Grand Canyon National Park - Arizona
Points of Interest
Visitor Center - The Visitor Center is just south of Mather Point, but you cannot drive to the Visitor Center. Canyon View Information Plaza , including the new Visitor Center, was designed as the terminus for mass-transit system that is not yet in operation. To get to the Visitor Center: Park your vehicle in designated lots and take a FREE shuttle bus or Park at Mather Point and walk the 300 yards (275 meters) to the Visitor Center.
Desert View - As Highway 64 enters the park at the East Entrance, stop at Desert View. The attractions here include one of the finest geological views of the canyon, the Watchtower, and a nearby museum highlighting the story of Native Americans at the canyon.
The canyon vista at Desert View features some of the best views of the Colorado River. Notice the curving layers of rock across the canyon. This is an excellent example of the uplift that formed the Kaibab Plateau. Imagine the time and volume of water that went into carving a canyon through this plateau.
Perched on the canyon rim, the Watchtower was designed to reflect the architecture of the ancestral Puebloans as preserved at Hovenweep National Monument in the Four Corners region. If you climb the several flights of stairs to the top of the tower, you can view the canyon from the highest vantage point on the South Rim.
Facilities at Desert View include a bookstore and information station, gift shop, general store, restrooms, campground and seasonal service station.
A visit to Tusayan Ruin and Museum provides a look into the lives of a thriving community as illustrated by its pottery, seashell bracelets, corncobs and arrowheads. You will see 2,000 -4,000 year old original plittwig figurines,. Art from today's tribes provides a glimpse into their rich cultures. The museum, open daily 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., is located three miles (five km) west of Desert View Point. Admission is free.
Yavapai Observation Station
The Yavapai Observation Station is a historic building approximately one mile East of Market Plaza where you can learn about the geology of the canyon from the exhibits, shop at the bookstore while enjoying expansive views of the canyon.
Once the home and business of the Kolb brothers, pioneering photographers at Grand Canyon, this building has been restored. Visit free art exhibits in the auditorium and shop in the bookstore. Kolb Studio is located in the Village Historic District at the Bright Angel trailhead. Open daily 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. beginning April 15th.
East Rim Drive
Highway 64 follows the canyon rim for 26 miles east of Grand Canyon Village to Desert View (the east entrance to the park). To date, the East Rim Drive is open to private vehicles throughout the year. The following are highlights of the drive:
- Yaki Point: Offers great views over the Canyon from South Kaibab Trailhead.
- Grandview Point: Remains of an old mine on Horseshoe Mesa can be seen from here.
- Moran Point: Named for Canyon booster Thomas Moran, offers views of Hance Canyon.
- Desert View: Panoramic view of the Vermillion Cliffs, Painted Desert, San Francisco Peaks ands the Colorado River.
West Rim Drive - Visit Scenic Hermit Road
This follows the rim for 7 miles (one-way) west from Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Rest.
-Views of river at Hopi, Mohave and Pima Points
-Visit Hermits Rest - historic landmark with view of river
The West Rim Drive is closed to private automobiles from late May through September. At that time of year the park runs a free shuttle bus to provide transportation to overlooks on the West Rim Drive. Ride the free shuttle from the Village Route Transfer Stop.
The North Rim is 1,000 feet higher and considerably wetter than the South Rim. Because of snow, the North Rim is closed for most of the winter, between October and May. There are four main overlooks along the paved route of the North Rim developed area: Point Imperial, Cape Royal, Bright Angel Point and Point Sublime. For a real driving adventure, travel by dirt road to Tuweep Wilderness at the park's far western end.
Visitor Center -
Grand Canyon Lodge - One of the first things visitors see when entering the North Rim area is the Grand Canyon Lodge. The highway ends at the Lodge. The lodge's sloped roof, huge ponderosa beams and massive limestone facade fit its 8,000-foot (2,400 m) setting, but where is the Grand Canyon. To experience the full impact of the design of the lodge, take the historic route. Go through the front entrance, walk across the carpeted lobby and decend the stairwell. Shining through great windows across the "Sun Room" is the much-anticipated first view of the Grand Canyon.
North Rim View Points
- Point Imperial
- Cap Royal
- Bright Angel Point
- Point Sublime (4WD)
Point Imperial - The highest point on the North Rim at 8,803 feet (2,683 m), overlooks the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon. Here the canyon transforms as the narrow walls of Marble Canyon, visible only as a winding gash, open dramatically to become "grand." Layers of red and black Precambrian rocks, not visible at Bright Angel Point, add contrast and color. Part of the viewpoint is accessible.
Cape Royal - This viewpoint provides a breathtaking panorama up, down and across the canyon. With seemingly unlimited vistas to the east and west, it is popular for both sunrise and sunset. The sweeping turn of the Colorado River at Unkar Delta is framed through the natural arch of Angels Window. Look for the Desert View Watchtower across the canyon on the South Rim. This popular viewpoint is accessible via a paved, level trail.
Point Sublime (4WD Only) - It takes a bit of effort and four-wheel drive, to reach Point Sublime, the westernmost of the North Rim viewpoints. The rough, two-hour (one-way) trip to this remote point is rewarded by a view that lives up to its name. Inquire about road conditions and possible closures before heading out.
Bright Angel Point - Most visitors make a stop at Bright Angel Point, at the southern end of the entrance road. From the parking area it is a short, easy walk to Grand Canyon Lodge and a classic view of the canyon. This facility is wheelchair accessible. A paved, narrow half-mile (round-trip) trail leads form the lodge, out the spine of the ridge, to the point. This trail is steep in places, with drop-offs and stairs, but provides dramatic views into Roaring Springs and Bright Angel canyons.
North Kaibab Ranger District - The North Kaibab Ranger District offers a variety of spectacular views of Grand Canyon, Kanab Creek Wilderness and Vermilion Cliffs. Some of these points are easy drives in a sedan, while others are recommended only for high-clearance vehicles. Remember, get a map before heading out on the more remote routes.
Arizona Highway 67 from Jacob Lake to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon has been described as "the most pleasant 44 miles in America." It flows through beautiful alpine scenery including a vast forest of pine, fir, and aspen interspersed with lush meadows. Highway 67 has been designated a National Forest Scenic Byway and a State Scenic Parkway. Due to heavy snow the road is normally closed from Nov. - mid-May.
There are two developed campgrounds for picnicking and camping - De Mote, and small, primitive Indian Hollow. De Motte, located 7 miles/11.3 km north of the park boundary should open for the season in late-May. Campsites are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
You may camp away from campgrounds on national forest land. Such camping is referred to as dispersed camping.
North Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center - Located in Jacob Lake, AZ, the Visitor Center is open 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. daily from mid-May to mid-October, with reduced hours later into the season. Displays highlight the uniqueness of the Kaibab Plateau and information about the Kaibab National Forest is available along with books on the area.
Nearby Points of Interest
The Hualapai Skywalk at Grand Canyon West is on the Hualapai Indian Reservation, not in Grand Canyon National Park. The Skywalk at the west end of Grand Canyon is approximately 250 miles from the South Rim - 50 miles east of Highway 93 between Kingman, AZ and Las Vegas, NV.
P.O. Box 129
Grand Canyon, AZ 86023
General Inquiries: 928-638-7888
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