For centuries, the Grand Canyon has been a historic site, attracting lakhs of tourists every year, waiting to be enthralled by its beauty and immerse in the serene aura of the place. A few selected spots, like the North and South Rim, get maximum traction.
But with increasing awareness amongst people, a less explored but scintillating beauty has started to gain attention in the past few years, with tourists describing it as a site everyone needs to visit once. The Grand Canyon Skywalk has been in place since 2007 but has come into the limelight recently.
The Grand Canyon is much more than hikes and lodges. There exists a skywalk at 4000ft above one of the majestic seven wonders of the world. It offers a breathtaking view but is not everyone’s cup of tea owing to its height and, of course, the material, i.e., glass.
This breathtaking site has become possible with the assistance of the Hualapai Indian tribe, who consider Canyon and the Colorado River as living entities imbibed within a conscious spirit, and has been around since 1883.
Imagine standing at 4000 feet with glass beneath your feet. All you can see is the depth of the canyon. If the Grand Canyon’s height weren’t enough to frighten you, this bridge surpasses it with a transparent path beneath you!
Location of the Grand Canyon Skywalk
The Grand Canyon glass bridge finds its presence on the West Rim, owned by the Hualapai Indian tribe. The Skywalk lies almost 195 km east of Las Vegas. It is also accessible via Grand Canyon West Airport. It is around 113 km north of Kingman, Arizona.
You can take your private vehicle to the West Welcome Center, after which you can take a shuttle service, amongst other packages offering helicopter rides, zip lining, etc. The distance from the West Welcome Center to Sky Bridge Grand Canyon is almost 22 km. Shuttle services have to be booked in advance to avoid last-minute hassles.
Features of Skywalk
The history of the glass bridge lies with David Jin, a Las Vegas businessman who brought his vision to reality with the help of three companies. There was immense cooperation by the Hualapai tribe for the construction, making it one of the most iconic sites in the world today. The construction of the sky bridge started in 1996 and was opened to the public in 2007.
The construction of this sky bridge over the Grand Canyon is a marvel in itself, which can be visualized incredibly well in the video here. A whopping $30 million was spent on the construction of this site. The bridge is horseshoe or U-shaped and quite heavy with a high-quality steel frame with 46 glass panels, capable of withstanding strong winds experienced at 4000 ft height. The bridge is earthquake resistant and capable of handling heavy weights, and by heavy, we mean almost 70 fully loaded jets.
The glass panels were replaced and strengthened in 2011, with the toughened glass used for high-security buildings globally, improving their safety. The bridge authority, however, does not allow more than 100-110 people on the bridge to keep the experience safe and pleasant.
Time taken to traverse the sky bridge
It almost takes 2 hours one way to appreciate the beauty of this magnificent structure in its entirety. So, if you are planning a trip to the Grand Canyon, make sure that, apart from the North and South rims, you keep the Grand Canyon Skywalk as a must-visit in your itinerary.
Rules for Skywalk
Just because the glass used is in multiple layers and is tough doesn’t mean safety concerns don’t arise.
- People on the Skywalk have to get their footwear covered in boot covers to avoid scratching the glass and spoiling their footwear.
- You are NOT ALLOWED to take cameras on the bridge, which can be frustrating for tourists who go there primarily to capture the beauty of this sky bridge. If camera equipment strikes, the glass of this bridge will not only damage the panel but will cost a massive $250,000 for a replacement.
For tourists’ assistance, trained professional photographers are present to shoot at a high latitude and sensitive location on the skywalk. They can click photographs, which you can purchase later from the place’s gift shop. Self-serve cameras are also installed, from which pictures can be captured and purchased. You can also have your photographs clicked with members of the Hualapai tribe as a memory only a few people in this world have.
The Hualapai tribe, on whose land this sky bridge has been built, takes its safety quite seriously and insists you leave all your personal belongings, especially electronics like cell phones and cameras, in lockers installed at the place for you to enjoy the place in peace and ensure that the bridge is unharmed as well.
Ticket Price for the Skywalk Grand Canyon
The general admission ticket to the Grand Canyon West does not include a skywalk package and can be bought as an add-on.
A general admission ticket price starts at $49, and an add-on for a skywalk is $26. A Grand Canyon Skywalk ticket cannot be bought without a general admission ticket.
There are multiple packages for Skywalk, based on how much time you have. You can buy an add-on for meals at the skywalk restaurant and zip lining for adventure lovers.
The Grand Canyon Skywalk tickets can be booked here.
Timings for visiting the Skywalk
Before planning your trip, check the timings of the sky bridge to avoid any last-minute disappointments. It is open all year round; the timings vary according to the season.
8:00 AM- 4:30 PM from mid-October to April, i.e., winter season.
7:00 AM–8:00 PM from May to mid-October, i.e., the summer season.
No matter how many days you spare yourself, the Grand Canyon crops up with more surprises, strengthening the site’s wonder of the world status. The Skywalk is an experience that is both frightening and enthralling at the same time. Everyone does not dare go to the heights of this place, but those who do cannot get over it. You should check this place out and etch a beautiful memory in your mind.