Here's How to Get the Grandest View of the Grand Canyon
Mile-deep chasms. Color-blocked canyon walls. Swirling, bending, jutting stone-scapes. The scenery of the American Southwest is so over-the-top, your views of it should be, too.
Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopters takes that mandate literally, having run daily flights through the area for the past 55 years. In place of a one-size-fits-all loop, you'll find offerings that vary dramatically. Emphasis on drama, whether you're landing at the bottom of the Grand Canyon, pontooning along the Colorado River—or walking through Antelope Canyon (for starters).
Along the way, you'll be traveling in luxe, purpose-built vehicles, from helicopters with oversized windows and cushy seats to airplanes with high-set wings (to maximize your unobstructed view) to open-air Hummers with roomy interiors.
Here's a look at some of our favorite Papillon experiences—and don’t worry about how to get there. For anyone staying at a Vegas hotel, the company offers complimentary pick-up and drop-off.
Around the Grand Canyon
The 9.5-hour Grand Canyon Connoisseur takes you over Lake Mead, Hoover Dam and the Colorado River, among other sights. But if you don't have a full day, the North Canyon Tour hits major highlights in under an hour: the North Rim, the South Rim—and Dragon Corridor, where the canyon is deepest and widest. Both tours give you the option to add on a Hummer ride, too.
The Overnight Bar 10 Ranch Air & Ground Tour will have you four-wheeling through Whitmore Canyon and the Lake Mead Recreation Area right up to the rim of the Grand Canyon. But first: a flightseeing tour over the Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the Colorado River. The ranch you'll call home for the night comes with everything from horseback riding to live entertainment.
Get your feet wet
If you don't want to simply see the Colorado River from above, but get out on the water, too, the 7-hour Grand Voyager tour is your ticket. After a plane flight from Vegas to the Grand Canyon, you'll hop on a heli that will take you 4,000 feet down to the canyon floor, where your chariot—aka pontoon boat—awaits.
Have a little bit of everything
To combine flightseeing, canyon floor exploration, off-roading, a gold mine and ghost town tour—plus a Champagne-accompanied picnic—book the 8-hour Grand Celebration and Eldorado Canyon tour.
Around Page, AZ
Take the express route
If you're short on time, consider the 50-minute Tower Butte Landing with Horseshoe Bend helicopter tour—a greatest hits flight that includes Insta-phenom Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam. You'll also land atop Tower Butte—an aptly named monolith that juts more than 5,000 feet above sea level.
Strike Insta-gold twice
Another Insta-megastar, the sunlit, rippled interior of Antelope Canyon is solely responsible for countless pilgrimages to this corner of the world. But Papillon's 12-hour Antelope Canyon Expedition tour also includes a flightseeing tour of Hoover Dam, Lake Mead and the otherworldly swirls of the Vermilion Cliffs and Glen Canyon. The bonus? A visit to Horseshoe Bend.
Take the canyon less traveled
Go from the heights of Tower Butte to the depths of a slot canyon floor on the 4.5-hour Secret Antelope Deluxe with Tower Butte Heli excursion. The highlight is a hidden-away corner of the larger Antelope Canyon system, where you'll feel like you've got the place to yourself. And your private overlook of Horseshoe Bend is icing on the landscape layer cake.