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The internet has plenty of Grand Canyon West reviews. Most speak of excessive costs and less-than-welcoming experiences. However, if you still have an inner longing to see the Canyon, this is your invitation to heed the call.

As a seasoned female traveler committed to self-healing and growth, you recognize true beauty lies beneath the surface. Despite some labeling Grand Canyon West as overpriced or tourist-unfriendly, there is an ancient wisdom embedded in its landscapes.

In this review, I share my honest experience of my time there. With the people, prices, and not so great practices. It was an intriguing and transformative journey, and taught me the value of reconciling initial appearances with the profound lessons the Canyon imparts. I hope this post challenges your perceptions and invites you to grow. At the end, I provide six holistic healing and ritual suggestions to take with you to the Canyon.

Grand Canyon West Review

Should you go? Only you can answer that. I recommend you do, if you have the financial means. However, the onus is on you to structure your visit and your expectations totally different than a visit to the typical natural landscape attractions you’re used to.

Getting There

Grand Canyon West, managed by the Hualapai Tribe, offers a distinct way to experience one of the world’s most renowned natural wonders. It presents unique views and cultural insights, like any destination, it has positive and negative aspects.

By Air:

McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, Nevada. From Las Vegas, Grand Canyon West is approximately a 2-hour drive (about 125 miles).

Grand Canyon West Airport, located right at the West Rim. This airport mainly serves helicopters and small aircraft associated with tour operators.

By Car:

From Las Vegas, Nevada:

  • Distance: Approximately 125 miles.
  • Estimated Driving Time: About 2 to 2.5 hours.

From Kingman, Arizona:

  • Distance: About 70 miles.
  • Estimated Driving Time: Approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes.

From Flagstaff, Arizona:

  • Distance: Approximately 210 miles.
  • Estimated Driving Time: Around 3.5 hours.

For my day trip to the Grand Canyon West trip, I visited in spring as part of a camper van road trip out of Las Vegas. The RV Park I stayed in was on Pierce Ferry Rd., about 35 minutes from the West Rim.

When you reach the main road leading to the canyon, the view of with the canyon lies before you like one big commercial. This gives you a small preview of what you’re about to experience. 

As you continue along,  the road changes and you’re met with twists and turns. Most cars passed me, because I like to drive slow, safe and steady. There is an option to pass here and there, however, there aren’t many cars so it’s not an issue. When you’re coming in, you will pass Western cabins on the right, but these are for reservations only. 

Parking lot at Grand Canyon West, showing the spacious layout

Healing Canyon

As a trauma survivor, visiting Grand Canyon West has an incredible capacity to heal. However, the healing only comes to those who seek it. The ones who are willing to overlook mere appearances and see into the deeper picture of Grand Canyon West. There’s more there than meets the eye.

Another healing opportunity at the canyon is hiking up the cliffs and rock formations. These provide panoramic views that create a feeling of accomplishment and empowerment. This can build your self esteem, which is an antidote to the effects of trauma.

Scenic view from atop the Grand Canyon West, showcasing expansive views over rugged terrain, emphasizing the area's natural beauty and potential for healing.
A practical way to self heal is to climb to the tippy top of Highpoint Hike at Guano Point

Hualapai Nation

Knowing that your visit contributes to the sovereignty and economic stability of the Hualapai Nation is a significant factor for deciding to visit. The costs go to the Hualapai Tribe and helps them preserve their land and culture. Who wouldn’t want to participate in that? You are positively giving to the local community and that can be seen as giving service to others. Your contribution can uphold your value of authenticity.

Sign welcoming visitors to Hualapai Nation at Grand Canyon West, symbolizing support for the tribe's sovereignty and cultural preservation.

Supporting the tribe was one of the main reasons I felt excited to visit Grand Canyon West. I’d completed research online and anticipated a meaningful day. Turns out, my time there was thought-provoking and moving, but not in the ways I imagined.

In this post, I share some main points of what a day at Grand Canyon West entails, with reviews of user experience. My priority is to convey aspects you won’t find in other reviews. This isn’t typical tourist information. It’s meant to inspire you to visit, and compel you to keep an open mind to the idea that timeless wisdom dwells in the land.

The two main areas are Guano Point and Eagle Point. Let’s start with Eagle Point.

