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April 17, 2007

Grand Canyon Skywalk reviews

Long time readers may be familiar with my coverage of the Grand Canyon Skywalk and have even expressed interest in going. And while I enjoyed my recent trip to the Skywalk, others have not. So in the spirit of fairness I give you some recent reviews by people who have gone to the Grand Canyon Skywalk and didn’t think it was worth it. There are some issues but, lucky for you, I also have pictures from the Grand Canyon Skywalk itself.

Avoid this tourist trap! 1. The site is not ready, evidenced by total disorganization from start to finish. 2. The cost was too much for the value-$346 for a family of five (three young kids) 3. The road up is 12 miles of HELL. Wash pan for 12 miles and it is going to get worse before it gets better. Add and extra 1 1/2 hours for this 24 mile gem. Everyone wants tips, from the ladies who swipe your credit card (tip jar out) to an Indian chief who stands by the bus as you get back on with his tip basket. (I expect this in Vegas-like a Elvis guy who will let you take a photo with him for tips, but not here.)
5. The whole site plan is horrible, for example the tour buses are too big to make a turn at the sky walk-so they make a K turn rolling down toward the canyon!!! (Also, there are no guardrails between you and the edge of the canyon. Scary! Tip Basket on bus) 6. NO Camera?s on SKYWALK ALLOWED!. They don?t want you to drop them and damage the canyon!!! They are planning, eventually, to have someone take photo?s of you (like a cruise ship and of course you can buy those!) 7 . They will serve you a FREE lunch with paper plates, napkins and cup which in 20 minutes I watch several blow down into canyon-so much for protecting the sacred land!! (tip basket included here also) Avoid!! Avoid! Avoid! We were disappointed and feel taken. We do, however strongly recommend visiting the Grand Canyon National Park. – Jon

I just returned home from the Skywalk today and what a disappointing trip it was. They say that 200,000 visitors went to the Western Rim (prior to this tourist trap being erected). Why they didn?t get a loan to pave this embarrassing washboard of a road is beyond me. The investor who fronted the 30 million should have fronted another million for fun. But then again, they probably flew in everytime and don?t realize how idiotic this 12 miles of hell really is. I suggest you rent a HUMMER or don?t make the drive. You car will be in bad need of an alignment and 2 trips through the car wash, not to mention a complete detail inside. I found only one bathroom, no others. The line to the all you can eat buffet was over an hour long so my family decided to go without food. They scream at you to walk on the sidewalks, but they forgot that there AREN?T any where you?re walking! ONLY once you get up to the skywalk area is there a sidewalk. I didn?t see one tip jar as the person mentioned in the previous blog but I can tell you that I didn?t purchase a single thing other than the tickets. There are no signs telling you where to go, what line to stand in or what the line is for once you stand in one. There was only one cashier station with the ability to take credit cards. The Southern Rim is run by the National Park Service and has ample signage, facilities, parking, guardrails etc. Someone is going to fall off the side of this Canyon. Although I walked to the edge – anyone could have slipped and grabbed ahold of me and brought me down with them. VERY VERY disappointing. The only people that won?t find it disappointing are those that fly in via plane or helicopter and fly back out. The Skywalk is nice, but you can?t take any belongings on there and you don?t put your belongings into a locker like they say – you put it in one of those bins like you do at the airport, write your first and last name on a raffle ?ticket? and trust your personal belongings to the SECURITY guards. They wear security jackets and put your items in a storage area that has a back door that I could walk into when I exited. You?re putting your purse, camera and everything else into a bin that is placed on a shelf in a room that is not locked. Save your money, you?ll have better luck at the roulette table. – Jeanie

I contacted the folks over at the Skywalk but have not heard from them regarding these complaints. They may be avoiding the issue or may simply be too busy to respond to all the emails they get – or both – so I ask you…

Have you been to the Grand Canyon Skywalk?
What do you think of your experience?

