The Grand Canyon has been a popular sightseeing destination for the last 100 years. For a long time, the best views available were from the overlooks near the Canyon’s edge or one of the many viewpoints located around this 1900-square-mile natural wonder. In 2007, this changed with the opening of the Grand Canyon Skywalk at Eagle Point, an elevated platform that extends over the rim of the Canyon. It allows you to capture an unparalleled view that you can’t get anywhere else.
Five hours from the Grand Canyon National Park sits the National American Reservation belonging to the Hualapai tribe. The Hualapai tribe worked with businessman David Jin and architect Mark Ross Johnson to construct the 10-foot-wide horseshoe-shaped Skywalk. Their goal was to enable visitors to be able to observe the majesty of the Canyon in a way that only birds could previously. The Skywalk bridge extends 70 feet over the mouth of the Canyon and has a glass deck that allows visitors to look directly down into the Canyon itself.
Many first time visitors to the Grand Canyon Skywalk have to slowly acclimate themselves to the view because it literally feels like you’re walking on air. Both the deck and the railing have large sections that are entirely glass, allowing visitors to observe the Canyon’s beauty from an elevation of almost 5000 feet. For safety reasons, the Hualapai do not allow personal possessions on the bridge, including cameras. This allows visitors to take in the view without distractions. If you wish to have some photos to remember your trip, the Hualapai offer many photo opportunities with every tour package, and professional photographs are available after the tour.
Because it is open to the elements, some people worry about the safety of the Skywalk. However, there is no need for concern. Eight 32-by-32 inch posts support the thick layers of the bridge. These posts connect to four large concrete areas that then connect to 96 separate thick steel cables extending 46 feet into the cliffside. The bridge itself can resist 100 mph winds and can withstand an 8.0 magnitude earthquake within 50 miles.
Everybody wants their proposal and wedding to be memorable and unique, but it can be difficult to find a place that truly captures the beauty of a relationship. The Skywalk has become a popular destination for proposals, weddings, and honeymoons. Because of this, there are a number of packages that provide meals, professional photography, gifts, and tours for these beautiful moments. Looking over the edge of the world with your closest loved ones is a memorable and special experience.
Currently, the Skywalk receives almost 400,000 visitors every year. The majority of people choose to visit Grand Canyon West during the warm summer months. If you’re looking to visit the Skywalk when there’s less of a crowd, the autumn and winter months are less busy. Between April and June, the rainfall averages remain low and temperatures are comfortable. Grand Canyon West remains open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day, even during major holidays. They sell the last ticket at 4:30 p.m. from November through March, so plan accordingly.
There are many ways to reach Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk. The Skywalk is around five hours away from the Grand Canyon National Park. It is around 120 miles east of Las Vegas, NV, and around 70 miles north of Kingman, AZ. There is a small airport in Grand Canyon West that receives flights from Las Vegas. The Hualapai tribe offers shuttles to the Skywalk from the Welcome Center and the local lodge.
During the early Summer months, the Skywalk and Grand Canyon West become significantly busier. This is because the Skywalk is open to any person who can walk on their own, even young children. If you’re looking for a vacation that will stick in your family’s minds for years to come, the view from the Skywalk is bound to do so. The Hualapai tribe does not allow pets or animals on the Skywalk, but they do have pet accommodations available at the nearby Hualapai Ranch. Service animals are exempt from this rule.
Though the Skywalk is no doubt the highlight location of Grand Canyon West, there are many other sights and events to enjoy in Eagle Point. The local amphitheater hosts Native American dances every day. The local gift shop offers everything from clothes to handcrafted jewelry and weavings from the Mojave, Hopi, and Hualapai tribes. You can also take a self-guided tour of the local village and browse the traditional and unique architecture of the Hualapai tribe.
Beyond the Skywalk itself, there are a number of unique experiences available in Grand Canyon West, many of which are available in the same tour packages as the Skywalk. If the Skywalk isn’t quite high enough for you, maybe an aerial helicopter tour will be able to satiate your taste for distinctive sights. When the weather permits, there is also a zip line available just a mile away from the Skywalk. You can travel almost 40 mph across 3200 feet of zip line and watch the gorgeous blue skies of the Grand Canyon rush by.
As part of their plan to share the majesty of the Grand Canyon with visitors, the Hualapai tribe have made several plans to expand their available attractions and events. Primarily, they wish to make the Skywalk a cornerstone of a large complex. Possible additions include a high-end restaurant near the Skywalk itself where visitors will be able to dine at the Canyon’s rim. The Hualapai tribe also wish to include a museum, movie theater, and a VIP lounge.