The Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The best way to experience this natural wonder is undoubtedly a Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour.
My friend Kas and I kicked off the most spectacular Bloggers Go Girlfriends Getaway in Phoenix, Arizona by crossing this item off both our bucket lists.
Thanks to Viator, we signed up for their Grand Canyon helicopter tour.
It is marketed as a leisurely road trip through miles and miles of gorgeous Arizona scenery followed by a breathtaking birds eye view of the Grand Canyon aboard a state-of-the-art helicopter.
It didn’t disappoint.
We were picked up bright and early Friday morning by Detours Arizona in one of their luxury vans with individual captains chairs.
We had a 250 mile road trip (one way) ahead of us, so it was nice that our tour guide and driver, Robert, was both friendly and knowledgable.
We learned fun facts about Arizona along the way, making the time it took to get to our first stop go by quickly.
The Red Rocks of Sedona
The Red Rocks of Sedona really are as gorgeous as you think they would be. The scenery looked like it had been painted, the colors were so vibrant.
It’s a strange juxtaposition that the epic red rock formations of Sedona, Arizona are so breathtakingly beautiful and yet they’re also a giant reminder of just how destructive Mother Nature can be.
Sedona is situated in the middle of an ancient sea bed and it was built up by sediments for thousands and thousands of years – until finally it erupted at one point in time.
The rocks themselves tell the story: some formed from ancient sedimentary layers, others from ancient volcanic deposits.
With such dramatic natural beauty surrounding you on all sides, it’s hard not to feel like you’ve found yourself deep into another world.
It’s not just the red rocks that make Sedona so breathtaking. Bell Rock is one of the most iconic landmarks in Sedona, and often the first thing you’ll see when arriving by plane.
This interesting rock formation was created when an ancient lava flow covered a sandstone hillside creating this majestic landmark.
I’m sure you’re wondering what it looks like up close? Well let me tell you, it’s even more breathtaking than I could have imagined!
There are many different routes to get to the top of bell rock, but we recommend taking the Bell Rock Loop since it offers some gorgeous views along the way. Get ready for your jaw drop as soon as you see it.
This hike is easy to do in the morning, but it does get very hot during the afternoon so plan accordingly if you want to avoid that heat.
The best time for hiking Bell Rock is between March and November.
It does get cold at the top of the rocks during these months, so make sure to bring some warm clothes (especially if you want to go up there after sunset).
No matter what time of year it is, Sedona never fails in giving visitors stunning views like no other place can offer. This is one landmark that will always leave an impression on your memory.
Sedona, The Vortex of Energy
Once we made it into the town of Sedona, we took a short stroll to window shop and stretch our legs.
We stopped by Sedona Sam to have our fortunes read,
found a beautiful mural alongside one of the buildings,
stopped to enjoy the view of the famous Red Rocks of Sedona set among the lush greens and purple flowered trees against the deep blue sky,
and also stole a kiss from the infamous Pink Pigs of Sedona.
Sedona Arizona is a small town with an incredible energy. It’s known for its red sandstone rocks and the natural beauty of their surroundings, but it also has plenty to offer in terms of outdoor activities for travelers!
Do you want to paint your own pottery? Check out Sedona Pottery on Highway 89A.
Do you want to learn how to make cheese? Head over to The Cheese Shop at Tlaquepaque Arts & Crafts Village.
Want some delicious food? Sedona Taphouse has something for everyone with traditional American dishes, Mexican plates, or vegetarian options.
There’s no shortage of things to do in this beautiful town!
Oak Creek Canyon
As we continued along our journey through Oak Creek Canyon, we wound our way through 2000 vertical feet of red walled canyon.
Oak Creek Canyon is a hidden gem in the Grand Canyon State. Located about an hour west of Phoenix and two hours from Tucson, it is rich with history and natural beauty. A perfect spot for day trips and exploring!
The area has been inhabited for over 10,000 years by ancient Native American tribes.
Oak Creek Canyon is a beautiful place to visit. The river, the canyon walls, and the wildlife are all amazing.
One of the most popular attractions in this area are the hoodoos, which are unique formations shaped like chimneys or towers.
If you are looking to explore some of Arizona’s natural beauty, Oak Creek Canyon should be at the top of your list! It’s rated as one of the most scenic drives in the USA.
Coconino National Forest
When we finally emerged from the canyon, we were surrounded by the ponderosa pines of the Coconino National Forest.
It was like we blinked and were all of a sudden not in the desert, the forest was so lush!
Arizona is known for its beautiful landscapes, and the Coconino National Forest is no exception. Located in Northern Arizona, it has terrain that varies from high desert to piñon-juniper forests.
The forest covers 1.8 million acres of land with over 500 miles of trails for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and even jeep tours.
The Coconino National Forest offers many different activities so you can have fun exploring this natural wonderland while getting some exercise in the process. It’s a great way to spend your day or weekend when visiting northern Arizona.
