A Lake Mead Grand Canyon Tour provides a unique view of the expanse of the Grand Canyon’s Western Rim with spectacular views of Lake Mead, Hualapai Reservation lands, Hoover Dam, Mohave Dessert, and an extinct volcano. Geological and human history are provided when touring. It’s a great way to see and hear lots of US history in a short time.
Learn more about a Lake Mead Grand Canyon Tour here …
We had an up-close, birds-eye view of some of the United States’ most famous attractions, along with narration about each site. Here are a few facts – Lake Mead was created by damming the Colorado River via the Hoover Dam. Lake Mead is one of the largest man-made lakes, with the largest reservoir water capacity in the United States. The Hoover Dam, built in the early 1920s, was considered an engineering feat. This Dam was a huge challenge to build due to the heights of canyon walls and the tunnels that had to be built. It was designed to provide water and hydroelectric power for the Southwest. At the time, it was the largest dam in the world, and it is a National Historic Landmark.
There’s more when going on a Lake Mead Grand Canyon Tour with 5-Star Helicopter – a breathtaking and unique look at the Grand Canyon by flying below the rim. Here’s more about that experience …
DISCLAIMER: Many thanks to 5-Star Helicopter Tours for hosting us on this tour. While we were hosted at no charge, we received no payment for this post, and this post is our honest opinion.
Planning 5-Star Helicopter Touring
What a special experience Tom and I prepared to take in! There is no place other than the West Rim of the Grand Canyon where you can drop down into the canyon in a helicopter. Neither the North nor South rim areas allow tourist helicopters to fly below the rim.
There are at least 7 different tours to choose from – all at different price points. I asked questions about what we wanted out of the experience; the 5-Star reservation staff member recommended we take the Grand Canyon Indian Adventure Tour. That fit into our plans so well that I immediately agreed. I wanted to go to the Hualapai Reservation and the Grand Canyon Skywalk, but driving there took us far off of our route. We were quite excited for our day with 5-Star Helicopter Tours on the Indian Adventure Tour.
Now not only were we off to see the Grand Canyon from above but also from within, as well as landing at the Hualapai Nation to tour the reservation.
Indian Adventure Tour with 5-Star Helicopter
5-Star helicopter van picked us up at our Campground on Lake Mead, which is close to their airstrip. Passengers are also picked up in executive cars serving Las Vegas – 35 minutes east of the airstrip. Upon arrival at their comfortable lounge at the airstrip, we checked in, and confirmed our weight; it is critical for planning weight distribution for a safe helicopter journey for each passenger to weigh in – you don’t have to see the number on the scale.
While relaxing in the lounge drinks are available as well as many gift items and Grand Canyon souvenirs. Prior to boarding, we met our pilot/guide, Michele, in the lounge. She assembled the 6 passengers for a safety briefing before walking out on the airstrip to the helicopter. We had a second briefing on the tarmac about approaching and boarding the helicopter – ‘Safety First.’
Our pilot and ground crew got us seated and belted in. We were seated according to weight balance requirements. Our pilot, Michele, explained how our headsets and work, how to don them, and communicate with her.
The Journey – a 5-hour Lake Mead Grand Canyon Tour
Off we flew on the striking silver and black 5-Star helicopter into the beautiful Mohave Desert with 180-degree spectacular views. Michele told us about the desert and its wildlife as we flew over it, and the rock formations. Approaching Lake Mead, Michele informed us about the history of the Lake, the Colorado River, and the Lake Mead National Recreation Area with its 3 marinas, and many activities on the lake.
Our RV site was lakefront so we knew the lake is huge, but our bird’s-eye view gave us the true understanding of the vastness of Lake Mead. What a sight amidst the desert landscape! As we flew low and directly over the lake, we came up to an extinct volcano. I had no idea that is what I was seeing from our RV site. Michele told us all about this extinct volcano, the volcanic activity here, and wild horses living amongst the lava fields.
