View Full Version : Grand Canyon
28th Nov 2009, 10:14
We will be visiting Las Vegas between Dec 20-28 and staying at the Mirage. Can anybody advise a good tour company that offers UK Forces discount for veterans for tours of the Grand Canyon? The last time I visited Las Vegas was 1973 during the bombing competion at Nellis with the V-Force. Many thanks in advance.
30th Nov 2009, 00:10
This might help, dunno 'bout forces discount.
Las Vegas Tours, Las Vegas Grand Canyon Tours, Las Vegas Helicopter Tours | All Las Vegas Tours (http://www.alllasvegastours.com/?pref=02&aid=ltgac1042&gclid=CNa-lMHDsZ4CFRDxDAodgTh0nQ)
Never been there so don't mind me.Understand it's a big hole in the ground which has a river running through it. Do the Skywalk 'tho.
30th Nov 2009, 13:23
You can always DIY. You can drive up, no real problem.
It is absolutely worth doing.
It remains the most awesome sight I've seen on my travels. My mind just could not conceive of the forces that created it over the millions of years. You see the tiny blue shoestring at the bottom and think, "And that created this huge thing?" It assails the senses.
They used to do chopper rides through the canyon as well, but you'll have to Google this, I know there was talk they should be stopped because of noise pollution.
Go. You will not be disappointed.
Absolutely agree! I'm afraid that some sites left me feeling a little disappointed (Niagara falls for instance; Foz do Iguacu in Brazil/Argentina is better) but the Grand Canyon was spectacular, especially if you approach it from the Flagstaff direction because its just suddenly ..... there!
1st Dec 2009, 02:36
Absolutely agree , the Canyon blew me away when I visited for first time in May .Drove from Phoenix where son and family live , up the Sedona / Oak Tree Canyon route - fantastic area , then from Flagstaff headed West for a while on Route 66 - some of it is amazing / time-warp .Then to Canyon - nothing like yr first walk up to the edge , I think that has to be far better than seeing it for the first time from the air - do that later.
One thing the Americans do well is National Parks , entry is very cheap , everyone extremely helpful and informative ( and genuinely enthusiastic about their treasure ). Accomodation available for all budgets , restaurants good , tour bus system spot on. We found a bench facing West for the sunset , and enjoyed the contents of our coolbag watching the great array of colours changing dramatically.
Will definitely do it again someday .
ps the Horseshoe glass platform is on the North Rim , a LONG drive from anywhere , not cheap and apparently ( I stand to be corrected ) you cannot use yr own camera , have to buy their overpriced ones . Caveat Emptor.
1st Dec 2009, 08:51
Many thanks for the replies. We have now booked the coach tour with The Orginal Grand Canyon Tour Company for the 23rd. They are currently offering a 50% reduction which includes breakfast and lunch and the tour takes in the Hoover Dam, the railway and most of the South Rim. Going to be a long day, pick-up from the Mirage at 6:35am and return to the Mirage at 9:00pm. Everybody is looking forward to it. :ok:
2nd Dec 2009, 09:41
Good for you Fan.
Try and get away from the coach crowd, sit on the edge of the Canyon and ponder.
Let us know how it goes.
2nd Dec 2009, 12:16
You won't be disappointed. Did it last year, stayed in motel in Willams and drove up through the national park. Best time is at sunset, and as previously mentioned, find a bench away from the crowd, sit and look in awe at the colours.
2nd Dec 2009, 13:30
So glad to read this most useful thread - Going to Las Vegas in June 2010 and this will definetly be the trip highlight for me!! I checked this company out on the web last night and they certainly provide an interesting itinerary. Hoover dam should be fascinating, too. Seen many programmes on its construction.
Angels - sitting far away from the crowd and looking / pondering will be exactly what I will be doing!
2nd Dec 2009, 18:08
Did it 3 weeks ago and stood open mouthed and awestruck for 10 minutes at the South Rim. Free shuttle bus runs to all the other viewpoints. Sunset and sunrise are a must and you absolutely have to do the scenic flight. Even with the cr@<hidden> exchange rate it cost under £75 and they gave me 10% discount when I showed them my ATC Licence. Truly awesome experience.
I drove up from Phoenix too and spent the night at Sedona which is also well worth seeing. Personally, I thought Vegas ranged from sheer opulent excess to cheap, trashy and indicative of all the things wrong in society. That said, I enjoyed every second of it and will definitely be back!! Unless you're a hardened gambler, I imagine you'd get a bit bored after more than a couple of days though. Restaurant at the top of the Stratosphere Tower was very good and you won't find a better view, especially at sunset.