Eagle Point

Stone-etched sign for Eagle Point highlighting the creation story

Skywalk

One of the highlights of Grand Canyon West is the Skywalk, a glass bridge that extends out over the canyon, offering a thrilling walk 4,000 feet in the air. I’m not being dramatic when I say this is a life changing experience. It provides a mixture of excitement and heart-pounding fear. Logistically, you’ll get an unparalleled view of the canyon below. Spiritually, you’ll be set upon a privileged view of canyon cliffs amidst enchanting ravens that encircle you in mystifying ways.

My Experience:

Before entering the Skywalk, I felt a pang of resentment at the rule against carrying personal belongings, i.e. phones, for taking photos. I had even slipped my phone in my pocket, intent on rebelling against the restriction. Despite a semi-formal inspection by staff, no more really seemed to care.

The sign for the Skywalk  at Eagle Point, providing visitors with a thrilling experience of walking above the canyon
This is the only photo you can take of the Skywalk

With one step on the platform, my mood drastically shifted. I became immediately humbled by the amount of anxiety that rose up inside me. The glass floor, an optical illusion of falling, hypnotized me. Slowly, I walked out over the glass, one tiny step forward at a time. Gazing down into the vast canyon, automatic thoughts of plunging to my death danced in my mind. I smiled. Not because I wished to die. But because the emotions this setting evoked in me created an intense feeling of being alive.

After a few minutes, my inner defiant teenager settled down and I became distracted by this miraculous wonder. Slowly the significance of the moment began to sink in. Without the focus of capturing the perfect shot on my phone, I was forced to be truly present. As a result, I became immersed in the experience of sweeping views and unpredictable raven flight. The comprehension (which definitely came in the form of a soft, loving whisper from the Canyon) brought a deep peace. I realized with sheepish confidence that this was exactly how it was supposed to happen. 

I felt gratitude to the land and ancestors connecting with me. This isn’t the first time the Grand Canyon has granted me a powerful intuitive message. This provided much to record in my journal.

Will you have the same experience as me? I don’t know if you will. But I know that you can.

Native American Village Self-Guided Tour

Eagle Point at Grand Canyon West offers a self-guided tour of a Native American Village. This immersive experience allows visitors to explore traditional dwellings and learn about the rich cultural heritage of the Native American tribes associated with the area.

This is a very straightforward attraction, and is accessible with paved walkways. It’s a nice and quiet section of the area that teaches you a few facts.

Pros:

Quiet, has a sacred feel, lots of opportunities for nature photography. Each Native American Village had a small sign explaining the home and its features.

Cons:

Many of the exhibits were roped off with caution tape, orange cones, or other states of disrepair.

Guano Point

sign for Grand Canyon from Guano Point, highlighting the history, unguarded natural paths

Highpoint Hike 

Guano Point has many railingless sections. The main draw is the 360 degree view of the canyon is spectacular. The hike is moderately challenging, very short in duration but be prepared to rock scramble if you go. I was able to climb it quite effortlessly, and enjoyed it more than some hikes at Valley of Fire.

Pros:

The view is wonderful, combined with the feeling of pride for your courage. 

Cons:

Everywhere near Highpoint Hike are signs, “Watch For Falling Rocks”. It’s easy to see why. When hikers ascend, rocks will slip out and tumble down onto visitors below. It’s quite unsafe for those below.

Shuttle Service 

On the day I went, (Friday after Easter) shuttles were not very crowded and there was only a short 5-10 wait. The bus takes you to two stops: Guano Point and Eagle Point. It’s about a 5 minute ride. Alternatively, you can also take a bus to a third stop, Hualapai Point.

Grand Canyon West shuttle bus, which facilitates visitor access between key points like Guano Point and Eagle Point

Pros: 

The shuttle bus that eases the burdens of navigating and provides a chance to rest. Depending on your bus driver, you may learn interesting facts about the area’s geology and the Hualapai culture. This free service is a nice way to sit back and relax so you don’t have to work too hard to get around the Canyon. 

At one stop, a friendly and funny member of the Haulapai tribe told jokes then sang a short song as we entered the bus.

Cons:

A very awkward and unfortunate practice of asking for tips from the driver. For the price of Grand Canyon West, one wonders why drivers are desperately holding out the TIPS! cans as you leave the bus. 

