The Grand Canyon, Trip Planning Resources

Comparing Tour Types — What’s the Best Grand Canyon Tour for You? [Updated in 2023]

what type of grand canyon tour

So you’re thinking about adding a trip to the Grand Canyon to your Las Vegas vacation. If you’ve decided to avoid the hassle of driving yourself and have opted to take a guided tour instead, your next decision will be to choose exactly what kind of tour you want to take. From bus tours that traverse the Mojave desert and airplane tours that fly high above the Southwest to adrenaline-pumping rafting tours deep inside the Grand Canyon, there are guided tour options to suit any adventurer. The best Grand Canyon tour from Las Vegas ultimately depends on how much time you have and what you plan to do when you visit.

Keep reading to get to know your options, including:

Bus Tours

On a Grand Canyon bus tour from Las Vegas, you’ll travel by luxury motorcoach over the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge and through historic Southwest towns like Kingman, AZ en route to the Grand Canyon. All of our buses are air-conditioned and feature sightseeing windows so you can soak up every inch of the Southwest while you make your way to the Grand Canyon.

Bus tours are available to:

Time from Las Vegas Strip
Grand Canyon South Rim5-6 hours
Grand Canyon West Rim2-3 hours
Hoover Dam45 minutes

The best Grand Canyon bus tours from Las Vegas include in-depth, guided and narrated tours of the Rim. You can also book a bus tour that includes other tour features, such as helicopter rides, sunset flights or floor landings, and Colorado River cruises:

When to take a bus tour

  • If you don’t have time constraints, such as dinner reservations or show tickets.
  • If you want to save some money—bus tours can be more economical.
  • If you want to see the Southwest up close and personal.
  • If you want to explore different attractions along the way, such as the Hoover Dam, Kingman AZ, or the National Geographic Center in Tusayan.

How much do Grand Canyon bus tours cost?

Grand Canyon bus tours range in price from $85-$358, depending on whether the tour includes a helicopter flight or other special features.

Bus tours to the Hoover Dam cost $65-$154.

Helicopter Tours

Helicopter tours are available to the South, West, and North Rims. You can choose to fly to the Grand Canyon, along the Rim, and even into the Canyon if you opt for a tour that includes a floor landing. Some tours also include limousine pickup and drop-off, if you’re looking to add some luxury and prestige to your Grand Canyon adventure.

All of our helicopter tours will have you flying in style in a luxury “flightseeing” helicopter designed specifically for sightseeing in comfort. They feature:

  • Air conditioning
  • 180 degrees of unrestricted viewing
  • Forward-facing seats
  • Digital audio narration in multiple languages

When to take a helicopter tour

  • If you want to see the Grand Canyon from above.
  • If you want to include a floor landing.
  • If you want to add a little excitement to your adventure—there’s nothing like that moment when you crest the Rim of the Canyon and the ground drops out from underneath you!
  • If you have less time to explore. Some helicopter tours fly to the Grand Canyon, as well as over or into it. In this case, a helicopter tour will be quicker than a bus tour, unless you’re taking a combination tour.

How much do helicopter tours cost?

Helicopter tours of the Grand Canyon range in price from $229-$749.

Airplane Tours

On an airplane tour, you can either fly to the Grand Canyon (and arrive much quicker than you would by bus), or you can fly over the Grand Canyon, all in the comfort of a twin-engine airplane designed for sightseeing, with high wings and panoramic windows for maximum viewing. All of our airplane tours are also air-conditioned with multi-lingual narration. If you fly to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas, you’ll enjoy views of Lake Mead and the Hoover on the way.

Airplane tours are available to:

  • Grand Canyon South Rim
  • Grand Canyon West Rim
  • Grand Canyon North Rim

Most of our airplane tours are combined with other adventures, such as:

  • Guided bus tours along the Rim, so you can still access those iconic viewpoints and snap your #CanyonSelfie.
  • Helicopter tours along the Rim or into the Canyon. Airplanes don’t make floor landings, so if you want to journey into the Grand Canyon, opt for a helicopter or combination tour.
  • Boat cruises on the Colorado River.
  • Skywalk admission at the West Rim.
  • ATV tours (North Rim only).

When to take an airplane tour

  • If you want more time at the Rim, or need to get back to Vegas for your evening plans. Flying is the quickest way to get to the Grand Canyon from Las Vegas.
  • If you’re looking for a tour for a larger group.
  • If you want to see the Grand Canyon from above, but aren’t comfortable flying in a helicopter.

How much do airplane tours of the Grand Canyon cost?

Airplane tours of the Grand Canyon range in price from $164-$574.

ATV Tours

The only place to ATV at the Grand Canyon itself is on the North Rim. On our North Rim Airplane & Ground Tour, you’ll travel to the Grand Canyon by airplane, then embark on an all-terrain Polaris Ranger adventure through Whitmore Canyon and the Lake Mead Recreation area before returning to Las Vegas by airplane.

Alternatively, you can journey deep into Eldorado Canyon—the site of the biggest mining boom in early Nevada history—on a four-wheel, fully automatic ATV. You can also kick your Grand Canyon adventure up a notch by adding an ATV tour of Eldorado Canyon to your North Rim Airplane Tour.

