Grand Canyon Village
South Rim (open all year)
Grand Canyon Village
is the center of activity and the transportation hub for the South Rim of the park. The village is the only place where the railroad reaches the rim of the canyon.
Within Grand Canyon Village, there are three main areas of interest:
The Visitor Center / Mather Point
, where most visitors park and get their first look at Grand Canyon.
Four large parking areas are located here as well as the transit center for the park's free shuttle buses.
2) Market Plaza
- the business center where the general store, bank and US Post Office are located,
The Historic District
, with the railroad depot, original lodges; where the pioneer village started.
To get around the village, the Village Shuttle Bus
(Blue Route) connects the Visitor Center / parking areas with the lodges
, and shops
From the Visitor Center, the easiest and fastest way to get out and see Grand Canyon is to take the scenic Kaibab Rim Shuttle Bus
(orange route) This bus provides the only access to the South Kaibab Trailhead, and Yaki Point.
The Scenic Hermit Road Shuttle Route
(red) operates March 1st - Nov. 30.
stops at 9 canyon overlooks along the scenic 7 mile (11 km) Hermit Road
. (west of the village)
Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Grand Canyon Visitor Center
(South Rim) and the Books and More bookstore, are located just South of Mather Point. Outdoor exhibit provide a variety of information about Grand Canyon National Park and what to do once you are here.
Watch the film, Grand Canyon: A Journey of Wonder, in the theater. The movie is 20 minutes long and starts on the hour and the half-hour.
The Visitor Center is open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily and may be reached by riding a free shuttle bus from Grand Canyon Village or Market Plaza, or by parking in the parking lots that wrap around the plaza.
Walk to the canyon rim and Mather Point by following the signed pedestrian paths leading from the Visitor Center Area to the Rim Trail.
Historic train depot with El Tovar Hotel beyond
In the Village you will find the Historic District
, the heart of development on the South Rim, predominantly built by the Santa Fe Railroad during the first half of the 20th Century.
Several of the buildings date from the early 1900s, including Mary Colter's Lookout Studio
and Hopi House
Stop by the Train Depot
, take one of the walking tours, and imagine yourself back in the day when President Teddy Roosevelt and artist Thomas Moran spent time here at the canyon. Trains arrive at the Grand Canyon Depot at least once a day.
Verkamps Visitor Center
Visit Verkamp's Visitor Center, formerly a curio shop, to learn to learn more of the history of this community. A Grand Canyon Association bookstore within this visitor center is a great place to browse for gifts.
Kolb Studio cascades down the side of the canyon and features art exhibits in the auditorium of a building that was once the home of the canyon's pioneering photographers. A Grand Canyon Association bookstore within Kolb Studio is a great place to browse for gifts, with all proceeds going directly to the upkeep of the studio itself.
Paved Greenway Trail
Across the street from the depot, above the Xanterra South Rim General Offices begins another segment of the Greenway Trail.
This segment of the Greenway, away from the rim, takes walkers and bicyclists from Grand Canyon Village to Market Plaza. For bicyclists the Greenway provides a much safer route than the park's busy narrow roads.
General Store at Market Plaza
is the Business Center of Grand Canyon Village. Here you will find the general store and deli, a bank, the US Post Office, and the cafeteria, gift shop and front desk of Yavapai Lodge.
Market Plaza has a large parking lot (B) in a central location, and is a good place to park and access the park's free shuttle bus system.
Yavapai Museum of Geology
Yavapai Museum of Geology
(Yavapai Observation Station)
is located one mile east (1.6 km) of Market Plaza and features spectacular views of Grand Canyon. Geological displays
include three-dimensional models, powerful photographs, and interpretive exhibits that describe the complicated geologic story
of the area.
The Yavapai Museum exhibits
explain the deposition of rock layers, the uplift of the Colorado Plateau, and the carving of Grand Canyon. A Grand Canyon Association bookstore within the museum is a great place to browse for gifts.
Your phone provides a fun way to learn more about the Park.
Listen to park rangers give 2 minute audio tours at various points of interest on the South Rim, from Hermit Road to Yaki Point, and the North Rim. Learn more...
Desert View (Open All Year)
View from Desert View Point
NPS Photo by Kristen M. Caldon
Desert View is a settlement located 25 miles/ 41 km east
of Grand Canyon Village, near the eastern edge of Grand Canyon National Park.
