- 1 Grand Canyon South Rim Attractions
- 2 Grand Canyon West Rim Attractions
- 3 Grand Canyon Tours
- 4 Best Grand Canyon Scenic Points
Most people visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon when visiting the park. Because the North Rim is closed in the winter, tourists visiting from such popular vacation spots as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Sedona, and Williams, Arizona can still get to the South Rim and West Rim without experiencing any difficulties.
While the rest of the attractions on the South Rim are all found on the same Rim, the Skywalk at Eagle Point is found on the West Rim.
The South Entrance, where the main visitor center is located, is the main entry point for the South Rim. A less convenient option is available at the Desert View Entrance, which can be accessed from the east, too.
You have two main ways to explore the park by car from the South Entrance Visitor Center: Grand Canyon Village is commonly known as the Village and Hermit Road runs west through it, leading to numerous overlooks. On December 1 to the end of February, this road is open to private vehicles. Outside of these dates, you must use the park shuttle buses.
There are two additional options for drivers who like to cruise all year long. These options are accessible to vehicles throughout the year and include the Desert View Drive, which extends for 22 miles from the Visitor Center to the Desert View Watchtower. This display uses different perspectives of the canyon to show both of these drives.
Depending on your interests, there are many different options for seeing the Grand Canyon, such as heli-skiing or white water rafting. Some of these depart from nearby cities, such as Las Vegas, and others are Grand Canyon tours.
Planning your visit ahead of time will help maximize your time, making your visit more enjoyable and stress-free.
Grand Canyon South Rim Attractions
Visitor Center & Mather Point Overlook
Heading directly to the visitor center is the best option if you enter the park from the South Entrance. A few displays describe the park and its history in a small nutshell. Questions and information on hiking trails and attractions are available from the park staff.
To reach Mather Point Overlook, which is at the end of a short path, visitors follow the path down into the canyon to a peninsula where there are two large viewing areas on a peninsula jutting out into the canyon.
South Rim Trail
The Rim Trail follows the rim of the Grand Canyon for 13 miles, which is about 95% paved. It covers the majority of the South Kaibab Trailhead to Hermit’s Rest, east of the Visitor Center.
A walk along this path that is nearly level with a mixture of sun and shade provided by scattered trees is one of the most scenic walks in North America.
You can see it before the visitor center at Mather Point, in the Village, or while traveling along Hermit Road’s scenic route. If you only have a short amount of time and only want to take a quick walk, consider starting at Mather Point, heading west to Yavapai Point, and then heading south to the Geology Museum.
The geological museum in Grand Canyon National Park is one of the most fascinating and informative exhibits in the park. This museum was located on the hillside because it provided the most insightful views of the geology of the canyon.
Visitors can see the layers of rock as they look out the windows on the long wall. Illustrated captions illustrate the complex stages that went into the creation of the Grand Canyon, including the rising of the rocks and the subsequent action of water that ran through the canyon far below.
To see the beautiful views of the trails from the windows, you can look out over the neighboring trails and the route to Plateau Point, a trail branch off of the Bright Angel Trail, and a route down to the Colorado River.
Hermit Road Drive
There are numerous points of view on Hermit Road, which is a seven-mile scenic drive along the canyon rim. This is the park’s best-known route.
You can do this drive in your own vehicle if you’re visiting between the beginning of December and the end of February. Use of the park shuttle buses is required from March 1 through November 30. Shuttle buses run every 10 to 15 minutes and stop at nine overlooks.
There are a number of overlooks on this route, and each provides an amazing view of the canyon. Even though the subject of contention, views from places like Maricopa Point, Hopi Point, The Abyss, and Pima Point offer some of the best views in the world. For those who have less time, perhaps it is better to bypass the last stop, Hermit’s Rest.
Bright Angel Hiking Trail
Visitors and hikers alike greatly enjoy the popular Bright Angel Trail hike, which begins in the Village and continues along the Hermit’s Rest Shuttle Bus route. Walking down a short distance is a popular way to sample a hike. It takes 2 days to do the complete 19-mile route, round-trip, to Bright Angel Campground.
An estimated nine-mile round-trip hike of six to nine hours can be found at Indian Garden Campground. Additionally, make sure to also take into consideration the lengthy, rigorous hike that has more than 3,000 feet of elevation change.
