Surrounded by deep red canyon walls and carved over millions of years by the Colorado River the vastness of the Grand Canyon is a magnificent sight best appreciated from one of the many viewpoints dotted along the South Rim. We spent a few days exploring all of the viewpoints at the Grand Canyon South Rim and have put together our guide to the best Grand Canyon Viewpoints including our favorite, the best for sunrise/sunset and the most unique viewpoints of the canyon.
As you stand and gaze across the canyon the views are truly breathtaking and exploring the Grand Canyon viewpoints is one of the best things to do at the South Rim.
The viewpoints at the South Rim are located in 3 main areas:
- Hermit Road Viewpoints: a series of viewpoints located along the west of the South Rim between Grand Canyon Village and Hermits Rest.
- Grand Canyon Visitors Center/Kaibab Viewpoints: these viewpoints are located to east of the historic Grand Canyon Village.
- Desert View Drive Viewpoints: these lesser visited viewpoints are located along the east of the south rim between Grand Canyon Village and the East entrance.
The Best Grand Canyon Viewpoints
We’ve described each of the viewpoints in detail below but, if you don’t have time to stop at them all, these are some of our favorite viewpoints at the Grand Canyon.
- Best panoramic Grand Canyon viewpoint: Mohave Point on Hermit Road
- Best Sunrise Grand Canyon viewpoint: Mohave Point. Mather Point is the most popular sunrise location due to it’s location close to the village but we prefer the quieter spots along the rim.
- Best Sunset Grand Canyon viewpoint: Hopi Point. Again, Mather Point is one of the most popular.
- Most unique viewpoint: Ooh Aah Point, a 1.8 mile hike descending below the canyon rim, is one of the best short hikes at the South Rim and offers visitors a unique view of the magnificent Grand Canyon from below its rim.
- Most easily accessible: located close to the visitors center and its dedicated parking lot, Mather Point is one of the most easily accessible Grand Canyon viewpoints.
National Parks Pass America The Beautiful
If you’re planning to visit a couple of the US National Parks we highly recommend purchasing an America The Beautiful pass. The pass grants you access to over 2,000 federal recreation sites across the US, including all the National Parks. We purchased a pass before we began our trip across the US and it’s one of the best value tickets out there!
Where to Stay at the Grand Canyon
There are lots of great options for places to stay at the Grand Canyon which will make the most of your time at the South Rim. We stayed at Bright Angel Lodge in the park and highly recommend it.
- Best lodge in the park: we love all the in-park lodges but it can often be hard to secure a reservation due to demand. Yavapi Lodge, which is a short walk from the South Rim, can sometimes have closer availability than the others due to having 358 rooms. Bright Angel Lodge is another of our favorites and is very reasonably priced.
- Best Hotel near the park: our favorite outside the park, the Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn has fantastic facilities including a pool.
- Best for Families: given its location, a short walk away from the rim, Yavapi Lodge is a nice choice for families. Outside the park, the Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn is a great choice if, like ours, your kids request a swimming pool in every hotel!
- Best for Luxury: nothing can compete with the historic El Tovar Hotel located in Grand Canyon Village
- Best Budget: Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon located in Tusayan
- Best for Groups: a vacation rental is often a great choice for groups and the Canyon Plaza Apartments has two bedroom rentals.
Grand Canyon Viewpoints by Location
We’ve included a detailed description of the Grand Canyon viewpoints grouped by their location. This should help you find the best viewpoints as you plan your travels through the park.
Grand Canyon Viewpoints tip: there are two main shuttle routes servicing the Grand Canyon South Rim. The East bound orange route starts at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and services the South Kaibab Trailhead, Yaki Point, and Pipe Creek Overlook while the west bound red route shuttle travles along Hermit Road. Private cars are prohibited year round at South Kaibab and between March to November on Hermit Road.
Viewpoints Along Hermit Road
The winding road that leads west from Grand Canyon Village to Hermit’s Rest is known as Hermit Road. Formerly known as the West Rim Drive, the out and back route to Hermits Rest is accessible only by shuttle bus from March to November or hiking the Rim Trail from Bring Angel Lodge. During the winter months (December, January and February) private vehicle are permitted and limited parking is available at the viewpoints.
Hermit Road is a must visit for anyone visiting the Grand Canyon South Rim as it is home to some of the best views of the Grand Canyon.
Viewpoints (and shuttle stops): Trailview Overlook – Maricopa Point – Powell Point – Hopi Point – Mohave Point – The Abyss – Monument Creek Vista – Pima Point – Hermits Rest
Grand Canyon viewpoints tip: the shuttle loop takes around 80 to 90 minutes without allowing time for stops. The buses out to Hermit Rest stop at all the viewpoints but on the way back the only stops are Hermits Rest, Pima, Mohave and Powell.
1 | Trail View Point
The first stop along Hermit Road, Trail View Point has a wide open viewing area and a great view of the canyon. The viewpoint derives its name from its commanding views of the Bright Angel trail switchbacks below.
