Lookout Studio

A multi-level white stone building perches right on the edge of Grand Canyon.
Made out of local limestone, Lookout Studio blends into the canyon rim.

NPS/Mike Quinn

Quick Facts

Automated External Defibrillator (AED), Gifts/Souvenirs/Books, Scenic View/Photo Spot

Hours of Operation

Open daily, 9 am to 5 pm.

Designed in 1914, Lookout Studio was architect Mary Colter's vision to create opportunities for visitors to safely view and photograph the natural beauty of Grand Canyon from its edge. Just west of El Tovar Hotel, "The Lookout" is a neat, comfortable, and rustic studio of stone and log timbers. For many years, Lookout Studio served as a community gathering place, where locals and visitors alike would sit around the fire, swap stories, and use telescopes to watch mule riders on the Bright Angel Trail.

Today it serves as a gift and souvenir shop and viewpoint, with several terraces that allow visitors to absorb the power and scale of the canyon from uniquely safe perspectives.

History and Architecture

This native stone structure, originally known as "the Lookout," is built right into the canyon rim and appears to almost be growing organically from it. Generally rectangular in plan, the small building is constructed of coursed rubble masonry.

Commissioned to directly compete with the Kolb brothers and Kolb Studio, Mary Colter designed Lookout Studio in a similar manner as Hopi House: to imitate the stone dwellings of the Pueblo Indians of the southwest. Inspired by the natural forms of the landscape around the site, she used these influences to guide her design.

The parapet rooflines and stone chimneys mimic the irregular shapes of surrounding bedrock. The interior of the building is divided into several levels, with structural log work exposed in posts, beams, and ceiling joists. The floor is scored concrete and the interior walls are exposed stone. Because of all of the viewing windows around the walls of the structure (which naturally feature Colter's trademark baby blue window frames), the interior is considerably lighter than most of Colter's other buildings.

Grand Canyon National Park

Last updated: April 5, 2024