Autumn is one of the best seasons of the year to take a scenic Grand Canyon helicopter tour. Several leave daily from Tusayan, Arizona (at the South Rim) and Las Vegas.
The weather is perfect in the fall for touring the canyon. During the summer, temps can hit 110 degrees at Grand Canyon West!
Best Time For Flying
In the fall, you can enjoy a Grand Canyon tour any time of day since the afternoons are not so hot. That being said, the air is calmer (less turbulent) and visibility is best at mid-morning.
Grand Canyon helicopter tours are very popular. The helicopters only hold six passengers so they sell out during the peak summer season. During the fall months, things are a little better. Fewer people come to the Park and there are more open seats. That means you can probably snag a seat on even the very popular tours during the fall months. It is still recommended that you book your tour in advance if at all possible.
Based on my own experiences, I recommend booking fall tours at least a week ahead of the date you want. That's especially true if you're hoping to take one of the popular Vegas landing tours that include a champagne picnic or a smooth-water float trip down the Colorado.
You will probably begin your helicopter tour in Vegas or Tusayan but it is possible to fly out of Phoenix or Sedona but those tours are more expensive and inconsistent. If you need to depart from northern Arizona, the best thing to do is drive to Tusayan and catch a helicopter tour from there.
The tours that depart from Vegas provide you with the most options including landing tours and the air-only variety. Air-only flights are terrific for folks with limited free time. The air-only tours take about three hours including the free shuttle ride from your hotel, and they fly you over the canyon highlights as well as Hoover Dam and Lake Mead.
If you have more time, you should take a landing tour if you can. These let you see the canyon from the air and experience it up close from the ground. And they pack in a lot of value. With one popular package you'll land on the canyon bottom as well as the top. Another comes with VIP access to the West Rim's magnificent "Glass Bridge" -- the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
South Rim visitors can take 30- or 50-minute flights. On the short tour, the helicopter flies you over to the North Rim and back to the South Rim. This includes a thrilling tour of the Dragoon Corridor, which is the deepest and widest part of the canyon. I always go with the longer flight, though. You'll get to see the same highlights the shorter tour covers, but you also get to fly all the way to the eastern boundary of the National Park. That means you'll see up to 75 percent of the Park, including highlights like the Vermillion Cliffs, the Little Colorado River and the Desert Watchtower.
Temps are cooler during autumn, so dress appropriately. It is a good idea to wear a jacket if you go to the South Rim, dress in layers, and protect yourself from the sun with a wide-brimmed hat. The temps at Grand Canyon West are less predictable, so check the weather shortly before you leave for your tour. Wear the right clothing and you'll have the best time possible!