Staff Engagement 

During my time there, the majority of the staff seemed unenthusiastic and unfriendly, which has the potential to detract from the overall experience. A lack of energy and apparent enjoyment from staff members impacts the atmosphere. Two exceptions were the friendly young man who sang at the bus stop (though he was soliciting tips) and the photographers on the Skywalk.

The other staff at the Grand Canyon West included bus drivers, bus stop attendants, and the members of the tribe assigned to perform at Eagle Point.

The Hualapai Ambassadors that were advertised to walk the grounds, and share stories and information with visitors was nonexistent.

Pros:

A mix of indigenous and non-indigenous staff, the photographers on the Skywalk seemed happy and inviting to the guests. One man even sang and danced. The staff members vibe there was in sharp contrast to other parts of Grand Canyon West.

Cons:

Most other staff members seemed indifferent and agitated with customer service.

My experience:

I interacted with ten staff members during my day trip to Grand Canyon West, two were to pay at the  Main Terminal, which is, in essence, a very large tarp, resembling a circus tent.

The entrance tent at Grand Canyon West, where visitors start their journey and purchase tickets."

Image of staff at ticket counter Staff at Grand Canyon West assisting visitors with admissions, set against a backdrop of informational displays.
The Main Terminal, your first entrance to the Canyon.

Upon entering, I looked to the desk attendant for ticket purchase. I didn’t notice the sign below the desk, and thought the information would be given verbally. I asked him if I purchased my ticket from him. He nodded his head toward a line around the corner.

Image of staff at ticket counter Staff at Grand Canyon West assisting visitors with admissions, set against a backdrop of informational displays.

The first one-to-one exchange was during purchase of my admission ticket. The young indigenous woman was impatient with the visitors before me, and unfriendly toward me. I realized at that very moment that my expectations of Grand Canyon West, which I received from watching information on the internet during research of my trip, were way off.  The joyful welcome, ‘we-are-so-happy-you-are-here’ that was advertised was inaccurate. 

I quietly observed the interactions of the counter staff as I purchased my ticket. The main theme of most visitors was confusion around what services you received with your ticket. A few people had to return when they discovered they still didn’t have access to the Skywalk.

Scenic view from atop the Grand Canyon West, showcasing expansive views over rugged terrain, emphasizing the area's natural beauty and potential for healing.

At the end of the day, I again purchased items at that same counter. This time, it was for gift shop items so there was a slightly different setup. However, after waiting a few moments for a cashier, I asked the young indigenous woman if I was in the right place. Not answering me, she stared hard at the other staff woman at the counter who did not seem to be aware of customers. The rest of the transaction was somewhat of an intense mood on her part. I silently observed the encounter, fascinated by the dichotomy of my expectations and reality.

Cultural Performances 

I can’t give a review of pros and cons of cultural performances, I can only share my personal experience based on what I saw and heard when I was there.

Before I arrived, I really looked forward to seeing the performances. Grand Canyon West advertises these as traditional Hualapai dancing and singing. These are meant to enhance the visitor experience. “Indigenous performances take place at Eagle Point outdoor theater on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10:00am to 3:00pm”

However, this was not the case on the day I attended.

Because I eagerly anticipated these performances, I diligently arrived at the location at !2:45. Since the staff were eating lunch, I left and returned at the time they stated.

When I came back, they seemed to be distracted by their phones. One woman engaged me in conversation which was lovely. However, after 25 minutes, it became clear there was to be no performance. It was awkward, and when other visitors popped their heads in to see what was going on, they sensed the vibe and kept going.

But I had my heart set on hearing and seeing the indigenous performance. I had seen wonderful performances in North Carolina and Arizona, so I knew what I was missing. 

Despite my disappointment, I realized I couldn’t change the situation. A half hour of this sitting and waiting and the reality was they weren’t interested in performing. I certainly couldn’t do anything about it, so I accepted the fact and left. 

I walked to the nearby Skywalk Main Terminal (gift shop) to use the restroom and when I came out, I could hear singing coming from the building I’d just left. It was only for a moment then it stopped. Were the Hualapai simply not performing because I hadn’t placed a tip in the can upon entering? This is conflicting because all the advertisements said nothing about “performances for a fee”.