UPDATE: Allison Raskansky of hualapaitourism.com (the official site for the Skywalk) left this comment on another post about pricing and I thought it was worth sharing here as it touches on some of the major complaints. My comments are [bracketed].

There is a really big misconception here [referring to pricing]. The information posted on here is dated and incomplete [again, referring to pricing on another post]. For the most updated information go to hualapaitourism.com [Yes, go. You owe it to yourself to verify the facts]. The Grand Canyon West experience includes the Skywalk but is much more than that. This area is owned and operated by the Hualapai Tribe and is not a National Park therefore it is funded by ticket sales and not by the government.

In order to access Grand Canyon West, there is an entry package. There are several to choose from starting at $29.95 (parking is free) based on individual preference. They all include a Hop-on Hop-off shuttle throughout multiple view points, live Native American performances and much more as described below and more detail on the web site. The Hualapai employees commute 2 hours each way every day over unpaved roads to provide a cultural experience for thousands of visitors every day. There is no power, it is all generator powered. There is no water, it is hauled in and there are multiple choices for food at every view point which has to be delivered from far and prepared. There is a Native American Village where you can tour through and learn about dwellings of different tribes. Once the entry package is purchased, there are several options that can be added such as; The Skywalk, Helicopter tours, airplane tours. horseback riding and even overnight cabins. So for those of you that take the time to read these comments, please take the time to see that this is not just about the Skywalk, it is about an entire Nation sharing this with you and creating an experience for you like no other. There is also an incredible One Day Grand Canyon White Water Raft, take a look at the web site. When someone writes a comment without really knowing and you don?t take the time to look it up for yourself, you are missing a great thing!

Message to those who leave comments: Thank you for your feedback. This kind of honesty and detail will help many others make an informed decision about their trip. I would love to add any photos you care to share with our readers so they can see what to expect. From the parking area to the food tables to the views themselves. Let me know if you have photos to share in your comment and be sure to use a valid email so I can reply. And again, thank you.edit

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  • At 6:51 pm on May 10, 2008, carol mcnasby commented:

    Went July 07 to the skywalk and felt totally violated. Got all my money back which was over 75.00 per person by writing to Las Vegas BBB and the PR people for the skywalk. They told me pricing would change but it has not ,it is just divided up differently. It is more than last year cost just allocated differently to parking, the tour and the skywalk. Go to the south or north rim. They charge about 25 for the carload and that is it. These Hulapai indians are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • At 7:30 pm on May 10, 2008, carol mcnasby commented:

    Bob Adams is misinformed. The US government compliments of American workers and taxpayers have given large amounts of federal grants to this tribe. They are just being greedy like so many other people in America and want more!! So they figured out a way to gouge the hard working class of America, those who go out to work everyday, and labor in various professions. I just wanted to see the beauty of creation but felt severely ripped off by the entire skywalk experience. It is an eyesore and is destroying the very essence of nature and should be taken down. So many greedy people in this world! What a damn shame. I could be sitting around in the neighborhood I was raised ,where so many were alcoholics ,and drug addicts on welfare but I left the neighborhood and went to school on my own and did not blame anyone else for my troubles ,and went on to work in the very honorable profession of nursing for over thirty years now. People should stop blaming others for their miserable lives and do what hard working people do everyday.

  • At 9:33 pm on May 17, 2008, Merrianne and Stephen Mathies commented:

    My first visit to the Grand Canyon was on 5/2/08. I was very excited. We had heard about the skywalk by accident and decided to make the 90 mile detour for the tour. The sign at the main road , prior to turning onto the dirt road, listed the fee as $20 with “Other Charges Apply” under the listed fee. Twenty-one miles was listed. We assumed 21 miles of bad road. So the road’s condition should not be a surprise to any traveler.

    Unlike the previous blogs, the dirt road was the most adventurous. Our Prius traveled just fine. We didn’t need a Hummer. Wonderful sights and photo oportunities. We stopped to take pictures of fauna and wildlife regularly. Several roadside canyons were worth the stop. Road was grated, so our car was covered – but it is the desert after all. By nature, deserts are dirty. What we noticed on our travels were the inconsiderate drivers speeding down this gravel road – kicking up so much dirt and gravel you could barely see the road and I feared for our windshield.

