When you see the Grand Canyon on TV or in the movies, chances are you’re seeing the South Rim. But there’s so much more to the 277 mile long, 1 mile wide Canyon than what you see on the big screen!
The Grand Canyon’s lesser-known West Rim offers a more rugged alternative to the South Rim’s many recognizable vistas and viewpoints – and it’s more accessible too. Owned and operated by the Hualapai Indians, Grand Canyon West is only a short three hour drive from Las Vegas (compared to five or six hours to the South Rim), making it the perfect option for travelers who want to experience the illustrious majesty of the Grand Canyon on a tighter schedule. And because it receives fewer guests and has comparatively sparse infrastructure, it’s easier to get up close and personal with the Grand Canyon when you visit the West Rim.
The West Rim may not offer as many viewpoints as the highly developed South Rim, but it has no shortage of breathtaking vistas and experiences to offer, including Eagle Point, the Skywalk, and Guano Point. Let’s take a look at these stunning scenes:
Eagle Point is named for the eagle-shaped rock formation that is visible from the edge of the Rim.
At Eagle Point, you’ll find Native American walking tours, including replicas of authentic dwellings from a variety of Native American Tribes. There’s also an amphitheatre featuring live Native American performances representing various American Indian Tribes, as well as an art and gift shop where you can pick up handmade, authentic Native American jewelry and crafts.
Extending 70 feet from the edge of Eagle Point is the heart-pounding Grand Canyon Skywalk. This U-shaped glass cantilever bridge offers views 4,000 feet straight down into the heart of the Grand Canyon, but don’t worry – the five layers of glass that make up the Skywalk floor can bear the weight of seventy 747 passenger jets.
Admission to the Skywalk must be purchased when you buy admission to the Grand Canyon West region. It’s also included on some of our guided tours of the West Rim.
Learn more about the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
Guano Point is a pyramid point made of rock, with nearly 360 degree views of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. It’s reachable via Highpoint Hike, which has slightly rough terrain (so make sure you wear good shoes – no flip flops or high heels!), but offers views that are certainly worth the walk. You’ll also see the remnants of a historic tram that once stretched 8,800 feet across the Canyon to a guano mine.GRAND CANYON FACT: In 1958, U.S. Guano Corp. purchased the rights to a nearby bat cave, believing it to be replete with 100,000 lbs of guano, a valuable ingredient in fertilizer. The U.S. Guano Corp. constructed a $3.5 million tramway to reach the mine, where they found only 1,000 lbs of guano. The mine ran out of guano a year later, and soon after a U.S. Air Force jet fighter collided with the overhead cable system of the tramway, putting the mine permanently out of operation. The structures were left intact as a monument to the mining effort.
You’ll also find the Hualapai market, where you can pick up jewelry and crafts, as well as the Hualapai Buffet if you’re looking for a place to eat.
Before you leave the West Rim, be sure to check out this Western-style ranch and take in some cowboy entertainment, including roping and quick draw, as well as wagon rides.
Experience the West Rim
The West Rim is the perfect destination for a Grand Canyon day trip. It’s closer to Las Vegas, and unlike the South Rim, you can easily explore all the stunning viewpoints and exciting attractions in a single day – and still get back to Sin City on time for your evening plans!
Learn more about Grand Canyon West.
Visit the West Rim on one of our popular guided day tours:
Enjoy your trip to the Grand Canyon on the only Deluxe West Rim bus tour in Las Vegas.
Fly through 20 miles of the Grand Canyon before descending to the Canyon floor for a champagne toast.