I forgot about the sitting away from the crowd bit, certainly a place to collect ones thoughts. The only other place that had a similiar effect for me was the high Canadian Arctic ..... low mountains, snow and a whole load of nothing. A feeling of smallness, wonder, peace and something else that cannot be described without experiencing it. Bloody cold though, the Canyon has a better climate!
3rd Dec 2009, 06:28
I flew Grand Canyon tours for a few years, as well as flying people around in the canyon, doing cargo, ferries, rescues, moving river runners, flying in fuel and supplies, photography, etc.
I never heard of a foreign forces discount, but I suppose it's possible. Certainly wouldn't hurt to ask.
Flying the canyon is most certainly spectacular. However, there's no substitute to standing on the edge, looking down. Even when flying the canyon, I always suggested that people drive there and experience the Canyon for themselves.
If you're going to be staying in Vegas, then you can get flights to the west end. The flights land at Grand Canyon West, run by the Hualapai indian tribe. You can take the tour to the edge, there. The tribe has built a glass bottomed walkway that extends out past the edge, so when you walk it you're looking down a few thousand feet directly beneath you. Probably the most economical in terms of expense and time if you're coming from Vegas. Otherwise, drive down to Kingman, over to Williams, and up to the south rim area. This time of year if you plan ahead you can get a room at Bright Angel or one of the other lodges, and see the sunset and sunrise where it's best appreciated.
My wife and I just got a room there a couple of weeks ago, in fact. The canyon never gets old. I never tired of flying there, or living there, even seeing it every day.
Of course, if you really want to experience the canyon, arrange to take a raft trip all the way, in the summer.
For now, whatever you decide, enjoy the trip, and remember to turn off your flash in the aircraft.
3rd Dec 2009, 16:56
If you're doing the Hoover Dam its worth the cash to do the interior tour, especially if your of an engineering mind.
Also if visiting Las Vegas, its worth a trip to the old town and Freemont Street. Amazing laser show every hour on the hour...and its free. Just catch a bus anywhere on the strip.
5th Dec 2009, 02:37
5th Dec 2009, 17:44
Now this is a proper tour of the grad canyon!!:ok:
Jetting Through the Grand Canyon | Airspacemag.com (http://www.airspacemag.com/multimedia/videos/Jetting-Through-the-Grand-Canyon.html)
They must have been mad!!!!
Rgds Dr I
7th Dec 2009, 12:22
Wow! Who cares about noise pollution???!!!
I want to do that!
Thanks for the clip. :ok:
7th Dec 2009, 17:46
If I'd been in the back seat you wouldn't have heard the engine for me screaming!
Rgds Dr I
29th Dec 2009, 10:23
Just bumping this up. Want to know how fan blade's trip went!
30th Dec 2009, 12:48
I know the die is cast, but anyone contemplating a visit to the Canyon should take the time to do it from Williams, the last town by passed by I40 when Route 66 was superseded in the late seventies.
Its thirty one years since our first visit - just after the traffic stopped, and Williams could have so easily become just another ghost town. Instead it pulleditselfup by itsbootstraps, and now you can even do the sixty mile visit by steam train.
Stay in real Arizona, eat at Rod's Steak House, visit the Route 66 shop - and then do drive as well as rail to the canyon.
You can stand on the patio of the El Tovar and appreciate what it must have been to arrive by Santa Fe. But arriving or departing in the gloaming is somthing else.
And do visit some of the Route 66 towns, Flagstaff, Kingman etc - Well worth the trouble.
Almost worth flying the pond again - even with enhanced TSA in place.
3rd Jan 2010, 10:47
As promised, here is an update on our trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. We finally left LGW with Virgin atlantic after a 4 hour delay which was due to the weather. The 10 hour flight was good even though it was turbulent over Hudson Bay and down through to Winnipeg, well looked after by the cabin crew. On arrival at Vegas we had to queue to go through immigration for about 40 minutes but once we arrived at the desk the process was quick. A quick taxi ride to the Mirage (the driver took the tunnel route which cost me $30. We had room updates and ended up on the 16th floor with one of the rooms overlooking the strip and the volcano. During our week at the Mirage which I can highly recommend we visited BB Kings new restaurant and bar in the complex, the food was good, even though the cocktails are overpriced, but the 10 piece house-band were excellent. They are on-stage at 8pm every night with the last set ending at midnight, even if you are not staying at the Mirage, it worth going to see the band and have a few beers and nibbles. The buffets at the hotel are very good value for money and are very high quality.
