Need-to-Know Grand Canyon Skywalk Facts
The phrase "I did it!" binds all who have experienced the Grand Canyon glass walkway. It appears ridiculously understated. Especially if you "walk" on air. In hindsight, those three words perfectly sum up how you feel.
I've done the Skywalk multiple times and I still can't get enough. Call me a thrill junkie, but there's something to be said about standing 4,000 feet over the bottom of the canyon. It's even more profound if you've just flown up from the bottom by helicopter.
The Amazing Skywalk
The bridge opened in 2007 to major fanfare. The foreign and domestic media were there. So were dignitaries and celebrities, including astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Jerry Herrington, who took the structure's "first steps."
More than 200,000 travelers a year do the walkway. Most come from Las Vegas, which is 120 miles to the east. Why? Because the bridge offers some of the most spectacular views of the best Seventh Natural Wonder of the World.
The 1-million-pound structure epitomizes the genius of 21st Century engineering. It's a cantilevered, U-shaped bridge that's fixed to the side of the canyon's wall. The 10-foot deck is comprised of 42 specially formulated glass panels that can support a 100-pound-per-square-foot live load.
The bridge cost $31 million to build. The price tag for each panel? A whopping $250,000. Cameras and personal electronics like smart phones are not permitted. If dropped, they will chip the glass. Cloth booties are provided free of charge and must be worn over shoes. Lockers are available for personal belongings. Use one and designate the most responsible person in your group as the "key bearer."
Skywalk Bans Cameras, Smart Phones...
Drop the idea of sneaking a camera into the Skywalk. You have to pass through a metal detector and a security person who "wands" you. That said, travelers with VIP passes are not screened. There is staff on the Skywalk who patrol the deck, though. Best bet is to let one of the professional photographers take your picture. Last I checked they were $20 a pop. I purchased the $70 package and got 15 images, four prints in frames, a USB stick, a high-quality t-shirt, and some nice lithographs. Pricey, yes, but worth it (especially for families!).
There are no ATM's at Grand Canyon West. Bring cash (min. $100) and credit cards, which can be used in the main gift shop where the photos are sold. I learned this the hard way. I now owe tips to my rim-top and boat guides and have to send it to them in the mail (ugh!). Bring a daypack, a hat, bottled water, and sunscreen, too. This is high desert and there's very little shade.
Getting to the Glass Walkway
I advise against self-driving. The last 10-plus miles is rough dirt road. If you go for it, rent an SUV, insure it, and gas up before you leave Vegas and once again before you turn off on the road to Meadview. No service stations exist at the West Rim.
More enjoyable is taking a bus tour or airplane tour to the West Rim. The best, in my opinion, is flying by helicopter. From Vegas, options range from Flyover tours to bottom landing trips. Pick from any of these and you can't go wrong. For those looking to do it all, go with the 4-in-1 MEGA tour.
Ready to Walk the Sky?
The Grand Canyon glass walkway will provide you with the most intimate canyon experience you'll ever know. The builders of this attraction designed it so the visitor felt "surrounded" by the Grand Canyon. My friends, not only have they succeeded, but they've take the concept of the viewing point to a whole new level. Check it out. It's an electrifying experience.
Make it a GRAND day!