Want to experience life on the edge? You can do so, quite literally, at Grand Canyon West's Guano Point. Around the same time as the Hoover Dam construction, a passing boater discovered a Guano Cave in the 1930s. For two decades, miners tried unsuccessfully to extract nitrogen-rich guano (used for fertilizer) from the cave. Determined, the U.S. Guano Corporation purchased the property to extract the over 100,000 tons of guano from the cave by constructing a whopping $3.5 million tramway system. Stretching from the mine to today?s Guano Point, the aerial tramway led to a cable head-house. The entirety of the operation was built on land leased by the Hualapai Tribe, who today preserves the history and views of that historic operation.
The cableway stretched across the river for more than 7,500 feet, looking straight down 2,500 feet below. When all of the cave's resources were exhausted in the late 1950s, steps were taken to dismantle the operation (which was compounded by an accident when a U.S. Air Force fighter jet crashed into a wire). Today, remaining structures are still in tact as an homage to the attempts to mine the canyon, open to visitors to take in the beauty and history of the region.
Plan a full day trip to maximize your visit, starting with the "Highpoint Hike," which boasts panoramic views of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. Many areas don't have railings, so take caution and keep kiddos close. From there, dine at the edge of the canyon at Guano Deli, where dishes like barbecue shredded beef, salads, and baked chicken are served up along with views of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. End the day at the Hualapai Market, where visitors can shop Native American crafts and jewelry and learn from tribal members.
To visit Guano Point, the Hualapai Tribe offers an array of tour packages to choose from. (External companies offers helicopter or other tours pay a fee to the tribe for use.) The Hualapai Legacy Day Pass includes access to the three viewpoints and transportation between them on a hop-on, hop-off bus for $44 per person. That can be upgraded with a meal at one of the viewpoints-including the Guano Deli-for an additional fee. To see all of those points and take a stroll on the Legacy Skywalk, the Legacy Skywalk package is $62. Upgrades from there include meals, helicopter rides, or private shuttles for up to 10 guests to each viewpoint instead of the group bus.