Flying the Grand Canyon


It’s hard to keep count all of the amazing memories that I have from travelling, but one of my favourites would be flying over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter.

While listening to the song Danger Zone.

It shouldn’t have been a surprising song choice given I was being flown out to the Grand Canyon by Maverick Helicopters.

Located almost 500km southeast of Vegas, the Grand Canyon is one of the world’s premier natural attractions, attracting about five million visitors per year, the majority of which (83 per cent) are from within the US.

You can drive (5.5 hours), catch a bus (7.5 hours) or fly out in either a chopper or a small plane, and given the distance, I recommend flying.

Not only do you get a bird’s-eye view over the Hoover Dam, Lake Las Vegas, Lake Mead and Fortification Hill, but you can also have the rest of the day to hit the casinos, the shops or check out some other tourist attractions (Stratosphere anyone?).

When it comes to the Canyon, grand doesn’t even being to cover it. It’s breathtaking, majestic and phenomenal.

Formed over the past six million years by the action of the Colorado River as it drops more than 670m along the 446 km length of the gorge, the Grand Canyon really is something you have to see to believe (or at least appreciate).

Although I’d been there before when I was younger, I was still overwhelmed by the beauty of the canyon; where the main colour is red, there seem to be hundreds of variations in the mix.

And then there are the cacti.

I love cacti, perhaps I’m drawn to their sharp, non-friendly exterior, so while my fellow flyers settled in for a champagne and snacks, I headed off to see which cacti I could find (there’s meant to be more than 24 species of cacti in the Canyon).

Finally, as a bit of a weird, and creepy fact, about 600 people have died in the canyon, the majority being over-zealous tourists chasing the best photo. Needless to say, I stayed far away from the edge!

A big thanks to our pilot Mike, who has been flying with Maverick Helicopters for the past five years.

Not only did he dish out some awesome facts and figures about Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon and the areas we flew over heading back and forth, but he also took the piss out of my date when he fell asleep for the entire trip back.

Clearly he too was questioning how we ended up stuck in Vegas together for four days.

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