Desert View Drive

Desert View Drive is a scenic route to the east of Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim which follows the rim for 25 miles (40 km) out to the Desert View Watchtower and East Entrance. Along the way:

  • Six developed canyon viewpoints,
  • Four picnic areas,
  • Five unmarked pullouts
  • Are all accessible with private vehicles,
  • And the Tusayan Museum and ruin site (Ancestral Puebloan)
The Desert View services area includes the historic Watchtower/Grand Canyon Association store, the Desert View Trading Post gift shop, the General Store and Deli, a service station, restrooms, and a seasonal campground (mid-April through October 15, 2018)
 
Desert View Drive map showing Grand Canyon Village on the left, overlooks along the 25 mile drive, then Desert View settlement on the right, with enlargement of Desert View.
 
Pipe creek
View from Pipe Creek Vista.

NPS/Marge Ullmann

Traveling From West To East
(Starting in Grand Canyon Village)
Pipe Creek Vista

This pullout can be accessed by private vehicle or by using the free Kaibab Rim Route (Orange) Shuttle Bus, departing from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

The Canyon Rim Trail may be accessed here, with a 1.3 mile / 2.1 km walk on a paved trail west to Mather Point, or a 0.8 mile / 1.3 km walk east to the South Kaibab Trailhead.

 
Temple structure seen from a distance.
View from Yaki Point.

Yaki Point
(Elevation: 7262 feet / 2213 meters)

Yaki Point is the only viewpoint on Desert View Drive that is not accessible with a private vehicle. It can be reached using the free Kaibab Rim Route (Orange) Shuttle Bus departing from the Grand Canyon Visitor Center.

Yaki Point is a quiet place from which to enjoy sunset or sunrise.

Restrooms are located here.

 
Rounded pale rock formation against Grand Canyon in the background.
The Colorado River sweeps through the canyon below Desert View.

Duck on a Rock
(Elevation: 7,096 feet / 2,162 meters)

This unmarked rock formation is located just east of Yaki Point. It gets its name from the Kaibab sandstone formation, which some say resembles a duck on a rock. Can you see it?

 
Grand Canyon landscape with clouds overhead.
View from Grandview Point.

Grandview Point
(Elevation: 7399 feet / 2256 meters)

This popular viewpoint offers panoramic views of Grand Canyon from east to west, including several bends of the Colorado River to the east.

The historic Grandview Trail begins here. This trail is VERY steep! In the summer much of the trail is in full sun. In the winter ice and snow can make hiking treacherous. Always use caution on the Grandview Trail.

 
Red cliffs speckled with snow.
The Colorado River is a prominent feature below Moran Point.

Moran Point
(Elevation: 7160 feet / 2182 meters)

Geology is a prominent feature at any Grand Canyon viewpoint but at Moran Point three main rock groups are clearly visible.

The Layered Paleozoic Rocks represent the sedimentary rocks that make up most of the Grand Canyon's depth. The Grand Canyon Supergroup represents a significant portion of the canyon's geologic record even though it is only in isolated remnants, visible at only a few spots along the rim. The Vishnu Basement Rocks are the oldest at the canyon, consisting of both metamorphic and igneous rock.

 
A stone wall circles around bare dirt with pine trees in the background, two informative signs in the foreground.
A large kiva, or ceremonial room, can be seen at the Tusayan Ruin.

Tusayan Ruin and Museum

The Tusayan Ruin is the remains of a small ancestral Puebloan village. A relatively flat 0.1 mile (200 meter) trail wraps around the ruin and offers the opportunity to learn more about the place and the people who once called this home.

Download the Tusayan Ruin Trail Guide
(820kb pdf file)

The Tusayan Museum and Bookstore have displays that help bring the ruin to life. A picnic area and restrooms are located here.

 
Rock formations surrounded by fog and low clouds.
View of Lipan point.

Lipan Point
(Elevation: 7360 feet / 2243 meters)

From this viewpoint can be seen several points of interest.

Hance Rapid is one of the many powerful whitewater rapids along the Colorado River.

Unkar Delta was once home to ancestral Puebloan people and is the site of active archeological study.

The Grand Canyon Supergroup is a unique rock strata at Grand Canyon, visible to this extent from only a few places on the South Rim.

 
Large cliff goes out into the canyon with a tower at the end.
Desert View Watchtower can be seen from Navajo point.

Navajo Point
(Elevation: 7461 feet / 2275 meters)

Just a few minutes west of the Desert View Watchtower, this viewpoint offers a great view of the watchtower as well as panoramic vistas to the west and a view north up the Colorado River.

Navajo Point is the highest overlook on the South Rim - unless one is standing on the top observation deck of the watchtower itself. The top of the tower measures slightly higher.

 
Stone tower overlooks the canyon with flat desert to the right.
The Colorado River sweeps through the canyon below Desert View.

Desert View

(Elevation: 7438 feet / 2267 meters)

A short ¼-mile (½-km) walk leads from the parking area, past historic buildings, to the rim. From Desert View Point you can see the Colorado River make a big bend to the west. Climb the stairs to the top of the watchtower for outstanding views of the canyon.

Services include the historic Watchtower/Grand Canyon Association store, the Desert View Trading Post gift shop, the General Store and Deli, a service station, restrooms, and a seasonal campground (open mid-April through October 15, 2018.)

More deatiled information about Desert View hours of operation and facilities.

Download the Desert View Brochure.
(1 MB pdf file)
 
NOTE: From September 17, thru October 20, 2018, conservators will be working on the watchtower's murals. For the duration of this work, the upper two floors (floors 4 and 5) will be closed to visitation. During the first couple of days, while they construct their scaffolding and platforms, floors 2 and 3 will also be closed for visitor safety.

In addition to working to preserve the art in the building, they will be conducting further tests on the building exterior on September 19, 20, and 21, to better understand how and where water is infiltrating the walls. This will include the use of something called "Storm in a Box" which will be attached to the exterior. During this time, the observation deck above the Kiva Room will be closed.
 
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Duration:
10 minutes, 48 seconds

Perched on the edge of Grand Canyon, a surprising stone tower celebrates ancient mysteries of the Southwest. The Desert View Watchtower is a monument to a time, a place and a people. Discover what inspired architect Mary Colter to build the Watchtower in 1932.

Last updated: September 10, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Phone:

(928) 638-7888

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