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There is something so magical about the Grand Canyon.  This rugged landscape has caused awe and inspiration for countless years.  If you’re interested in visiting America’s National Parks, be sure to add this to your list.  It is beautiful and filled with so many colors and layers of history and work from the natural world.

Lessons From The Grand Canyon

Make no bones about it, travel teaches people many invaluable lessons.  It is only natural that the grandest canyon of them all would be filled with lessons for visitors who are willing to listen.  The lessons I’ve learned from the Grand Canyon are very important in life.

  1. Nothing happens over night.
  2. It is amazing when we see the results from something being put under enough pressure and time.
  3. Keep going forward.  There is something amazing waiting for you in the distance.
  4. Sometimes in life, things might make you look down.  Even then, don’t forget to look up to see all the beautiful things happening around you.
  5. Life is as grand as you make it.

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Getting There

The Grand Canyon is located in the Southwest region of the United States.  It is located within less than days’ drive from major cities like Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles, there are more than plenty of options to get to here.  There are also countless tour options if you prefer to let someone else do the driving.

Helicopter Tour

Because I’ve always loved getting those glimpses of the canyon from the window of a plane, we decided to take that one step further and head to the Grand by helicopter from Las Vegas!  This seemed like the most grand way to visit the Grand Canyon.  Tours from Vegas include round trip transportation between the hotel and heliport by stretch limo.  Each helicopter holds 5 passengers.

Once you’re in the air the ride takes about 45 minutes of flight time and offer an amazing vantage point of the Southwestern United States landscape.  This includes aerial views of Hoover Dam and Lake Mead on the way, as well as the Sky Walk upon arrival at the Grand Canyon.  Upon return, we were also able to do a flyover of the Las Vegas Strip.

It is important to remember that while this transportation option is an amazing experience, taking a helicopter to the Grand Canyon is not without its consequences.  This is discussed further down in this post.

 

The muted colors of the desert Southwest are enjoyable.  As you approach the Grand Canyon, the landscape begins changing.  The colors start to get a bit more saturated and the terrain is a bit more rugged.  I swear you can sense a change in the air as you fly nearer to the rim.  The excitement is palpable.

Venturing To The Bottom

This particular helicopter tour was a great choice! Not only did we fly over the west rim of the Grand, but we actually descended and landed at the bottom.  It was nearly a mile down. 

Time is allowed for an enjoyable picnic lunch.  Here, we were surrounded by little canyon chipmunks anxiously awaiting bits of food.  The lunch is included in the price of the tour and presented in the most perfect individual baskets.

This is also a great time to take some incredible photos!  

Be sure to take a little time to explore the area and learn about the impressive geology.  The Colorado River has ripped through the rock for centuries in order to form the Grand Canyon. 

Cause For Concern

Unfortunately, there are modern day issues causing further erosion and degradation.  This is caused by environmental impacts as well as some human interactions.

Increased visitor activity impacts the Grand Canyon in more ways that one.  As more and more people travel there is more plastic left behind, more wear and tear on the trails, more animals being used for tourism purposes, more pollution and noise from helicopters…. The list goes on and on!

The Colorado River also has many challenges.  The river (and nearby Lake Mead) are impacted by drought.  They also serve as primary water sources for many of the Southwest’s mega cities, putting strain on precious natural resources.  Plus, this river is heavily polluted.  And, increased use by visitors further erodes the riverbed and turns up sediment.

Keeping It Grand

There are things visitors can do to lessen their negative impacts to the Grand Canyon.  Like we always suggest, visitors should practice the Leave No Trace Principles.  If you take it in, take it back out.  We made sure to survey the area we had lunch in to ensure no trash was left behind.  

It is also a good idea to try to avoid visiting at peak times.  This can help ease congestion and overcrowding.  If there are tours available that provide transportation for multiple people, this also helps to a certain extent.  But, overtourism is always concern.

We are firm believers that, if everyone did a few small things, it would add up to something big.  The Grand Canyon is no exception!  Traveling to this natural wonder is a once in a lifetime experience and we can all help reduce our negative impacts there.

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The Grand Canyon is beautiful.  Visitors find it trans formative – both physically and mentally uplifting!  It is even more inspirational than one would imagine.  I can think of no better place to look up, inhale, and get lost in the moment.