    Once we arrived at our destination, with a 20 in hand, we were informed of the long list of “Other Charges Apply”. The employee was very polite and honest when telling us how much of our time would be spent at this location. We opted not to enter due to cost, time, and yes, we felt it a classic bait and switch.

    They had signs up stating you could not stop on either side of the road. I feel it was so you could not take pictures, not becuase it caused a hazard. Good clearance once off the road and there were turn-outs a plenty. You couldn’t get a good view if you wanted, it appeared that “they” had built along the rim to best obstruct the view. Which is good business if you want to own the view and charge for it. We tried to make a ultra-brief stop to take a breath-taking picure of a field in full bloom, but were immediately moved on our way by a reservation bouncer! He followed us until we left the reservation property.

    VERY BEST part of the trip was our stop at a little gem of a ranch that was tucked away (entrance visible from road) about midway on the dirt road portion of your tirp. Called the Diamond Bar Ranch. History and western lore abounds. This totally washed away any residue of bad taste left in my mouth by the Skywalk excusion.

    Skywalk a big DON’T. Diamond Bar Ranch a big DO.

  • At 8:48 am on May 29, 2008, How much does the Grand Canyon Skywalk cost? | archshrk pingbacked:

    […] on this is pretty strong but as you can see from these reviews, most people walk away disappointed. No worries, you can see the Skywalk from pictures I took […]

  • At 10:59 am on June 3, 2008, Tammy Kaylor commented:

    First of all, the Grand Canyon West is a beautiful place to visit, but you need to know a few things before you go. My husband and I went there in May 2008, and were surprised by a few things once we got there. You drive down a dusty unpaved rode for approximately 14 miles, and you are not driving directly to the Grand Canyon West, you will park at the airport ($20). Then you must purchase the bus tour to get to the Canyon ($30 per person). If you decide to go on the skywalk, that will cost you an additional $32 per person. I was a little irritated at all the commercialism to see the Grand Canyon West, but when we entered the entrance to the skywalk, that’s when I got mad. You can’t take anything on the skywalk, your purse/backpack will be locked up in a locker, but what made me mad was we couldn’t even take our camera on the skywalk. But don’t worry if you want pictures of your time on the skywalk you can purchase them $$$. You say you might get hungry while you are there, food can be purchased for 12.95, and you will have the choice of a hamburger, hotdog, or chicken strips with fries, but I hope you’re not thirsty, because that does not include a drink. If I decide to go again I will drive the extra 100 miles and go to the National Grand Canyon South where you pay to enter the park, and see the Grand Canyon without all the cha-ching.

  • At 10:38 am on June 16, 2008, Susanne Schulz commented:

    My husband and I are going to visit the USA and the Grand Canyon next month and we thought about visiting the Skywalk, too. But since the costs are so enormous we will not go there and drive directly to the south rim of the canyon. I’m sure it is a great experience that you will never forget but it really seems to be a perfectly planned rip-off. The amount of the fees that are charged for every little thing are really an insult for every person who needs to work hard for his/her money, even if the fees go to a Native American tribe, which I respect. But charging less would give them a better reputation and attract more visitors (like us). I can understand that the tribe wants to earn money and create jobs and that this project was really expensive. But this really seems to be the wrong way.
    I’m disappointed that I will not see this attraction and I hope, that the conditions to do so will change in the future so that I can have the chance to experience it without being totally ripped off.
    Susanne from Germany
    One more thing I want to comment on:
    It is kind of ridiculous that you cannot take cameras on the skywalk because it could drop and break the glass. They should have built the upper layer of the glass out of a more resistant material, which should be no problem. I have been on the CN Tower in Toronto and the also have a glass floor. It was no problem to walk on this glass floor with normal shoes, drop things on it and look down. So why not on the skywalk? I know the glass was produced in Germany and has a fine quality, but they should have also taken care of the resistance.

