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“The Grand Canyon fills me with awe. It is beyond comparison—beyond description; absolutely unparalleled throughout the wide world.” These are the words of Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th president of the United States, when he visited the site in 1903. A hunter, an avid bird-watcher, and a hiking fanatic—all at once, it’s expected that “Teddy,”—as Roosevelt was fondly called, would be impressed by such natural spectacles as the Grand Canyon.

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Yet the Grand Canyon is huge. Its breathtaking immensity is better seen than described. For perspective, it’s 278 miles long (447 km). That’s like Washington DC to Philadelphia—twice. For that reason, it’s important that visitors know the best spots for the best views. And as a side note, a heads-up on the best time to go is also important. In this article, we take a look at whether the Grand Canyon Skywalk is really worth it.

But first—

What Is The Grand Canyon Skywalk?

Imagine walking on an elevated platform, mostly made of clear glass—and peering down at huge, heart-sinking cliffs and rugged gorges—several feet below. That’s what the Grand Canyon Skywalk is. Its very name is descriptive. It’s just that: A walk in the sky. The glass bridge takes the shape of a horseshoe, like the letter “U.” It stretches 70 feet from the jagged rim, about 21 meters. The distance from the glass that one is standing on, down to the precipitous floor of the Canyon, is a blood-curdling 4,000 feet. Deep down is the Colorado River that, from this raised-up position, looks like a thin, brown ribbon, belying its immense size.

Grand Canyon Skywalk was built by a Las Vegas businessman originally from Shanghai—China. After settling in the country, David Jin trained his eyes on the travel sector, establishing tour companies in Las Vegas. While on a tourism-related business trip to the Grand Canyon in 1996, the idea of a skywalk suddenly struck him. After securing an agreement with the Hualapai people, Jin fetched Mark Ross Johnson, the architect who would work on the design and the structure of the skywalk. Initially, the plan was to mount a rectangular-shaped edifice. But the plan was dropped, a curve shape being preferred. On March 20, 2007, the skywalk opened its doors to a captivated worldwide audience—eager to float in the air—admiring nature’s grand masterpiece.

Related: Secret Season: Why You Should Visit The Grand Canyon In Winter.

The Pros Of Grand Canyon Skywalk

The beauty of the Grand Canyon Skywalk lies in the stunning views it offers visitors. The glass floor adds to the scary thrill. The views below and around are truly breathtaking. The glass is also surprisingly very clear. That’s despite the fact that Grand Canyon Skywalk is, as of 2022—over 15 years old. The advantage of this is that the views below are distinct: not blurry or obscure. It’s hard to see a single scratch on the glass. Of course, there are many viewpoints that reveal even more stunning vistas. However, the Grand Canyon Skywalk is special because of the feeling of being suspended high up on a platform. This is not an experience that one can get from other viewpoints. And for history buffs, there’s a chance to explore the history and culture of the Hualapai tribe who live around this area.

Related: Pai Is Thai's Answer To The Grand Canyon: Here's What To Explore.

The Cons Of Grand Canyon Skywalk

While the Skywalk’s high point is the experience of suspension—while taking in 360-degree views of the spellbinding area—an adventure on this structural marvel has its downsides. The first one is that visitors are not allowed to carry cameras or mobile phones on the skywalk. Granted, cameras may slip through and fall, but the no-camera rule is usually not a small disappointment. Naturally, the beauty of such views is the ability to treasure them as memories that one can refer to—or just to show friends by posting on Instagram. Of course, one can still get a picture from professional photographers that are on site. But the downside is that this comes at an avoidable cost in terms of both money and time. And it’s not just cameras. Visitors aren’t also permitted to bring food. That means eating at the restaurant—again at an extra cost—and, as is often the case, standing in the queue for quite a while.

Also, many view the cost as just not worth it. Skywalk offers different ticket packages. The basic one, which starts from $64—grants entry to the Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk. Some other ticket package includes a meal. Others include a helicopter flight—or some extras like whitewater rafting or a climb to Travertine Falls.

Here’s the take-home. Grand Canyon Skywalk provides an amazing top-down view of nature’s grand masterpiece. However, the experience comes with some downsides.