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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 7:18 am on April 11, 2009, david miranda commented:

    I went during the 2nd week this attraction was opened to the public. This is one of the biggest disappoinments and rip offs there is. Johnny Bravo said the sky walk is what is going to save the nation, I don’t see how. Or I should say, not with my or my friends money. First of all, the sky walk is over a rock bed and not straight over the edge as advertised. Big mistake. Secondly, not only do you have to pay $30 bucks to get on it, you have to pay to get on the reservation also. Never mind the hell you go through on the unpaved road just to get there. There are only 2 points of interest on the reservation Eagle point and Guano point. The views are limited, you can’t access the floor of the canyon withouot paying etc…..Save your money and visit the South Rim. You can’t even take cameras onto the skywalk either. Not that there is much to shoot anyway. Rip off, rip off, rip off.
    David Miranda
    Blackfoot, Idaho

  • At 2:12 am on May 14, 2009, John commented:

    Thanks for the reports. Very informative. The overall consensus seems to be “Don’t do it; save your money.” Thanks, I will.

  • At 5:28 pm on August 3, 2009, Melanie Shapleigh - Brentwood, Los Angeles commented:

    I agree with the comment above ….how sad, I was looking forward to it, as were my children. We will do the South Rim.

    Melanie Shapleigh
    Brentwood, Los Angeles

  • At 2:20 pm on August 10, 2009, SteveG commented:

    I went to the skwalk and thought it was an incredible experience, first we stopped in the local village for a meal, it was in some small shanty type restraunt, the food was great and the people very friendly, the 12 mile dirt road ride was something new and fun. the parking at the skywalk was free and the prices $46 to get in and $30 to walk on the skywalk seem to be expensive, but if you compare this to $7 for a bottle of beer in Vegas, $92 to see Tom Jones in the MGM, $140 to see the Lion King show in the Mandalay Bay hotel, it is not that much of a rip off that people on here are saying, It seems that they hate to see the local indians making a few dollars out of thier amazing scenery. go there $76 to see one of the most amazing sites on the planet is that a rip off?

  • At 10:21 pm on August 12, 2009, Robert Irving commented:

    Wow. Sounds like many of you wouldn’t be happy unless you had your own personal valet to wipe your overly sensitized whiney asses. Don’t like dirt roads? Stay home squishy tourist. Afraid of falling? Why did you choose the Grand Canyon? Stay at home you soft, useless drones. You could save the money that many of you are moaning about by staying in your pampered zone. Stay home and quit whining!!!

  • At 7:03 am on August 13, 2009, archshrk commented:

    @Robert, while I agree people can be a little too particular, most of the comments were dissatisfied in the value of their experience. They argued that you could get a much better experience of the Grand Canyon from the National Park and for less money.

    People would put up with the dirt road and travel time if the view was more worth while, the cost was reasonable, or there was more to see and do once you got there. As it stands now, the view is rather disappointing, there isn’t much more than a few token Indian teepees in the middle of a vast desert, and there’s little in the way of vegetation or wildlife to observe.

    So I think people are justified in their complaints and others have a right to be well informed about what to expect. But thank you for your feedback. Have you had a chance to go or know someone who did?

  • At 5:41 pm on August 31, 2009, Jim Brandeau commented:

    Thanks for all the info……… My wife and I had planned to go until I started reading reviews! WOW!
    This is one reason the “net” is so great. I will not be going to the skywalk “Grand Canyon West”
    The Grand Canyon is huge so I think I can find a piece that won’t leave me feeling ripped off. Again the net is great to find the neat places to go. I had never heard of Byrce Canyon until I started looking for places and I read good things about it.
    Jim B.
    Kingston Ontario

  • At 6:50 pm on September 2, 2009, carolyn stan commented:

    we took a small plane to the canyon and helicoptered down, went to the skywalk for lunch…lunch was so bad that i threw up within 15 minutes! skywalk not included in our tour, but we could see it and heard many many negative comments from ripped off tourists, including both americans and those visiting from foreign lands…yes, tip jars out for everyone…we were supposed to get a ‘tour’ of a ranch, never happened…but then again, that is the tour company’s fault…but again, beware…DO NOT PAY in advance to walk the skywalk…not worth your time and $$$…you get a much better view from the cliffs right next door…and it is true about the paper napkins/plates/cups are blowing away and into the big trash can, aka: bottom of grand canyon…bad idea, bad investment, bad public relations!

  • At 4:18 pm on September 16, 2009, Julio commented:

    My wife and I were going to visit the Skywalk but after reading all the negative comments about being ripped off … we decided to visit Bryce Canyon and other areas of the Grand Canyon. I certainly don’t mind paying my fair share for anything, but this is a joke. Not allowed to have your own camera on the Skywalk? This is the biggest ripoff of all. I have been to the CN Tower and the floor there is glass and there is no problem with cameras. How about the Sears Tower balconies in Chicago? Guess what this is made of? You’re right … glass. And can you use a camera you ask? You’re right … yes. Does it cost anything to take pictures … I know this is hard to believe … but NO!

    This bullshit about breaking the glass on the Skywalk is a joke. Just another way to rip off people and then laugh all the way to the bank.

