Best Places to Visit in Grand Canyon
One of America’s most famous and breathtaking natural places, the Grand Canyon has been a road trip destination for generations. The North Rim and South Rim are accessible from both sides of the canyon, but most people visit the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park. The North Rim is closed during the winter, but the South and West Rim are open year-round and are easily accessible from attractions such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff, and Williams.
Have a look at our list of the Best Places to Visit in Grand Canyon and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Grand Canyon
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Grand Canyon:
1. Geological Museum
One of the most interesting and informative exhibits in the Grand Canyon National Park is the Geology Museum. The location of the museum was chosen by a group of prominent geologists in the 1920s because the scenery here best represents the geology of the canyon.
The museum details the rock formations visible when viewed through the long wall of windows. Huge graphics describe the formation of the canyon, from the rise of the rocks to the eroding force of the water flowing through the canyon.
From the window, you can see the following hiking trails, including a great route to Plateau Point, a branch of the Bright Angel Trail, and a trail to the Colorado River.
2. Hermit Road Drive
The Hermit Trail is a scenic 7-mile drive along the canyon rim with numerous viewpoints. This is the most popular route in the park.
If you visit between the beginning of December and the end of February, you can do this drive with your own vehicle. From March 1 to November 30, you must use the park shuttle bus, which stops at nine observation decks every 10 to 15 minutes.
All viewing platforms on this route provide incredible viewing points for the canyon. While it is the source of some controversy, some of the best views are available from Cape Maricopa, Cape Hopi, Abyss and Cape Pima. If you’re short on time, you might want to skip the last stop, The Hermit’s Rest.
3. Bright Angels Hiking Trail
The most popular hike in the park is the Bright Angels Hike, which departs from the village and begins the shuttle bus route to the Hermitage. It’s a long hike, but many people choose to walk a short distance along the trail to get a feel for the walk. The full route, 19 miles to Bright Angel Campground and Bright Angel Campground, takes two days.
Many serious hikers choose to head to the Indian Garden Campground, a 9-mile round-trip hike that takes 6 to 9 hours. Remember, this includes strenuous hiking with an elevation change of over 3,000 feet.
For a brief example of the trail, the upper tunnel is only 0.4 miles round trip and takes less than 30 minutes, and the lower tunnel is 1.7 miles and takes one to two hours. This hike embraces the canyon walls, steep cliffs, and sharp falls outside the trail. Not suitable for people with a severe fear of heights. Parts of the trail are in shade and can be covered with snow or ice, although conditions at the top are hot and dry.
The Park Service, in partnership with private donors, recently made major improvements to the Angel of Light Trail. Finding a starting point was not always the easiest thing in the past, but now with a brand new plaza and improved signage, that problem has long since disappeared. In addition to the new plaza, you’ll now find flush toilets, seating areas, shade structures and water bottle filling stations. A new 90-car parking lot has also been added, and walkways have been made wheelchair accessible.
4. Desert View Drive
While most people head for Hermit Road, the 22-mile Desert View Drive is just as stunning, if not more so. One of the main differences is the view of the Colorado River, which is easier to see from some stops along the way than on the more western route. Here, you can see the long, wide strips of rivers winding through the canyon in the distance, as well as streams.
There are fewer stops on this route, but it’s well worth your time to admire the scenery. Moran Point is definitely a standout, with beautiful views of the Colorado River from the far east side of the parking lot and the myriad of different colors on the rock face across the canyon.
Lipan Point has more Colorado beauty but is also a remarkable spot for bird watchers. This is the most direct route in the canyon for migratory birds, and they use this narrower section of their flight path.
Grandview Point is one of the highest lookout points on the South Rim. From the viewing area, the Grandview hiking trail descends steeply and quickly disappears. This is a strenuous hike on squalid trails best suited for serious hikers. The trail conditions here are more difficult than at the Angel of Light; Spring is slippery and summer is hot.