At Desert View, the Colorado River makes a turn to the north while the Painted Desert extends toward the Navaho and Hopi Indian Reservations. On a clear day, one can see well over 100 miles. (161 km)
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Desert View Watchtower
The Desert View Watchtower, one of the most prominent architectural features on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, underwent major renovations during 2010. The 70-foot tower contains a Grand Canyon Association bookstore and its upper floors serve as observation decks where visitors from around the world enjoy magnificent views of the canyon and the Painted Desert. The Watchtower is now a visitor contact station. The building by parking lot, that was the Desert View visitor center is now closed.
Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the tower was constructed in 1932. Architect Mary Colter's design takes its influences from the architecture of the ancestral Puebloan people of the Colorado Plateau.
Desert View Watchtower Kiva Room after retail store removed, January 2015, and partially restored to architect Mary Colter's original plan.
Tusayan Museum (1932)
A visit to Tusayan Museum provides a glimpse into Pueblo Indian life at Grand Canyon some 800 years ago. Admission is free. This was a thriving community as illustrated by its pottery, arrowheads and other household artifacts.
The Tusayan Museum is open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and is located 3 miles (5 km) west of Desert View.
Walk around Tusayan Ruin
A self-guiding trail leads through the adjacent 800-year-old Tusayan Ruin. Ranger-led ruin tours are offered daily. Educational materials about the park and region are sold in the non-profit bookstore
Download: (821kb PDF file)
Grand Canyon Lodge View
The North Rim
Lodging, restaurants and store open: May 15 through Oct. 15, 2015.
A worthwhile trip for those who enjoy the road less traveled, the North Rim, or "other side" of the Grand Canyon is visited by only 10% of all Grand Canyon visitors. There is only one lodge, the Grand Canyon Lodge (managed by Forever Resorts) and one developed campground on the North Rim.
The hike across the canyon from South Rim to North Rim is 21 miles (34 km). However, traveling from the South Rim to the North Rim by automobile requires a five-hour drive of 220 miles (354 km). Directions to the North Rim...
The North Rim has a short season. Lodging is available between May 15 and October 15, and camping is available at the North Rim campground between May 15th through October 31th. During winter months, the North Rim is closed due to snow.
The North Rim Visitor Center, located adjacent to the parking lot for Grand Canyon Lodge and Bright Angel Point provides park and regional information, maps, brochures, exhibits, and a bookstore. Open mid-May through mid-October from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm daily. Interpretive programs are offered seasonally. Public restrooms are located in back of the building.
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Most visitors make a stop at Bright Angel Point, at the southern end of the entrance road. From the parking area it is a short, easy walk to Grand Canyon Lodge and a classic view of the canyon. This facility is wheelchair accessible. A paved, 0.5 mile (0.8 km) round-trip trail leads from the lodge, out the spine of the ridge, to the point. This trail is steep in places, with drop-offs and stairs, but provides dramatic views into Roaring Springs and Bright Angel Canyons.
Point Imperial and Cape Royal are reached via a winding scenic drive. The trip to both points, with short walks at each and several stops at pullouts along the way, can easily take half a day.
Point Imperial, the highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet (2,683 meters), overlooks the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon. Here the canyon transforms as the narrow walls of Marble Canyon, visible only as a winding gash, open dramatically to become "grand." Layers of red and black Precambrian rocks, not visible at Bright Angel Point, add contrast and color. Part of the viewpoint is accessible.
Cape Royal provides a panorama up, down, and across the canyon. With seemingly unlimited vistas to the east and west, it is popular for both sunrise and sunset. The sweeping turn of the Colorado River at Unkar Delta is framed through the natural arch of Angels Window. Look for the Desert View Watchtower across the canyon on the South Rim. This popular viewpoint is accessible via a paved, level trail.
The North Rim has a Short Season (May 15 through October 15)
Is harder to get to, and is more wild and secluded.
- Reservations are strongly recommended.
North Rim Lodging reservations. -- North Rim Campground reservations. -- Driving Directions
Additional facilities are available in the surrounding Kaibab National Forest, the Kaibab Lodge area, and Jacob Lake.
- The North Rim is over 8000 feet/2438 m. in elevation.
Visitors with respiratory or heart problems may experience difficulties. Walking at this elevation can be strenuous.
3,000 ft above river
The view from Toroweap Overlook, 3000 vertical feet (914 meters) above the Colorado River, is a breathtaking sheer drop. This remote and primitive area, known as both Tuweep and Toroweap, is on the northwest rim of the Grand Canyon on the Arizona Strip. A visit to this area can be challenging, but rewarding.
Since the National Park Service manages the area for its primitive values, improvements and services are minimal.
Read more about this remote place...