on May 14, 2007
Two-and-a-half hours from Vegas via the Hoover Dam is the new Grand Canyon Skywalk. You can find news reports and general info on the web about it. If you really must see the Grand Canyon, but don't have time to drive to the National Park, the Hualapai Indian Reservation (aka Grand Canyon West) is a pretty good option, albeit pricey.We spent our last day visiting the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. We rented a car for our week stay in Vegas; an SUV would have been better... We left the hotel at 6am, crossed the dam just before 7am. Our plan was to finish the tour of the Indian reservation and be back to the Grand Canyon around 1pm. A bonus is the time zone change, which lets you eat lunch earlier in MT. The last leg of the drive once you reach the Haulapai property is a 14-mile rocky, twisty, dusty dirt road through a joshua tree forest to reach the visitor center. A car is OK to the task, but I recommend checking your rental agreement before going off-road. Twenty-five dollars gets you to the Cowboy ranch, but not to Guano Point, nor Eagle Point, and no view of the canyon. Fifty dollars gets you full access to the reservation and includes lunch. An additional $25 is required to step on the Skywalk ($75 per person total). Once you pay the entrance fee, a tour bus takes you to a few stops. First, a natural rock formation: the namesake of Eagle Point. While you can wonder at the canyon standing on solid ground, adventurous souls prefer to loop the Skywalk, which juts out 4,000 above the canyon floor. My wife, who normally gets panic attacks at the thought of flying and is afraid of heights, managed to stomach the Skywalk. But we did encounter a few large, burly men, too petrified to complete the walk. I don't want to spoil the experience for folks. But be warned, they don't want you carrying anything on the Skywalk, including cameras, for fear of dropping things on the glass, or down the canyon. If you're crafty, you can rig a spy camera of sorts. A short bus ride shuttles you to Guano Point. If you're a fan of HBO's Entourage, you'll recognize where Johnny Drama parked the Lincoln and woke up at dawn. I recommend eating lunch at Guano Point. If you hike to the top of the point you get almost 360-degree views of the canyon around you. At one stop, we were treated to a traditional dance by a lovely little hualapai girl. You can take the shuttle to the Cowboy ranch or to see more of the Hualapai culture if you wish. Instead we chose to get back to the visitor's center so we could drive back to the dam before traffic got too busy. We managed to get back to the dam and a line to attend a semi-guided tour. I understand that since 9/11 the original tour is no more. Instead you get a short film and elevator ride to the generator room. I'd recommend skipping the tour if you're pressed for time. But it only costs $11. You can find ads for bus tours everywhere to the Skywalk and Hoover Dam. These trips last all day (15+ hours).
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