The Road to Grand Canyon West

Road to Skywalk is paved!

Construction Ahead
Road Construction sign

Have you heard that the road to Grand Canyon West where the Skywalk is located is not paved?  People chatting with me frequently have been told that the road is to be avoided because of the damage to cars.  I happily respond that the road is completely paved!  But it hasn’t always been that way.

The bumpy road had been a source of complaints and difficulties for many years – since before the Skywalk opened in March 2007.  Tour operators had complained of broken windows, flat tires, missing hubcaps and dust.  Car rental companies didn’t want you to take their cars on that route!

Beginning of the new road
Beginning of the new road

Websites with Grand Canyon West information warned drivers of the dangers of driving the “unpaved section” of the road for several years.  Since most of those websites haven’t been updated, the story is still being circulated.  But now, with the completion of the last nine miles, the road to the Skywalk is fully paved.

 

Legal Challenges

The road was the biggest drawback in reaching the Skywalk. Paving of the final stretch cost more than $30 million. The tribe had hoped to have it done when it opened the Skywalk in 2007, but a legal challenge from a local dude rancher and a lack of funding caused postponement. The tribe paid the rancher, Nigel Turner, $750,000 to settle a lawsuit over the paving project, and saved up federal funds for 10 years.

Once the paving of the final section began, Turner reopened his case, saying an easement he granted to the federal government to allow public access on his property off Diamond Bar Road had expired, amenities agreed upon in the settlement weren’t being carried out  and construction was harming his guests.

He put up a roadblock and began charging tourists a fee to cross his land which enraged the tribe. The Hualapai responded by shuttling in tourists and asking the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to approve a temporary road that would bypass Turner’s property.

Turner eventually reached an agreement with the federal government over the road and the final paving was completed in August 2014.

Tribal Point of View

Sherry J. Counts, Hualapai Tribe chairwoman, was very excited about finally getting the paving project finished. This has been a long process to complete this Project. She thanks the people of Mohave County for their support.

At the ribbon cutting celebration for the completed road, Tribal, state and federal officials all noted the obvious benefit of the paving: The trip for the thousands of visitors every year to Grand Canyon West would be smoother and faster. Hualapai Tribal member Rory Majenty, who emceed the road celebration, pointed out another benefit for tribal members, “We probably won’t have to buy a new truck every few years like we used to have to do because of the rough road!”

The paving of Diamond Bar Road had been a dream of the tribe for many years. As the Tribe began to develop Grand Canyon West into an alternate tourist destination, they realized that the many visitors would want a more comfortable ride to the destination.

The Hualapai depend on tourism, ranching, and arts/crafts to fund their economy.  The proximity of  Grand Canyon West is a compelling reason for folks staying in Las Vegas to visit the Grand Canyon at the West Rim.   Some 700,000 people visit Grand Canyon West (outside the boundaries of Grand Canyon National Park) each year.

Paving is Complete

The paving of the road to Grand Canyon West is complete so if anyone tells you not to drive there because of the rough road, tell them it just isn’t true any more!  Be sure to schedule a visit to the Skywalk, either by tour from Las Vegas or by car.

Newly Paved portion 2014
Newly Paved portion 2014

52 Responses

  1. I want to visit the Skywalk but do not see a pricing for the tickets. I do see the Legacy package but that does not have the Skywalk ticket included. I do not care for the package mainly just want to visit the SSkywalk. Can you please assist with a pricing for just the SkyWalk. Thank You

  2. Please let me know how much a short heli tour over the canyon west costs currently and whether I could book it on the internet ahead. By a short heli tour I mean about half an hour or so. Thank you very much!

  3. If you book the Over The Edge Heli & Boat Tour does that cover you for the skywalk? or do you still have to purchase a Legacy Gold ticket aswell ?

  4. we want to visit the west of grand canyon, do we have to purchase tickets? When we were in Grand Canyon Village we just drove around on our own after entering the park.

    1. At Grand Canyon West you will have to park your car at the Welcome Center and purchase your package there. Then you will use their shuttle service to go around to the different view areas.

  5. Is there anywhere on the West side you are able to take good photographs of the Grand Canyon, as I notice on the skywalk you cannot take photo’s

    Thanks

    1. You can take photos everywhere else. You just can’t take them from the Skywalk. There are photographers on hand to take a picture of you walking on the Skywalk which you can purchase at the gift shop.

  6. I need your help to understand the Gold package tour.

    1) To which address should I come ?
    2) What should I do once I reach there, what’s the first event ? is there any tour map which I can follow ?
    3) There are multiple events in this package, which one should I go first ?
    4) If I want to buy photographer in sky walk, where should I ? What will be the price ?
    5) Is there any limitation that I should spend only particular time on skywalk ?
    6) In which view points lunch will be provided ? how to approach ? will I have vegetarian meal also ?
    7) Can I use the shuttle more than one time to visit view points ?