The Upper Tunnel is a 0.4-mile round-trip, which takes approximately 30 minutes, and the lower tunnel is a 1.7-mile round-trip, which can take from 30 minutes to two hours. Hiking this trail makes it possible to view the canyon walls as they approach steep cliffs and difficult drops on the outermost edge of the trail. Those who suffer from severe vertigo would not do well with this device. Even when conditions at the top are warm and dry, certain portions of the trail are likely to be under a layer of snow or ice.
Desert View Drive
The 22-mile Desert View Drive is as beautiful as Hermit Road, if not more so. Another major difference is the spectacular view of the Colorado River from some of the stops on this drive. This area features rapids, such as white water rapids, which are surrounded by water that is deep and wide, and narrow sections of the river meandering through the canyon in the distance.
The stops along this route are all scenic, but their number is fewer. Moran Point is clearly a highlight, with a gorgeous view of the Colorado River that stretches from the eastern parking lot all the way to the far side of the canyon. A variety of different hues can be seen in the rock wall opposite the canyon, too.
There are numerous more beautiful views of the Colorado in Lipan Point, but the area is known for its avian life as well. For migrating birds, this is the narrowest section of the canyon that they will fly over on their migration path.
Grandview Point is one of the South Rim’s most impressive viewpoints. Down into a steep descent, the Grandview Hiking Trail quickly descends from the viewing area. This is a difficult hike on an unmaintained trail and only suitable for hikers who are serious about their fitness. The trail conditions here are worse than Bright Angel. In the spring and summer, it’s slick, and in the winter, it’s cold.
If you take the Desert View Watchtower on Navajo Point as your last stop, the watchtower is easily visible off to the right, and can make for a nice photograph if you have a long lens. This drive’s last stop is Desert View, where you’ll see the watchtower standing proudly on the cliff edge.
Tusayan Museum and Ruin are located along Desert View Drive as well. While the museum itself is relatively small, information on the people who used to live here is detailed and sets out an easy path that allows you to get an up-close look at the ruins.
Desert View Watchtower
If you’re driving in from the east and are using the Desert View Entrance to enter the park, your first stop should be Desert View. The main attraction here is the well-known Indian Watchtower, a trading post, and a general store with full-service amenities.
Though it looks like an ancient, crumbling stone ruin, the 70-foot tower is, in fact, modern. This historical monument was constructed in 1932 and is one of four buildings designed by Mary Jane Colter that are all listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
A lot of attention was paid to detail in the creation of the tower to resemble an Anasazi watchtower. Although the building is constructed of a combination of concrete and steel, the stone facade, with uneven rooflines, provides a striking contrast, blending in with the natural surroundings. On every level, there are what is supposed to look like petroglyphs and ancient artwork.
The first level offers outdoor observation decks on the north and south sides, while the second floor has enclosed observation decks on the east and west sides, each offering views of the canyon and out to the desert on the east side.
Lookout Studio and the Kolb Gallery
The Kolb Gallery and the Lookout Studio are both perched on the canyon wall in the Village. One of the Mary Jane Colter Buildings, which are located throughout the park, is constructed with traditional stone and a worn-down look, as if it had been abandoned for years. Souvenirs and trinkets are for sale in the Studio as well as two viewing decks that offer views of the Grand Canyon.
A little walk to the west is the Kolb Gallery, which is located in a wooden structure painted dark brown. This home was built in 1905 and was one of the first properties in the park acquired by the Kolb brothers, early park pioneers. Today, the building is used as an art gallery, featuring changing exhibits, a book store, and descriptions of the Kolbs family’s life. The Kolb Gallery is located close to the beginning of the Bright Angel Trail.
Little Colorado River Overlook
The first sign-posted scenic lookout offers an incredible view of the Little Colorado River from the east side of the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. At this stop, Navajo artists sell handmade jewelry in the parking lot.
A short walk on a wide trail leading away from the parking lot takes you to two picnic tables with an amazing view of the gorge. The Little Colorado River can be seen quite far down the mountain when you look down from the top of the mountain.
Grand Canyon West Rim Attractions
Skywalk & Eagle Point
Eagle Point is located about a four-hour drive from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. In addition to allowing visitors to walk on the glass bridge that extends 70 feet over the canyon, this horseshoe-shaped glass walkway allows visitors to look straight down.
Additionally, you can have a meal at the Sky View restaurant and admire the view from the Skywalk. You might also enjoy visiting the Native American Village and watching the traditional dances of the American Indians.
