The Grand Canyon Visitor Center (on the South Rim by Mather Point.)
Outdoor exhibits provide information about Grand Canyon National Park and what to do when you arrive.
Stop by the Visitor Center and large Bookstore - across the Plaza.
Indoor Exhibits include: interactive trip planners, The Canyon World, in the new Science On a Sphere Theater®, A large 3-D relief map with videos featuring a variety of canyon experiences. Exhibit cubes displaying items from the park's natural and cultural history collections.
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.
This winter, the Visitor Center is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
Interior of Grand Canyon Visitor Center with new exhibits.
NPS photo by Tyson Joye
Bicycle rentals, and guided bicycle tours are located by the Visitor Center, and are available between March 15 and October 31. (other times, when weather permits - visit the link for updates) Also available is a coffee bar/ café with a "grab & go" menu targeted towards hikers, bikers and pedestrians. The Café is open year-round. View photos here.
From the Visitor Center, its just a short walk - or shuttle ride to Mather Point for a spectacular view of the canyon.
Many visitors choose to park their vehicles in one of the 4 parking lots (shown in the map below) that surround the Visitor Center, then use the free shuttle buses to get around the village and out to the scenic overlooks.
Map showing the Grand Canyon Visitor Center with the location of parking lots 1-4, in relation to Mather Point and the Rim Trai.
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Visiting Grand Canyon with 4 Hours or Less. What Can I Do?
One of the best ways you can experience the South Rim of Grand Canyon in 3 to 4 hours is to combine walking with shuttle bus riding. Learn ways to get out to spectacular scenic views, and visit historic Grand Canyon Village.
3 minutes, 34 seconds
Credit / Author:
Lane & Schreiner
Backcountry Information Center
Backcountry Information Center (South Rim)
Chat with park rangers to obtain backcounty information and permits. Open: 8:00 a.m. - noon; then, 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. (M.S.T.)
Located in the village historic district just east of Maswik Lodge. Parking is available in lot D. The Village Loop Shuttle Bus stops here.
Verkamp's Visitor Center Just east of the El Tovar Hotel and Hopi House, Verkamp's Visitor Center is the canyon's newest contact station - in one of its oldest buildings. At the information desk, National Park Service rangers and Grand Canyon Association staff will answer any questions you may have. From the Verkamp's Visitor Center, follow the Rim Trail west to other businesses and viewpoints along the rim.
Open daily 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (winter hours)
Pioneer History Exhibits
The Verkamp's home and business was constructed in 1906, and it was open as a gift shop (that featured Grand Canyon souvenirs and Native American arts and crafts) through September 17, 2008.
Verkamp's re-opened as a park visitor center on November 26, 2008. The National Park Service now owns the building and it hosts a bookstore and exhibits about the pioneer history of Grand Canyon Village. Several ranger-conducted activities start here.
Yavapai Geology Museum and Observation Station
Yavapai Geology Museum How old is the Grand Canyon? How did it form?
The exhibits at Yavapai Geology Museum answer these and other geology questions.
Displays include three-dimensional models, powerful photographs, and exhibitswhich allow park visitors to see and understand the complicated geologic story of the area. The historic building, located one mile (1.6 km) east of Market Plaza, features expansive canyon views.
Yavapai Geology Museum and Observation Station
Dedicated in July 1928, the building was erected on a site selected by a team of geologists for the express purpose of observing and understanding Grand Canyon geology.
The Geology Museum Bookstore offers a variety of materials about the Grand Canyon region. Several ranger programs begin here.
Open daily 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. (winter hours)
Kolb Studio on the Rim
Once the home and business of the Kolb Brothers, pioneering photographers and filmmakers at Grand Canyon, this rambling, Victorian era building (1905) is currently being restored to its original splendor through the help of donors. Learn more... The studio showcases the Kolb Brothers Exhibit and the annual Grand Canyon Celebration of Art exhibit.