Grand Canyon viewpoints tip: the short hike from Bright Angel Lodge to Trail View Point and Maricopa Point, the second viewoint, is packed with incredible views of the canyon. We visited the Grand Canyon in late November after a heavy snowfall and the rim hike along this section of the canyon was one of our favourite experiences.
2 | Maricopa Point
Maricopa Point has some of the best panoramic views of the Grand Canyon and is one of the more spectacular views along Hermit Road. Named after the Maripoca Indians who lived in Arizona, the viewpoint is a short walk from the shuttle bus stop. The viewing area sits on a narrow outcrop over the canyon and offers sweeping, unobstructed views of the magnificent Grand Canyon. Various parts of the Bright Angel and the Tonto Trails are visible from Maricopa Point.
The area below Maricopa Point has an interesting history as it was in Orphan Lode Mine close to Maricopa Point where most of the rich uranium ore for the US was mined in the 1960’s. The mine is now closed but the area is considered hazardous and reamains off limits to hikers.
Grand Canyon viewpoint tip: A great option is to take the shuttle bus along Hermit Road to the other viewpoints and walk back to Bright Angel Lodge along the Rim trail from either Maricopa Point of Trail View point.
3 | Powell Point
The view from Powell Point is similar to Maricopa although more of the western area of the Grand Canyon is visible. Due to it’s close proximity to Maricopa point lots of visitors take the short walk along the rim hike to Powell Point instead of waiting for the shuttle bus.
The viewpoint is named after John Wesley Powell who led two major explorations of the Colorado River in the late 19th century.
4 | Hopi Point
Hopi Point is the most northern viewpoint on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Due to the incredible unobsctructed views of the canyon, Hopi Point is one of the most popular viewpoints on the south rim for sunrise and sunset. There is a large wrap around viewing area just below the road that offers stunning views of the Grand Canyon.
Grand Canyon Viewpoints tip: Hopi Point is probably our choice for the best viewpoint for sunset at the Grand Canyon. Due to it’s popularity, Hopi Point usually draws large crowds for sunset so it’s best to get there a little early if you’re planning to watch the sun for down from here.
5 | Mohave Point
Mohave Point is one of our favorite viewpoints at the Grand Canyon due to its sweeping panoramic views. The viewpoint itself is a large rocky area that leads down to an narrow viewing area with unobstructed views of a large part of the canyon. A lot of visitors take the scenic walk (around 1mile) from Hopi Point to Mohave Point along the rim trail.
Grand Canyon viewpoints tip: Mohave Point is one of the most popular viewpoints on Hermit Road so expect it to be busy at peak times.
6 | The Abyss
This small viewpoint is only a short ride on the shuttle from Hopi Point but it unique views of the canyon. The Abyss Viewpoint is perched right on the top of a vertical chasm into the Grand Canyon. The drop into the canyon from viewing area is around 3,000 feet so its not for the faint of heart!
7 | Monument Creek Vista
Although a small view point, Monument Creek Vista has vertigo inducing views down into the canyon. From here Monument Creek is visible as is Granite Rapid on the Colorado River.
8 | Pima Point
Pima Point is the last viewpoint along Hermit Drive before reaching Hermit’s Rest. The viewpoint offers fantastic views of Hermit Creek below and the Colorado River is clearly visible as it weaves west through the canyon. It’s also possible to spot some sections of the Hermit Trail as it snakes down into the canyon.
9 | Hermits Rest
While not an actual viewpoint Hermits Rest is worth a quick stop while exploring Hermits Road. Located at the trail head of the Hermit Trail, Hermits Rest was a rest stop where a historic dwelling style structure was built on the rim of the canyon.
There is a small gift shop, snack bar and rest rooms at Hermits Rest which is popular with tourists and day hikers at the canyon.
Grand Canyon Visitors Center/Kaibab Viewpoints
These viewpoints are located to the east of the historic Grand Canyon Village starting close to the Grand Canyon Visitors Center.
10 | Mather Point
Mather Point offers some of the best views on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It is easy to access as it next to the Visitor Center parking lot! The only downside of this is that it is one of the busier viewpoints and can get packed at peak times.
Mather Point has one of the more unique views as the viewpoint is located on a rocky outcrop that juts out into the canyon.
11 | Yavapi Point
Yavapi Point is a short walk along the rim trail from Mather Point and also has incredible canyon views. It is possible to drive to Yavapi point, however there is only parking for around 20-25 vehicles so if the Visitor Centre area is busy it is recommended to walk to Yavapi Point.
The incredible size of the Grand Canyon is most apparent from Yavapi Point as the views of the canyon are unobstructed. The tiny path of the Bright Angel Trail is visible looking west from the viewing deck. The trail disappears down into Bright Angel Canyon where a small section of the Colorado river is visible.
12 | Yaki Point
The views from Yaki Point are quite different from other viewpoints at the South Rim with open views of the Canyon to the east. Yaki Point is a great option for sunset as it’s usually quiet and you can find a quiet area to enjoy an epic Grand Canyon sunset.