Although this encounter was the most upsetting, I really really wanted to give the Hualapai Nation the benefit of the doubt. So much so that I questioned my own thoughts and feelings when I continued to experience discourteous, unfriendly, and disrespectful behavior during my time there.

Of course it is common for trauma survivors to automatically blame themselves when I run into life’s obstacles. However, the self-blame was brief. Even better, I didn’t react to any of the unwelcoming attitudes of the staff there. If I had wasted time reacting to the situation, taking it personally or being disrespectful, I would have missed the chance to learn from it.

 Food Options 

There are four eateries at Grand Canyon West: Skywalk Restaurant, Skywalk Cafe, Guano Point Cafe, Gwe-Ma’jo

Pros:

Food is easily accessible, eateries are centrally located and most dining areas create a nice setting. Especially Guano Point Cafe.

Picturesque table at Guano Point overlooks sweeping views of the canyon and Colorado River
Rare table-side view of Colorado River at Guano Point Cafe

Cons:

The menu options are somewhat limited, and prices can be high for the quality received. The online menu does not display the prices, instead there’s the option to add a meal ticket to your admission, which adds about $25 to your cost of an already $75 day for admission and Skywalk.

My experience:

I wanted to try authentic Native American food so I drove to the third stop and ate at Gwe-Ma’jo. This restaurant is located at Hualapai Point, near the zipline and main entrance. 

food menu at Gwe-Ma'jo restaurant, showcasing the cafeteria-style service

The first thing I noticed were the multiple signs informing me that I must have an entrance ticket to be there. Despite the fact that it is on the Grand Canyon West premises, and the entire area is remote, I found it curious as to why there would be a need to post restrictions.

I pulled into the empty parking lot, and walked through the rustic-looking old West themed town. The Shooting Gallery was closed, as was most other buildings. In fact the whole town seemed abandoned.

Empty dining area inside Gwe-Ma'jo, reflecting a quiet day at the restaurant

I took some photographs and headed into the restaurant. There was one other family there, otherwise the large dining room seemed deserted. 

It’s cafeteria-style, you order and pay, then go to the window to watch your food prepared. The staff, a twenty something indigenous woman, was curt and uncommunicative. Maybe it’s assumed the customer already knows the setup, despite most, if not all, customers are tourists and have never been there before. Or maybe as a trauma survivor I am again blaming myself subconsciously that I should have already known the set-up and therefore could have avoided her impatience with me for not knowing and wasting her time.

Either way, I just watched and observed, using curiosity and mindfulness as my guide.

Next step in the process is picking up the food. As I approached the pick-up window, the cook was cleaning the grill. He mentioned something about it being his first day. The four meals for the family before me had to be cooked, which thankfully didn’t take as long as I expected.

Deserted Western-themed town near the Gwe-Ma'jo restaurant at Grand Canyon West, enhancing the area's historic ambiance

When it was my turn, I let him know I ordered fry bread. He looked at my hand, I think he was checking for my receipt since he said he’d ‘take my word for it that I paid’.

The fry bread cost $9 and the entire place was empty. If I was indeed a criminal trying to get away with free fry bread, I’d have to be pretty dumb, since the woman I paid my money to was standing not 5 feet away from us and could quickly catch me in the act.

I’m not sure if they’re used to having people pretend to pay and try to steal the food? More than likely it seems to fit the vibe of Gwe-Ma’jo…unwelcoming and suspicious.

The fry bread was very good, I needed more honey which was empty in the canister but upon request, was filled. As I left and walked back to my camper van, I noticed how this village was truly like a ghost town, in every sense of the word.

Close up of fry bread served at  Gwe-Ma'jo restaurant

Should You Go? Yes

I’ll get right to the point: if you have the opportunity and the financial means, I recommend a day at Grand Canyon West.

Why? If I’ve shared my honest experience as one not super great.

The reason is because this is sacred land. Pay homage to the ancients that still dwell there in Spirit, and know that their Presence is real.

The Canyon is real. The Canyon is wise. The Canyon is timeless, nationless, and free.

Walk on the Skywalk because facing your fears and experiencing the exhilaration and thrill of walking on a transparent surface 4,000 feet high is literally life changing. 

