Desert View

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Aerial view of a forested plateau with a large parking area adjacent to a scenic overlook. In the distance, colorful vermilion peaks rise above a river within a rocky gorge.
Aerial view looking northwest at Desert View Point, 7,360 feet / 2,243 meters, and the Desert View developed area. Automobile and RV/bus parking lots are visible left of center, with the  visitor service buildings to the right of the parking lots. The nearby peaks on the right are Escalante Butte  6,536 feet/ 1,992 meters, and Cardenas Butte 6.281 feet/ 1,914 meters.
 

Most Desert View Facilities Are Open

Updated May 7, 2021

Visitors can enter and exit the park through the East Entrance at Desert View.

The following Desert View areas and services are open for visitors:
• Viewpoints in the Desert View vicinity
• Desert View parking lot and RV parking
• Restrooms located between the Desert View parking lot and the canyon rim.

Trading Post - Coffee and Ice Cream 9 am - 5 pm
Desert View Market 9 am - 5 pm
Pay-at-the-Pump Service Station

Desert View Watchtower Retail Store (Kiva Room)
Fridays through Mondays 9 am.- 5 pm.
CDC guidelines and physical distancing measures are in place. Face coverings are required to shop in the store. Only the ground level retail location is open to the public. The tower itself remains closed until further notice.

Desert View Campground is open for the season. (NO HOOK-UPS). Due to high demand, Desert View Campground now requires advanced reservations. You may book reservations up to 6 months in advance online at recreation.gov, or by phone (877-444-6777). Same Day Reservations may also be made online or by phone. Desert View Campground does not hold back any campsites for first-come, first-served camping, and it does not have a wait list or call back system. More >

With public health in mind, some facilities remain closed:

  • Desert View Watchtower, the tower itself is CLOSED
  • Desert View Camping Supplies at the Gas Station CLOSED
  • Desert View Deli CLOSED
  • Tusayan Ruin and Museum CLOSED
 
View north past tree-covered rocky outcrop towards green Colorado Rover in the distance. To the right are steep red-colored cliffs that extend from foreground, back along the river.
View north from Desert View Point at the Colorado River. NPS/Kristen M. Caldon
 

Desert View

 

Desert View is a small settlement on the South Rim located 23 miles/ 37 km east of Grand Canyon Village, and near the eastern edge of Grand Canyon. Arizona State Route 64, Also known as Desert View Drive, is a scenic road that connects Desert View with Grand Canyon Village.

For visitors coming into the park via the East Entrance, a stop at Desert View provides the first views of Grand Canyon.

 
Map of Desert View settlement showing parking lots, footpaths and buildings, in relation to the canyon rim.
Map of Desert View settlement showing parking lots, footpaths and buildings, in relation to the canyon rim.

Attractions

  • Some of the finest views of the Colorado River and canyon geology
  • Park ranger programs and cultural demonstrations
    Closed at this time.
  • Desert View Watchtower with observation deck.The tower is closed until further notice. Ground level shop open 9am5pm, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon.
  • The nearby Tusayan Museum highlighting the story of American Indians of the region Closed at this time.

Facilities

  • Restrooms OPEN
  • Trading Post/Ice Cream, OPEN 9 am to 5 pm daily
  • Pay-at-the-Pump Gas Station
  • Desert View Market OPEN 9 am to 5 pm daily
  • Seasonal Campground OPEN - Advanced reservations required
  • Visitor contact station and bookstore in the watchtower.
    Open Friday through Monday, 9 am to 5 pm.
  • Camping Equipment at Gas Station CLOSED
  • Desert View Deli CLOSED
  • NOTE: Overnight Lodging is not available at Desert View

Desert View Drive, between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View is the one South Rim scenic drive that is open to personal vehicles all year.

 
looking acros round Kiva Room of Watchtower. Large picture windows around the circumfrence alternate with stone pillars that hold up a circular log roof. Flagstone floor. In the center, a primitive ladder that goes from floor to ceiling.
Perched on the rim of the canyon, the Watchtower reflects the architecture of the ancestral Puebloans in the Four Corners region. Climb the stairs for views up and down the canyon. . On a clear day, one can see well over 100 miles. (161 km) This photo shows Watchtower Kiva Room after retail shop removed, and partially restored to architect Mary Colter's original design. January 2015.
 
Front side of Watchtower as seen from ground level looking up. to the left is the wall of partially collapsed structure. A partial glimpse of Grand Canyon barely seen boyond the tower.
Desert View Watchtower

Watchtower (1932)

An unusual stone tower designed by Mary Colter, in the style of Ancestral Puebloan towers. Watch Video.

  • The Watchtower is the official visitor contact station at Desert View.
  • The Desert View Watchtower Retail Store (Kiva Room)
    Open Fridays through Mondays 9 am.- 5 pm.
  • CDC guidelines and physical distancing measures are in place. Face coverings are required to shop in the store.
  • Only the ground level retail location is open to the public. The tower itself remains closed until further notice.
 
On the left, remains of pueblo walls several feet high. On the right a small group of people is listening to ranger with back towards camera conducting tour
During the summer, park rangers lead tours of the site

Tusayan Pueblo CLOSED

Tusayan Pueblo is the remains of a small Ancestral Puebloan village located 3 miles (5 km) west of Desert View. This was a thriving community that created pottery, arrowheads and other household artifacts. Hours: 9 am to 5 pm

  • Walk a relatively flat 0.1 mile (200 m) self-guiding trail around the site.
  • Imagine Puebloan Indian life some 800 years ago.
  • Attend daily ranger-led ruin tours at 11 am and 2 pm (summer season)
  • Download: Tusayan Pueblo (Ruin) Trail Guide (821kb PDF file)
 
front of Tusayan Museum, a small mostly stone building with log vigas and lentils. NPS Arrowhead above front door.
Tusayan Museum

Tusayan Museum (1928) CLOSED

The museum has exhibits that help bring the pueblo to life. Admission is free. Normal hours: 9 am to 5 pm

  • View: 2,000–4,000 year old artifacts along with traditional handicrafts made by regional tribes.
  • Learn: about the prehistoric people who once made this place their home.
  • Visit: the museum's bookstore/shop.
 
 
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Duration:
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The Desert View area has been used as a gathering place for thousands of years. Visitors can see a glimpse of the ancient past at the Tusayan Ruin and Museum. The Desert View Watchtower, is modeled after the architecture of the Ancestral Puebloan people of the Colorado Plateau. Today Desert View represents the physical and cultural gateway from Grand Canyon National Park to the Navajo and Hopi reservations.

Last updated: May 7, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023

Phone:

928-638-7888

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