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45 Comments

  1. Wow!! What a fantastic adventure, the views are incredible! I love that you started high and flew into the Canyon, then you had the perspective of looking back up again, brilliant! Your photos are stunning, love this 🙂

  2. I love our National Parks…they all have their own uniqueness, especially the Grand Canyon. Your photos are fabulous, always fun to do the flight above to get a better view!

  3. The Grand Canyon is one place on earth that justifies the word AWESOME. It really is. I saw it on a day trip from Vegas, which was no where near enough time, so we’re hoping one day to go back, stay and explore it further. It must have been absolutely amazing to be right inside at the bottom looking up. Thanks for the idea, definitely worth saving up for!

  4. I’ve never been in a helicopter before and I can definitely think of worse places to do so than the Grand Canyon! Was it at all nerve wracking actually flying into the canyon, with the walls either side of you?

    1. It was incredibly smooth! What was a little nerve-wracking (but mostly super fun) was the flight back… the pilot decided to show off his skills and did a couple of fast climbs and nose dives heading straight down toward Lake Mead! Talk about hitting some negative g’s!!!

  5. Jenn, incredible trip and truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience to see it from a helicopter AND go to the bottom. I was lucky enough to visit last year and do a couple of hikes but you got to see it from such an incredible angle! Thanks for sharing!

  6. The helicopter tour must be amazing!
    Even though I am not sure that I would dare to go on one, I am crazy scared of hights. But maybe this would see such an abstract hight that it would not feel high 🙂

  7. I find canyons always very impressive. The largest I’ve seen so far was the Colca Canyon in Peru – just majestic. So I can only imagine how overwhelming the sight of the Grand Canyon must be.

  8. My parents took me and my sister when we were kids; we were going to get the helicopter ride but they thought we’d be too young to remember. Now I’m just going to have to go back to experience the Grand Canyon from the air!

  9. I’ve visited the Grand Canyon twice once by fixed wing ( had my head in a bag the whole way!) and again many years later by helicoptor ( a million times more pleasant!) and then we landed for a boat ride along the colarado river with a guy who was indigenous to that area. He told us lots of great native stories on our ride and then we got back into the helicoptor and flew back to Vegas. I loved reading your post and reminising of my own trip.

  10. I left the States without first visiting the Grand Canyon, and it was a real regret, so a few years later we went back and took a train from New York to Los Angeles and stopped off at the Grand Canyon for an overnight stay. It didn’t disappoint. Even though it was November, the sky was clear blue, and there was snow on the ground. What really surprised me was that you could walk along and there were no railings stopping you from falling over the edge. And when there’s ice on the ground, it was a little bit worrying to get to close. I love this national park. It’s got to be seen to be believed.

  11. Definitely is one of my big travel memories; wish I had known before I visited to make some time to hike the area or that I had a budget for a helicopter ride.

  12. Grand Canyon is really grand and its tour too. But I loved the invaluable lessons what you have pointed out in your post. Really sometimes we learn a lot from nature too. I agree not all great things are made overnight. There is always a brighter side ahead and we have to move forward.

  13. How neat to do a helicopter tour! I bet that was just stunning. I went to the Grand Canyon when I was about 9, it was beautiful. I enjoy your lesson as well-practical and so important!

  14. Oh, I want to visit the Grand Canyon so badly, but I would like to hike when I go there. I have been to Lake Meade and it’s sad to hear that it has been affected by drought. It was such a beautiful area!

  15. I never considered a helicopter tour over the Grand Canyon, the view must have been incredible! I will have to add it to my itinerary for my next visit.

  16. I love Grand Canyon. It’s such an amazing place to visit. I spent a few days exploring it but couldn’t take the helicopter. I was supposed to do Skydiving there but the winds didn’t cooperate. Any way, kept it for the next time. I love your lessons from the Grand Canyon. They are so true.

    1. Oh wow! Skydiving would have been amazing – I didn’t know they offered that there! Glad you enjoyed the Canyon’s lessons too! Cheers!

  17. I would have loved to see the Grand Canyon by helicopter, how awesome. Such a different perspective from the air as well as from down inside the canyon. maybe one day I’ll go back and experience this!

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