Julie United States 45 Comments

Located on the West Rim of the Grand Canyon, the Skywalk is an easily accessible viewpoint from Las Vegas. It looks and sounds thrilling…a glass walkway perched high above the canyon floor, offering spectacular views of the Grand Canyon. But is the Grand Canyon Skywalk worth it?

What to Expect at Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk

How Much Does it Cost?

We visited Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk on Sunday December 23, 2018. With it being a weekend day during a busy holiday week, we expected larger than normal crowds.

To save time, we purchased our tickets in advance. For our family of four, basic admission tickets plus the added fee for the Skywalk (called Legacy Skywalk tickets) cost a whopping $286.28!!! That’s $66.90 per person plus $18.68 in taxes.

Fortunately, prices have decreased a little bit since our visit. I recommend checking the official website for updated pricing, but currently these are the prices for visiting Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk (as of January 2021):

  • Grand Canyon West Entrance Fee: $45
  • Extra fee for the Skywalk (optional): $23

For a family of four, this adds up to $272, including tax. 

This better be an amazing experience for this price!

Getting to the Skywalk

We drove out from Las Vegas, stopping along the way for a quick visit to Hoover Dam.

If you drive directly from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West, it is a 2.5 hour drive (130 miles). Most of the drive is on a highway but the final 45 miles is on a two-lane paved road through small towns.

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Skywalk

The Skywalk is not located in Grand Canyon National Park. It is located on the Hualapai Indian Reservation and is owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe.

Once at Grand Canyon West, we parked in an enormous parking lot. The lot was filled and we had to wait in line in order to find a parking spot.

Next to the parking lot is the Visitor Center. If you did not purchase your tickets in advance, you can buy them here. The line for tickets was roughly a 30-minute wait. Good thing we bought ours in advance!

The Visitor Center is located several miles from the canyon and the Skywalk. The only way to get to the Skywalk is by shuttle bus. You are not permitted to drive to the Skywalk.

The line for the shuttle bus was very long as you can see from our photo. However, they did have shuttle buses running frequently so we only had to wait for 15 minutes.

Line for Skywalk Shuttle

The line for the shuttle bus at the Visitor Center.

Eagle Point

The shuttle bus drops you off at Eagle Point. This is a decent viewpoint over the canyon.

Eagle Point View

From here, you can also see the Skywalk jutting out over the canyon.

Eagle Point


We took a few photos at Eagle Point and then headed to the Skywalk.

West Rim Grand Canyon

More Lines, More “Surprises” at the Skywalk

We were shocked to see such a long line to get onto the Skywalk. It was so long that we considered skipping it altogether. But we had come so far, and paid so much, that it would be silly to skip it.

So, we got in line.

And the line slowly trudged forward.

While we waited, Native American women put on a show in the small amphitheater. Tim and Tyler took advantage of our waiting time to get food at one of the small restaurants. They had to wait in another long, slow moving line and it took them 45 minutes to get served overpriced, mediocre food.

By the way, you are not permitted to bring your own food into Grand Canyon West.

Hualapai Ampitheater

Native American show in the ampitheater.


Line for Skywalk

A view of the line to enter the Skywalk.


The Line Grand Canyon West

It took us an hour and fifteen minutes to enter the Skywalk building.

Once inside, we had to wait in another short line. It was here that we learned that no photography is permitted on the Skywalk. No cameras. No cellphones. All of your personal belongings need to be stored in a free locker before walking onto the Skywalk.

So, we waited almost an hour and a half and just learned that photography was not allowed. I was extremely frustrated by this point (as were many other people in line).

We did not see any signs outside of the Skywalk building letting visitors know that photography is not permitted. It’s also not readily stated on their website. They do mention “no photography” in the FAQ section of their website (that I read after our visit). Their reason for no photography: they state that it is for safety reasons and that they do not want cameras and cell phones falling to the canyon below. But really, I believe they are simply trying to make more money.

How much money? It costs $17 for a single photo and $69 for the photo package. There are photographers who will take your photo on the Skywalk and you can purchase these at the end of your visit.

On the Skywalk

Before stepping foot onto the Skywalk, you will put shoe covers over your shoes to protect the glass surface.

If you want one of their photographers to take your photo on the Skywalk, you will have to wait in another line. On the day we did this, the wait time for photos was 30 minutes.