ATV tours are available to:

When to take an ATV tour

  • If adventure and excitement is your #1 priority.
  • If you want to see the Southwest off the beaten path. Eldorado Canyon is a hidden gem of the southwest, with significantly fewer visitors than the Grand Canyon, while our North Rim Airplane & Ground Tour takes you into limited access areas.

How much do ATV tours of the Grand Canyon cost?

ATV tours cost between $254 and $394.

SUV Tours

If you’re looking for a ride that’s a little more exciting than a tour bus but a little less hair-raising than an ATV, hop on an SUV tour. You’ll still venture off-road and see the Southwest up close and personal, just from the comfort of an air-conditioned, four-wheel vehicle!

SUV and Hummer tours are available to:

Our customized Tour Trekker SUVs feature:

  • Four-wheel drive
  • Air-conditioning
  • Available to Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, Grand Canyon, and the Hoover Dam

When to take an SUV tour

  • If you want to see the Southwest up close, but prefer the safety and comfort of a closed vehicle.
  • If you want to visit Red Rock Canyon or the Valley of Fire.
  • If you have less time to explore—SUV tours are primarily available to destinations closer to Las Vegas, such as Red Rock Canyon.

How much do SUV tours of the Grand Canyon cost?

The cost of your tour depends on your destination:

Grand Canyon
Red Rock Canyon
Valley of Fire
Hoover Dam

Boat Tours

Looking for a relaxing Southwest adventure? The best Grand Canyon tour from Las Vegas for you may be a boat tour. If you’re seeking a tour that’s a little more exhilarating than a cruise down the Colorado River or around Lake Mead, you can also combine your boat tour with an airplane or helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.

If you want to take a boat tour, you have three options:

  1. A pontoon boat cruise down the Colorado River through the heart of the Grand Canyon. (NOTE: the only way to get to the river bed is by helicopter, so if you want to a boat cruise through the Canyon, your tour will also include a helicopter floor landing).
  2. River raft cruise down the Colorado River.
  3. Paddlewheel boat cruise of Lake Mead, featuring two climate-controlled enclosed decks, and an open sun deck.

Boat tours are available to:

For a little added adventure, combine your boat cruise with:

  • An airplane or helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon.
  • A Hoover Dam tour.
  • A Grand Canyon floor landing.
  • Lunch on the Canyon floor, or on board your boat.

When to take a boat tour

  • If you want to explore inside the Grand Canyon.
  • If you’re looking for a more relaxing adventure, or for that perfect combination of adrenaline-pumping floor landing and scenic river cruise.

How much do boat tours cost?

Boat tours at the Grand Canyon cost between $519-$749. They also include helicopter floor landings, which accounts for their higher price tag.

Lake Mead and Colorado River boat cruises cost between $109 and $119.

Rafting Tours

Whitewater rafting tours are the ultimate Grand Canyon adventure. You’re sure to get your heart pumping as you navigate 40 miles of the Colorado river and traverse class 3 and 4 rapids, including Dragon Tooth Rapids. You’ll also stop at Travertine Canyon and enjoy lunch and refreshments along the way.

There are two ways to take a rafting tour from Las Vegas:

  1. Drive yourself. Driving yourself to the West Rim will save you about $120. You must arrive by check-in by 7:30 AM, so you’re in for an early morning-it takes about 3 hours to drive to the West Rim from the Strip.
  2. By luxury van. If you don’t want to drive yourself, traveling to the West Rim by luxury van can save you a bit of money as well.

We offer the only one-day Grand Canyon rafting tour from Las Vegas. All single-day rafting tours depart from the Grand Canyon West Rim.

NOTE: Our one-day rafting tours operate seasonally from March 15-October 31.

When to take a rafting tour

  • If you’re seeking the ultimate Grand Canyon adventure.
  • If you want to whitewater raft in the Grand Canyon, but don’t want to spend thousands on a multi-day tour.
  • If you’ve already been to the Grand Canyon and want to experience it in a different way.

How much do whitewater rafting tours of the Grand Canyon cost?

The cost of your Grand Canyon whitewater rafting adventure depends on how you choose to travel to the Grand Canyon:

Drive Yourself
Luxury Van

Learn more


Upgrade your adventure and
return to the Rim by helicopter
for an additional $80
(total price $599).

Learn more

PLEASE NOTE: Grand Canyon rafting tours require payment on the day of booking and have a 30-day cancellation policy.

Vacation Packages

Can’t decide which kind of tour is the best Grand Canyon tour from Las Vegas for you? Our tour packages combine bus, helicopter, airplane, SUV, ATV, and boat tours in just about any configuration.

When to take a combination tour

  • If you want to experience the Grand Canyon from multiple perspectives.
  • If you want to combine your visit to the Grand Canyon with other Southwest adventures.

Book Your Best Grand Canyon Tour

If you’ve decided to add a guided Grand Canyon tour to your Las Vegas adventure, we can help you find the best Grand Canyon tour from Las Vegas.


About Ria Borja

Ria is a Customer Experience Manager at Canyon Tours and an avid lover of the outdoors. When she isn't helping other travelers check destinations and dream vacations off their bucket lists, she's busy exploring the Southwest. Her favorite place to visit is (unsurprisingly!) the Grand Canyon.