  • At 4:39 pm on June 22, 2008, justa commented:

    about the dirt road…..everyone is misinformed. a portion of the road belongs to the hualipais, a portion is county property, and a portion is privately owned.

  • At 11:23 am on June 23, 2008, Joy McCallister commented:

    We had a terrible experience at the Skybridge. After a long dive down a dusty dirt road we finally arrived to be told about the way overpriced options. We chose the bus route and got to the first station. The view was breathtaking but we decided against the skywalk due to the unexpected 200.00 (6 ppl) we had to pay for a 4 minute bus ride! After being there about 20 minutes we were ready for the next station. We waited in the 110 degree hot sun for at least
    40 minutes and by the time we got back on the bus my 6 year old son was dehydrated and began feel sick on the bus. We did not get off at the 2nd stop because we thought the Ranch would have AC or at least a place to cool down. We were wrong. The buffet was not good and my son continued to get worse. He drank water and laid down now even vomiting the water and no place for him to cool down. If the bus system was faster or more available shade the view might have been worth it. But our experience was so horrible I would not recommend this site to anyone especially traveling with children.

  • At 9:29 pm on July 1, 2008, kathy commented:

    Visited the Skywalk 6/30/08. Huge Ripoff!! Dirt road didn’t bother us, it was outrageous costs for EVERYTHING, $29.00 for tickets, 29.00 for bus ride, 20.00 to park the car, (why not have a parking lot, instead of a 29.00 bus ride of 4 minutes!?) Lied to by a bus driver who said ” You can get great pictures from the skywalk”, when you get there, they confiscate “anything loose, because people throw things over.” They let us keep our jewelry, shoes, sunglasses, but not our cameras. WHY? Because they put you in lines like cattle, take your pictures, and then charge $27.00 for each pic. If you don’t want your pic taken, you are ordered to stand where you are not in the photographer’s way. The view is just as good if not better in other stops, the glass bottom is totally overrated, hard to see through and not very wide. DON”T WASTE YOUR MONEY!”

  • At 11:06 pm on July 10, 2008, Jen W. - Happy Camper commented:

    The skywalk is a remarkable struture over looking what we know as the “stairways to heaven”. I have visited the bridge 6 times and will continue to go. The price you pay is worth seeing the beauty of mother nature from a bird’s eye view. I would like to encourage everyone to experience the GLASS BRIDGE – SKYWALK. Though if YOU DO NOT LIKE the GREAT OUTDOORS, STAY BACK IN VEGAS. This destination is for those who enjoy the out doors.
    If you are planning a trip, PLAN AHEAD. Buy your tickets ahead, prepare as though you are going on a hiking trip.(Good comfortable clothing and shoes, water, snacks, and of course a good light weight camera) They will not allow you to bring anything with you while walking on the GLASSS BRIDGE. F.Y.I.- you are walking on only FIVE SHEETS Of GLASS, it only takes one idiot to drop something to crack the GLASS. Otherwise, you can take some awesome pictures of you and your love one’s around the bridge. Plus, there are two other stops with spectacular views and picnic tables. Plan to leave Vegas in the morning and give yourself a 2 hr window for travel to the bridge. The road is half and half- 60 miles paved and then 40 miles dirt. Also, check the weather report prior to leaving. Sudden afternoon showers and or sand storms will appear thus causing a hazzie view. *For those who hate the drive- You can also fly, check with the local Vegas tour groups.
    Enjoy Life!

  • At 12:42 pm on July 21, 2008, Renae Lindsay commented:

    I just came back from visiting the Grand Canyon West. I had read all the reviews and decided to go anyway and see what it was all about. I am a travel writer and wanted to write an article about this unique destination.