We skipped the photo line and stepped out onto the Skywalk.

We have done similar things in other places around the world. I do have to say that the glass floor of the Skywalk is very clear and it’s really cool to see the ground way below your feet. At other sites we have been to, the glass is so scratched up that it’s hard to see through. Not at the Skywalk. If you have a problem with heights, this could be challenging for you.

You should also know that the Skywalk does not hover 4,000 feet above the canyon as it is advertised on their website. The Skywalk sits above a small plateau so you are only 700 feet off the ground.

We spent about 10 minutes on the Skywalk. The view is nothing special. The reason to do this is for the experience of walking out on a platform suspended high off of the ground.

Guano Point

Once finished at the Skywalk, the shuttle takes you to another viewpoint called Guano Point. Here, you can enjoy more views of the canyon and hike on the rocks.

Guano Point

Guano Point View

View from Guano Point

From Guano Point, the shuttle takes you to the Hualapai Ranch and then back to the Visitor Center.

Note:  There are no direct shuttles from the Skywalk back to the Visitor Center. You must ride the shuttle to Guano Point and Hualapai Ranch even if you do not plan to visit them.

Is the Skywalk Worth It?

No. This entire experience was one frustration after another. And to think that we spent nearly $300 makes it even more irritating.

I know that we visited during a holiday weekend when crowds are larger. But even without the lines, this experience does not deserve its huge price tag.

$272 is a lot of money to spend for a family of four, and that does not include meals or the photo package. Compare this price tag with the $35 park entrance fee if you went to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon instead of the Skywalk.

I understand that the Skywalk is not on national park land so prices will be higher for this attraction. I don’t have a problem with that. We are all for spending some money, supporting the Hualapai Tribe, and visiting an extraordinary place in the process. The Skywalk is a great way to attract visitors to the Grand Canyon and it is a cool experience, but it is overpriced for what you get.

West Rim View of the Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Skywalk is advertised as a quick and easy day trip for visitors in Las Vegas to see the Grand Canyon. And it’s a great idea, which is exactly why we did it.

If you are in Las Vegas and have never seen the Grand Canyon, this may be a day trip that you are considering.

However, Grand Canyon West lacks the grandeur and awe-inspiring vistas that you see in photographs. To get these views, you need to head farther east.

If your only view of the Grand Canyon was from the Skywalk and Grand Canyon West, you would be leaving with the wrong impression of the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon West simply does not have the same “wow” factor you get on the South Rim.

An Alternative to the Skywalk

If you consider that it is a 2.5-hour drive to the Skywalk, with just two more hours of driving, you can be standing on the South Rim with more spectacular views.

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Village

Pay your park entrance fee, walk to Mather Point from the Visitor Center, and enjoy this view.

Mather Point

The view from Mather Point, just a short walk from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center

Or check out these views from the South Rim.

Powell Point Grand Canyon

The view from Powell Point

Grand Canyon Viewpoint

Mohave Point at sunrise

Mohave Point

Another view of Mohave Point

Want to see more views of the Grand Canyon? Read our article 16 Amazing South Rim Viewpoints in the Grand Canyon.

There is no comparison between the West Rim and the South Rim, in our opinion. And you only need to pay the $35 park entrance for your entire family (and it’s good for seven days!). Worth it? Absolutely.

However, to make a visit to the South Rim worthwhile, you need to plan to spend at least a few hours here. It can be done as a day trip from Las Vegas, but you will spend most of the day in your car (it takes 4.5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon). That is nine hours of driving in one day…doable but not enjoyable.

A better option is to spend the night at the Grand Canyon Village or in Tusayan and head back to Las Vegas (or continue your road trip) the next day. Of course, more time is always better.

How to Make the Skywalk Worth It

If driving out the South Rim is not an option for you, I do believe that there are ways to make the West Rim and the Skywalk a worthwhile experience.

First of all, you have to know what to expect. Plan to wait in line and to know that you will not be able to take your own photos on the Skywalk.

If you can, get here early in the day to avoid the crowds.

Eat a big breakfast in Las Vegas before your drive out and have snacks in the car for your drive back. Avoid eating at the slow, mediocre restaurants at Grand Canyon West.

