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Exploring The Spectacular Grand Canyon West And Its Iconic Skywalk

a canyon with a sunset in the background

Exploring the Spectacular Grand Canyon West and Its Iconic Skywalk

a man standing in front of a canyona large stone building with Grand Canyon Skywalk in the background

The Grand Canyon stands as one of the most awe-inspiring natural wonders on Earth, captivating millions with its breathtaking beauty and staggering scale. Among its many facets, Grand Canyon West and its iconic Skywalk offer visitors a unique and exhilarating perspective on this geological marvel. Let’s delve into the history of Grand Canyon West and the fascinating story behind the creation of the Skywalk.

Formation of the Grand Canyon:

Ancient Indians in the Grand Canyon a canyon with a sunset in the background
The Grand Canyon’s geological history stretches back millions of years, shaped primarily by the erosive forces of the Colorado River. Over time, the river carved through layers of rock, revealing a mesmerizing tapestry of colors and formations that span over 277 miles in length, with depths exceeding a mile in some areas. This geological masterpiece draws millions of visitors annually, each seeking to witness the grandeur of nature’s handiwork.


Who are the Hualapai People?

Besides the Skywalk, people from all over the world visit Grand Canyon West Rim to experience some of the rich history of the Hualapai Tribe. The word, Hualapai, [“Hwal’bay”] means  “People of the Tall Pines.”

The origin story of the Hualapai tribe is intricately tied to the majestic Grand Canyon. According to tribal lore, their emergence into the world began at Spirit Mountain, located near present-day Bullhead City. Initially dwelling along the banks of the Colorado River, they later migrated to the Colorado Plateau. Spanning approximately six million acres, their traditional territory stretched from the Colorado River in the west and north, to the San Francisco Peaks in the east, and Bill Williams Mountain in the south.

Anthropological studies suggest that the Hualapai and Havasupai were once factions of the Pai tribe, which splintered following encounters with European settlers. The earliest physical remnants of the Pai people, dating back to around A.D. 600, were discovered near Hoover Dam suggest that the Hualapai and Havasupai were once factions of the Pai tribe, which splintered following encounters with European settlers. The earliest physical remnants of the Pai people, dating back to around A.D. 600, were discovered on Willow Beach downstream of the Colorado Rivers’  Hoover Dam.

The Hualapai’s heritage traces back to the Cerbat people, whose roots are entrenched in the pine-clad mountains of northwestern Arizona. Originating from a collection of fourteen clusters, they thrived within this rugged terrain. Their cultural affinity with the Havasupai is evident not only in their shared heritage but also in the striking similarity of their languages.

The Hualapai people roamed in bands, living as nomadic hunters and gatherers. Their diet comprised small game, cactus, yucca, and piñon nuts. Journeying on foot, they engaged in trade with neighboring Native American communities across vast distances, reaching as far as the Pacific Ocean in the west and the Rio Grande in the east. They exchanged hides with the Havasupai in return for crops and traded meat for squash, corn, and pumpkins with the Mojave Indians residing south along the Colorado River.



Today, the Hualapai Nation spans approximately one million acres, boasting 108 miles of Colorado River frontage that stretches from Lake Mead in the west to the edge of the Havasupai Reservation in the east. At the heart of their seal lies a depiction of purplish canyonlands, serving as a poignant tribute to the enduring historical significance of the Grand Canyon within their culture.

The Reservation

Spanning across portions of three northern Arizona counties—Coconino, Yavapai, and Mohave—the reservation boasts diverse topography. From expansive rolling grasslands to dense forests and rugged canyons, the landscape offers a rich tapestry of environments. Elevations fluctuate dramatically, ranging from 1,500 feet along the Colorado River to over 7,300 feet at the summit of the Aubrey Cliffs.

Aubrey Cliffs

Located in Coconino County, AZ. Aubrey Cliffs’ elevation is about 6300 ft above sea level.

