If you're coming from Part 1 of our Must-See Guide to the Grand Canyon, then you've already learned that the Grand Canyon scenery can differ greatly from region to region. Different climates, weather conditions, and elevation have altered the plant and animal life and even the canyon's erosion patterns at various areas of the park. This segment of the Must-See Guide offers a more detailed description of the Grand Canyon West, the rugged cowboy alternative to the Grand Canyon South Rim.
Grand Canyon occidentale
Compared to the South Rim, the Grand Canyon West is a considerable distance closer to Las Vegas - about a 2-hour drive or about a half-hour flight. Here the climate is often warmer than the South Rim and can reach considerably high temperatures in the summertime - especially on the canyon floor. You can browse a variety of West Rim tours flying out of Las Vegas daily here. Then, check out our recommendations for the must-see locations throughout the Grand Canyon West.
Emerging from the jagged canyon rock face is a massive figure resembling an eagle taking flight. This neatly-sculpted form was actually eroded naturally over millions upon millions of years by the Colorado River and desert winds. Visitors to the West Rim can reach Eagle Point onboard the complimentary shuttle service operating throughout the area. See this incredible formation from the canyon's edge or better yet - from atop the Skywalk Bridge.
Grand Canyon SkyWalk
Opened in 2007, the Skywalk Bridge gives Grand Canyon sightseers a viewing opportunity like any other. This incredible feat of architecture features a solid glass-bottomed bridge that allows guests to literally walk over the Grand Canyon floor. From the Skywalk, you can see panoramic views of the canyon walls across the gorge including perfect views of Eagle Point across the canyon. Inside the Skywalk building is an art and souvenir shop as well as the fine dining restaurant Sa' Nyu Wa, offering Asian-infused Native American cuisine.
Guano Point is a unique stretch of land extending into the middle of the canyon. This area once served a short-lived purpose as a mine, the ruins of which still stand at the cliff's edge. Venture out to the end of Guano Point and climb the small summit for incredible sights 360-degree sights of the canyon and Colorado River. Guano Point can be reached via a short drive aboard the complimentary shuttle service available at the West Rim.
The Colorado River neatly cuts the canyon in half - in fact, it is responsible for eroding the entire thing! After millions upon millions of years, the endless flow of water and wind carved these rock walls down to even a mile deep in some places. The West Rim offers the unique opportunity for visitors to see the Colorado River from the canyon floor via a short helicopter flight. You can also experience the Colorado River aboard a pontoon boat or on an exhilarating whitewater rafting tour.