Updated: Feb 26
The Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam welcome millions of tourists from all over the world yearly, especially those who travel to Las Vegas. It’s because the Hoover Dam is located just 45 min away from the Sin City and the Grand Canyon West is a 2h30min drive from Vegas. Explore the gallery and read below for all the info you need to check mark these off of your bucket list!
Grand Canyon WEST – SOUTH - NORTH RIM?!
"The West Rim’s biggest feature is the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped bridge made of glass where visitors can walk beyond the Canyon walls at 4,000 feet above the riverbed."
If you’ve ever researched about the Grand Canyon before you’ve probably noticed that it is divided into West, South and North Rims. But which one to visit and what are the differences between them?
The West Rim – the one I visited due to its proximity to Vegas – It is located in Arizona and is owned by the Hualapai Indian Tribe. Therefore not administered by the Grand Canyon National Park.
Private cars are not allowed in the park, but there is a free shuttle service to the various viewpoints. Shuttles keep on moving all the time from point to point so visitors can take their time at each location. Shuttles stop 2 different viewpoints (Eagle and Guano Point), each featuring breathtaking views and different angles of the Canyon. Bathrooms, restaurants and gift shops are also available.
The West Rim’s biggest feature is the Skywalk, a horseshoe-shaped bridge made of glass where visitors can walk beyond the Canyon walls at 4,000 feet above the riverbed. It is a both exciting and little frightening experience (especially if you are afraid of heights). The glass is said to hold up to 71 million lbs, but in order to protect it no personal items are allowed whatsoever. That’s right, you will not be able to Snapchat or live Instagram this experience. They do have photographers taking pictures of every visitor and since this is the only way to get a picture of you and your family at the Skywalk and they know it, pictures are expensive.
Tickets cost $71.38 + tax per person to visit the lookout points & the Skywalk, and also include a meal; or $46.95 per person for the lookout points only.
The South Rim is the most visited and stays 4h30min away from Las Vegas. It is also the most developed Rim, and offers 11 hotels (6 inside the park and 5 just outside), as well as plenty of restaurants, gift shops and visitor information centers.
In addition to the 20+ sightseeing locations that feature spectacular views of the Canyon and the Colorado River, there are also many helicopter tours available, and adventure seekers can have fun skydiving, rafting and hiking at this part of the park.
Tip: At Desert View Point, climb to the top of a 70 ft tall stone watchtower for a panoramic view that extends for more than 100 miles on a clear day!
North Rim: Heavy snowfalls during the winter months cause the Rim to open only from mid-May through mid-October, and that’s the main reason why the North Rim only gets 10% of the amount of visitors that the South Rim receives in a year.
It features 3 observation points, and the landscape here is much different than the views from the South side. While the South Rim benefits from the Grand Canyon’s depth, the North Rim offers more wide views of the National Park.
The North Rim is recommended to those looking to experience the wildlife and remote feeling of way less crowded hiking trails.
Hidden Gem: Hey instagrammers, you’ve probably seen this place before. It is called Horseshoe Bend. It’s located 4h from Vegas and close to the border of Arizona and Utah, and it actually sits 5 miles away from the beginning of the Grand Canyon National Park. Quite a drive, but the view of the Canyon and the Colorado River makes it worth it!
Considered one of the top 10 Construction Achievements of the 20th Century, the Hoover Dam is a concrete gravity dam (meaning the structure depends on gravity to keep it from falling) located on the border of Nevada and Arizona. It stays only 35 miles from Las Vegas and welcomes over 1 million people yearly.
"Right at the middle of the sidewalk you will be at the border of Arizona and Nevada - who said you can't be at 2 places on the same time?"
The purpose of the Hoover Dam is to control floods, provide irrigation water and produce hydroelectric power. Such a construction had never been done before and despite of all the disbelief and questioning, it was completed in less than 5 years – 2 years ahead of schedule. The Hoover Dam was also the most expensive engineering project in US history at the time of its construction.
Walk along the sidewalks on top of the Dam to find observation areas with plenty of picture worthy views of the Dam, Lake Mead, Colorado River and more. Right at the middle of the sidewalk you will be at the border of Arizona and Nevada - who said you can't be at 2 places on the same time? - make sure to capture your moment here as well!
There are guided tours available that explain in further details all about the construction of the Dam, the power plant, its importance, the impact on the environment and grants admission to the Visitor Center. Open 7 days/week except for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Download a checklist of National Parks in the US, all divided by state! How many can you cross off this list?
With Love, Bella