Monday, July 09, 2007

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Grand Canyon SkywalkAs part of our trip to see the Grand Canyon, we decided we'd do the extra drive to go see the Grand Canyon Skywalk. I'd heard a lot about it in the news and on TV and thought it sounded like a cool thing to see. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a horseshoe shaped glass walkway that overlooks the canyon. You can walk out on the glass and basically feel like you are flying/hovering over the canyon.

Before heading out that way, I looked up their website for directions and information. They mentioned an elaborate tour where you get to hop on/off a bus on your own time, see multiple sites, cultural shows, Indian villages, and walk the skywalk. Sounded great!

Dirt Road to SkywalkWhat they did not tell us, was that we would be driving on a dirt road for over an hour. There were no signs and we were just hoping that somewhere at the end of this road and through the dust, was what we were looking for. Once we arrived, we parked and walked up to 2 portable trailers where people were crowded all over the place trying to escape the heat outside. The packages were displayed on poorly photocopied pieces of paper we had to ask for. After many questions, we were finally able to figure out which package we needed to buy.

Ultimately, we paid $75 per person for nothing. This operation was poorly organized and they did not seem ready for the tourists they were trying to attract. There were no "real" bathrooms or buildings aside from the porta-potties out in the dirt parking lot or the crowded one in the trailer. We were picked up by a coach bus that took us out to the Skywalk. Which appears and seems much bigger on TV than it actually is in person. They did not clearly advertise that no cameras or belongings period would be allowed onto the skywalk. So when we got there, we had to pay more to get a locker. If it was required that everyone have to lock up their stuff, I think they should have had a security area where we could store our stuff for free, not pay for lockers where nobody was prepared with change for. We walked on the skywalk for about 2 minutes, which really was a neat/scary experience. "Indian Village" - 2 teepeesThe "Indian Village" they mentioned were 2 tee pees. The "Cultural Show" was little kids jumping around in Native American Clothes. The "get on/off whenever you'd like" is a scam. You are in the middle of a desert with nothing to look at, no shelter, and the bus comes every 20 minutes. Of course you'd hop on the next bus. They also advertised an "all you can eat buffet", but failed to mention that it was walking through a small metal building that was the "kitchen" and getting served food that was pulled out of a box, worse than a picnic, and sitting outdoors in the scorching heat.

What I really didn't appreciate here was I felt like they hyped it up to be more than it was and made sure to charge every step of the way and not give back much in return. If it had been more clear to me what we were getting into and going to get to start with, I would not have felt as poorly leaving. They took advantage of "tourists" who ultimately bring them the money and falsely advertised everything.

SkywalkThe Grand Canyon Skywalk is a lot more hype than it is worth. Unless you really want to walk on the glass over the canyon, I would not waste my money on the visit.

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon itself was gorgeous, amazing, and massive. If you are there to see the canyon, I would suggest going to the South Rim where there are clearly marked paths, railings, and park rangers who can give you information about the canyon.

3 comments:

Tyler said...

Sorry to hear you had to go through all that. It sounds like it's actually gotten worse since I was there. It's really a pity.

For anyone interested, here's my review:
http://hicks-wright.net/grand-canyon-skywalk

Anonymous said...

Maybe other people will build sky walks too and demand less money (competion)?

Ron said...

My wife and I also went there in September of 2007. We had reservations made through AAA. After driving over 14 miles of dirt road (behind a bus!). When we got there we found that they would not honor our reservations. We talked to just about everyone there to no avail. Their suggestion was for us to call and cancel our reservation and use our credit card and pay the admission there. With tax it was over $80 per person. You have to take the "Spirit Tour" in order to get on the Skywalk. You COULD NOT just get on the Skywalk. Our only other choice was pay for the Spirit Tour and just not see it and go directly to the Skywalk. We decided that since we had already wasted over 1 1/2 hours of our alloted time trying to get our reservations straightened out that we would just skip it. The lady manager we talked to was very nice but said it was out of her hands. The "Indians" she said insist on getting their $55 for the Spirit Tour and the Owner of the Skywalk was obligated to comply as the Indians own the ground the Skywalk is built on. (What moron would build a multi-million dollar structure on leased or rented ground?) We decided, heck with it and drove the 14 miles of dirt road back to semi civilization.

We made a stop at the first little town and stopped to ask where we could find something to eat. The lady I asked said her husband worked at the Skywalk and that they receive a lot of complaints about the expense and poor service etc. I do not expect to ever visit the Skywalk unless there is a major change and it becomes more reasonable.