for your tour online, you get to use the low Internet rate, and that will save you quite a bit of money over buying your tour from a phone representative or in person.