Discovery of Grand Canyon West:

While much of the Grand Canyon lies within Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon West is situated on the Hualapai Indian Reservation.  This section of the canyon is offers a distinctly different experience, providing visitors with a closer look at the Canyon’s western rim. The Hualapai reservation was established in 1883 by Executive Order. The Hualapai Nation as a people have dwelled in this region, per Tribal Legend ever since.

Adventurers began exploring the Grand Canyon region, drawn by its rugged beauty and the promise of mineral wealth. Among them was a Hualapai Indian named Bah Ahnagie, also known as Captain John Hualapai, who served as a guide for early expeditions into the canyon.

Development of Grand Canyon West:

a stone building a group of clouds in the sky

In the late 20th century, as interest in tourism grew, the Hualapai Tribe recognized the potential of Grand Canyon West as a destination for visitors seeking an authentic experience amidst the canyon’s splendor. In 1988, the tribe established the Grand Canyon West tourism enterprise, laying the foundation for what would become a premier destination for sightseeing and adventure.

Over the years, Grand Canyon West has evolved to offer a range of experiences, including helicopter tours, river rafting expeditions, and cultural performances that celebrate the heritage of the Hualapai people. However, the crowning jewel of Grand Canyon West would come in the form of a remarkable engineering feat: the Skywalk.

The Skywalk: A Marvel of Modern Engineering:

a train is parked on the side of a mountain
Opened to the public in 2007, the Skywalk is a horseshoe-shaped glass bridge that extends 70 feet out from the canyon’s rim, suspended 4,000 feet above the canyon floor. Designed to provide visitors with an unparalleled view of the Grand Canyon, the Skywalk offers a thrilling vantage point that is both exhilarating and awe-inspiring.

a person standing in front of a fence

Visionary David Jin

David Jin, the mastermind behind the Skywalk, embarked on an extraordinary journey that transformed a daring concept into a breathtaking reality. Hailing from China, Jin’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to the United States, where he dared to dream big. It was during a mesmerizing visit to the Grand Canyon in 1996 that inspiration struck him like lightning – what if there was a glass-bottomed bridge extending over the canyon’s edge, inviting adventurers to walk on air and immerse themselves in its awe-inspiring grandeur? Determined and undeterred by the daunting engineering challenges ahead, Jin embarked on a quest to turn his visionary idea into a tangible marvel. With grit, collaboration with ingenious architects like Mark Ross Johnson, and the expertise of Lochsa Engineering, Jin’s dream took shape, culminating in the birth of the Skywalk in 2007. Today, as visitors step onto the transparent bridge suspended 4,000 feet above the canyon floor, they’re not just experiencing a feat of engineering; they’re enveloped in Jin’s unwavering belief in human ingenuity and the sheer wonder of the Grand Canyon’s majesty.

Since its opening, the Skywalk has become an iconic attraction, drawing visitors from around the world who come to test their courage and marvel at the canyon’s grandeur from this daring vantage point.


Embark on an exhilarating journey with Desert Wonder Tours to discover the awe-inspiring wonders of the Grand Canyon West and its iconic Skywalk! Here, amidst the breathtaking landscapes, you’ll find more than just nature’s marvels – you’ll encounter a testament to human innovation and the enduring allure of one of the world’s most magnificent natural wonders.

As you step onto the Skywalk and gaze out over the vast expanse of the canyon, prepare to be swept away by the sheer beauty and power of nature. With each moment, you’ll create memories that will stay with you for a lifetime, leaving you inspired and in awe of the world around you.

Your Desert Wonder Tour to the Grand Canyon West Rim culminates at the beautiful Grand Canyon Western Ranch where guest will luncheon at an authentic Western Ranch with stone cabins built in the 1880’s, while being serenaded by an authentic Singing Cowboy and learn the history of this amazing ranch.

a dining room tableGrand Canyon Western Ranch Singing Cowboy

Whether you’re craving adventure, seeking cultural enrichment, or simply longing for a moment of pure wonder, Grand Canyon West and its legendary Skywalk promise an experience unlike any other. Join us at Desert Wonder Tours and let’s embark on an unforgettable journey together!

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Contact Us: (928) 716-2046