On the approach to Lake Mead, Tom and I drove to and across the Hoover Dam. It is truly immense. However, seeing the Hoover Dam from the air is truly a unique perspective – to feel like a speck enveloped by the vast white concrete structure. It’s a highlight to see the Hoover Dam from the air – it’s the highest concrete arch dam in the United States. The aerial view provides a unique perspective to see the vastness of the dam, and the engineering feat of damming the Colorado River. The Bypass bridge looms 900 feet above the Colorado River’s Black Canyon We learned more about the Dam from our pilot/guide:
• 1931 – Hoover Dam construction was started
• 1933 – First concrete poured
• 1935 – Concrete was completed (18 months to complete)
• 1936 – Hoover Dam opened
• The dam created the largest man-made lake
Michele, our pilot is quite knowledgeable about the area.
From the Hoover Dam our helicopter tour heads to the Grand Canyon.
Western Grand Canyon
What a cool feeling as we climb above the mountaintops and turn towards the Grand Canyon West. Most of the Grand Canyon is a no-fly zone. The Western Rim is an exception, as it is governed by the Hualapai Indians, and has been deemed safe from the winds compared to other parts of the Grand Canyon.
Michele approaches the Grand Canyon and then dips us down below the Rim. We take in the stunning massive walls surrounding us. What a treat to be in the Grand Canyon surrounded by this ancient terrain!
Michele lands us at 5000 feet on the Hualapai Reservation airstrip. Off we go for a self-guided tour of the Hualapai Reservation. Our Indian Adventure Tour included the Hualapai Legacy Pass, which provides access to the hop-on-and-off-bus three-stop route. The stops are:
This is the location of the Skywalk and Visitors Center. The Skywalk is a glass-bottom balcony that overhangs the Grand Canyon. It provides an aerial view of the Grand Canyon; it is an additional price to access the Skywalk.
We chose to skip it since we had many aerial views on our helicopter ride. The Visitor Center provides a wealth of information about the Hualapai Tribe both past and present.
Eagle Point has outdoor exhibits that show the way of life of the tribe, historical and current living quarters, and more. Performances are regularly presented here too.
This is the site of the old Guano Mine that today serves as a lookout over the Western Grand Canyon. It’s the place to go for exquisite views. We found the walking/hiking surface here to be natural rock, unlike many of the man-made lookouts at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
We heard that this is a great place for kids to take part in a working ranch. The main restaurant is here too for a lunch stop. Since we had to choose 2 stops in order to return to the airstrip in time for our return flight, we skipped this stop.
On the return flight, we changed seats to share window views with the other passengers. As we flew back over the desert, Michele pointed out various rock formations, told us tales of the area, and showed us some of the desert development.
5-Star Helicopter is a very professional tour operation offering 7 different helicopter tours out of the Boulder City, Lake Mead, and Las Vegas areas. Currently, they have 6 helicopters, and 10 staff per helicopter or 60 people total. Staff seem to be well-trained, knowledgeable, friendly, helpful and most important – safety conscious.
Tom and I visited the hanger, not something all passengers do. We found the hanger well organized and spotless.
Other tours offered include the Valley of Fire, Black Canyon Rafting, Hualapai Skywalk, Hualapai Ranch Overnight, a night tour of the Las Vegas Strip.
Where is the Lake Mead Grand Canyon Tour?
Lake Mead Grand Canyon Tours are located near the Western Grand Canyon otherwise called the Grand Canyon West Rim. Lake Mead is directly west of the Grand Canyon West Rim where the Colorado River runs through the Grand Canyon, and becomes Lake Mead ending at the Hoover Dam. Lake Mead is 24 miles from the Las Vegas Strip, Southeast of the city. The lake is in both Arizona and Nevada.
Many tours are run out of the Lake Mead area with all of its natural and man-made attractions. While there are few places to stay on Lake Mead, Boulder City, Henderson and Las Vegas areas offer additional accommodations; Lake Mead and Boulder City are provide closest access to all 3 major sights – Lake Mead, Hoover Dam, and the Grand Canyon West Rim. We stayed on Lake Mead in the Lake Mead Recreational Area near Boulder City, Nevada.
We had a great day on our Indian Adventure Tour of the Western Grand Canyon with 5-star Helicopter Tours. We saw so much – Mohave Desert, Lake Mead, Extinct Volcano, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon West, and the Hualapai Reservation.
If you plan to go to Lake Mead, there is so much more to do in the area. We filled 2 additional days with hiking at Valley of Fire State Park, a boat tour on Lake Mead, and a visit to the Hoover Dam. There is also Las Vegas nearby. Stay tuned as I will be posting about some of these other attractions in the area.