Most Grand Canyon visitors arrive at the park intending to see one thing – the Grand Canyon. What many visitors may not realize is that there are several viewpoints within the Grand Canyon National Park and the West Rim areas, and unless you know which ones to hit, you could easily miss out on some of the most stunning vistas the Canyon has to offer.
To help you decide which viewpoints to see at the Grand Canyon, we reached out to some expert bloggers and asked them to share their favorite places. This is what they had to say:
Image Source: Travel with Bender
Do not miss the glass skywalk over the West Rim. The first step is the hardest. But after that if you can do it, you’ll be walking right over the Canyon. Lay down, glue your face to the floor and just breathe.
– Erin, Travel with Bender
Another Vote for the Skywalk!
Our favorite option for the Grand Canyon is to take in the West Rim glass skywalk, and stay overnight at a ranch on native land. You can choose to travel on horseback, and witness the magic of a sunrise which most tourists will never understand. There are pros and cons for visiting each of the 4 rims, so be sure to read up and research on what each rim offers before you leave. One of the Great Wonders of the world, it’s all well and good to say you’re going to go and visit the Grand Canyon, but at almost 450 km long, and over 1,100 km in circumference, there is so much choice for what to see and do once you get there that it’s often difficult to know where to begin. So proper research and planning before you go is key.
– Megan, Mapping Megan
The South Kaibab Trail
Our advice: wake up early, pack lots of sandwiches and water(!) and put on your hiking boots for a beautiful hike. We did a few hours of the South Kaibab Trail and loved every part of it – even the really steep bits on the way back. It’s amazing how the light and colours of the massive rock walls change around you. Even if you don’t like hiking spending a day on one point and watching the changing scenery would be fantastic. Bring a picnic, blanket and drinks and find yourself a good spot for sunset. Expect dusty orange-pink-purple skies, and – if you’re lucky – a passing Condor… P.S. If you follow our blog, you know we love road trips. The route to Grand Canyon is almost as beautiful as the canyon itself. Especially the 89A! Enjoy!
– Maarten & Hilde, Fish and Feathers
Havasu Falls and the other nearby falls located in the Havasupai Indian Reservation are places so beautiful you have to see to believe! The blue-green waters create a dramatic contrast against the bright red rocks of the Havasu Canyon that is awe-inspiring. Water temperatures are a refreshing 70-72F all year round, and you’ll have the time of your life jumping into that water after a long, exhausting 10 mile hike to get there. Anyone can go look at a viewpoint, but to truly experience the Grand Canyon you have go hiking, camping and swimming inside it!
– James Kelley, Escaping Abroad
Take A Tour
When Ady from Verbal Gold visited the Grand Canyon, she was blown away by how breathtaking it actually was. Ady’s recommends taking a tour to the Grand Canyon – that way, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the sights as you wind your way through the Southwest. Your tour guide will also show you the best viewpoints in the park, as well as share facts and trivia about the history of the Grand Canyon and its many viewpoints.
You may have seen photos online of the Grand Canyon and thought, “There is NO way it looks this amazing in person, and this photo MUST be edited!” That was my thought before I had the luxury of seeing this wonder in person, and was I ever wrong. It is hard to believe how large, amazing and colorful this canyon is until you see it with your own two eyes! My favorite memory of the Canyon was the lookout point/trails at Yavapai Point. The photos are endless, I looked back and must have taken 40 pictures of the same thing, because it was SO beautiful! You are able to stand in a fenced area if you like to play it safe, and the risk takers are able to get up close to the edge in numerous areas! The trail takes you around the edge of the canyon, so you can view it from every angle!
– Little Pink Passport
Image Source: The Vacation Gals
I highly recommend taking a break for a meal at El Tovar, dubbed “the premier dining establishment at the Grand Canyon.” Built in 1905, this historic lodge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its dining room is indeed one of the nicest spots to eat in the park–much more civilized and sophisticated than the cafeteria-like restaurants. On a chilly and super-foggy day when my family visited, we thoroughly enjoyed hot chocolate (served in individual pots) and my hearty beef stroganoff over egg noodles was delicious. I’ve definitely earmarked El Tovar as the ideal place to stay the next time we visit the Grand Canyon, for its historic charm and fabulous rim views.
– Kara, The Vacation Gals
Desert View Watchtower
Christina at Currently Exploring recommends making the drive out to the nearby Desert View Watchtower. The Watchtower is a pleasant 25 mile drive from the popular Mather Point, and the drive is peppered with opportunities to pull over and admire barrierless view of the Grand Canyon without the crowds you’ll find at Mather Point.
Image Source: Lune Travels Blog
After enjoying the stunning views of the South Rim, my husband and I loved our time exploring the Grand Canyon’s historic buildings. Among them, the extremely charming Hopi House. Built in 1905 under the direction of architect Mary Colter and commissioned by the Fred Harvey Company, its distinct design is modelled after the Hopi pueblos of Old Oraibi, Arizona. The structure houses museum, art gallery and demonstration spaces. Intricate Hopi artwork is available to purchase, including beautiful pottery, jewelry and fiber art. Woven rugs are displayed as works in progress on traditional looms, illustrating how meticulous and time-consuming the process is. We really enjoyed having a closer look at indigenous artwork and the human history of the area before its National Park days. Don’t miss it!
– Jill Munro, Lune Travels Blog
How Much Time Do You Have?
For most people, a trip to the Grand Canyon is a once in a lifetime trip, so you don’t want to muck it up. If you’re on a short trip from Vegas and want to experience the Skywalk, then head to the west rim. However, if you have time, the south rim has some of the best views you’ll find of the canyon. In fact, most of those postcard pictures you see and movie views are taken from the south rim. If you’re really up for an adventure then do what only 5% of visitors do and take a hike below the canyon rim. With millions of years of rock above your ears you can really start to grasp the depth, age and magnificence of what is one of the most amazing sights in the USA and the world.
– Indiana Jo. Indiana Jo has travelling full-time since 2010 and has been to over 50 countries across 6 continents. Visiting the Grand Canyon remains one of her all-time favourite experiences. You can read more about her adventures at www.indianajo.com.
Hermit’s Rest Route
Image Source: Reeves do Travel
We’ve been to the Grand Canyon a couple of times, we even got married there, but our favourite thing to do by far is the Hermits Rest route. It’s a 7 mile hike along the South Rim of the canyon with some spectacular views of the Colorado River as it carves its way through the deep crevice’s showcasing the many layers of multi-coloured rock. There are 9 vista points along the route and if you time it just right, you can watch the most amazing sunset or sunrise that illuminates the rocks with a brilliant orange glow.
– Barry and Stef, Reeve’s Do Travel
What’s Your Favorite?
We want to extend a big thank you to all the experts who shared their favorite viewpoints! There are so many amazing sights to see at the Grand Canyon, whether you decide to visit the South Rim, West Rim, or venture deep into the Canyon.
Tell us what your favorite viewpoint is at the Grand Canyon? We love hearing from any adventurer.
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