If you’re in Las Vegas and thinking about visiting the Grand Canyon, you’re faced with two options: Grand Canyon West Rim or Grand Canyon South Rim?
I’ll talk about the differences between the two, so hopefully you can figure out which is better for you.
Either way, the drive is scenic.
Most will argue that the South Rim is the only way to go. However, if you want to see the famous Skywalk, you’ll find yourself at the West Rim.
What’s the difference?
For starters, they are both part of the actual Grand Canyon.
However, the South Rim is part of the famous Grand Canyon National Park. It’s the location you’re going to want to visit for the best trails, and for the famous Grand Canyon sights you’re familiar with seeing on TV and in movies. If you’re visiting from Arizona, it’s a no brainer to go here. However, if you’re visiting from Nevada (Las Vegas), the West Rim will be a few hours closer.
The West Rim, while still part of the Grand Canyon, is not part of the actual Grand Canyon National Park. Instead, it’s located on an Indian Reservation (owned by the Hualapai tribe) and, well, they are trying to make a living, which is why most describe this place as a “tourist trap.”
Why? Because the tribe tries to sell you
stuff everything. It’s also the location of the famous Skywalk, a glass bridge that visitors can walk over the Grand Canyon on (for a fee). The thing that stinks about the Skywalk is that the tribe sets the rules. For example, they don’t allow you to take your own camera on the Skywalk, because they want to sell you pictures.
Aside from the Skywalk, the West Rim is also one of the only locations you can still take a helicopter into the canyon (the South Rim banned them, and for good reason).
While a helicopter is on my “hell no” list, the Grand Canyon Skywalk is something I most definitely wanted to experience. The Skywalk lies 4,000 feet above the canyon, and juts out about 70 feet in the horseshoe shape you see above. The glass bottom and sides offer unparalleled views of the canyon, and while it is certainly very touristy, it’s this way for a reason – it’s simply just cool.
So we obviously chose to visit the West Rim since we were coming from Las Vegas (and we wanted a shorter day). The Skywalk is awesome, and for me, it was 100% worth going to. Plus, for those looking for a little adventure (no, you won’t find any good hiking routes here), but visitors can climb up large rocks for an amazing view at Eagle Point. It’s a great beginners spot to the Grand Canyon.
Here’s the thing. I want to go. I love that I’ve been to the Grand Canyon, but I want more of it. I wouldn’t make the trip to the South Rim from Las Vegas, but I certainly would love to check out some spa resorts Arizona is famous for, and make a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park. It’s said to be “better,” because of the hiking trails, and the mere fact that it’s just a larger, deeper part of the canyon. As I said above, the West Rim is a wonderful introductory spot, and I would highly recommend going. Though now I feel I’m definitely ready for the “real thing.”
Check out our photos from the West Rim below!