    1. You will need to drive to:
      Grand Canyon West Airport (GCW),
      5001 Diamond Bar Road
      Peach Springs, AZ 86434
      35.988657, -113.819763

      It isn’t really set up so that you have to follow a particular order – you can visit any of the view areas or the Hualapai Ranch whenever you choose. You get to each area by riding on their shuttle bus system.

      If the Skywalk is really busy they might encourage you to go quickly but if you get there early enough in the day you can explore for a longer amount of time generally. Their photographer offers to take your picture. You can choose whether or not you want to purchase the photo after you look at it. They have various pricing depending on what option you take.

      You will be able to get a vegetarian meal at any of the eating places. They offer food at the Skywalk, at Guano Point and at the Hualapai Ranch. The best option is probably at Guano Point.

  7. Hi,

    We’re planning to drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West in mid February 2017. Are there any mountain passes on this drive, or typically any snowy or icy conditions that we should plan for?

    1. Melinda,

      Typically the answer is No. However, there is always a chance that it can snow in February between Las Vegas and Grand Canyon West.

      The Elevations don’t go over 4500-4800 feet. Las Vegas itself is in the 1800-2200 foot range and then Grand Canyon West is the Highest point on your trip and is in the 4500-4800 feet elevation range.

      Thank You,

      Karlyn

  8. Basically is it possible to park your car, walk around and see views of the canyon, maybe even walk on a trail for a bit without having to buy tickets to anything or walking out on the Skywalk

  9. Are there RV campgrounds close to this area so we don’t have to drive so far after we park our trailer? What are the closest options?

  10. How late can we stay at the Skywalk center? I would like to see the sunset but that will be after the closing hours of the center.

    1. Between Las Vegas and the West Rim there are a couple of gas stations. The prices there are generally higher so you may want to fuel up before leaving Las Vegas. If you are coming to the West Rim by way of Kingman, there are no gas stations after Kingman.

  11. Are there any canyon stops from Vegas OTHER THAN the west rim (within 2 hour drive)?
    Please provide another stop from Vegas even if it is a detour, would like to see the Colorado River from the stop and roads available for rental car (convertible).

    1. Heather,

      The other Canyon Stop to see the Colorado River is stopping on the Colorado River Bridge behind Hoover Dam and look down into Black Canyon. Price is: FREE!
      This is the only other Canyon within 2 hours drive from Las Vegas to see the Colorado River.
      No, it doesn’t get you the Grand Canyon checkmark you may be seeking.
      The South Rim is 4 1/2 hours away from Las Vegas, Grand Canyon West is about 2 hours from Las Vegas. Those are the ONLY two options I can offer you for now…until I can learn how to make my own Canyons and Colorado River near Las Vegas…
      You can go up to Red Rock Canyon area to the West of Las Vegas…however, the Colorado River doesn’t go through there.

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  12. Hello, We will be visiting Las Vegas in late September and plan to drive to the Grand Canyon. This will be our first time seeing the Grand Canyon. Which rim would you suggest to see for the first time visitors — we would be willing to drive the 4.5 hrs. (Also, one member of our party is in a wheelchair — not sure which Rim would be more handicap friendly and/or accessible.)

  13. Do you have to pay an entrance fee to the tribe plus the addtional legacy package or Is the park entrance fee included in the package? I see the minimum package is $50 per person. I just want to make sure me and my husband have enough money. no additional surprises. I dont need to go on the skywalk. I just want to go see the canyon.

    1. Beata Lee,

      Yes, the Entrance Fee onto the Hualapai Tribal Lands IS included in the Legacy Package.

      This is how Entrance Fee’s are handled at Grand Canyon West.

      Thank You for asking,

      Karlyn

    1. Debra,

      The Train Trip takes you to the South Rim from Williams, Arizona ONLY. Grand Canyon West is over 240 miles away by Highway. So, no, the Train Trip does NOT include Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk. Also, Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk are located on the Hualapai Nation portion of the Grand Canyon. The South Rim is the most photographed portion of the Grand Canyon and contains the views you have seen over the course of time and are expecting.

      Thank You,

      Karlyn

    1. Scott,

      You do NOT need to buy Tickets in Advance for the Skywalk.

      We often recommend you buy them when you get there in case Weather or other issues prevent you from arriving on your originally planned day to be there.

      Karlyn

  14. My husband and I will be at grand canyon south rim only on the 20th of nov this year, 2018. will there be a charge of entering that rim or how much if we will try the skywalk? My husband sometimes has gout pains. Will that be a problem? Many things

  15. Hi
    I am planning to visit the GC West rim in Dec. How cold does it feel around this time ? Also, when trying to buy tickets, online it says Legacy package without meal.skywalk is $46.95, but once I select purchase option price drops to about $34.95 per person + some tax (but still lower than $46.95 pp). Is it because its winter and they offer reduced price ?