Well Wednesday arrived and we were excited about the Canyon trip. The pick-up bus arrived at 6:35am and we were taken to the Planet Hollywood complex for breakfast and transfer to our tour bus, breakfast was coffee and doughnuts. The bus was comfortable with good seats and plenty of leg room and good sized windows to enjoy the views. We left Vegas and after 45 minutes we arrived at the Hoover Dam, the bus parked on the Arizona side and we had a good view of the dam, but to me, the new bridge linking
Nevada with Arizona which is due to open in 2010 was stunning, a 21st century engineering marvel. After leaving the dam the next stop was a truck stop at Kingman, there is a shop there were you can buy drinks and a Subway but to me it all seemed a bit tacky, other tour buses stopped there and the queues can be long. After boarding the bus after a 40 minute stop we were on our way to Williams for our next stop and lunch, the drive was excellent with snow all the way which made for some very good viewing. On arrival at Williams, we had lunch at the Colorado Railway which was very good, a three course meal and as much as you wanted. The snow was the dressing on the location and I managed to take some very good photos of the snow scenes.
After leaving Williams, it was a 60 mile drive to the South Rim of the Canyon. On arrival, there was 2 feet of snow at the rim and when we arrived at Mather Point the views were stunning, with snow on both the North and South Rim, blue sky and crystal clear air, the views could not of been better. The rim was quiet and we had plenty of space to move along the trail and take in various views on the canyon with the different light conditions. After an hour at Mather, the coach took us to Bright Angel for further viewing and to watch the sun go down over the canyon which was superb. We had a total time of 2 hours at the canyon which given the very cold weather at the time was just about right. After leaving the canyon, the driver stopped at an Indian gift shop (tacky, stay in the coach), and a further stop at the truck stop at Kingman we arrived back at Vegas at 10:30pm after covering 600 miles.
All in all, given the 50% discount on the trip it was good value for money. There was a fly-sheet in the bus that the driver was expecting $20 per person for a tip which we all found was off-putting and given that there were 50 people on the bus, these people are making $1000 a day on tips alone. Would I do the trip again, the simple answer is no, itís a very long day and if you have small children, the trip would be too long for them. If visiting the canyon during the busy summer period, I would go to the North Rim where it is less crowded. If visiting the South Rim during the summer, I would hire a car in Vegas and drive to Williams and stay in one of the many lodges/hotels there for a couple of days and then drive or take the train to the canyon.
Well, thatís just a short overview of the trip, if anybody requires further information on Vegas or the Canyon; just add the request to the thread.
Last but not least, a Happy New Year to one and all :ok::ok::ok:
6th Jan 2010, 11:51
We're also doing the Canyon in May - on a raft! But then we'll be touring the parks and be in Vegas for a couple of days. Are there any other 'not to be missed' places in Vegas you'd recommend? I guess, from your 1973 visit, we're about the same generation.
6th Jan 2010, 15:04
Do not miss the Cirque Du Soleil Beatles Love production at the Mirage. The best show that we have seen. Go to the box office in the Mirage at 10am and ask if there are any seat reductions available, I managed to get four $125 seats for $77 each for that nights 9:30 show. If you like music, visit BB Kings and the new Hard Rock Cafe on the strip. After your meal, go upstairs and view all the exhibits. Keep away from Circus Circus, smells inside like a Frenchmans armpit. Nice little outside bar on the walkway outside Ceasars Palace, they sell a good pint of Oregon Brown Ale and you can sit there and watch the world go by. For real shopping bargins, visit the retail outlet center on the south end of the strip just past the airport. Travelling up and down the strip, use the Deuce bus service, $7 for a 24hr rover ticket, saves on the shoe leather.
23rd Jan 2010, 18:38
For a couple of days in Vegas;
(1) The fountains ( and music) outside the Bellagio ( every 30mins from 3pm and every 15mins in the evening
(2) Ceasars Palace and forum shops
(3) Wynn/Encore resort/casino
(4) The Venetian/Palazzo and the grand Canal shoppes
(5) New york New york ( and do the rollercoaster if you like)
(6) Mandalay Bay
(7) If you want a high level view of LV go to The eiffel tower at Paris LV or the Stratosphere tower
(8) Walk part of the strip at night
If you were in LV for three or four days I would also recommend going to ;
(A) Red Rock Canyon
(B) Valley of Fire
Both are amazing places and RRC is around 30mins form the strip ( VoF is c. 1-1.5 hours form the strip)