    While I loved the bridge and the Guano Point, those are the only two things worth experiencing. I stayed at the cabins at the Hualapi Ranch and the accomodations were horrible. There were 3 of us and they gave us a room that was so tiny it was the size of my walk in closet. The towels are cheap and thin and there’s s only room for one person of normal size in the bathroom. While sitting on the toilet, I could lean against the opposite wall.

    They have wall air conditioners that make a horrible noise at night and one cannot sleep. The fan on the ceiling hit the beams so we had to turn it off at night to sleep. The front porch is beautiful with a great view of the top of the canyon and the sunrise is wonderful, however, sunrises and sunsets are beautiful anywhere in Arizona.

    The worst was the food. Two of us got sick from the dinner and one of us got sick with the powdered eggs they serve for breakfast. We paid $120.00 per person for a total of $360.00 for a horrible room, bad food and none of the perks they advertise. There was no night campfire, no cowboy shows at the ranch, not even one person at the office where one checks in. The only people were at the saloon restaurant where an annoying person dressed up in period clothing came to our table to tell us about his life while we were trying to ignore him and eat. If this was their idea of entertainment, it was badly done.

    We went to the Skywalk but again, we could not take cameras, personal items etc. However, they do take your picture which costs $30.00 per picture. You can buy a package of all the pictures they take, a USB drive with all the pictures of the area taken by a professional and a souvenir ashtray (why ashtray is beyond me, being from California, I’m even insulted to be given an ashtray for a souvenir.) All that for $100.00 plus tax. I think that was a better deal than just buying one or two pictures. The pictures do come in a souvenir frame that’s very nice.

    Since my visit was in the middle of summer, the hot weather makes you tired very quickly. It’s hard to find cold water bottles anywhere in the area which is the most flagrant act this people can commit. Not having cold water available and having to pay $2.00 for 16 ounces of warm water is egregious.

    I’m asking for a refund of the accomodations and the food. I don’t ever write bad articles of the places I visit but if you are intent on going to visit this destination, it’s necessary to know that the only place worth visiting is the Skywalk. Stay away from the ranch and the souvenir shops. Their prices are outrageous and not worth the goods.

    Renae Lindsay
    Adventure Travel Writer
    Malibu, California

  • At 3:56 pm on July 21, 2008, Carl commented:

    I will not take my out of state visitors to the skywalk this summer. The price, roads, dust, lacking infrastructure and safety all sound inappropriate or inadequate to meet our desire to enjoy the beauty of the canyon from this architectural feat. It is very disappointing to hear how ill planned, usurious and unwelcoming the skywalk attraction is. However I am thankful to have the facts from people who have been there. Thanks to all of you who have shared their experiences. I’ll check the reviews and U tube next summer to see if anything has improved.

  • At 1:46 pm on September 2, 2008, Mandeep commented:

    We visited the Grand Canyon West Rim and Skywalk last Monday on Labor Day, Sept 01, 2008. We were group of seven people. All unanimously concluded that it is expensive and not worth to see after passing through lots of pain and driving.
    The cost is approximately $60 /pp (29.95 for sky walk and 29 for compulsory bus ride) plus taxes and car parking fee of $ 20. There is no good facility for parking cars in spite of charging parking fee. Cars are not allowed to Skywalk or other point. You are forced to buy bus ticket and ride.
    The drive to the Hualapai reservation is pretty rough and tough. 14 of the last 21 miles are on unpaved, dirt, un-graded road. I saw a couple had a flat tire. There is no mobile connectivity. There is no support system on that long 14 miles stretch. An SUV is better; but make sure it’s a rental. I would never drive my own car on this road. Rock chip can harm your windshields. My friend got 3-4 scratches. Tourist bus/ truck / dumper run fast on this dirt road and their tire throw rock chip on your car.
    If you are not suffering back pain, you will have it by the time you reach the destination, by driving on this road. One can have asthma also because of dirt.
    The views are spectacular, but what not worth of your money and suffering of pains to reach there. I would better stay another day at south rim.

