The Grand Canyon

13 Best Places to Watch the Grand Canyon Sunset

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You’ve probably seen some beautiful sunsets at home or in your travels, but have you ever seen the sun set at the Grand Canyon? The majesty of a beautiful sunset casting its impressive colors and shadows over the awe-inspiring landscape of the Canyon simply cannot be rivalled.

Watching the sunset behind the Rim of the Grand Canyon is on many visitors’ lists of must-do Grand Canyon activities, but with a multitude of viewpoints to choose from, it can be difficult to know where to go. Here’s some good news: according to the National Park Service, “there is no one best place for watching sunrise or sunset, just good places and better places”. While it’s true that there’s no bad place to watch the sunset at the Grand Canyon, NPS experts recommend that you “look for a viewpoint that juts into the canyon with views both east and west” for optimal sunset (and sunrise!) viewing.

Based on this advice, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to catch a picture-perfect sunset (weather-permitting, of course) at the Grand Canyon’s South and North Rims, as well as the Grand Canyon East area:

Where to Watch the Sunset at the South Rim

The South Rim of the Grand Canyon is the most popular destination within Grand Canyon National Park, including for watching the sunset. It’s the most easily accessible, has the most amenities (though these are somewhat limited during the pandemic—read our blog post for regular updates on what is open and closed at the Grand Canyon), and it has a number of stunning viewpoints that double as scenic sunset spots.

Here are some of the best places to watch the sunset at the South Rim:

Grand Canyon Village

  • Mather Point: An iconic viewpoint, Mather Point is a grand location to catch the sunset if you can’t stray too far from the Village. It provides a beautiful vantage point to see the sun’s final rays, but its proximity to the Village may mean larger crowds. For the best views, arrive early or consider a less-trafficked viewpoint.

Hermit Road (West of the Grand Canyon Village)

  • Hopi Point: Hopi Point is one of the most popular—and busiest—places to catch the sunset. To avoid crowds, check out one of the other viewpoints.
  • Mohave and Pima Point: Mohave and Pima are both good spots on Hermit Road that are less busy than Hopi Point. Bonus: they also boast a view of the Colorado River.

Desert View Drive (East of the Grand Canyon Village)

  • Yaki, Navajo, and Desert View: These three viewpoints are all a little harder to get to because the free shuttle bus does not operate on Desert View Drive, but they offer incredible views and their built-in walk (or private drive) automatically makes them less busy than easier-to-access locations.
  • Yavapai Point: Yavapai Point is an accessible (and beautiful) spot to catch the sunset, but it can get busy.
  • Lipan Point: Lipan Point is another great spot along Desert View Drive to take in the sunset skies. It showcases some of the most beautiful shadows, but this can make photography tricky. Check out our photography tips for help with capturing the perfect sunset pic.

PRO TIP: Catching the sunset is easier in the winter when the sun sets earlier in the day. It’s also not as busy, so you won’t have to worry about struggling through a crowd to find the best view. However, the wait can be cold—the National Park Service advises you to arrive up to 90 minutes before sunset and stay at least 10 minutes after sunset. Layer up to make sure you stay warm, and don’t forget your hat and mittens.

Make sure you check out the sunrise/sunset times for the Canyon on the NPS website.

Where to Watch the Sunset at the North Rim

Because of its more severe winter weather and remote location, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is only open between May and October each year. It takes longer to get to from Las Vegas, but it is typically much less busy than the South Rim and it offers just as many beautiful viewpoints. Fewer visitors make the North Rim a uniquely ideal spot for sunset-chasers that are wary of crowds during the ongoing pandemic.

To enjoy the sunset on the north side of the Grand Canyon, be sure to check out:

  • Cape Royal
  • The Grand Canyon Lodge & its patio
  • Bright Angel Point
  • Point Imperial

PRO TIP: Grand Canyon National Park was designated an International Dark Sky Park in 2019. This means it has some of the most pristine dark skies, making it an ideal place for star-gazing—so you might want to stick around after sunset as well.

Image by Roman Sammer from Pixabay

Where to Watch the Sunset on the East Rim

While it’s not officially part of the National Park and is the farthest area from Vegas, the eastern portion of the Grand Canyon offers stunning views of its own, including the popular photography spot Horseshoe Bend. The Horseshoe looks stunning no matter what time of day, but it really shines at sunset.

Learn more about the East Rim in our East Rim Visitor Guide.

Where To Watch the Grand Canyon Sunset

As long as the weather cooperates, the sunset will be stunning no matter where you find yourself at the Grand Canyon. If you can make it to one of these viewpoints in time, it’s worth the extra effort:

South Rim

  • Hopi Point
  • Mojave Point
  • Pima Point
  • Yaki Point
  • Desert View
  • Yavapai Point
  • Lipan Point

North Rim

  • Cape Royal
  • The Grand Canyon Lodge and patio
  • Bright Angel Point
  • Point Imperial

East Rim

  • Horseshoe Bend

If you’re planning on taking a tour, make sure you don’t miss the sunset with our Grand Canyon Floor Landing Helicopter Sunset Tour.

Featured Photo by Joshua Bedford on Unsplash.

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About Ria Borja

Ria is a Customer Experience Manager at Canyon Tours and an avid lover of the outdoors. When she isn't helping other travelers check destinations and dream vacations off their bucket lists, she's busy exploring the Southwest. Her favorite place to visit is (unsurprisingly!) the Grand Canyon.

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