    And for those morons who say “you’re in a desert, it is a harsh environment so get used to it or take your pansy ass home” . Well, can you imagine if these morons had to pay 15 bucks for their favorite lard laden coffee, another 20 bucks for their favorite artery clogging all you can eat breakfast, 25 bucks for a table to sit at, 15 bucks for a fork and knife and eat it in a delapitated shack on the side of the road with no bathroom, and all the while being served by obnoxious dimwits who keep hinting about tips. Would these dorks get mad? You bet your ass they would be. And, they would be the first to complain and the loudest. So suck it up dorks, the place sucks and it is just one great big ripoff.

    Thank you to everyone who gave their honest opinions about this place being a rip off. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU

  • At 3:23 pm on October 2, 2009, Robert commented:

    I was planning to go tomorrow for my birthday, but after hearing nothing but bad reviews from people who have gone, and reading many confirmations on here, I’ve decided not to go. I hope they rethink their greedy business plan and learn a little bit about customer service and thankfulness.

  • At 10:50 pm on October 3, 2009, Darryl commented:

    No need to say anything more about the road to get there. First of all I will say the Grand Canyon south rim is one of my favorite places to go mainly because of it’s beauty and tranquility. The first thing I noticed when arriving to GCW was how noisy and dirty it was. After getting charged for parking in what looked like an overflow parking lot to a KOA campground, we made our way to the bungalow and purchased our tickets. Keep in mind the attraction IS the skywalk. We boarded the bus that took us there only to discover there is another ticket you need to purchase for the skywalk once you get to there. That’s right we paid out the kazoo for a bus ride that goes less than a mile and makes four stops. You can only go where the bus takes you too. You are not allowed to go where ever you want to as you are at the National Park. I paid the additional fee to walk out on the piece of glass only to be told I had to leave my camera in one of their lockers.The good new was there was no charge for the locker. Once we were on the piece of glass the guy dressed as an Indian Chief kept telling us to move because he was taking pictures for the other tourists. Pictures that they were going to charge them for. BTW I’ve been treated with more courtesy from DMV employees, than the staff at GCW . The other two canyon stops are hardly even worth mentioning. One is called Guano…something I believe because the mountain of rocks resembles Guano. The next stop was a display of different houses and the history of them that the indian nation had built over the years.The only reason the old west town is worth mentioning is…it was just too tacky not to mention. It looked like it was built in one day. The whole experience seemed like an unorganized carnival with no real attractions other than the Grand Canyon itself that was screaming “what have these people done to me”? I agree it’s a rip off but it’s more than that. It’s a mustache painted on the Mona Lisa.

    Now at the National Park you pay a 25.00 fee for a 7 day pass, and free shuttle buses will take you where ever you want to go, or you can hike wherever you want to go. It’s a lot prettier there too. There is lodging inside and outside of the park and even in the Canyon floor if you like to rough it.

  • At 2:35 pm on October 9, 2009, Dan R commented:

    I went to the Skywalk, and was honestly confused when reading these posts. I’m not going to try to justify the pricing, but the $75.00 I paid for the Skywalk experience was comparable to the tickets at Disneyland, Six Flags, or any show headlining in Las Vegas right now. Only difference is I didn’t have an annoying mouse trying to convince my kids to buy an ice cream in the shape of a cartoon head. That makes me thankful.

    It can’t be easy being an enterprise on an Indian Reservation trying to offer a one-of-a-kind experience to the world in a desolate and remote location. I can’t imagine what their monthly bill might be for all the support services they need in order to bring me the experience of walking on air. Bitch all you want, but I think they have something good going on here. If you walked away from the Skywalk only with the memories of how butt-hurt you were about paying $75.00 to see it, maybe you should go back to flattening your sofa while watching the discovery channel and wishing you were there. You miss the point either way, but staying home is cheaper for you, and we don’t have to hear you cry about your failure to enjoy life over an admission fee. It could be worse afterall, how easy would it be to walk the Skywalk if you were missing a leg? Or see the Canyon if you were blind? You should be thankful for the opportunity you had! Makes me sick that the world will never be good enough for some people.

  • At 9:30 pm on October 14, 2009, Kim Arrington commented:

    I want to thank all of the honest people about their comments on this skywalk ripoff and the road to hell to get there. However, I will go to the Grand Canyon. It will never enter my mind to go to the skywalk over the Grand Canyon. I thank all of these people about their true stories they have told about these outrageous prices and obnoxious people who are in charge of the skywalk. Imagine if people like this were in charge of the whole Grand Canyon, no one would go visit it.

  • At 4:26 pm on November 1, 2009, Nancy Dulz commented:

    I’m so sorry to hear that the Skywalk has turned into nothing but a rip-off tourist attraction. My family and I were there the summer before they built the Skywalk – all the steel beams etc. were there and they had a description of what they were trying to do (which sounded very impressive!!) With that being said our visit was very enjoyable – there was a bus that took you around to various sites on the reservations (including all the photos you wanted). True, the drive was difficult and I was glad I was not driving my own car!! It sounds as if now that they are trying to gouge the tourists at every turn to make a buck (similar to Foxwoods and Mohegan Casino in Connecticut). As the Grand Canyon is truly a national treasure and so beautiful it is disappointing that the lure of the big money is destroying what it is all about. I think Indian tribes are seeing how other tribes are making big money and are trying to turn this into a money making venture instead of focusing on its beauty. Maybe with all the complaints the tribe will understand unless they change things it will be destined to be a failure!!!!! People are more than willing to pay money when they don’t feel they are getting RIPPED OFF!!!!!!!!!!