  • At 7:55 am on September 8, 2008, J. Omana commented:

    We visited on 9/4/2008 and I can say it was a trip to HELL, not worth the pain. The dirt road was horrible; I even got sick from the dust and a back pain that is still killing me besides that my husband asthma got worse. Thank got it was a rental car, I would never take my car thru this road; like someone said you will need a couple of trips to the carwash with detailing included and alignment for sure!!! and on top of that you have to pay $20 for parking on the dirt I though it was low. People there are not helpful or polite at all. Everyone is expecting a tip. They do not give you that much information about the cost of the trip or anything so, when you arrive there (an hour 1/2 later and 14 miles of dirt road HELL) you are force to take the tour if you want to see the skywalk. The tour is the visit of three Indian villages I believe it was like $29 each and then $29 for the skywalk totaling $125 approximately per person besides the $20 per car you paid per parking. We ask if we were able to take just the skywalk (because that was all we were interests to see) and they said NO! That we had to do the 3 village tour (that was around $100) to be able to see the skywalk. At this point we asked if we were able to see anything else around that area and they said that we were not allowed to waked around the canyon at all or drive there.
    I was so mad that they were try to robe us that I told my husband that I was not going to contribute to this and we decided to leave. However, we only regret the 4 hours (one afternoon) we lost in hell. Specially were you are on vacation and want to use the time for the best.

    I do not recommend anyone to go there IT IS A TOURIST TRAP!!!

    I will recommend in the other hand the south rim, it was only $7 to get in beside that the road are good, people were nice very helpful and it was prettier, they offer good tour at a reasonable prices A+

  • At 3:24 pm on October 7, 2008, george etlinger commented:

    General Custer got scalped and so did we. Everything on the internet had the cost at 25.00. We got there to find out it was $20.00 to park and $75.00 + to get to the walk. Now lets talk about The lunar 14 mile un-paved crater ride on their land. They should go back to just drinking whiskey for a living.

  • At 12:33 pm on December 24, 2008, Rohinton Garda commented:

    I am so thankful to the people who took the time to write about their experience wrt the Skywalk. I was all prepared for the visit but have decided against it for now. 12/24/2008

  • At 12:57 pm on January 24, 2009, Reggie commented:

    Compared to simply visiting the National Park, its an embarrassing scam. Avoid.

  • At 1:41 pm on February 9, 2009, tina commented:

    I never write reviews, but I just have to say that we visited the West Rim last week and it was the highlight of our trip to the Canyon. We had been to the South Rim, but preferred the rustic nature of the West Rim. If you’re young and enjoy adventure and don’t mind paying money for the experience, you should definitely check it out. My husband enjoyed the unpaved road… felt like offroading in the desert. And the views were spectacular. The only advice I’ll give is the road through the town of Kingman is a speeding trap. The speed limit sign changed from 50 to 25, but we have no clue where it changed. It was not well posted. Be prepared for very high fines for going over 25.

  • At 3:25 am on March 1, 2009, Andrew commented:

    I’ve just returned from a trip to the Grand Canyon, and having never written a review, I felt compelled to express what an absolute con it is. There is no justification for the price. The Grand Canyon is a wonder of the world, and should be free for all to enjoy. In the UK all museums are free for all to enjoy. They should take a leaf out of their book and ask for donations instead of freeloading and ripping people off.

  • At 6:54 pm on April 10, 2009, Nand commented:

    I visited the Grand Canyon West On April 3rd 2009. I drove from Kingman along along stockton road, then the 14 mile gravel road, which is very winding and somewhat scary. Speed limit is very slow, average 30 miles an hour. If I had know this before I would not venure on this route. Mind you there is no other route. The price is very expensive for this mediocre view. If i had to do this again, no way, too expensive and too rural. The glass bridge, I refused after I saw it from outside, and one of the workers advise me not to go as the better views, which indeed is true was at guano point. They charge $8.00 per person for parking in this Halupie land. When they come out in town they should pay 3 times as much, only fair is it not?

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