From Cape Navajo, the last stop in front of the Desert View Lookout, on the right you can see the lookout, which can be a great photo opportunity if you have a long lens. The final stop, the Desert View Watchtower, stands proudly at the edge of the cliff, which is definitely the highlight of this drive.
There is also the Tusayan Museum and Ruins along Desert View Drive. The museum itself is small and provides information about the people who lived in the area, and there is a short walk through the ruins to see the residences up close.
5. Desert View Watchtower
If you are coming from the east and entering the park from the Desert View entrance, Desert View is the first stop in the park. It is a full service station with general shops, trading posts and campgrounds, but the main attraction is the famous Indian Watchtower.
Despite its appearance, the 70-foot tower is not an old, crumbling stone ruin. Built in 1932, the park is one of four Mary Jane Colter-designed structures, all of which are on the National Register of Historic Places.
The structure was designed to look like an Anasazi watchtower, with great attention to detail in its creation. The tower is built around a concrete and steel structure, but the rough stone facade of the roof creates a striking effect as it blends with the surrounding colors. Visible from all levels of circular balconies and stairs, the interior walls are lined with what appear to be petroglyphs and ancient artworks.
There is an open-air observation deck on the second floor and a covered observation deck on the top floor, which offers breathtaking views of the canyon and desert on the east side.
6. Lookout Studio and the Kolb Gallery
In the village, the Lookout Studio and Kolb Gallery are located on the Canyon wall. Lookout Studio is located in one of the Mary Jane Colter buildings throughout the park, with a traditional stone design reminiscent of a ruin. The studio sells souvenirs and trinkets, as well as two open-air observation decks overlooking the Grand Canyon.
A short walk west from here is the Kolb Gallery, a dark brown wooden structure. Built in 1905, this historic Victorian home belonged to the Kolb brothers, the park’s first adventurers. Today the building serves as an art gallery with changing exhibits, a small shop selling books, and information about life in Kolbs. Kolb Gallery is near the beginning of the Path of the Angels of Light.
7. Wildlife Viewing
While most people don’t come to the Grand Canyon to see wildlife, there’s a good chance you’ll see at least some animals if you drive through the park. One of the common suspects that can often be spotted along the Rim Trail is deer.
While you’re unlikely to see them, mountain lions live in the park’s forests, and signs on Desert View Drive advise drivers to watch out for them on the road. The park is also home to bighorn sheep, hog-nosed skunks, mule deer, Arizona mammals, ringtails, and many other small creatures, including kebab squirrels.
8. IMAX Movies at the National Geographic Visitor Center
In the town of Tusayan, just outside the south entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, it is one of the oldest surviving IMAX cinemas, and watching movies here is a long-standing tradition for families who come to the canyon.
The movie Grand Canyon: The Movie (Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secret) is one of the longest-running IMAX movies in the same location and is a 34-minute movie that starts at half an hour. In addition to watching movies, visitors can get park information or grab a bite to eat at the on-site cafe.
9. Little Colorado River View
On the east side of the South Rim, the first signposted scenic viewpoint to leave Grand Canyon National Park at the Desert View Inlet offers stunning views of the Little Colorado River. This stall is on Navajo grounds and in the parking lot, Navajo artists sell handcrafted jewelry.
Walking along a wide path outside the parking lot, you can see two picnic tables and a lookout (with guardrails) directly overlooking part of the canyon. The Little Colorado River is visible from the edge.
10. Skywalk and Eagle Point
If you’ve seen photos of the glass bridge towering over the Grand Canyon and are determined to experience Eagle Point on the West Side, you can get there by car from the South Shore in about 4 hours. This horseshoe-shaped glass passageway stretches 70 meters above the canyon, allowing you to look straight down.
You can also dine at the Sky View restaurant, which overlooks the Skywalk. Other things to do here include watching Native American dances and visiting an Indian village.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Grand Canyon. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Grand Canyon, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.