The Skywalk At Eagle Point ~ Hualapai Grand Canyon West
The western Grand Canyon region of Arizona is the home of the Hualapai. The entire Grand Canyon is a sacred spiritual place that is respected with great reverence by regional native tribes. In recent years, the Hualapai Nation has successfully provided an opportunity for visitors to experience the western end of the Grand Canyon. Hualapai Grand Canyon West is now a very popular destination that rivals the neighboring Grand Canyon National Park. Visitors actually tend to prefer Grand Canyon West nowadays, because there is no overcrowding and the Hualapai provide a much more peaceful experience than what can be found at the National Park. The lodging, restaurants, educational entertainment and the airport helicopter tours are rated better too. Besides, there is one feature that can only be found in Grand Canyon West and that is the legendary Grand Canyon Skywalk at Eagle Point!
Eagle Point offers unobstructed views of the western Grand Canyon and the Colorado River can be easily seen from the canyon rim. The western end of the Grand Canyon is more like a low desert environment, while the east end has a lush high elevation pine forest environment. The contrast between the two very different Grand Canyon environments can be seen at Eagle Point. Just a little further west is where the extremely hot harsh desolate Grand Canyon Parashant National Monument can be found, before the Colorado River empties into Lake Mead.
Because Eagle Point is a spiritual place, many tribal members visit this destination to pray for the Mother Earth Spirit. For the same reason, Eagle Point is also where many weddings take place. There are few better places on earth to practice spirituality or to be wed, because the views of the big canyon from Eagle Point are as majestic as can be!
The entire Eagle Point overlook area offers panoramic views that extend to the horizon in all directions. The mighty Colorado River can be seen far below. Where there is water, there is wildlife in the desert. A pair of binoculars, a telescope or a telephoto camera lens is the best way to spot wildlife and to see the fine details of this section of the Grand Canyon. Good sunglasses help too, because the glare of the sun bleached rock strata can be blindingly bright.
Many interesting natural rock formation shapes in Grand Canyon West have been given names through the years and most can be seen from Eagle Point. The Hualapai tour guides and shuttle bus drivers will point out the direction of these natural sights. One bunch of boulders looks like a dog sleeping on a rock, one looks like an Egyptian Pharoah and there is a famous Grand Canyon rock formation that looks like a Native American woman’s face next to a wild horse. It is easy to spend all day just looking at the Grand Canyon West natural rock formation shapes!
Because the Hualapai believe in preserving the natural state of the canyon rim, there are no guard rails or safety devices implanted in the rock strata near the rim. For this reason, risk taking should be minimized. Standing on the edge may seem like a daring idea, till reality sets in right in the middle of the risky act. When reality sets in, the body and mind enter a helpless panic mode that results in freezing up and this is when disaster is most likely to occur. Jumping over the deep narrow ravine cracks on the rim can result in disaster too. During the last two weeks of March in 2019, two tourists fell to their death while taking selfie photos on the edge of the canyon rim, so this is no joking matter. There is nothing to save you if you start to fall and it is a very long trip straight down to the canyon floor, so keeping it sane around the rim is best!
The main point of interest at Grand Canyon West is the Skywalk at Eagle Point, which was completed in 2012. This unique engineering marvel has received awards for being the most scenic bridge ever built. The Skywalk is a horseshoe shaped bridge that has a glass deck. The Skywalk is over 4,000 feet above the floor of the Grand Canyon, so the scenic views from this glass bridge are astounding!
The Skywalk is the main attraction at Eagle Point and rightly so! This is an engineering masterpiece where taking a big risky dare is safe to do. The Skywalk is a glass floor viewing platform that extends far over the rim into the Grand Canyon, so if you ever wanted to feel the sensation of flying like an eagle, the Skywalk is the best choice!
There are a few rules to abide by when doing the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Cameras, cel phones and any hard or metallic objects cannot be carried on the Skywalk. Items like these can be stored in secure lockers in the Skywalk prep area, before stepping onboard. Cloth shoe covers must be worn at all times and metallic trimmed shoes cannot be worn at all. These measures are necessary for protecting the crystal clear glass on the Skywalk.
Since no cameras are allowed on the Skywalk, professional photographers are available on site for those who wish to take some pictures home. The Skywalk is also a rite of passage, so casual picture taking is not a good idea anyway, because the Skywalk is a journey that makes people overcome their fears. To be more specific, the personal object to conquer on the Skywalk is the fear heights!
The Hualapai do manage the Skywalk experience as a traditional rite of passage. What this means is if you start the Skywalk, you must finish the entire journey on the horseshoe shaped glass floor Skywalk that hangs over the deep canyon and turning back is not allowed. There is only one way in and there is only one way out, so a visitor must complete the rite of passage journey that the Skywalk presents. This is something for those who have a fear of heights to keep in mind.
The experience of walking on a sheet of glass high above the Grand Canyon is simply amazing! The first few steps seem to take forever to accomplish, because the mind subconsciously tries to warn the body that something dangerous is about to occur. The first look down through the glass at the canyon below results in a weightless feeling that is mixed with a sensation of uncontrollable vertigo. I nearly lost my balance when I looked down the first time, because it felt like my feet were floating in mid air and there was no gravity. The floating sensation only lasted for a brief moment and it was like turning into a bird in order to survive and a spiritual awakening certainly occurred in this vision. After the sensation was over, the effect caused me to laugh in amazement and I still reflect upon the experience of the Skywalk challenge to this day!
After getting adjusted to the sensory overload, the Skywalk turns into an enjoyable experience that is difficult to compare to anything other than soaring like a bird high in sky. The vantage point high above the Grand Canyon is intriguing as can be! The crystal clear view of the Grand Canyon below literally leaves visitors speechless. It is then that the grandeur of the moment sets in, when realizing how well the Skywalk fits in with the spiritual side of the Grand Canyon experience. Speechless, breathless and being all eyes is what the Skywalk experience is like, just like a bird soaring high in the sky! Thrill seekers and adventurous types will surely like the Hualapai Skywalk experience and the memories will last a lifetime!
Of course, not everybody shares this same deep spiritual experience while on the Hualapai Grand Canyon Skywalk. Folks that suffer from acrophobia certainly will have an experience that is on the opposite end of the scale! The panic stricken terror from the fear of heights can be so great on the Skywalk, that a somebody with acrophobia will grasp the handrail like a vice and absolutely freeze up like a statue. Friends will actually have to pry an acrophobia victim’s fingers off of the rail and guide them back to solid ground, because the eyes are shut tight out of fear! The fear of heights is really nothing to laugh about, because it is a natural protective sensation. Mentioning just how intense the Skywalk can be for somebody that has acute acrophobia may help some visitors to avoid an unpleasant experience while on vacation. Keeping things fun is what it is all about and there are plenty of other fun things to do at Eagle Point.
The Hualapai Grand Canyon West Skywalk at Eagle Point certainly is an old fashioned rite of passage in this modern age and it is a worthwhile challenge at that! Eagle Point is a beautiful place where the majestic views of the Grand Canyon extend to all horizons. If you ever wanted to soar high in the sky over the Grand Canyon like an Eagle, then the Skywalk experience is simply a must to do!