Buy your tickets in advance. You will get to skip at least one line if you do this.

Consider skipping the Skywalk. You will save $23 per person. And you can still enjoy the view from Eagle Point and Guano Point. Once on site, you can purchase your Skywalk tickets inside the Skywalk building if you change your mind.

If you want to see photos taken from the Skywalk, click here.

Before you go, take a look at the Frequently Asked Questions section of the official website so you don’t have any surprises.

In Conclusion

If you want jaw-dropping views of the Grand Canyon, skip the Skywalk and drive the extra two hours to the South Rim. You’ll have loads of amazing photos and a lot more money in your wallet.

Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk would be worth it if they reduced the entrance fees and allowed photography on the Skywalk. Until then, the South Rim is the most accessible (and much more spectacular) portion of the Grand Canyon to visit.

If you are in Las Vegas and looking for day trip ideas, take a look at these:

Exploring the Valley of Fire near Las Vegas

Two Fun, Short Hikes to do in Red Rock Canyon

And if you are traveling as a family, here are some ideas for things to do in Las Vegas:

15 Things to do in Las Vegas with Teenagers

You Might Also Like:


Grand Canyon Skywalk Worth It


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Comments 45

  1. A picture speaks a 1,000 words! It was your pictures of the lines that convinced me there are better options to view this majestic canyon. I appreciate your honesty and will find the perfect trip for my family.

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  2. Thank you so much!! I was just about to buy tickets for the skywalk. I will definitely follow your advice and visit South rim instead. Thank you again!


  3. Hi,
    This review couldn’t have come at a better time as we (party of four as well ) are travelling to Vegas next month with a day trip to the Canyons planned.
    After reading your review I think it will be best, as you suggest, to visit the West Rim and use the money saved to stay overnight .
    Much appreciated. Thank you.
    PS. Happy Travels and look forward in reading about your future travel adventures !

  4. This is such good explanation. Thanks for helping me to make a decision on Sky wall. I am definitely skipping it 👍🏻

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      Good question. Our entire visit was roughly 4 hours (from the time we parked in the main lot until we got back to our car). That includes the waiting time in lines. On less busy days you should be able to do this faster, especially if the line to the Skywalk is shorter. If you get here at 1 pm, you will have enough time to do everything (but just know that you will be arriving at the busiest time of the day). Cheers, Julie

  5. As an affordable option from Las Vegas you can get picked up in a luxury motorcoach complete with a tour guide and amenities. For slightly more then the legacy ticket price this option is sure to wow, with over 1,000 google reviews and a average of 4.8 stars the record speaks for itself. Give us a try you won’t be disappointed-https://www.grandcanyondestinations.com

  6. Thanks for this beautiful article. This information will really help me to plan my travel. I love to take photos from my DSLR and as at Skywalk , it doesn’t allow you to take pics , I also agree , its not worth giving that much money in ticket. From your pics , it looks like I can get a good snap of canyon from Eagle Point too.

    I am planning to visit Vegas during end of January (btwn 23rd – 26th) for my 2nd yr anniversary 🙂 and want to keep it simple. Planning to visit West Rim & Hover dam and return to Vegas. And 2nd day, planning to visit lower , upper antelope canyon…. have a night stay there at Page and next morning return to Vegas. If time permits and i have patience to drive, i will try to return to Vegas via South Rim.

    I have few questions, if you can help me with :
    1. You mentioned – “The only way to get to the Skywalk is by shuttle bus”. You have to drop your car at Visitor Center & take shuttle bus. Where is this Visitor Center. Is there any address or it will come in the route of Skywalk when you go via Google Map.
    2. From where I can book the ticket for Shuttle Bus. Is it from Visitor Center ? Also, this is the Shuttle route right – Visitor Center -> Eagle Point -> Guano Point -> Hualapai Ranch -> Back to Visitor Center
    3. I am travelling in January (btwn 23rd – 26th), will it be very cold ? Any suggestions you want to give.