Yaki Point is one of the lesser visited viewpoints at the South Rim as there is no car access to the viewpoint. Visitors can only get to Yaki Point by parking on Desert View Drive and walking or by taking the free shuttle bus that runs east bound from the Grand Canyon Visitors Center.
Grand Canyon Viewpoints tip: Unlike Hermit Road with it’s winter access, Yaki Road doesn’t open to private vehicles at any time of the year. It is only accessible by shuttle bus or walking from Desert Drive Road. Access was restricted a number of years ago due to the lack of parking and the volume of traffic.
13 | Ooh Aah Point
While not a viewpoint on the main Desert View Drive, Ooh Aah Point can easily be visited on a moderate hike that descends below the rim. The hike is relatively straightforward and we highly recommend time for it while visiting Yaki Point.
The trail to Ooh Aah point is the start of the South Kaibab trail that snakes down to the Colorado River. Similar to Yaki Point, the South Kaibab trailhead can only be reached via the shuttle bus or by parking along Desert Drive Road at one of the parking spots at Pipe Creek Vista.
Ooh Ah point itself is a small rocky outcrop around 600 feet below the rim. You’ll know you’ve reached it when you see the sign for Ooh Aah Point.
Desert View Drive Viewpoints
The Desert View Drive viewpoints are located between Grand Canyon Village and the East entrance of the park. If you are arriving at the Grand Canyon from Page in Arizona then you will arrive at the Grand Canyon East Entrance and drive the full length of the Desert View Drive en route to the Grand Canyon Village.
The drive is packed with some incredible view of the canyon and is lovely during the hours leading up to sunset.
We’ve ordered the stops as you reach them when driving between the Grand Canyon Visitors Center and the East Entrance.
14 | Pipe Creek Vista
Located between Mather and Yaki Points, Pipe Creek vista is the first stop along Desert View Drive after you leave the Visitors Center. It is possible to walk the rim trail to Mather Point or the South Kaibab Trailhead. Care should be taken along this section of the rim trail as it is open to bicycles and pedestrians.
15 | Grandview Point
The next viewpoint along Desert View Drive is GrandView Point. The viewpoint itself is a short drive from the main road and consists of a large open viewing area. Take care as you walk around Grandview Point as there are sudden unmarked drops once you pass the walls of the viewing area.
One of the most unique sights at Grandview Point is Horseshoe Mesa. This distinctly red horseshoe shaped rock formation is clearly visible below Grandview Point. It was near Horseshoe Mesa that miners discovered copper in the late 19th century and the Last Chance Mine was established
Grandview Points is the start of the steep Grandview Trail which winds down into the canyon. This historic trail which follows an old mining route is one of the more strenuous and dangerous in the Grand Canyon. The Colorado river is not accessible on this trail due to the steep canyon walls near the bottom of the trail.
16 | Moran Point
The views from Moran Point are some of the best on the south rim and it is one of our favourite viewpoints at the Grand Canyon. The epic views from Moran Point were the inspiration for the landscape painter Thomas Moran, who’s paintings of the Grand Canyon influenced the decision to inscribe the Grand Canyon as a National Park in 1919.
Moran Point popularity is primarily due to the westerly views of the Grand Canyon and the Red Canyon located directly below the viewpoint itself. The views to the west include Coronado Butte and view along the canyon to Yaki Point. The views to the east of the canyon are partially obstructed by Zuni Point.
The viewpoint itself has spaces for around 20 cars and 4 to 5 larger vehicles and can get very crowded on busy days. Despite the crowds it’s definitely worth the wait for a car space!
17 | Lipan Point
Lipan Point has one of the best views on the south rim due to its location on an outcrop overlooking the canyon and the fact that it faces west looking along the Colorado River in the canyon below. The viewpoint itself is a short detour off Desert View Drive to a small parking lot with around 20 spaces.
Two popular trailheads start from Lipan Point: the Escalante Route and Tanner Trailhead
18 | Navajo Point
Navajo Point is the highest viewpoint on the South Rim (unless you count the top of Desert View Watchtower which is slightly higher!). It offers a unique view of the big bend in the canyon and really puts the scale of the Grand Canyon in perspective!
The viewpoint sits 2,000 feet above Cardenas Butte and Escalante Butte and the views strech back to the Grand Canyon Village and far across the North Rim.
There is space for around 30 cars in the pull in parking lot beside the viewpoint.
19 | Desert View and Watchtower
The first viewpoint as you enter the east Entrance is the Desert View viewpoint and, for many arrivals to the park, it offers a first of the magnificient Grand Canyon. One of the larger viewpoints, Desert View has a big parking lot, gas station, small market and is home to the Desert View Campground. The viewpoint and watchtower are a short ¼ mile walk from the parking lot.
The viewpoint is unique as it captures perfectly the huge bend in the Grand Canyon as it sweeps through the landscape. The panoramic views sweep from the plains of the Painted Desert to the east to the Colorado River disappearing far to the west.
One of the main attractions of the Desert View Drive is the Desert View Watchtower. Built in 1932, this 5 storey watchtower blends seamlessly into the surrounds. It’s possible to climb the watchtower to check out the views.