Go. If you have the financial means, give what you can in service and gratitude to the Hualapai Nation. Expect nothing in return. Give freely and unconditionally, because it is the right thing to do. Support the community that found a way to remain intact and preserved their culture to the best of their ability.

However, don’t go expecting to be treated to a day of advantaged American tourism. What you get is not what you pay for. Read all the other reviews online…there is a common theme. You’ll most likely be unsatisfied with the price tag of Grand Canyon West. But go anyway, because that doesn’t matter. What matters is the Canyon.

Scenic view from atop the Grand Canyon West, showcasing expansive views over rugged terrain, emphasizing the area's natural beauty and potential for healing.

If you go to the Grand Canyon West with expectations, you will be very disappointed. But. If you go fully acknowledging that the politics, pettiness, and price tags are irrelevant to the bigger take away, which is the land, the healing, and your Soul’s desire to transform, grow, and challenge existing limitations. With that mindset, I promise you will have a much different experience than most on Tripadvisor or Reddit.

Photo of author looking out at the canyon displaying the potential for ritual and healing

Grand Canyon West is not only worth seeing, but is ready and willing to offer you healing, if you want it. Here are six holistic practices for you to engage in during your time there. Not only will these connect you to your own self-healing, but they can shift your sensitivities to the profound wisdom and love the canyon has for you.

Earth Connection Ritual 

At the Native American Village at Grand Canyon West, take part in a simple yet powerful ritual of placing your bare feet and palms directly on the earth. This practice, often referred to as “grounding” or “earthing,” involves making physical contact with the ground to connect deeply with the land. It is believed to stabilize the body’s natural energies and foster healing. Embrace the natural flow of energy from the earth, allowing it to bring tranquility and balance to your mind and body.

“Ask and Receive” Meditation 

During your visit, find a quiet spot along the canyon where you feel comfortable and connected. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and mentally send out a question or request to the canyon. Spend some time in silence, opening your heart and mind to receive any messages or feelings that come back to you. This practice of asking and listening enhances your connection with the natural world and can lead to profound insights and emotional healing.

Bird Divination with Ravens

Photo captures Raven in flight above, white clouds interspersed with blue skies

As a spirit animal, Raven brings transformation and intuition. Observing the behaviors of the ravens at Grand Canyon West can uncover what has been hidden in your life. In addition, ravens are known for their intelligence and mystical qualities, often seen as messengers in various cultures.

Begin by finding a spot where ravens are active, such as near the Skywalk, where their presence is notable. As you watch their movements, consider how they interact with the environment and with you—perhaps disappearing and reappearing at curious moments.

In this ritual, use these observations to reflect on the messages or guidance the ravens might be offering. Are they appearing as you face certain thoughts or when you are at particular spots along the canyon? By interpreting these actions, you can gain insights into your life’s path or answers to specific questions you hold within your heart.

Journaling with Natural Elements

Exterior of Haulapai Point, at Grand Canyon West, styled like a rustic Western town.

Bring a journal and use elements of the surrounding environment, such as stones or leaves, to inspire or become part of your writing. Write down your thoughts, reflections, and how the landscape affects your feelings and insights, helping to process and heal emotional burdens.

Mindful Walking

Take a mindful walk along the trails of Grand Canyon West, focusing on each step and the sensations underfoot. Use this as a walking meditation, absorbing the energies of the land and letting the natural beauty of the surroundings heal and ground you.

Silent Observation at Eagle Point

Spend time in silent observation at Eagle Point, where you can look out over the vast canyon. Use this time to meditate, pray, or simply reflect, allowing the views to shift and broaden your perspective. Give the Canyon permission to dissolve and your troubles and replace them with a sense of peace.

Can you meditate at Grand Canyon West?

Yes. Just remember to Leave No Trace by packing out everything you bring in

Can you scatter ashes at Grand Canyon West?

No. The tribe forbids it

Is the Grand Canyon West sacred ground?

Yes, Grand Canyon West, like much of the Grand Canyon, is considered sacred ground by the Hualapai Tribe and other Native American tribes in the region. The canyon and the Colorado River are central to creation stories.

Where is the best place to meditate at Grand Canyon West?

The best place to meditate is where you feel intuitively called. Find a spot that gives you peace. Always ensure you are safe and follow any guidelines provided by the Hualapai Tribe to respect the cultural and environmental sanctity of the area.

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