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      Hello Mainak. On Google Maps, enter “Grand Canyon West.” The building is the visitor center. Just to the south is the parking lot and just to the north of the building is where you get on the shuttle. The shuttle bus is included in the ticket price. In January, the average high is 45 degrees and the average low is 18 degrees Fahrenheit at the South Rim, warmer in Vegas and Antelope Canyon. These are just averages, so it could be warmer or cooler than this when you visit. A little bit of snow makes it even more beautiful! So, pack lots of layers, a hat and gloves. The advantage is that crowds should be low. If you can stop by the South Rim, it’s amazing. You don’t have to go all the way to Grand Canyon Village. You can get a nice view from Desert View Point without a lot of extra driving. Cheers, Julie

      1. Thanks for the reply. Hopefully its not that much cold and sky should be clear during that time so that we can enjoy the view. For the “Horseshoe Bend”, i don’t thing we need any tour or shuttle service. We can park our car and walk right ? How much we need to walk and is there specific time of the day, the view looks good there….. like for e.g. its noon time for Antelope Canyon

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  7. OMG I’m pretty sure it took less than 4 hours to get to south rim from Las Vegas, but I was going 105 nearly the whole way. Wasn’t just me I was in a caravan of cars all going that speed. Thanks for the review we are going back to LV next Spring I think I’ll go to the north side and see Mt Zion as well

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      We haven’t done this yet, but look into visiting the Toroweap Overlook. The images I see online are amazing!! If you go in late spring, the road may be open, but I think it is closed most of the year because of snow. Cheers, Julie

  8. Great honest review that lets one know what to expect on a trip to the skywalk. Photography may be prohibited because the myth of the 4000 foot drop below the skywalk would be revealed.

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  9. I’m planning a trip with my daughter to Grand Canyon this November, we couldn’t decide which rim to visit. After reading your review, we made up our mind.
    I just want to say THANK YOU for such an honest blog. You perfectly pictured what to expect.

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  10. I am going to be in Lake Havasu, AZ and would like to plan a day trip to the South Rim during the last week in February. We are not big hikers but both walk about 4 miles a day.
    I am a little concerned about the drive and the weather.
    Any suggestions for us?

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      Hello Kelley. In early February, there is a slight chance of snow. You will have to keep an eye on the weather during your visit (both for the drive and to go hiking). There are a bunch of short hikes you can do on the south rim of the Grand Canyon: the Rim trail, the hike to Ooh Aah Point, a part of the Bright Angel Trail. If you haven’t seen it, take a look at our Best Things to do in the Grand Canyon post and the Grand Canyon Viewpoints for ideas of things to do. Cheers, Julie

  11. Very useful info. Thanks!
    My plan:
    Leave Vegas early in the morning, visit Hoover Dam, visit West Rim (skip skywalk), then go to South Rim and stay at night.
    Explore South Rim the next day and return to Vegas.

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  12. My husband and I did it last year and was so disappointed and felt cheated by the exorbitant fees and no photo rules. Personally it is so commercial and overrated.but the helicopter trip compensated our canyon experience.

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  13. Great article. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it with us. Can’t believe the no photos rule! Terrible!

  14. From what little I’ve heard about the Skywalk in the past 10 years, I had no desire to go. After reading your extensive article on it, it just confirms even more! I’ll stick with the South Rim. Thanks for the write-up.

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  15. I went to the skywalk when it first opened and the price wasn’t so high. Yes they did not allow cameras or phones in case u dropped them on the glass bridge. Also we had an awesome time there my family spent an hour out on bridge and had pictures taken at four different spots and I have the photos worth the money. They also let my daughter and my grandkids run amid jump so they could have an action picture on bridge. A site we so enjoyed and yes the south rim is prettier but all in all the Grand Canyon is breath taken.

  16. We have lived in Arizona for 10 years and have never had an interest in the Skywalk from the moment we learned about the prices. We’re pretty generous with our travels, one of the few things we splurge on, but the prices, the nickle and diming for everything, & especially the no photography rule has always been a deterrent. Plus, there are so many other places to take in the Grand Canyon as you mentioned. The most amazing views are where the lines aren’t. Glad to see we aren’t missing out on anything.

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      We always hear about the Skywalk when we are in Vegas so this time we figured we should go check it out. When I went to purchase our tickets and saw the huge price tag, we almost skipped it altogether. And when we got to the Skywalk, and the lines were so long, we were amazed at how many other people were willing to hand over so much money for this experience. The South Rim viewpoints are much better than the Skywalk so you are not missing out on anything. Cheers, Julie

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