  16. Hi
    I’m planning on visiting in March and wanted to know the drive to Grand Canyon west from Las Vegas is it challenging? Narrow roads, mountain edges, cliffs or anything to be aware? Weird question just not used to driving in those environments

    1. Lee,

      The drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West is much improved now. However, the road can be narrow in portions where you leave Highway 93 onto Highway 25 and start your drive through Dolan Springs. Also, watch the speed limits as they drop them dramatically and have patrolled that area quite heavily at times.

      For the most part, you won’t encounter cliffs…the main drop will be going over the Colorado River Bridge behind Hoover Dam if heights are an issue.

      Otherwise, you won’t really experience a Cliff until you get out to Grand Canyon West.

      Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  17. Hi,

    Is Grand Canyon west open on april 2nd week? I read some news that they closed it and only east and south rim are open.

    Thank you.

    1. Jigs,

      The North Rim opens Annually on May 15th.

      The South Rim and now the East Entrance to the South Rim are OPEN!

      (The East Entrance just opened on April 8th after being closed for 1 year due to COVID-19 restrictions.)

      Come Enjoy,

      Karlyn

  18. Can you clarify how to get from Kingman to Skywalk for me ? I emailed the ADOT when I saw notes on Google maps about restricted use roads. Here is my questions to them and their response. They have me questioning going there in early Dec. Are they correct or not ?

    Your Input: I am looking at Google maps for a route from Kingman to Grand Canyon West and it lists “restricted usage or private roads” and “Partial restricted usage road” and “Restricted usage road” in their instructions. What do these terms mean ? I don’t want to trespass. In particular it says this for Diamond Bar Rd and Eagle Point Rd. I don’t see another route that doesn’t use these roads. Thank you. 10/22/2021 8:04:49 AM

    ADOT Response: Only people who live (at the road) behind this sign or who have to do something there (visit someone, stay there in a hotel etc. – the “restricted usage”) are allowed to drive there. But it is e.g. not allowed to drive just through such a road because it is a shortcut for you. These roads may not be maintained and only 4 wheel drive vehicles maybe able to pass. Most likely they do not go through to the Grand Canyon. Many roads around the Grand Canyon will be closed Nov. 1 due to weather and no maintenance. 10/22/2021 8:42:54 AM

    1. Mark,

      Wow, that is a very obtuse response from ADOT. However, if it from someone sitting in Phoenix…then I wouldn’t be too surprised. Sometimes things in Northern Arizona are out of sight, out of mind to those in Phoenix…so they make assumptions.

      From Kingman, I like to take the Stockton Hill Road up to the Pierce Ferry Road that takes you to the Diamond Bar Road…they are BOTH paved and DO NOT require 4WD. In fact, it’s paved ALL THE WAY out to Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk from Kingman if you take the Stockton Hill Road.

      You can also take Highway 93 towards Vegas then turn off near Dolan Springs onto the Pierce Ferry Road that takes you to the Diamond Bar Road too.

      In fact, here’s a link to a Google map of these routes: https://goo.gl/maps/b7CcYfuVJkeWeJT26

      I hope this helps,

      Karlyn

  19. So excited to be visiting in December. I’ve been to Williams and the South Rim and it’s the most amazing sight that I have ever seen. I’ll be taking my 80 year old mom to Vegas and will be driving to the Grand Canyon due to flexibility of going on our own. It will be my mom’s first time. I want to know how if you recommend the south or west rim. I know that the west is closer but is it as amazing as the south rim? Will it be worth driving the extra 2-3 hours(4-6roundtrip)? Will she be as amazed and mesmerized with the west rim as I was with the south rim?

    1. Josie,

      The South Rim is what your Mom is expecting. The West Rim or Grand Canyon West is for those who don’t have enough time coming from Las Vegas to take in the full Grand Canyon vista that they are expecting. I highly recommend the South Rim as the First time visit…the only reason you wouldn’t is if you absolutely don’t have time for it.

      Just the quick stat’s we always rattle off about the Grand Canyon…it’s 277 miles long, approximately 1 mile deep and 18 miles across…you ONLY get to witness that “Grandness” of breadth and depth at the South Rim…or North Rim. The North Rim closes December 1st each year…so it’s not a possibility for you anyways. Also, the Lodge and other surrounding services at the North Rim closed on October 15th.

      Anyways, I like the West Rim or Grand Canyon West because you can take it in within less than 4 hours and it’s close to Las Vegas. It’s where you can walk on the Skywalk or take a Helicopter to the bottom to enjoy a boat ride. However, I believe it should be your second or third visit to the Grand Canyon…and it’s highly convenient to add to a Las Vegas getaway!

      Either way, you can’t go wrong because it is the Grand Canyon. However, the pictures and stories she has heard all of her life are most likely of the South Rim area.

      Enjoy Your Visit,

      Karlyn

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