Are you Interested in Visiting the Grand Canyon? Are you looking for some of the best views in the National Park? Then the Grand Canyon Skywalk should definitely be on your list. Visiting the Grand Canyon Skywalk is an incredible adventure.
Owned by the Hualapai Indian Tribe, it was first shown to the public on March 20th, 2007 and was officially opened to visitors March 28th, 2007. The skywalk is essentially a large horseshoe-shaped bridge with a glass walkway that allows visitors to look down nearly four thousand feet into the canyon below. This marvelous view is sure to enthrall any visitor to the site and it’s simply a great tourist spot for those visiting the Southwest United States. For those interested in visiting the Grand Canyon Skywalk this article is definitely something to peruse. I say this because there are some interesting caveats you will need to know and understand before booking your trip to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Here are some of the things you will need to know before embarking on this trip.
Before we delve into the specifics of what you will need to know when visiting the Grand Canyon Skywalk, it’s important to get a solid understanding of the Skywalk’s history. The idea of building the Skywalk was certainly not without a bit of controversy and criticism. Many people from within the Hualapai Indian Tribe believed that building the structure would desecrate sacred Indian land. Others argued that the Skywalk would bring much-needed money to the Hualapai Tribe which has nearly two thousand residents. They argued that the money generated from the Skywalk would help the substance abuse problems facing the tribe, as well as, the nearly 50 percent unemployment rate seen amongst its members. Individuals from outside of the tribe also expressed concerns over the building of the Skywalk insisting that it would look quite garish when contrasted with the gorgeous natural environment where it was to be built. These detractors also believed that it would basically be defacing one of the United States most precious national treasures. The Hualapai tribal leaders countered this argument by suggesting that the nearly 4.5 million visitors to the Grand Canyon Nation Park already provide enough problems for the area and restated their argument that the tribe was in desperate need of money. Though both arguments make sense, the Hualapai Tribe decided to take control of the site and begin planning the Skywalk. Once completed the Grand Canyon Skywalk now enjoys over three hundred thousand visitors each year and can also be rented out for weddings and stunt jumps. The Skywalk cost around thirty million to build and was designed by Mark Ross Johnson.
Now that you have a bit of background on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, here is what you need to know when planning to visit this fantastic site.
First and foremost it’s important to understand that the Skywalk is not located near the Grand Canyon National Park North or South rims. Therefore there can be some confusion as to how one would get there. The Skywalk is located on Grand Canyon West, which is the nearly one million acres of land owned by the Hualapai Tribe. With that being said if you are flying to the area to see the Grand Canyon Skywalk you will want to fly into the Las Vegas or Phoenix Sky Harbor airports. Once you’ve landed you will now need to find a way to get to Grand Canyon West by car, this is where things tend to get a little bit tricky.
Plan Your Route
You can get to the site from Las Vegas, Nevada to the north and from Kingman, Arizona to the south by means of Highway 93. Both of these routes, however, converge at the Diamond Bar road which is a ten-mile strip of gravel and dirt. This is not an easy drive, but can be done in most types of vehicles though it’s not recommended; RVs, however, are not allowed to use the road. Generally, the best way to get there is to drive to the Grand Canyon West Visitor’s Center and use one of their Park and Ride services. The visitor’s center itself is located on Pierce Ferry Road which is about a mile past Diamond Bar Road. Using the park and ride service at the visitor’s center will allow you to not risk damaging your vehicle on the Diamond Bar road and this is what most visitors to the Grand Canyon Skywalk choose to do. You will want to make sure you call ahead and reserve your seat in the park and ride ahead of time. Obviously, there are fees involved either driving yourself or using the park and ride service. You will also need to pay for parking your vehicle there too.
Another rather confusing part of visiting the Grand Canyon Skywalk is that you can’t just stroll up to the Skywalk and start enjoying the view. You will first need to purchase a ticket to the Skywalk as part of a package. These are readily available for purchase online from one of the many great Las Vegas tour sites, from the Grand Canyon West Visitor’s Center, and from grandcanyon.com. There are a few different packages to choose from, but it’s important to make sure that the package you buy includes tickets to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. This can often be hidden in the fine print so be sure to read over everything carefully.
Ticket prices are posted here. Purchasing a package will gain you entrance into Hualapai lands, a ticket to walk on the Skywalk, a meal at the viewpoint of your choice, an opportunity to take photos with a member of the tribe, and shuttle tickets to all three viewpoints. A tour package can last around three to four hours. Some packages come with your own person Hualapai guide for the tour, as well as an authentic Native American gift, a ticket to the Skywalk, a meal at your choice of viewpoints, a Hualapai visitation certificate, photo ops with tribe members and tours of each of the three viewpoints in your own private vehicle. Even though the price tag is a bit steep you are definitely going to get your money’s worth when purchasing one of these packages. You will, however, need at least two guests and no more than ten for some of the packages.
Personal Items Not Allowed
Other things you will need to be aware of are that you will not be able to take any personal items onto the Skywalk itself. This means no cameras, video cameras, or phones. The reason for this is simply to take care of the glass walkway by preventing people from accidentally dropping items that have the potential to scratch the glass. This certainly makes sense as the owners want to preserve the integrity of the glass so visitors can have a clear view of the canyon below. Lockers are available for you to store your stuff so this really shouldn’t be a problem for most people. You can still get your picture taken by the professional photographer when on the Skywalk, but you will need to pay for them when you return to the visitor’s center.
If you are planning to visit in the summer it’s important to be aware of the hours the Skywalk and Visitor’s Center will be open. During the summer months, from April 1st to August 31st the hours of operation are 7am–7pm, and you must purchase your tickets by the 5pm cutoff time. The winter hours of operation are 8am–6pm and last from September 1st to March 31st with final ticket sales ending at 4pm. These times do tend to change from time to time so it’s best to call ahead or visit the website in order to be absolutely sure.
This information should get you well on your way to booking and enjoying a fantastic trip to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. It should be noted that though this article contains a lot of great information about visiting the Grand Canyon Skywalk there is certainly a lot more to learn. For example, there are various overnight packages available, where you will be able to stay close to the location of the Skywalk, either at the Hualapai Ranch or Hualapai Lodge. Both places are fairly close to the Skywalk and offer a lot of amenities to their guests. There are also fly over packages available where a plane or helicopter flies you over the site. These are fantastic options to be aware of and they are rather simple to find on the Grand Canyon website.
Visiting the Grand Canyon Skywalk is a remarkable adventure that you will never forget. The views are absolutely incredible and are well worth the price of admission. Preparing for your trip ahead of time and following the advice in this article will make your trip easy and stress-free.