Grand Canyon South Rim
From there we wound our way around the Mogollon rim, to the outskirts of the Route 66 town of Flagstaff on our way to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
While drive up to the Grand Canyon South Rim was incredible to see, Kas and I were practically leaping out of the van to take our 50 minute helicopter flight of the Grand Canyon with Maverick Tours.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders in the world. Its vast expanse, dramatic elevation changes and colorful layers of rock seem to inspire an almost spiritual reverence from people who visit it for the first time.
The experience can be so overwhelming that many visitors have a hard time picking just one place to see. What many people don’t know, however, is that there are two rims – the North Rim and the South Rim.
The Grand Canyon is an impressive site, but it’s not for everyone. If you’re looking to avoid crowds and have a more personal experience, the south rim offers the perfect alternative to the north rim. (Even better is this helicopter tour!)
Grand Canyon South Rim is located at about 7,000 feet above sea level. This is where you’ll find some of the park’s most iconic landmarks like Bright Angel Point, Mohave Point and Powell Memorial (the highest point in all of North America).
This area is also home to some of the best viewpoints in the park.
Just ascending into the air was gorgeous but when the South Rim gently dropped away as the North Rim and eastern end of the canyon came into view it was one of the most spectacular sights in the world.
Desert View Watchtower
In the distance we could see the Painted Desert. Within that was the Desert View Watchtower.
When you’re in the desert, sometimes all you see is sand and rock. But if you know where to go, there are some incredible views that can be found! One of these gems is the Desert View Watchtower, which overlooks a patchwork of green fields and rocky hillsides just outside of Grand Canyon National Park.
The Desert View Watchtower is sacred to the Hopi people, who live in this region. This tower was built by them to honor their ancestors and show their gratitude for being given land on which to live.
The Hopi Indians have a unique view of the world. They believe that all living creatures are related and they have a deep respect for all life.
Today there are still many Hopis living in this area, but tourism brings more visitors every year.
In order to protect both the tower and the local residents from damage or harassment, please be respectful when visiting this site by following these guidelines: no climbing on rocks around the tower; stay on the trails at all times and do not remove rocks or plants from this area.
The tower is also built with incredible attention to detail and it’s well worth checking out if you’re ever near Grand Canyon National Park!
The Colorado River inside the Grand Canyon
From there we followed the Colorado River upstream to where it merged with the Little Colorado River.
The blues and greens stood out so vividly against the reds and sands of the canyon.
We continued through Marble Canyon and Point Imperial as we climbed above the North Rim.
From there we saw an incredible bird’s-eye view of the Canyon. Probably my favorite part. We also flew over the Dragon Corridor, the widest and deepest part of the canyon.
How deep is the Grand Canyon?
No one knows how deep the Grand Canyon is. Scientists estimate that it could be anywhere from 1 mile to 18 miles.
And if you’re looking for something even more unbelievable, it’s possible that there are places in this canyon that have yet to be discovered!
So far, our deepest measurement of this gorge is 6,000 feet down using sonar technology and by drilling holes into the rock.
The youngest layer of earth here is around 200 million years old (not surprisingly) but scientists say they might find older layers because there are still parts of the canyon waiting to be found.
One thing we can all agree on though: the Grand Canyon brings out awe like few other things in nature do!
Crossing over the Colorado River, we flew over the South Rim and the Kaibab National Forest landing back at the Grand Canyon Airport.
Can children go on a Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour?
Yes, they can! The thrill seeker in me was having a blast, the photographer in me was snapping a way and the mom was wishing that Whistler and Ben could have experienced this with me.
If you want to make a memory your family will never forget, this is one of them.
Tip: There is NO age limit to ride in the helicopter. As a matter of fact, infants under 2 may sit on your lap and do not require a ticket purchase!
Once we finally landed and found our legs, we snapped a photo in front of the helicopter and Robert drove us up to the rim. We had about 30-45 minutes to walk along the trail and take photographs.
Mary Colter’s Hopi House
Immediately in front of us at the drop off point stood the Hopi House. When you visit the Grand Canyon National Park, this is a must-see attraction.
Built by architect Mary Colter in 1905, the Hopi House is a replica of an ancient Pueblo residence and offers visitors a unique insight into how Native Americans lived centuries ago.
It is one of many buildings that are preserved from an era when most people would never have seen or even heard about this part of Arizona.
This delicate looking structure features handmade adobe bricks that were made by hand with clay mixed with straw and water.
These traditional materials make it not only aesthetically appealing but also durable against harsh weather conditions like rain and snow. You’ll find all sorts of interesting artifacts inside too!
The site also features exhibits that explore traditional crafts and culture, as well as live demonstrations from skilled artisans who create jewelry and pottery with their hands.
Although the views from the edge of the Grand Canyon South Rim were certainly gorgeous (if you ignore the crowds), we both agreed that nothing compared to what we just experienced.
Neither of us had been to the Grand Canyon before and honestly, there is nothing like dropping in over the edge and combing the sight of it for the first time with that feeling in your stomach when you fall through the air a few feet.
It really is the only way to experience it for the first time!
And of course, we had to jump for joy at crossing another item off our bucket list!