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Grand Canyon 2011

If you’re spending a week or so in Vegas then you’ve really got no legitimate excuse not to visit the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. Especially as there are cheap bus tours setting off on a daily basis. A few things to keep in mind, however, before you jump in with both feet:

  • This won’t be a luxury day trip, by any means.
  • You have to set off pretty damned early in the AM.
  • You won’t be back until about sunset and will want to go straight to bed.
  • Be ready for very variable weather – blazing sun, freezing wind, driving rain, there’s a good chance you’ll experience it all.

One more piece of advice for you. Be sure to book the helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon. There’s a 100kg limit per passenger though, and if you’re over that then you’ll be banned from the flight. Yes, they really do make you get on some scales at the airport before they’ll let you get on the choppa! If your budget stretches a little further then a cruise of the Colorado River is also worth doing as well. (Despite how it looks below, no they didn’t let me drive the boat!)

En route to Arizona

The road trip from Las Vegas to Arizona is long. The scenery on the way is impressive enough, but it’s best to get some sleep if you can, because what’s to come is even more stunning. As you get close to the Hoover Dam, you’ll get to enjoy some fantastic views of The Colorado River- especially at Black Canyon.


Welcome to Arizona.
Welcome to the state of Arizona.

Arizona is home to the Hoover Dam and the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam
Welcome to the Hoover Dam, one of the greatest feats of engineering in history. Opened in 1936, two years early and more than a million dollars under budget.
Hoover Dam
Hoover Dam Bypass bridge
The Hoover Dam Bypass bridge, which opened about 6 months ago – several years late. It cost $240 million and this view is from the Arizona side.
Hoover Dam Bypass bridge
Hoover Dam Bypass bridge
Penstock Towers, Hoover Dam
One of the Penstock Towers at the Hoover Dam.
The Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam
the Hoover Dam
Looking upstream at the Hoover Dam. The water here is Lake Mead, which was created once the dam was opened. You can see how the waterline has dropped over the years from the change in colour of the rock along the walls.
Lake Mead, Hoover Dam
Lake Mead
Hoover Dam lookout point
Looking down on Hoover Dam from the purpose-built lookout point above it on the upstream side of the Dam.
Hoover Dam and Bypass Bridge
Looking down on Hoover Dam from the purpose-built lookout point above it on the upstream side of the Dam. You can see the recently-opened Bypass Bridge above it.
Hoover Dam
Looking down on Hoover Dam from the purpose-built lookout point above it on the upstream side of the Dam.
Hoover Dam
Looking down on Hoover Dam from the purpose-built lookout point above it on the upstream side of the Dam.
Lake Mead, Hoover Dam
Looking upstream at the Hoover Dam. The water here is Lake Mead, which was created once the dam was opened. You can see how the waterline has dropped over the years from the change in colour of the rock along the walls.
Lake Mead, Hoover Dam
Lake Mead
Hoover Dam
Don’t know what this thing does. Something important no doubt.
Hoover Dam
At the Hoover Dam.
Colorado River, Hoover Dam
Looking downstream the Colorado River from the Hoover Dam.

En route to Grand Canyon

Arizona
On the way to the Grand Canyon…

In the images above, you can see the Colorado River in the distance, snaking through the landscape.

Arizona Desert

The Arizona Trading Post
The Arizona Trading Post on the way to The Grand Canyon.
The Arizona Trading Post
The Arizona Trading Post
Arizona desert
The desert is littered with weird stuff just lying about that has been there for years.
Arizona desert
Arizona desert road to Grand Canyon
Arizona desert road to the Grand Canyon.
The Arizona desert
The Arizona desert.
The Arizona desert
The Arizona desert.
Arizona desert rest stop
A rest stop on the road to the Grand Canyon.

A Joshua Tree Forest on the road to the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon West Airport
At Grand Canyon West Airport ready for my helicopter tour…

My helicopter arrives ready to pick me up and take me on my journey through the Grand Canyon…

Grand Canyon helicopter tour
Grand Canyon helicopter tour
Grand Canyon helicopter tour
Grand Canyon helicopter tour
Grand Canyon helicopter tour
Up, up and away. Riding helicopters is the weirdest sensation. Doesn’t feel like you are flying. More like you have been lifted off the ground by a crane or something. Or maybe that’s just what I told myself to stop me panicking and freaking out.
Grand Canyon helicopter tour
On the helicopter heading towards the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon helicopter tour
On the helicopter heading towards the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon helicopter tour
On the helicopter heading towards the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon helicopter tour
On the helicopter at the edge of the Grand Canyon. Don’t look down!!
Grand Canyon helicopter tour
Flying through the Grand Canyon and over the Colorado River.
base of the Grand Canyon
Landing at the base of the Grand Canyon…
base of the Grand Canyon
Landing at the base of the Grand Canyon…
Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon. One word to describe it: “Beautiful”
Colorado River, Grand Canyon
Wandering along the base of the Grand Canyon along the Colorado River.
Jay on the Colorado River
Colorado River Boat Trip
Ready for the boat trip along the Colorado River.
Jay on the Colorado River
Boat ride along the Colorado River.
Boat ride along the Colorado River.
Grand Canyon
Wandering through the base of the Grand Canyon along the Colorado River.
Grand Canyon
You might just be able to make out the camouflaged Reptile hiding in the shade of this rock.
Grand Canyon
You might just be able to make out the camouflaged Reptile hiding in the shade of this rock.
Grand Canyon helicopter tour
Continuing the helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, we’re off to our next location. This pilot likes to get a little too close to the rockface for my taste! Which the cheeky sod obviously does deliberately just to put the fear of God into his passengers.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
I know I shouldn’t do it, but I just had to walk over to the edge and see how close I could get before I had to stop myself. Wanna see how close I got? See next photo…
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Don’t look down… !!
Grand Canyon, Arizona
At the edge of the Grand Canyon. This location is called Eagle Point and is home of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. A glass-bottomed bridge that juts out 20 metres from the Edge.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
At the edge of the Grand Canyon. This location is called Eagle Point and is home of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. A glass-bottomed bridge that juts out 20 metres from the Edge. You can see the bridge in the top left of the picture. I tried it out. A little unnerving. They wouldn’t let you take any photos there though.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Foolishly looking over the edge of the Grand Canyon…. again! This is VERY dangerous and not recommended. No barriers. No chance of survival. Not recommended. It is a sheer drop of about 5000 ft!
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona
Grand Canyon, Arizona
At the edge of the Grand Canyon. This location is called Eagle Point and is home of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. A glass-bottomed bridge that juts out 20 metres from the Edge. You can see the bridge in the top left of the picture. I tried it out. A little unnerving. They wouldn’t let you take any photos there though.
Grand Canyon, Arizona
At the edge of the Grand Canyon. This location is called Eagle Point and is home of the Grand Canyon Skywalk. A glass-bottomed bridge that juts out 20 metres from the Edge.
Guano Point in the Grand Canyon National Park
At Guano Point in the Grand Canyon National Park.
Native American dance ritual
Native American dance ritual for the tourists.
Native American dance ritual
Native American dance ritual
Native American dance ritual
At Eagle Point.
At Eagle Point.
Beavis Teepee Bunghole
As Beavis would say: “I need Teepee for my Bungholio”
Guano Point in the Grand Canyon National Park
At Guano Point in the Grand Canyon National Park.
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