Grand Canyon Tours
Take a 25-minute Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour to get a bird’s-eye view of the Grand Canyon’s impressive beauty. To reach the South Entrance of the park, tourists only need to get into their vehicles and drive for less than 10 minutes from the Grand Canyon Airport. With this flight, you will soar above the vast and magnificent Dragon Corridor, plus several other critical sights.
Grand Canyon White Water Rafting Trip from Las Vegas
On a one-day white water rafting trip starting from Las Vegas, raft 40 miles down the Colorado River. This trip starts at 4:00 A.M. and will take approximately 15 hours, with one night of hotel accommodations, a van ride, a short helicopter flight, a full day of white water rafting on the Colorado River, and a return trip to Las Vegas.
South Rim Mule Rides
Even if you don’t want to hike down into the Grand Canyon, you can always ride a mule to the bottom from the South Rim. In the morning, mules carry guests and gear down the Bright Angel Trail on a 5.5-hour trip to Phantom Ranch, where the overnight guests stay for a night. Then, the mules carry everyone back up the trail on their way home.
Best Grand Canyon Scenic Points
Grandview Point is the tallest point on the South Rim at 7,400 feet (2,250 meters). This is a lookout point for those who are interested in hiking to the summit; trail conditions are particularly hazardous in wet weather. At its elevation, the views from the rim of the Canyon are impressive because of the dense forests and the Horeshoe Mesa that lie to the north.
Heading east to the Yaki Point, the first marked viewpoint on the East Rim will get you to the Grand Canyon’s first overlook. An unobstructed view of the Grand Canyon is possible on the east side. To fully enjoy the magnificence of Yaki Point, you should head down to the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch via the South Kaibab Trail. Find the “Ooh-Aah Point”, a place that ensures that even the most seasoned hikers will exclaim, “Oh! That’s so cool!” Look at Wotan’s Throne and Vishnu Temple, two Grand Canyon destinations that are incredibly popular.
When you want an inspiring and rustic view, visit the lookout studio. The lookout studio is situated on the rim of the Grand Canyon, overlooking Bright Angel Lodge, and offers expansive views of the diverse and spectacular scenes ahead. It’s now operated as an observation point and a gift shop thanks to the Mary Coulter designed natural building.
You can see down into the river and the Phantom Ranch from the South Rim. You will enjoy great views of the North Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails when you go to this popular lookout point. There are numerous observation decks along the rim for closer looks into the various geological delights of the canyons. Not to mention, the Yavapai Observation Station has interesting facts and books that are readily available. Views of the inner canyon, the Colorado River, and Bright Angel Canyon are among the best from this vantage point. There is no doubt that Yavapai Point is a must-see for visitors to Grand Canyon.
Vishnu Temple and Temple of Zoroaster, which are separated by a vast distance on the southern rim, are able to offer up-close and uninterrupted views of these conspicuous pinnacles. This lookout looks out over the western half of the Grand Canyon, giving you an excellent view of sunsets.
The amazing views of the Red Canyon are accessible to you from Moran Point. Next, you can see the white water of the Hakatai Rapids flow around and through several rock formations. Pay attention to the Sinking Ship, a beautiful geological formation that looks like it’s sinking at sunset.
Desert View and Watchtower
The Desert View and Watchtower were built by Mary Colter in 1932, and these ancient-looking structures almost merge into the surrounding landscape. The tower naturally blends into the surroundings with its natural architecture, offering fantastic views of the nearby mountains, the San Francisco Peaks, and the Painted Desert. Approach the river bend in Marble Canyon from the south and as it makes a 90-degree turn to the west, keep your eyes open for it.
Vermilion Cliffs – Marble Canyon
There is also Marble Canyon in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, which is located a few miles further east on the Desert View Drive scenic route. Watch as the thousand-foot cliffs are covered in swirling ripples of dynamic color as the sun sets.
Do you want to get an early start by capturing the morning sun’s brilliant vermillion lighting as it illuminates the canyon’s vermilion landscape? Then, take a tour of Point Imperial, which has superb views overlooking a rather regal section of town. This scenic outlook, situated along the eastern rim of the Grand Canyon, offers the best views of the colorful Painted Desert and Grand Canyon’s eastern canyon. It is an ideal spot for photo enthusiasts and hiking enthusiasts.
This is a nice point, with an excellent deal on it – Enjoy a stunning sunset along with an excellent view of the Colorado River, as well as Gorge layers and the Grand Canyon Supergroup. Nothing could possibly get any better than this.