Visit the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West During Your Next Grand Canyon Adventure!
This 10-foot wide, horseshoe-shaped glass bridge extends 70 feet out over the rim of the Grand Canyon. Look down and you can see right through the glass platform 4,000 feet to the floor of the Canyon below. Profiled by the National Geographic Channel, The Today Show, and CNN, this engineering marvel offers unparalleled views of one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders.
Until recently, a sensation like this could only be experienced in dreams. But now, on the Hualapai Indian Reservation that is just East of Las Vegas, dreams and reality will meld into one with the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
Nervous about walking on glass almost a mile above the floor of the Grand Canyon? Have no fear—the Skywalk is strong enough to hold seventy fully loaded 747 passenger jets.
The Skywalk is not part of the national park, so the price and rules can be different. For example, the Skywalk prohibits cameras. Additionally, you must store personal belongings like purses in a free locker available before entering the Skywalk.
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What is the Skywalk at Grand Canyon West?
The Skywalk is a U-shaped cantilevered glass bridge that extends straight out from the edge of the Canyon wall.
David Jin, a Las Vegas businessperson, first envisioned the Skywalk when he visited the Grand Canyon in 1996. In partnership with Lochsa Engineering, MRJ Architects, and Executive Construction Management, Jin designed and built the Skywalk, and when it opened in March of 2007, the first people to step onto the Skywalk were lead by Buzz Aldrin and Jon Herrington, the first Native American astronaut.
What is a Cantilevered Bridge?
A cantilevered bridge is a structure that projects horizontally into space, supported only on one end. Beams and trusses built using strong, heavy materials like structural steel or concrete box girders are supporting large cantilevered bridges like the Skywalk.
How Was the Skywalk Built?
Construction of the Skywalk began on October 6, 2004, when the Hualapai Indians blessed the site. One month later, drilling began, and after a year and a half, drilling was complete. Welding the steel beams took another 4 months.
Workers assembled the Skywalk on site and lifted the heavy glass panels into place with special manipulators equipped with large suction cups. Two and a half years after starting construction, they rolled the glass panels into place using a method similar to what the ancient Egyptians used for building the pyramids.
Watch this video to see the Skywalk’s construction process:
How Does the Skywalk Stay Up?
The Skywalk rests on a foundation of 8 columns that support box beams that are 6 feet high, 32 inches wide, with 2 inch thick walls. The box beams’ foundations, at 45 feet deep, anchor into the limestone bedrock to serve as counterweights for the Skywalk’s cantilever design. Tuned mass dampers, designed to reduce normal vibrations from wind and people, support the Skywalk itself.
Skywalk is a Great Day Trip Idea for Las Vegas Tourists
Some visitors don’t realize that the West Rim of the Grand Canyon is just over two hours away from Las Vegas! With the Grand Canyon Skywalk located at the West Rim, it makes for a perfect day trip if you happen to be staying in Las Vegas and want to get away from the city for a little while. If you don’t have a car, there are several Grand Canyon Skywalk tours you can book that will pick you up from your hotel and include other exciting options like a thrilling helicopter ride over the canyon and a relaxing boat ride down the Colorado River.
Even though the canyon’s rocky ridges and leafy trees are hundreds of feet below, it seems that you could almost reach out and touch them as you peer down through the glass. And the bridge is a lovely vantage point from which to take on the opposite side of the canyon.
For thrill-seekers and adventure-junkies, the Skywalk is a can’t-miss Grand Canyon experience. Nothing compares to the feeling of walking beyond the Canyon Rim and peering straight down to the Colorado River 4,000 feet below.
So if you are interested in experiencing the Skywalk with Christianson Tours, we have this as an add-on on our Grand Canyon West Rim tour.
We have experience in the touring and travel industry and look forward to serving you with all your touring adventures! We offer special group/corporate rates and custom tours!