Grand Canyon National Park Historic District: South Rim. The first curio shop opened at the Grand Canyon in 1898. It was a rented tent on the grounds of Bright Angel Hotel where John G. Verkamp sold Indian crafts and curios for Babbitt Brothers’ Trading Company. Visitation to the Grand Canyon was not brisk enough to support the business and he closed down after a few weeks, selling his remaining stock to the Bright Angel Hotel. In 1905 he returned to the Grand Canyon to build Verkamp’s Curios at its present location next to the Hopi House. The building is a wood-shingled, “modified mission” design with a roof that conducts rainwater to a cistern under the porch. The main floor contains the curio shop with storage rooms in the rear. The second floor contained family living quarters. NPS Photo by Michael Quinn. To plan your visit to Grand Canyon National Park: www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
Grand Canyon National Park Historic District: South Rim. During 2013 and 2014 the Grand Canyon Association is in the process of rehabilitating this valuable piece of Grand Canyon History in order to keep it available for generations to come. With the help of donors, improvements include: restoration and stabilization work, repainting and rebuilding of retaining wall and porches.
Ellsworth L. Kolb and Emery C. Kolb played an important role in the early development of visitor services to the Grand Canyon. Ellsworth and Emery came to the Canyon in 1902. Ellsworth worked as a bellman in the Bright Angel Hotel. The brothers eventually bought a photographic studio in Williams, Arizona and brought the equipment to the Grand Canyon.
Their business started out photographing parties going down the Bright Angel Trail. Because water supplies were limited on the rim of the Canyon, they would photograph the mule passengers then run 4 1/2 miles to Indian Garden where they had set up a photographic lab. Water was available here for processing the film. Then they returned to the rim of the Canyon with the processed pictures ready for the mule passengers on their return.
Kolb Studio was constructed on this site from 1904 through 1926. It was a 2 1/2 story structure with the upper level on the rim of the Canyon. This building saw 23 years of expansion and alterations that brought it to its present day appearance. To plan a visit to Grand Canyon National Park: www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
How old is the canyon? How did it form? The exhibits at Yavapai Museum of Geology (also know as the Yavapai Observation Station) answer these and other geology questions. Displays include three-dimensional models, powerful photographs, and exhibits which allow park visitors to see and understand the complicated geologic story of the area. The historic building, located one mile (1.6 km) east of Market Plaza, features expansive canyon views. The bookstore offers a variety of materials about the area. Several ranger programs begin here. Open daily 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. The original structure, which was first dedicated in July 1928, was designed by architect Herbert C. Maier. The building was erected on a site selected by a team of geologists for the express purpose of observing and understanding Grand Canyon geology. Maier designed the Yavapai Point Trailside Museum to blend into its setting, and used indigenous Kaibab limestone and ponderosa pine in its construction. Learn more about the museum here: www.nps.gov/grca/parknews/20070524yav_rededication.htm
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 kmeast 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)
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 book store, and its upper floors serve as observation decks where visitors from around the world enjoy magnificent views of the canyon and the Painted Desert.
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.
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.
Tusayan Museum Exhibits
Also shown here are representative handicrafts from today's local tribes, providing a glimpse into their rich cultures.
The museum features some of the original 2,000–4,000 year old split-twig figurines. Often they are made in the shape of deer or bighorn sheep, sometimes with horns or antlers.
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.
Located three miles west of Desert View, Tusayan Ruin provides a look into the lives of the ancestral Puebloan people who called Grand Canyon "home" 800 years ago.
2 minutes, 46 seconds
Open May 15 through October 15, 2015
The North Rim Visitor Center
The North Rim Visitor Center Located adjacent to the parking lot on Bright Angel Peninsula, by the Grand Canyon Lodge. The North Rim Visitor Center has park and regional information, maps, brochures, exhibits, and a bookstore. Open May 15 to October 15, from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Interpretive programs are offered during the season. Public restrooms are located in back of the building.
The North Rim Visitor Center is a great place to start your adventure on the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
Speak to a ranger who will be happy to help with questions you may have about the area.
The Visitor Center also features interpretive exhibits and a bookstore.
Information desk, bookstore
The Grand Canyon Association, a non-profit park partner since 1932, operates the North Rim bookstore, where your tax-free purchases help support ranger programs and research projects in Grand Canyon National Park.