Zion by Helicopter
I’m not a fan of hype. With 10 years of experience in marketing, I’m repelled by the over-use of superlatives and exclamation marks. So when I describe my experience on a “doors-off” helicopter photo shoot of Zion in late November, I’m going to have to restrain myself. In two words: “MIND BLOWING.”
I’ve seen some beautiful things in my life, and I’ve had my share of exhilarating experiences. With nearly 100 white-water river trips through the Grand Canyon, I’m not new to the world of scenic adventure. I don’t take it lightly when I tell you that, in the past several years, I can’t remember spending a more enjoyable 60 minutes.
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If you are one of those Zion visitors who has more money to spend than time, taking this helicopter tour is a no-brainer. But even if you have to save your pennies for a while to get here, or you are just looking for a way to make the most of your “once-in-a-lifetime” visit (trust me, you’ll be back!), this is a surprisingly affordable way to experience Zion. Trips range from $45 – $299 per person, and can be catered to meet the needs of photographers, aspiring pilots or scenic adventurers.
For “grounded” visitors who are concerned that helicopters will intrude on your visit to Zion, you will be happy to know that the air space over the park is protected. The pilots at Zion Helicopters are careful to avoid doing anything that degrades the wilderness experience for hikers or those seeking solitude within the park boundaries. Tours around the perimeter of the park are designed to keep everyone happy, not just those in the air. And, as a resident living less than a mile from the flight path, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how quiet and unobtrusive these choppers have been. Without driving past the helicopter pad off of State Route 9 in Hurricane, I would hardly know they are there.
Staying beyond the national park boundaries certainly doesn’t hinder the opportunity to view Zion’s spectacular scenery. Much like watching a movie on the front row of a theater, being too close can actually keep you from seeing the “big picture”. The vast majority of tourists only experience a few intimate views from within Zion Canyon, but the full panorama can only be seen from a reasonable distance in a few select locations – unless, of course, you are flying a few thousand feet above the ground.
Other frequent concerns flyers may have include air-sickness, noise, inability to communicate, and safety. Most people are surprised with the sense of stability one feels in a chopper. It’s more like flying on a commercial jet than a small plane, and dramamine is not a necessity. Noise-cancelling headphones equipped with individual microphones make communication easier than conversing in a car, and chances are good that the most dangerous ride you will take on your trip is the one on your local Interstate.
Check-out Zion Helicopters for more information.