The Grand Canyon is a mile-deep gorge in northern Arizona. Scientists estimate the canyon may have formed 5 to 6 million years ago when the Colorado River began to cut a channel through layers of rock. Humans have inhabited the area in and around the canyon since the last Ice Age.
The West Rim is the perfect Grand Canyon destination for travelers hoping to avoid the crowds of the South Rim. Though it offers less iconic views of the Canyon, the Grand Canyon’s West Rim offers many unique spectacular vistas and experiences like Grand Canyon Skywalk. It is 3.5 hours drive away from Vegas hence more easily accessible to visitors.
Best time to visit Grand Canyon West is in the late fall to the spring. If you’re planning a summer visit, make sure to bring a hat and lots of sunscreen!
Grand Canyon West Rim needs a separate entry ticket which is $65 per person. Once you’ve entered the Hualapai area of Grand Canyon, a reliable and frequent shuttle bus service helps you easily see all sites:
- Eagle Point: Includes an amphitheater, art and gift store, and the Skywalk.
- Guano Point: Historical tram that once stretched 8,800 feet into a guano mine, as well as 360° views of the Canyon from Highpoint Hike.
Eagle Point at The Skywalk
The West Rim allows you to visit the famous Grand Canyon Skywalk. This open-air glass cantilevered bridge was built by the Hualapai Indians and opened in 2007. Extending 70 feet out from the edge of Eagle Point, the Skywalk offers views 4,000 feet down into the Grand Canyon through 5 layers of glass. It can hold up to 71 million pounds, measures 10 feet wide, and has walls that are 4-6 feet tall.
Through skywalk, you can view Eagle Point which is named so because of the Eagle like formation by Grand Canyon. The Skywalk is a must-visit attraction for any adrenaline junkie. However, no personal items, such as cameras, backpacks, or purses, are allowed on the Skywalk. Photos can be purchased from professional photographers.
Photographers package are available to get pictures clicked by a professional and they are available to download online. Packages are $20 for 1 photo and $65 for 16 photos. We opted for 16 photos package and as you can see the pictures are stunning!
After you complete Eagle Point, take the hop- on bus to Guano Point provided by Grand Canyon to visitors for free. Private vehicles are required to be parked at the visitor center and are not allowed to go any further.
Guano Point is one of the most dramatic viewpoints of the Grand Canyon provising wide-ranging views of the Canyon and the Colorado River. This is a 0.8 mile loop trail and is generally considered an easy route. It takes an around 30 min to complete this hike. This trail is great for hiking and walking. You can also carry packaged food and enjoy lunch with a view at this point.
There is a highpoint hike at Guano Point as well. There is no flat walking surface to that point, you can say that it is basically made up of huge rocks collected at one place. You can either choose to hike to the highpoint or you can enjoy it from below it. The highpoint hike provides the most stunning 360 degree view of Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon makes a great day trip from Vegas, Phoenix and Arizona. It’s pet friendly and kids friendly. Grand Canyon west is the most adventurous rim of Grand Canyon. It offers activities like helicopter ride, river rafting, ziplining to visitors. Come planned for hot summer when temperature can be really high. Although there are restaurants in the West Rim area, still remember to carry water and food as backup to tackle hunger strikes during the hikes.
Best time to visit Grand Canyon West Rim
February to May / September to November are generally the best times to visit the Grand Canyon West Rim due to cooler temperature and lesser crowd. June to August is peak visitor season with long queues and full shuttle buses.
We went in March, and the temperature was cool; it was rather cold, we had to wear jackets. Take jackets and caps when you go. It can be really windy and freezing at the top. Also, don’t forget to prepare if you are going in summer. During the summer temperatures can reach highs of 30°Cs (around 100°F).
Stops on the way to West Rim from Vegas:
Ghost Town Chloride
Chloride has a history of being the longest continually inhabited mining town in Arizona, with the longest continually operating post office in the state. It was the first incorporated town in Arizona.
Drive around and look at the old houses, restaurants, jail, post office, metal yard art etc. There is an antique store, some tiny shops, a restaurant and the Jim Fritz Museum operated by the Chloride Historical Society. It is open every Saturday, and gun reenactments by the High Desert Drifters are the first and third Saturdays at high noon.
- Time required: 30- 40 mins
- Entry: Free
- Hours: 9am – 5pm
Yesterdays Restaurant is an oasis in the desert as they serve up more than 120 beers, more than 40 vodkas, an extensive wine list and everything from steaks and seafood to pasta. We stopped there for our brunch.
Joshua Tree Forest
The Joshua tree is actually a species of yucca (Yucca Brevifolia), that can reach a height of 50 feet and is believed to live for up to 1,000 years although they are difficult to date accurately – as they are not proper trees, there are no annual growth rings.
- Time required: 15 – 20 mins
- Entry: Free
- Hours: 24 hours
You will cross Joshua Tree Forest on the way to Grand Canyon West Rim. By Milepost 169, the forest of Joshua trees is dense, and you’ll see a sign that reads, “Joshua Tree Parkway of Arizona.” There is a small parking at the front, take a stop and explore the area for few minutes and click some pictures.
What you need to know when visiting the West Rim
Grand Canyon West Rim opening times
West Rim is open from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily from October to March and from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily from April to September. It is open every day of the year including all major holidays.
West Rim ticket prices
Ticket prices start at $45 per person for general admission which includes parking, shuttle buses and entry to Eagle Point and Guano Point. It’s an extra $23 for the Skywalk. The last ticket is sold 1.5 hours prior to closing time.
- ‘America the Beautiful’ pass doesn’t give entry to the West Rim, so be prepared to pay.
- If you don’t have a car or don’t want to drive to Grand Canyon West Rim, book through a tour service provider like Viator. There are different tour services provided by different tour operators at competitive prices, so compare and choose.
- Start early for Grand Canyon West Rim, early morning temperatures are cooler with lesser crowd in buses and at viewpoints. Start at max by 8 am.
- Download offline maps as you may not find network at some areas.
- Carry water and snacks to tackle hunger during the hikes. If you want to enjoy lunch with a view, eat at Sky View Restaurant with spectacular views of Grand Canyon.
- Carry sunscreen, sun glasses and hats as temperatures during summer months tend to be really high, sometimes around 100 degree Fahrenheit.
- Wear comfortable clothes and carry first aid.
We tried to include all the details you need to have an adventurous time at Grand Canyon. If you have any questions, post them in comments on our Facebook page or email us and we will try to answer as soon as we can. Happy Exploring!! 🙂