One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World is just a stone’s throw from Las Vegas and the perfect respite for a side trip.
Carved millions of years ago by the Colorado River and natural geological processes, the Grand Canyon’s stark beauty, rusty, desert colors and glorious sunsets pull tourists from across the globe. For Las Vegas visitors, this national treasure is a manageable overnight trip at about 227 miles (365 kilometers) from the city.
The canyon’s easily accessible south rim is the most popular spot with visitors. Much of the Grand Canyon National Park’s infrastructure is based here, including the Canyon View Information Plaza, which includes the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Here you’ll find helpful guides, brochures, audiovisual displays and interactive features about the area’s fascinating history, geology and wildlife. Hop on the free shuttle bus (cost included in the entry fee to the national park) to visit other museums and viewpoints around the south rim.
Although it’s difficult to tear your eyes away from the canyon’s swooping vistas, a hike below the rim will give you a greater sense of the landscape’s beauty. Canyon hikes bring you closer to prehistoric plant life and the corrosive power of the Colorado River, which stripped back layer upon layer of rock over millions of years.
For a bird’s-eye view, several companies offer chartered helicopter flights over the south rim and the less accessible north and west rims. From the sky, you’ll get a true sense of the canyon’s phenomenal size, rugged terrain and magnificent colors. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a coyote or California condor. Temperatures often dip once the sun goes down, but the sunset is not to be missed.
Many visitors choose to spend the night in order to spend two days at the Canyon. Accommodation within and near the national park ranges from comfortable hotels and rustic lodges to quaint cabins and campsites. For those who prefer not to drive, bus and helicopter tours depart Las Vegas regularly.