  • At 10:03 am on November 4, 2009, Andrea commented:

    My best friend is coming in town from North Carolina tomorrow to visit me for my birthday weekend. I have only been living in Arizona for a couple months but I was fortunate enough to see the Grand Canyon a few years ago while on vacation in Vegas. She has never seen it so it’s going to be exciting being there when she sees it for the first time! Anyway, the highlight of the trip for me was going to be visiting the skywalk. I watched a documentary about it on a flight to England last month and was really excited for the chance to go. After my boyfriend read the reviews on this website he doesn’t want to go…understandably so, I wouldn’t want to drive a brand new BMW through 14 miles of dirt road either, but I am really disappointed. If it weren’t for this website I would still get to go :-) but I guess it wasn’t meant to be. Despite the rip-off prices, I would still pay it just to see it…a once in a lifetime experience. Sigh..

  • At 4:12 pm on November 6, 2009, Ronald Shaiser commented:

    HUGE HUGE RIPOFF!! When the Halupie sing and dance around the big fire, let me translate for you. The lyrics are, “Oh Great Ripoff Chief of the Canyon. Thank you for all these stupid people who will takeum bumpy ride to broken glass walk over the giant hole!” People, this is as bad as it gets. When you look up “Tourist Trap” in the dictionary, they better have a picture of this place. In all my days of travelling, and I’ve been everywhere, this place takes the cake for absolutely ripping you off! Someone should be arrested for first building it, then for how it is (not) operated. A sham and a shame.

  • At 11:50 am on November 12, 2009, Vance commented:

    Our family wanted to see the Grand Canyon but could only travel in July ’09. We spent most of the searing hot week in Vegas and were happy with the trip. We did take a day, drive out to the Canyon West & Skywalk. We had reserved a night at the Cowboy lodge. We timed it perfectly so we avoided the heat of the July summer. Rode the buses to all of the attractions including Skywalk, Guano Point, and our night’s stay at the Cowboy lodge. IT WAS FANTASTIC! Our boys loved the magician at the evening meal and we all loved the dinner. They rode the horses to the Canyon(Scary but beautiful). We sat by a fire at night and watched the sunrise in the morning before enjoying a wonderful breakfast.
    The drive to Canyon west is VERY LONG. They are working on the roads but be prepared for the drive. Our pictures of us on the Skywalk, care of the reservation, are proudly displayed in our living at home and on facebook.

  • At 8:10 am on December 15, 2009, Canyontourist commented:

    When I read reviews There is only simple calculation
    To View 1 point i.e. sky walk
    Sky walk=
    $29 Bus+ $32 Walk + $30 Photo= $91

    ($91 Ticket /head *2) + 24 miles of gas + $ 20 Parking= $ 200 for 2 person = Huge Harassment.

  • At 1:13 pm on December 30, 2009, Aldo commented:

    This is probably the most expensive Skywalk tour attraction in the world.

    The view is awesome but the Skywalk is not worth the price and effort to get there, unless you have $73 per person to flush down the toilet, it is a sham!

    It’s 127 miles from Las Vegas, there’s a dirt road at the end for 12 miles, 4 miles before you get there you must park and take a bus “tour” which is $43.05 per person to take you to the Skywalk and if you want to walk the Skywalk it’s $30 per person, you can’t take your camera, there are staff members taking pictures and they charge you $30 per picture. For my whole family without walking the Skywalk I paid more than what I paid for two nights at the hotel in Vegas!!!

    I strongly recommend a trip to the Grand Canyon National Park instead of this rip off!

  • At 10:48 pm on January 17, 2010, David commented:

    I visited the Skywalk area in November 2009. We opted not to do the Skywalk itself as there were many other gorgeous views all around and felt we didn’t need to pay the extra money. My favorite spot was the 2nd bus stop and the views there were just incredible. It was a bit expensive. However, I live in Vegas and it was less than 2 hours to get there. The north and south rim are nearly 5 hours. That is certainly alot of gas money and time to see the canyon.

    Was it expensive, yes. Was it a rip-off, not really. It’s a novelty.

    As far as the road goes, I did some research on this issue. The reason why the road wasn’t pave initially was an adjacent land owner filed suit against the road, alleging it would create too much traffic and cause the property value to go down. Hmm… it’s in the middle of the desert with no view. How much lower could values go? The tribe had to pay this adjacent property owner 750k to go away and let them pave the road. As of 1/14/10, appox 4 miles of the road is now pave and the remainder to be paved by the end of 2010. This coupled with the Hoover Dam bypass bridge, it will be smooth sailing from Vegas to the west rim. Rejoice everyone!

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